Day 1 Road to Alaska and Day 2

We left Mile 0 RV Park by 9:30 and were directly on the Alaska Highway.  Using the sources we had been reading we decided to take Mike and Terri Church’s advice and stop short of Nelson at a roadside campground for our first night out.  We bypassed a couple because they didn’t offer much for the money and looked rather too scruffy.  We finally decided on Sikanni River Campground & RV Park because the next and last possible stop was a “User Maintained” site.  That is, an abandoned provincial campground.  The ones we had looked at along the way were all muddy and unkempt.

Sikanni River is at the bottom of a northbound grade with pitches to 9%.  Carol was at the wheel and eased us down the grade at an average speed of 30 mph in first gear, we barely warmed the brakes.  She caught the first driveway into the store/gas station/rv park and we were greeted by Jackie the owner.  Gas prices were sky high ($1.459/liter) so we elected to skip the top off in hopes of slightly lower prices in Nelson.  The campsite we took with power but no water or sewer was $25 and is directly on the Sikanni River.  As I was checking in – handing over the cash – I noticed a sign “Free Night of Camping Awarded each night to a Lucky Door Prize Winner (When we have more than 5 campers).” 

We had not seen much wild life along the way.  It is too early for berries to attract the bears and the moose and elk seem to be pretty much at rest while we are driving.  Much to my surprise, as I was sitting outside the coach with my book looking at the river, I heard what sounded like a large horse approaching.  It was a female moose and she trotted across the campground in front of the coach and passed within 50 feet of where I was sitting.  I barely had time to realize in was a moose before it was gone from sight.

After dinner we wandered around the campground greeting the other Alaska bound travelers and chatting about our experiences.  Jackie and her husband approached and handed me $25.  I had won the drawing for the day.  Putting aside the lucky draw, Carol and I would strongly recommend to our RVing friends who might take this trip to plan a stop at Sikanni River, if you still have brakes for stopping when you get to the bottom of the grade.

To be posted the next time we have internet  service.

We stopped at Fort Nelson Heritage Museum and could not photograph .1% of the material they exhibit, so here is the largest item on display:

It is a 16 cylinder engine used to drive one of the generators to provide electricity to the region.  It ran for over 111,000 hours.

We have internet of sorts tonight at Toad River Lodge.  Camping is reasonable the gasoline is outrageous, $C1.559 per liter.  That works out to north of $6 a gallon.  Of course Fort Nelson is 115 miles back and the next place with “reasonable” pricing we are told is Contact Creek Lodge, 165 miles up the road. 

On the road we passed a truck camper stopped on the shoulder.  When we saw them fueling at Fort Nelson we said they were stopped to look at a sow bear and cubs, not that we could have stopped had we known, but . . .  Later on, as we passed through Summit Lake and began a long descent through an incredible gorge with the road carved into its side, we saw several Stone Sheep (smaller than Rocky Mountain Sheep) on the side of the road and up the cliff.  Couldn’t stop but went real slow to avoid hitting them and to take a look.  No pictures.

More coming!

A rough interlude and we are off

This is being posted after a delay because as I write I am sitting in the Canadian National Parks forest outside of Jasper and there is no internet available and I dare not use my phone as data roaming charges are $2.00 per megabyte! 

The last full posting had us flying to Rochester to celebrate my mother’s birthday, get in some doctor appointments and see some friends before resuming our trip.  Mom was non responsive on her birthday, the 10th and began to slip away shortly thereafter, well she had been declining rapidly since the previous Saturday, but she had rallied so many times in the past that I figured she would again.  Not to belabor the point, she died two days after her birthday and we buried her on Friday and sat Shiva (check out the Jewish way of death) through Tuesday and flew back to Calgary on Friday the 20th. 

The Hoggs pulled Gee 2 out of storage for us and set it up on the site next to them before coming to the airport to pick us up at 9:40 PM.  Don’t talk to me about small planes, they are great for an hour flight, but 4 hours in a CRJ is cruel and unusual punishment.  The Hoggs Malibu felt more spacious than the plane for the long drive back to Okotoks.  After spending delightful time with them they saw us off Tuesday morning, we drove through some traffic to TransCanada Highway 1 which leads to Banff and onward to lake Louise where we picked up The Ice Field Parkway to Jasper.  Although we made several stops along the way none of them were in Banff or Lake Louise.  We did not need another tourist shopping experience (Banff) and we had spent a lot of time In Lake Louise some years ago.  We did stop at the Ice Field Center and ooh and ah at the Toe of Athabasca Glacier and we certainly made any number of brief stops to ooh and ah and OMG over the Canadian Rockies as they were exposed and hidden by the ever changing clouds.

We finally made it in to Whistlers Campground just outside of Jasper where we had stopped all those years ago in the rented Class C motorhome that was our gateway drug to our present addiction.  It was late and we figured we could find decent food in Jasper so we set up and drove the mile and a half (~3 kilometers) into town where the Brew Pub turned out to be noisy with a mediocre menu.  Next stop Kimchi Korean where we had a wonderful meal.  Carol had a vegetarian version of my dish and we are both happy.  Back to Gee 2 for tea and sleep.

Two days later: We drove up to Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway and celebrated by paying for camping at Mile 0 Campground after the previous night at Wal-Mart in Grande Prairie.  We are ready to jump off and don’t know when I will have the next opportunity to post.