"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Thursday, April 25, 2024

NORTH! To Alaska!!

Placerville, CA

After a crazy two weeks getting things ready to leave for our Alaska Trip, it's finally here!  
We pulled out on April 25 to visit my sister on the way up to Oregon. 
We left her place in Northern CA in a super clean rig.  Speaking of.  Here are the inside pictures of Little Joe who rides piggyback on Hoss.  He's a 2004 Arctic Fox1150.  We have added solar, lithium batteries, redone the interior and lots of other upgrades.
I redid the old paper with a light colored, shiplap wallpaper.
I put slipcovers on the old dinette cushions.  We had our friend, Mike, help us out with a new wood table.
I took off all the old fabric/oak trim and replaced it with pine I painted black.
My friend, Tina, told me about picture tiles so I had some of our favorite trip shots printed out.
My Mom gave me a fishing quilt an old friend made for her.
I tore off the old boarder and put up subway tiles for a backsplash.
I love my old fashioned braided rug that Steve found for me.
We took the old bathroom door and turned it into a barn door.
I also repapered the bathroom with an olive branch paper.  We love how cozy our new place looks.

Wolf Creek, Oregon
Wolf Creek County Park
Our first stop was this cute little park for the night.  We will be doing a few one-nighters until we get into Canada.  We drove about 4 or 5 hours each day.
$25, #13.  No utilities.  Right on the creek.
Our first night Steve bbq'd some great steaks and we celebrated our trip with a great bottle of wine from our daughter-in-law, Lindsay's parents.  Thank you Jim & Marilyn!
Ridgefield, OR
Ilani Casino
Nothing special.  Just a free place to sleep in the back of this nice, quiet casino. 

Payallup, WA
Elks Lodge
Elks Lodges are a nice place to stay since we are members.  This was just $10 for dry camping. There was a large lawn behind us.  Water and Dump.

The plan was to cross over the boarder at Sumas after we stopped in Bellevue to have our pistols shipped to Tok, Alaska.  We were going to bring the rifle over the border with us to have while in British Columbia and the Yukon.  Everyone has different opinions on whether to bring guns or not.  We decided since we will be in a lot of remote backcountry, we wanted them with us.  We had done all the research and filled out the paperwork.  When we were in line at the border crossing, things started off just fine.  The usual questions.  Where are you from?  Where are you going?  How long will you be in Canada?  We purposely brought almost no fresh food so we would not have to worry about that.  We'd be stopping at the grocery store right over the border.   Then, the question we worried about just a little.  Do you have anything to declare?  Yes, we have a rifle.  Here is our paperwork and our passports.  We were asked what was the purpose of bringing the rifle?  "For our personal protection against wildlife as we'd be in the backcountry."  The border guard seemed fine with that and asked us to pull over to have, what we thought, was the gun inspection.  Inside, however, he had to take care of another manner and a woman took over.  This is not a man vs woman thing.  Boy did she grill us.  She was not happy with the answer of personal wildlife protection.  She was very gruff and said, Well, you have bear spray, right?  We said yes.  She said that's all we should need and if we were injured by wild animals there are plenty of hospitals in Canada!  Really?!!  Wow.  It did not matter what we said.  We were denied entry and told to make a U-turn back into the US.  At the US border, they were, of course, already aware of the matter and really felt bad for us.  Seems that even though we followed Canada's law to the T, each border guard has their own discretion.  The US agent really had some words about this!  So, we drove the 45 minutes back to Bellevue and had the rifle added to our shipment.  We were not happy, but what can we do?  We also had an oil change and filled our tank up with US gas at $4.15.

Sumas, WA
Sumas RV Park
We paid $25 for W/E at site #65 which backed up to a farm field.
We left early the next morning and passed by several fields of raspberries.  They tie them upside down
 U shapes.  Interesting.  It sure would be nice to be here in the summer for picking.

This time we made it across the border just fine.  You know they knew about what happened the day before.  I'm sure we have a record!  But all was good once we showed them the receipt for the rifle shipment to prove we actually shipped it.  No search either.  Whew.  Well, Canada, here we are!
We stopped in Abbottsford for groceries and alcohol. All stocked up and $400 Canadian later, we were on our way to our first campground. Right away the views were gorgeous!
Kilby, British Columbia
Kilby Provincial Park
This was a very nice spot backed up to the lake. $25, #20.
Watching the eagles, kayakers and enjoying the quiet on the beach in front of our site.

