After reading a glowing campground review, we visit Salmon River Campground No. 2. There we meet our new friends', Everlong Journey! We swing by the local hatchery (Sawtooth Fish Hatchery), which was worth the free admission. Finally, the weather has cooled off, ahhhh.
After some positive reviews regarding a nice free campsite in Riggins, ID, we pull up at Shorts Bar campground and spend the night. The flies, heat and smoke were bad, but other than that, it was a great stop. Next stop, Stanley. This is where we meet some new great full timers.......EVERLONG JOURNEY!!!!!!!!!
The aroma of Tacoma comes true, at least in our camper. We started to notice a sulfur smell during morning showers. Turns out filling up with non-chlorinated water from campsites can cause bacteria to start growing in the water heater and/or freshwater tank. So here's a video with a quick run down of how i fixed it.
1. 1 1/4 cup of liquid bleach
2. Mix with a galloon or so of fresh water.
3. Poor in freshwater4 tank
4. Run all taps hot and cold to get the treated water through all the pipes and water heater
5. Let sit for at least 24 hours
7. Refill with fresh potable water.
8 Run taps and hot water to flush remaining chlorine out of system.
Otherwise, we had a great time visiting family in Tacoma. My sister took us down to the waterfront area for some coffee and people watching. Next stop is Pasco, WA. Hopefully our storage garage is not empty.
After crossing the Canadian border, we head to Winthrop, WA. We found this great, free camping site, the only problem....... "Gerry".
So, we were justing finishing dinner and an old truck pulls up. It's pulling a beat up trailer loaded to the brim with junk. At first, I think it's a ranger or something, but as soon as I approach the vehicle, I realize it's an entirely different situation. "Gerry", starts asking about the camping area and if it's safe. He then proceeds to tell me he has a gun, his dog is unsafe off the chain, asks if I have any drugs, shows me his malformed wrist from a nasty break, and how he fishes using electricity. The breaking point was when he got out of his truck to show me how he fought some Mexicans in Spokane. As if in slow motion, Gerry slowly gets out, and towers over me at 6 feet 6 inches.
Although he probably meant no harm and was just odd and lonely, I envisioned myself rolling around on the dirt fighting for my life with my family a few feet away. So I rudely interrupted Gerry in the middle of his demonstration of him pile driving a poor Hispanic man and told him I had to go and it was nice to meet him.
We decided to pack up and find a new spot. I was in such a rush, I drove over our leveling blocks! Watch the video for more.
Thanks Canada! We had a great time. We are already discussing plans for trying out the East side next year. From Prince George, we head to the birthplace of our camper. As you might remember, we lost a window on our way to see friends in Virginia MN. We took a quick look at the factory, drop 600 Canadian for a window, and head South for the border. Kelowna, BC was quite the happening town, lots of money, lots of development.
After the diesel spill delay, we had some kilometers to make up. We made a beeline to Dease Lake and just pulled over on the side of the road and set up camp. Next stop was Smithers where we experienced a flat tire on the driver rear dually. Nice thing about a dually, he can drive a tiny bit with a rear flat with not much trouble. The tire shop had any size tire i wanted, as long as it was a Hankook. Onward to Prince George. Wild fires everywhere!
A solid 5 minutes into driving the next morning led us to a major diesel spill. Apparently, a tanker truck driver had fallen asleep at the wheel and crashed his rig. This occurred at 7 pm the day before while we were waterfall hunting. The DOT did not close the road till the following a.m. We were stuck on Hwy One for about 7 hours before they gave us the go ahead.
After our awesome trek to the Arctic Circle and beyond, it' time to make our way back through Canada. We stop by North Pole, AK , home of Santa's Home and merchandising arm. Next, we stop at the end of the Alaskan/Canadian Highway in Delta Junction. Fill tanks, clean the Tortuga and head south.
Behold, the end/beginning of the Pan-American Highway! Home to about 2k residents all which probably work at the Prudhoe Bay oil field. The Arctic Ocean is not accessible without first obtaining security clearance and paying a service company to bring you out to actually see it.
The airport, lodging, and general store are located at Deadhorse; the rigs and processing facilities are located on scattered gravel pads laid atop the tundra. It is only during winter that the surface is hard enough to support heavy equipment, and new construction happens at that time. (Thank you Wikipedia)
We stayed one night. The mosquitos were ferocious! (and I'm from Minnesota). You kinda feel like your on Mars with the modular buildings and scarcity of human life. Glad we did it. Glad to leave.
We made it to the Arctic Circle. Can you believe it? After much planning and preparation, we headed north on the Dalton Highway. It was mostly an uneventful trip. We heard many stories about headlight, windshield, and tire damage. The only damage we sustained was a chipped fog light lens..phew.
