Thursday, July 31, 2014

Onward to Stewart BC and Hyder AK


Headed toward Stewart/Hyder south on the Cassiar Hwy 37.  Going south, the road was pretty rough in a few places.  Saw 1 sow bear with 2 cubs, 1 fox and several ptarmigans alongside the road.  Stopped for the night at Rancheria Motel/RV Park, doesn't look like much, in fact it is real easy to miss.  A small  place, nice level spaces with power and water and super nice people in the cafe.  When we got there we both had a bowl of Split Pea Soup, excellent soup.  About 24 bicycle riders where just arriving to spend the night and there had been 25 the night before.  There were also several motorcyclist camped. The place is not much to look at but I would definitely stay here again.


After Rancheria the road started to get better, in fact it eventually had fog lines and a yellow line down the middle. Stayed at Mt Shadow RV Park just north of Iskut, BC, probably one of the prettiest well manicured places we stayed at.  The sites were perfect, large areas of lawn and hundreds of well kept flowers around the house.  When you register you walk into the owners beautiful kitchen with a view of a lake and tall snow scattered mountain peaks all around.  This deserves a 10+ rating, however I never took the time to look at the bathrooms/showers

Continued on into Stewart/Hyder and staying at Camp Run-A-Muck, the last place in Hyder.  A nice quiet place with many pull-thrus in the woods or in the open.  Good showers, (3 loonies even though we were in Alaska)  Nice laundry, only takes US quarters.  Only Alaskan town on Pacific Standard Time, except for the Post office, they are on Alaskan Time Zone, but the National Park further down the road is on Pacific Standard time.  You just have to know where you are going to know what time time zone you are in.  A very nice gentlemen, Sully  checked us in, we have power, water and wi-fi that is very iffy and then not at all.  Another gorgeous drive through narrow canyons, waterfalls, many creeks and Bear Glacier which we were able to get a couple of pictures through the rain.  I might be able to get better pictures when we leave.
We have been driving for three days, longer than what we usually like; when we leave here we will be driving for five or six days to home so we will spend two nights here in Hyder to rest up.  Hyder is the last Alaskan town we will be in for this trip.  When we leave here we will go to Smithers or Houston for the first night and then continue driving every day to home.  In 2011 we drove to Prince Rupert so
we already know what the roads look like from Smithers to home.

Bear Glacier

Park next to Visitor Center in Stewart, B C

Later we will drive out to Tongass National Park to Salmon Creek to see if there are any bears there.  They are open from 6am until 10 pm, Pacific Time.

More about that on the next blog.

Have a great day.


Skagway, Birthday, Zip Line, (Crazy..? maybe)

7/24 - 7/26
Skagway, City RV Park
Downtown next to the Cruise Ships
A great place, walk to everything

A very small town left over from the Gold Rush.  A beautiful deep water port at the end of a Fjord.  Driving to Skagway is slow, many places to pull over for pictures; take hwy 98 just south of Whitehorse for one of the most scenic trips we have experienced through canyons, lakes, rivers, mountains, valleys and sub-alpine terrain, then The White Pass, at 3,290 ' and using a low gear down through canyons so stunning that pictures cannot do it justice. (At least not mine)

Skagway is located on the north end of Taiya Inlet on Lynn Canal.  There are so many activities that you need several days to see and do it all.  This is a tourist town with 4 - 5 cruise ships every day except Sunday. I was amazed to see so many people, it was like walking through Disney Land, we couldn't even get into the local brewery.  We finally discovered that most of the ship tourists  return to their ship and they leave between four and nine PM.  So we eventually got into the local Skagway Brewery.  The beer was not all that great but the food was fantastic.
While in Skagway there was a 5.5 earth quake a little west of Juneau, the trailer just swayed back and forth for about a minute.  The earthquake broke the internet fiber-optic running from Juneau to Skagway.  Merchants in town had to hand write receipts for people using credit cards.  The internet came back after about 48 hrs.  The internet is very weak to begin with here, especially when the cruise ships are in.  Saturday morning at 0430 I had excellent internet, then by 8 AM no internet, I guess I have to wait until the cruise ships leave tonight.  No such luck.