We had a day to ourselves before Rick and Angie join us for the rest of the Alaska Trip!  We walked over to the Kilby Historic Site.  It had a small farm and museum.  Things weren't quite up and running but we could walk around on our own.
Cracked up with this wooden cow.  They had put a real cowpie behind it!
There were a few animals.  This bunny was adorable and wanted us to pet him.
We peeked inside one small storage barn and this cute bird was stuck inside and flew up to the windowsill when we looked in.  He looked pathetic and like he'd been stuck in there a while.  He seemed to be asking us for help.  We let one of the workers know and she seemed concerned and promised she'd let him out.  Poor guy.
On our walk back we passed someone who was raising chickens and had a cute egg fridge out front of the property to help yourself to some fresh eggs for $5.00.  Unfortunately they were out.

It was so enjoyable to sit back and relax after our 5 days of driving to get up here.

Finally after Rick and Angie got home from a family vacation, they quickly headed up to join us.  They also bought an Arctic Fox 1150.  It's a 2007.  We laugh that we are twins.
Me, Rick, Angie & Steve
We have known each other for 40 years.  The guys met in the Airforce.
There were some colorful fields of tulips blooming along the way.

Tim Horton's is a place we looked forward to trying out.  They specialize in coffee, donuts and some lunch items.  We weren't all that impressed with their variety.  Especially after Voo-Doo Donuts in Portland, Oregon and another great place in San Diego which have over 50 very unique types of donuts.  They didn't even have Chocolate Old Fashioned Glazed!  Their coffee was great though.  We'll have to try them out again.

British Columbia
Marble Canyon Provincial Park
This was a small park and lucky we got there when we did as we wanted sites next to each other.  We got some great lake-side sites. $18, #26.  No utilities.  It seems most of BC's provincial parks have no utilities.  Some offer electric, but not many.  Some offer water, mostly pump and most had boil orders.  They also usually don't have dump stations.
The campground sits on Pavilion Lake.  It's small and has a brilliant emerald green color with a waterfall across the lake.
It's early in the season and it's still on the cooler side.  Most of the leaves have not opened up.
We were disappointed that we could not find a way to bring our new, smaller hard-sided kayaks.  Rick had done some research on inflatables and we both ended up with a 12 foot inflatable tandem.  We were SO impressed!  They were easy to fill.  Three chambers (2 sides and the bottom) and the seats.  Everything is super thick and reinforced and very lightweight! There are 2 skegs for the bottom that slide in/out.  They tracked perfectly.  They come in a carry backpack/bag and it fits great in the backseat.
We paddled across the lake and took a hike to the waterfall.
There was a little ice cave that had some ice castles.

There were Loons around the lake.  I just love their sound.
The fishing was amazing!  We caught nonstop Rainbows.  We had a couple for dinner that a neighbor had caught and given us.  Delicious.

This adorable hen Mallard flew onto our kayaks in camp and then waddled over.  Apparently she's used to being fed as she waited patiently for a cracker.

It was a relaxing time at the lake.  On our way to our next campground we stopped at the Historic Hat Creek Ranch.
From their website:
Explore our well-preserved historic buildings, Indigenous Interpretive site, roadhouse, blacksmith shop, and more, and get a glimpse into the daily lives of those who traveled along this iconic route.  Explore our Indigenous Interpretation Site and step back in time to learn about the rich heritage of the Shuswap Nation.  Discover how they lived off the land for thousands of years before settlers arrived. See traditional shelters, hunting and fishing gear, and even a unique 'Kekuli' pit house. 
An old hay-baler.
The old hotel was so interesting.
I think this odd item was a cigar cutter.
This was used to push camp items that were too much to carry up to camp back in the day if you didn't have a mule or horse.
We read that they actually raised some moose to pull their wagons.

This family home housed the parents and several children.  There were many small beds inside.

British Columbia
Dugan Lake Rec Site
These are like our National Park campgrounds.  Also 1/2 off for seniors.  So it only cost us $7.50 to stay here.  No utilities but we had nice lakeside sites.  They also brought us lots of firewood for $10.

We took a short hike.  This hiking in heavy bear country is taking us a bit of time.  We have our bear spray and are careful of course.  It's still a little leery.
Something different in Canada is their cigarettes.  It's $130 for a carton of 200 "sticks".  Wow.  You can buy them at gas stations or tobacco shops.  They come in a flat box with very disturbing pictures instead of advertising. Angie smokes and said they taste flat compared to US brands. They are smaller too.
We had a fire and enjoyed a beautiful nights sky.  We are just now experiencing longer days.  It doesn't seem to get dark until 10pm.
We spot our first bear and moose on the way out of the campground.

