Friday, August 31, 2007

The Pulp Mill

This is my second attempt to write up today’s activities. My first attempt this morning was really a rant about the attitude of some campground owners who think all RV’ers should stay in RV parks every night. This business of boondocking is taking money out of their pockets! Rubbish. I had second thoughts about posting it so this will have to do.

Anyway, that discussion grew out of the fact that the internet was still not up at 9:30 this morning. Since it was not available I did some cleaning in the truck storage cabinets where dust and water had gotten in. Then we drove into town for our tour of the pulp mill located here.

Wood pulp looks just like thick paper, but it is just the wood pulp itself. It is not a finished product. From here it is sold as a raw material to companies who make paper, tissue, dog food packages, etc. Wood pulp is a major industry here.

We had to put on safety gear including safety glasses, helmets, vests and we all had to carry an emergency breathing apparatus. Scary, huh?

Wood pulp is made from chips of wood. The chips are small, about ¼ inch thick and a couple inches across. They are a waste product from lumber and plywood mills. No trees are actually cut just for pulp anymore. There is zero waste from any tree that is harvested.

The chips arrive by truck and train from a 200 mile radius of Prince George. They back fully loaded semi’s into a lifting mechanism that lifts the front up in the air to about an 80 degree angle to dump the contents out the back. We could not get a photo of that but will try to get one before we leave here.

The chips then go into the digesters which are tall tanks with hot, caustic chemicals under pressure in them. This causes the chip to explode into pure fiber. The pulp is then run through cleaning and bleaching tanks, and then sprayed out onto huge, wide belts that run them through processes to remove the water and press the mat together. It is then run through a dryer where all the remaining moisture is cooked out, and then to a cutting, stacking and banding room.

The plant we were in runs 365 x 24 and produces 1,500 tons of wood pulp per day. That’s a lot. All the waste material that cannot be turned into pulp is sent to the “hog” pile and is used as the fuel for the steam generators that run the plant. Like I said – nothing is wasted. They even wash down any spills and run it back into their system.

All in all it was a fun tour. The only bad part was the smell. If you want to see all the pictures, they are in the gallery under Southern British Columbia.

After the tour we did our shopping at WalMart and then came home to find that the internet service appeared to be working. Appeared to be working because when I tried to sign up for it their software crashed. After a call to tech support I finally got on. It is a pretty good connection, but not the best I have ever seen. According to their literature only one computer can be connected at a time, but we are both using it and it seems to be working OK.

So, we are set for a while. Tomorrow we may visit a museum or something. Who knows.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Prince George

At was another day on the road with only a stop for lunch to break up the day. We are truly back in civilization where one small town looks like another and farms and cattle dot the landscape. The terrain is mostly rolling hills with many lakes and rivers.

We arrived in Prince George, BC about 3 PM after traveling about 200 miles. It is a major city with a population of about 160,000 in the city and surrounding area. They have everything modern life could need. We decided to stop for a week and do some cleaning and resting from all the travels. We need to let expenses catch up with travel. It only costs us $20-$30 a day to sit somewhere, but it costs about $50 for every 100 miles we travel. Obviously, it costs less to stay put than to move. We need to do some shopping and I will need to purchase about 50 gallons of fuel in order to make it all the way back to the US without adding more. Diesel as well as gas is very expensive up here so I don’t want to buy more than I need.

We looked in our camping guides and selected Southpark RV Park. The ads said they had long, wide sites and internet. Our camping club book said they offered a 25% discount for members. They informed me that that was a misprint and the discount was only 15%, which made it the most expensive park in town. It is not cheap, but it looked like a quality place. I asked about the internet service, figuring that if it was of good quality the extra cost would be worth it. First they surprised me by saying it was run by an independent company and it cost $6 per day or $20 per month. I don’t know the weekly rate yet. But, they assured me it was very high speed and the connectivity was excellent everywhere in the park. Given those assurances I decided to stay, even though it was much a more expensive place than we normally stay, and paid them rent for a week.

