Week 4 Update

Monday:

This is our week at Denali. We had to get up super early (6 am) so that we could be at the park before 7:30 am to be in line for our tour bus ride into the park (you can’t drive in past mile 17.) It was a cool, damp, and foggy morning.

IMG_1673_thumb[1]We ended up with a great bus driver (Tina) who gave us a lot of information and details in her talk along the drive. She was also very good at getting us close to the wildlife along the road and explaining animal behavior patterns.

We had purchased the bus ride out to Wonder Lake which is most of the way into the park, up to mile 82. Round trip this tour takes about 11 hours.

Along the way we were able to see several grizzly bears, a couple herds of caribou and ptarmigan. No moose today. At the Eielson Lodge there were reports of a couple wolves chasing some caribou down the river plain, but we did not witness it ourselves. Also at the lodge is where you can see the Denali peak, but the mountain was shrouded in fog.

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Week 3 Update

Monday:

The start of week 3 was at the state campground (dry camping) along the Tok River in Tok, Alaska. We didn’t have anything really planned to do, it was more of a way point along the way, and we spent 2 nights here rather than spend one night in Chicken and one night in Tok.

We ventured off late in the morning with the car and went to find the Visitor’s Center. We grabbed a lot of brochures and pamphlets with things to do in Alaska (this is the first town in Alaska along the Alaska Highway so it’s a popular stop). Then we headed over to the BLM office and obtained a really nice map showing all Federal and State campgrounds in Alaska. Lastly we stopped at APLIC (Alaska Public Lands Information Center) and picked up some more information, including a printout showing the prices for all the state-run campgrounds (information which the map lacked).

Next up to do was a visit to Mukluk Land. *The* tourist destination for Tok (lol).

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└ Mukluk Land in Tok

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Week 2 Update

Monday:

The start of Week 2 of the trip starts another round of stress, and anxiety. We started out at the Bell Canada store to get a pre-paid phone that would work in the north-west part of Canada on our way up and then back. After that we headed out to find a Chevrolet dealer. They were very helpful and did some calling around to places they knew that could work on carbureted engines. I was referred to a place called Kartunes in the NW section of Edmonton.

We drove up there and the guy that runs the place was very accommodating – looking at it right away. We took off with the car to go do laundry. When we came back, he said we had low fuel pressure and that the in-tank pump wasn’t working, He had an external pump to put in, but needed to wait until morning to get a couple of the fittings. He offered to let us stay in the RV on his lot so we wouldn’t need to get a hotel for the night, and even let us plug in so we could watch some local TV.

That evening the girls and I went to the West Edmonton Mall, which is the largest mall in North America. It has a water park in it! Zip-lining too. We watched part of the invitational hockey tournament that was going on in the hockey arena in the middle of the mall (hey – it’s Canada, gotta have a hockey rink in the mall). It was US teams against Canadian teams.

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Glacier National Park

We spent Saturday, July 2nd touring Glacier National Park. We had arrived late on Friday and basically parked and went to sleep. After checking in (we stayed in the St Mary’s Campground inside the park on the east side of the mountains), we headed out up the “Going-to-the-Sun Road”. Just a few miles up the road you can overlook beautiful St Mary Lake. Along the way we saw a couple of elk bounding across a field on the hillside, but weren’t able to get the camera on them before they were out of view.

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└ Overlooking Saint Mary Lake (Mt Logan in backround center)

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Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse

We spent the day Tuesday June 28th visiting Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse outside of Rapid City, South Dakota.

As I mentioned in the weekly update, we arrived there just about the time a rainstorm was starting. We hung out in the building where the cafeteria is at a table waiting for the rain to move off. We only had to shelter for about 20 minutes and then the sun was back out.

We took several photos and walked the Trail of Presidents around the base of the monument.

Me, Kristen, and Heather at Mt Rushmore

The layout of of the monument is much different in comparison to how I envisioned it. I’ve always had the impression that there was a lot of flat land around the rock outcropping, but it is in fact nestled into the hills.

The photo to the left was taken in the ampitheatre that faces the monument. There is a sound system there that plays a loop of John Phillip Sousa marches to give you that “patriotic feel”.

Mount Rushmore Monument

 

 

 

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Week 1 Update

Monday:

Week 1 of the trip brought a lot of excitement, stress, and anxiety. We started out on Monday morning leaving my uncle’s house in Minnesota on our way towards Rapid City, SD. First off, I guess I didn’t give the driving time on these pre-planned legs as much consideration as I should have – some 500 plus miles to our destination. We started of good, finding a Costco for low-price fuel. However, about an hour in, the fuel starvation issue we experienced from Chicago came back.

I fought the problem all the way to Rapid City. I tried a repair in Sioux Falls by replacing filters again, with no luck. We arrived in Rapid City at the KOA at about 9:45 pm – just before the check-in office closed. This after leaving at about 8 am. And that included an time-zone change to our favor.

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Made it to Rushmore & Glacier

We made it to Rapid City on Monday and to Glacier on Friday. There is lots to tell, but no Wi-Fi. Maybe when we get to Dawson City I’ll get some detailed posts uploaded.

We’re off! Travel days 1 & 2…

We finally left for the trip at about 1 pm on Thursday. Our goal was to get to Toledo OH for the night at the KOA campground there. Since I hadn’t really put many (any) miles on the RV since doing all this work to it, I decided that we weren’t going to just hop on I-90 and go. Since I wanted to stop at the Camping World store outside Buffalo NY on the way, I decided that we would drive across US 20 at least that far.

Things went pretty well until we got to Lancaster – from there to Hamburg we were in horrible traffic and stuck at red lights. Pulled into Camping World and shut off the RV and went inside to grab a few things for the road. When we came out about 15 minutes later, the RV would not start. More than that, nothing happened at all when I turned the key. Panic. Finally after looking things over (and really doing nothing) it cranked over and started. I am chalking that up to an overheated solenoid on the starter. We’ll have to keep an eye on that.

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The final push…

These last few days getting ready for the trip have been crazy. I ended my work on Friday, and have spent Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning getting last minutes repairs and rehab done.

The kids have been great helpers this past week. They pretty much refurbished the tow dolly (besides the welding that I had to do). It has all new wiring for the lights, and new tires installed. They also worked to install all the seats and couch back into the RV, and helped install the carpet.

I took the RV for it’s New York State safety inspection on Wednesday. Passed with no problems (Yay!).

We had originally planned to leave at 7 am on Thursday morning, but we were still putting things back in until almost 11 am. We finally pulled out at about 1 pm.

See more on the video….

So little time left…

So I am 16 days away from leaving. The RV is still in the shop getting it’s updates and repairs. I’ll try to find time to upload some more posts, but in the meantime, there is a video update showing where we are today!

 

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