Our visit was cut short at Great Sand Dunes due to T-storms. We also got to moochdock from our new friends Everlong Journey. Afterward, we head back to our old stomping grounds in Gunnison, CO.
We really liked this little town. Had great parking on the main drag and no parking meters! (looking at you Durango). There are good boondocking sites 30 minutes out of town, but due to the rain, we stayed at the restaurant at the edge of town.
Pegosa is known for the awesome hot springs. You can pay some of the commercial sites for access or you can go down to the park and have a dip for free. There is a good sized farmers market on the weekends, and a great big recreation park in town as well. Good free dump stations near the Walmart and cheap laudry as well. Two thumbs up!
We made is to Mesa Verde. The cliff dwellings were super cool (Mrs. Landmarks). We had to camp overnight in the nearby Walmart. Tried to do some boondocking but damn near got stuck in the mud. After two nights in the Cortez area, we head to Durango. Not much footage of Durango. Boondocking is a bit tricky there. Couple nights behind a grocery store and one night at a Home Depot. The more touristy the town, the more RV savvy/anti-RV the locals become.
We found a boondocking spot that checks off most of our desires for an overnight. Five minutes from town, free dump and water in town, good cell service, and free. We enjoyed Gunnison, loved the bicycle/coffee shop in town. They also have a great bookstore and a small farmers market on the weekend. Next stop......Mesa Verde?
After surviving red neck Disney Land, we brave the Denver traffic and make it to Frisco, CO. We fell in love with this cute little town. Plenty of hiking, biking, bouldering, and coffee shops, what's not to love?
After a great stay in the Tetons, we have to bust a move to Colorado to meet up with my sister in Frisco. Landers was a cute little town with free city park camping. Thank you Landers! We rewarded their generosity with spending our money in town. Cheyenne, Wyoming is a different story. No Overnight Parking Ordinances made it difficult to find a free spot. Luckily there was a company called Sierra Trading Company that registered their parking lot as a campground to circumvent the ordinance. We spent no money in Cheyenne except for the Sierra Trading Company. Thanks, STC!
We spend two nights at the Grand Tetons. Using Campendium, two wonderful campgrounds ⛺️ are found. The weather was perfect, the nights were quiet and the views spectacular! Love love, love the Tetons.
Quick and great night in Swan Valley, ID. Short video below.....just so you know we’re alive.
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........