We stopped in Prince George for gas and groceries.  We try to fill up when we're 1/2 empty.  So far gas has not been an issue as they seemed to be spaced out quite well as we drive up Rt 1 to get to the beginning of the Alaska Highway (AlCan).  The Superstore is our favorite grocery store so far.  They definitely have a much better selection of vegetables than the smaller stores.  Strangely, no zucchini!  And pork has been harder to find.
We drove through Chetwynd and stopped by to see the wood carved statues that line the streets.
This picture is for our grandson, Jaxon, who LOVES Spiderman.

On the drive out of town the winds really kicked up.  Dust storms are big out here in this flat, farming area.  A big doe jumped right in front of our truck too.  We could see her face and she was as scared as we were!

British Columbia
Salmon Valley Campground
We did not like the casino choice in Prince George as you basically parked right at a busy intersection rather than behind the buildings like most casinos offer.  We decided to find something further down the road.  Our next choices were not much better and many campgrounds are not open yet.  We passed one that said it was closed but we could see people working and decided to take a chance.  The owners of the Salmon Valley Campground told us to come on in so we'd have a place to sleep.  They weren't going to be open for a week or so but they led us over to two electric sites on the river.  They only charged us $25.  Very nice of them.
Pouce Coupe, BC

We really like the Campendium App (among others) that brought us to this site.  It was a bit of a gamble, but it turned out great.  A little narrow dirt road brought us to an open area near the confluence of the Pouce Coupe and Tupper Rivers.

We had a nice 3 day stay.  Internet was great too.  Unfortunately, the river levels were super low and not fish-worthy.

Alberta, Canada
Range Rd Boondocking
On a whim, we thought why not spend the night over the border since it's just a few miles away?
We hoped to stay a couple of days and paddle on the lake but it was super windy and the gnats kept us inside.
Trumpeter Swans not minding the gnats.
On the way up to Fort Nelson, we stopped back into Dawson City.  We visited the museum and several stores.  They had one of the nicest dump stations too.  Very new and free.  Dump and fresh water.

The big deal here is that Dawson Creek is the beginning of the Alcan, or Alaskan Highway. It is Mile Marker 0.  The other end is 1,387 miles away in Delta Junction, Alaska.

Yay!  Off we go on the Alaskan Highway!
Along the way we had to stop at the Kiskatinaw Wood Bridge.  While you cannot drive over it anymore, you can walk on it.  It was built in 1942/43 and is 400 feet long.  The bridge is a curved, timber-truss structure. More interesting history on this HERE.
We had lunch here after walking to each end.

We just found out that a huge Aurora event is occurring over the northern hemisphere.  Not only will we be in a prime location, many in the US will be able to see it too if the skies are clear.  The plan is to stop a couple of times by Fort Nelson, then cross the border on Rt 77 into the Northwest Territories.  I'm so excited about our stop here as this is probably our only chance to visit there!
But... the drive was very, very windy and some fires broke out that sidelined us after the Alaskan Highway was shut down at Fort Nelson on May 10th.
Hopefully I won't have to keep you in suspense for too long.  Since we're out of cell range much of the time I'll catch up as soon as I can.  We are loving the remote places our truck campers are taking us!


  1. Love you both be safe and enjoy I love living the trip through you. Alaska was the last trip my mom made with my dad before she passed in 2005. She too was adventurous like you Deb. Again enjoy and thank you for sharing your trip 😊 ❤️ yvonne

    1. I’m glad your parents came to Alaska. It’s beautiful!! Love you too!

  2. This is Dino. Awesome adventure. Tim Hortons has a coffee drink we love. It's called the London Fog. Give it a try if you get the chance.

  3. Other than the border and wildfire you guys are off to a great start. Nice to get a heads up on some of your stops in our province that we’ve not been to. Safe travels!

    1. So many gorgeous places in BC. Can’t wait to check out more of it on another trip!

  4. Looks like an amazing trip so far!!

  5. Love, love, love your posts and adventures. Please tell Angie that I strongly recommend she quit smoking. I’m 80 and my docs say if I had good lungs I’d be in perfect health. Just had another 80 yr old friend, smoker, who died of kidney cancer. It can affect all your organs.

    1. Thank you for the kind words and concern. 🥰

  6. Veronica McCormackJune 8, 2024 at 5:55 AM

    I love to read about your adventures. The cigarette box was disturbing, but as you can see, people just don't care sometimes. I see that all the time in my profession. And WOW, you were really blessed to be able to see those Northern Lights, we didn't get to see any here, we are too south, and the day we might have seen them, it was cloudy.:( Have fun in Alaska, and look forward to reading about your adventures!!

    1. The lights were a real treat as we weren’t expecting to see them until Sep if we were lucky. You should’ve seen the other random pictures on the cigarette packs. That one was pretty mild. Thanks for following along and I hope you’re enjoying your new kayak!


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