Here are a couple of tips we can give you for driving the Dalton:
1. Drive slow
2. Have better than 50% tread on your tires.
3. CB radio is recommended
4. 4x4 with decent clearance recommended
5. Use someone else's vehicle
6. Stay away from Ray!!!!!
Forgive me if I sound like a snob, but I was a little underwhelmed with Denali. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice park, but I may have set my expectations a bit high. Also realize we did not go backpacking, see the summit due to weather, or see a grizzly. Just the same, it was a nice stop and seeing the sled dog camp was very cool. We camped outside the park a few miles to save a few bucks and then we were off again to see the Arctic Ocean.
On a side note, we met a great family who was having RV electrical troubles. We tried to help the best we could. That would not be the last time we run into each other, stay tuned........
Before we make it Denali, we had a one-day layover in a cute little town called Talkeetna. Junior got a junior ranger badge at the park station and we watched an informative video about climbing Mt. Denali. After some coffee and walking around town for the day, we found a pull off to park overnight just north of the public library. It was a great little stop.
From our sweet beach boondocking site at Whiskey Gulch, we headed into Homer,AK. I was not expecting much after the Seward debacle but I was most pleasantly suprised. Homer is residence to a very nice National Ocean visitors center that we highly recommend. They also have the "Spit", which is the most westward road in North America. The Spit is lined with shops, RV parks, etc. plus killer vistas. We stopped by a coffee shop, and then had dinner at Alice's. We only hung out in Homer for the day, but might head back from our home base of Sedahtna. To the town of Homer, thank you, you made our day.
Sorry Seward, not a fan. After boon docking at mile marker 31 near Moose Pass, we headed into Seward. Now I'm not sure who makes the street signs in town, but I bet he's rich. You can't swing a sewer hose without hitting a "NO RV". "NO CAMPING", or just plain "NO" sign.
Seward is also very expensive, so don't plan on eating out much. They don't miss an opportunity to take your money. One load of laundry? Ten bucks, if you have to ask how much to dry, you can't afford it. On a positive note, we did enjoy the whale watching tour. A parking lot cost 20 bucks a night, dump station $5, and penny candy is surprisingly expensive. We cut our stay short and headed to Homer, which I hear is much better, fingers crossed.
We found a great little town on our way to Seward. Hope,AK Down by the water is a small RV park that is completely briming with RVs, tents ⛺️, and vans on the weekend. There is a great stream next door where many of the campers fish for Pinkies. Live music at the bar/restaurant and plenty of free tailgating most of the night. Don't expect a quiet night, they don't need no stinking 11pm quiet rules
We stayed two nights, ate out once. Took plenty of walks down to the water, Saw a seal, eagle and about 12 unleashed dogs roaming the park. Glad we stayed.
Next stop is a great little boon-docking spot on Upper Trail Lake, half way to Seward
Main St Hope,AK
Biked to a coffee ☕️ shop, love hippie baristas
We landed in Anchorage for two nights to get some much needed supplies since had to dump a bunch of food before crossing back into the U.S.
Cabelle's let us stay for two nights for free. We were walking distance to Starbucks and our first ever Smashburger . (meh).
Costco and Target were both less than a mile away and the local gas station (across from Fred Myers) had a free dump station.
Our next stop was the sking town of Girdwood.. Credit to Gone with the Wynns who recommended the site. Here in Girdwood we went biking, hiking, and toured the cute town. Overnight parking was 10 bucks, not bad. Enjoyed the stay, next stop is HOPE!!!!!!
We stayed in the preserve for a night. It's the biggest park in North America. One main road in, one out. We made it to mile marker 16 until we found a nice camp spot. The ranger gave us an audio tour Cd which we listened during the drive. Very cool camping. FYI brown bears and grizzlys are the same species.
This is what I thought Alaska would be like
Had a great time celebrating Canada's 150th birthday in Prince George. Next we headed to WhiteHorse and the Sign Forest in Watson Lake. Stopped by the Teslin Lake Interpretive Center which was very informative. Met a wonderful First Native who showed us how she tans moose hides, great stop!
Learning about tanning hide from a First Nation woman
We spend a day soaking in the Hot Springs of the Laird River and tour the famous Sign Post Forest. The hot springs were a wonderful relaxing stop, for ten dollars, it's worth the stop.
We spent the day celebrating Canada's 150th Birthday in Prince George. We have our first Tim Horton's experience!!!!!
After looking long and hard, we found a wonderful river to camp on, one night in a Walmart parking lot in Dawson Creek and we head out on the Alaskan Highway!