Immediately it was obvious things were not as advertised when we discovered the sites were indeed long enough, but they are so narrow that our slide outs touch the tree branches on both sides. In addition, they have things positioned at the corners so it was a challenge getting turned into the site and will be a major challenge getting out. Then, when I tried to sign up for a week’s internet it was not working. It is now 7 PM and it is still not working. I also realized that it is probably going to cost me twice as much as I initially thought because I will probably not be able to use both computers on one account. Why do campgrounds do this? It does not cost that much to properly equip a place for wireless internet and then to charge for it on top of the campground rent is really out of line. And then, when it does not even work….. You can tell I am not a happy camper right now.

Anyway, we may not post everyday for a while. We may take a couple tours and see some sights around the area so if we find anything worth talking about we will post it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Good bye Alaska

We awoke to rain again this morning. It was not just a drizzle – it was a heavy rain, with low clouds in the fjord and no sign of any let up. We had seen all we wanted to see of Hyder and hoped that the weather was better inland, so we packed up in the rain. That is not a lot of fun but I had my motorcycle rain gear so out I went. Dianna got the inside ready and I waded through the lake in the parking lot to get the truck hooked up. Yuck.

After negotiating the muddy, pot holed road the mile to the border we stopped at Canadian customs. This surely seems strange to me. There is no stop required when driving into Hyder. In fact, there are no US border patrol or Immigration people there. But when you drive out of Hyder into Canada you are stopped and have to show passports and answer the questions about where you are going and if you have guns, mace, alcohol or tobacco. There is no way to get to Hyder except through Stewart, and no way out but the way you came in. Where do they thing we have been?

With that we left Alaska for the last time. The road up through the valley was even more spectacular than when we came down because all the streams and waterfalls were flowing with more force from all the rain. The clouds and fog kept us from seeing the tops of the mountains, but what we could see was worth looking at.

We kept the speed down to 45 until we reached Mediazian Junction where we picked up the Cassiar again. The rain did let up some and by afternoon we had periods of sunshine, although you would still call it a rainy day.

It was a good day for viewing wildlife also. On the way we saw a total of three black bears and one fox alongside the road, but none of them were interested in posing for a photograph.

After a lunch break in a muddy rest area we stopped in the little native village of Gatanyow to look at some totem poles. They sure were tall and very interesting.

After crossing the Skeena River we drove into the town of Smithers, BC. It was the first town that actually looked like a town since we left Fairbanks. I’m not sure why, but Whitehorse still looks like a frontier town, even though it is a good sized place. Smithers could be any small town in the USA, or Canada for that matter. It has chain stores, parks, traffic lights and other trappings of modern life. We also began to see farms again, with cattle grazing in the fields and tractors putting up hay for the winter.

We stopped at Tyhee Lake Provincial Park for the night. We drove through the campground to find a spot but found nothing we could get into with our big rig. The sites were long enough, but the road was too narrow to make the turn backing into them. I spotted the campground host and stopped to ask for a suggestion. He told us we could camp in the day use area for the night, so that’s where we are. It’s not much of a campsite, but the park itself is gorgeous. BC sure knows how to build beautiful campgrounds, even if they are sometimes too small for us.

Dianna here now.

I realized, after leaving Hyder, that despite the horribly rough and sometimes nerve shattering roads, the unending days of rain, clouds and fog, and the hordes of biting insects I will miss this remarkable country. I will miss the vast mountain vistas, the unbelievably beautiful glaciers, the rough and wild and the placid and meandering rivers, the thundering waterfalls, the gorgeous wildflowers, the changing seasons, the fascinating wildlife – mammals, birds and fish alike, and the rugged people who live here – people who appreciate what they have and, by and large, live much simpler lives than any of us would or could. We will miss the endless experiences; walking on, cruising by or flying over and landing on glaciers, watching clammers in Ninilchik, fishing for halibut in Homer, actually seeing Denali, driving across the North Slope and swimming in the Arctic Ocean, watching the wildlife and just looking at mile after mile of the most gorgeous scenery in the world. It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime trip and one we will remember forever. Farewell, Alaska.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Salmon Glacier

When we have internet access after a few days without it, we take much longer to get going in the morning. Today was no exception since we did not leave the house until after noon. First we drove over to Stewart to purchase propane and a few groceries. I paid the most I have ever paid for propane. It cost $40 to fill a bottle that I pay $20 to have filled in Texas or Arizona. Groceries were out of sight too, so we only bought what we could not do without.