We drove over to Dyea townsite, (Dyea is long gone) the drive over was beautiful.  Dyea is where the famous Chilkoot Trail to the Gold Fields started.  Now you can get a permit and hike 33 miles of the trail and ride the train back.  It takes about five days to hike the trail.

The beginning of the trail doesn't look too bad, of course this is before you go up the mountain.  I only hiked about 30 min of the trail.

The trail pretty much follows the river before it starts straight up.  The scenery here is beautiful.

There was an Avalanche on the trail that killed about 70 people.  The old cemetery has markers to represent all those that lost their life.

Overlooking the valley of the town of Skagway.  Actually the town is more to the right of the picture.

Stopped at some beautiful gardens and glass blowers at the entrance to Skagway.

These are glass fish in a dry creek bed that was made for the "oops" of glass fish that got cracked or just not up to standards.

More "oops" of glass

While in Skagway I had a birthday and went on a Zip Line Tour.  Eleven lines and several swaying bridges to cross all in the rain forest above a rushing creek.
This is the truck we rode up in to the starting point.  It has 8 gears, you can walk faster than 1st or 2nd gear.  It just climbed straight up the mountain.

They also had sled puppies for sale.

This is the one I wanted.

No more delays, on to the harness room and instructions.

My first landing

Brave enough to look down but not let go.

Another successful landing.

And finally no hands and a spin...!

Walking back to our van and 100 feet away ............

....Luckily he was busy. Our guide carried bear spray with him at all times.

When the cruise ships pack up and leave all the RVers and locals come out, we finally got into the Skagway Brewery.  I told Joe to smile and....
this is what i got.

 We had some samples of Skagway Beer but we were not impressed so we had Alaskan Amber and Alaskan Summer.

Lots of mushroom out in the forest, these red with white spots are very poisonous but very pretty.

Of course we had to stop at the Red Onion

I don't think I have ever seen a collection of bed pans, but here at the Red Onion anything goes.

Picture of a tee shirt is only souvenir
While in Skagway we were going to take a train ride on a narrow gauge rail up through a canyon  with a steam engine but the train derailed and of course all the trains were cancelled until they got it cleared up and repaired the track, and then the inspection, couldn't stay any longer so we left.  This is very popular with the cruise ships so lots of people upset, no train for three days.

The other thing we had planned was to take the Fast Ferry over to Haines, but the "head" had a leak so that was cancelled.  So I guess Haines and the tour of the Haines Underwear factory will have to wait until next time.  :)  lol

It's so nice to have internet again, it's been about 4 or 5 days.  No cell service yet, probably as we get closer to Prince George.

Have a great Day


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Valdez to Skagway

7/19 - 7/23
Valdez to Tok to Destruction Bay to Carcross to Skagway
Mostly very good weather with a few sprinkles now and then

More outstanding scenery, road construction and very bumpy roads.  From Tok to Destruction Bay, (D-Bay to the locals) was about 250 miles that took us nine hours, which 45 min was waiting for a pilot car.  This was the longest we have been on the road since we left home, and the dirtiest. Luckily there was a car wash in Carcross.  We only stayed overnight at Tok, Destruction Bay and Carcross so not much going on.

New Snow in mountains above Destruction Bay

What a mess going through all that construction.  
The stuff wanted to stick like glue, very hard to wash off.

Entrance to Haines Junction

Village Bakery, several streets off the main hwy, but we found it
Had delicious sticky buns, our first on the entire trip 

Emerald Lake, see description next picture

Waiting for a pilot car again, note the clean trailer

Just after the White Pass summit of about 3,500' 
going down steep canyon all the way to Skagway

I have been without internet for a long time, then when we arrive to our campground in Skagway we have no phone, no internet, no water.  More on that tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by