Then we took a drive up the road past Fish Creek where we watched the bears last night. The road follows the Salmon River and returns to Canada a few miles up, and then climbs the side of a mountain above the Salmon Glacier. The views were spectacular and we enjoyed the trip very much.

On the way back we stopped at the bear viewing area again and watched two more grizzlies having dinner. While there we also saw three bald eagles including a couple juveniles. As we were leaving we came upon a grizzly on the road who made us stop and wait for him to cross. He walked back past the truck so close I could have touched him if I had rolled my window down. No way was I going to do that! Sorry about the picture. It was raining and this was shot through a wet windshield.

Hyder is an interesting place. It has the nickname of “The Friendliest Ghost Town In Alaska.” I’m not sure where that comes from, but it really is a depressing place. With a few exceptions, the buildings are in terrible shape and the place is a mess. Stewart, BC is a rather drab town as well, but it is a real place with business going on.

And then there is the road. When you cross the border into Hyder the pavement ends. The road is not gravel but just dirt. And I really do not think it is proper to call it a road. It is merely a collection of potholes from end to end. The road goes through Hyder and up the Salmon River Valley, past Fish Creek and then up the mountain above Salmon Glacier. On the way up the mountain the road crosses the border into Canada again and immediately the road is graded gravel. It is a fairly decent mountain road, about like the road we took to Eagle. But the entire road in the US is unquestionably the worst we have seen in all our travels this summer.

By the way, all the pictures we have taken on our trip are on our photo gallery, including those taken today.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hyder, Alaska

We are not at Lake Kinaskan any longer – we are back in Alaska again! We are in the tiny town of Hyder which is located about as far south in Alaska as you can get. It is next to the town of Stewart, British Columbia.

We had a small shower during the night and awoke to a band of low clouds over the lake, but directly overhead we could see patches of blue. It was going to work out after all. We got on the road early for us at 10 AM and the road improved dramatically from what we had been experiencing. I was able to drive 45 to 50 most of the time. In some sections the pavement was new this year and it was so smooth. We did pass through a couple minor showers but for the most part the sun was shining and the white clouds stayed over the mountains.

If you look carefully at this photo of Lake Kinaskan I took this morning you can see the snow on the mountains just where the clouds are lifting. I wish we could have seen them without the clouds.

By the time we reached the junction where we turned off the main route toward Stewart we felt like we were back in civilization. The highway actually had yellow stripes down the center, with dotted lines to show you where you could pass. It even had white lines along the sides showing you where the edge of the road was. Amazing!

The road through the coastal mountains was like our other trips up north. Some of the most beautiful scenery has been in these locations because of the steepness of the mountains and the heavy snow fall they receive. It makes for spectacular waterfalls and many glaciers. We stopped to take a picture of Bear Glacier, just one of many we saw.

We soon entered the town of Stewart and drove through and across the border into Hyder, Alaska. There is no customs or immigration stop requited since you can’t go anywhere else. The pavement immediately ended. Welcome back to Alaska.

Hyder is a tiny place, population 83, that mostly exists because of Fish Creek. It is a place salmon return to spawn each year and is visited by many grizzly and black bears. The forest service has built a walkway for tourists to safely watch from. The bears are so fat from eating salmon, they could care less about people. We were told that the best time to view them is between 6 and 9 in the morning and 6 and 9 at night.

After dinner we drove up to the site, about three miles up a dirt road, and before we even got to the main viewing area we watched a big grizzly chasing fish in a small stream that flows into Fish Creek. A little while later we watched a momma grizzly bring her three cubs to Fish Creek and all of them had dinner. This was something we have seen in movies and nature shows, but we had never seen it in real life. It was a special treat.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lake Kinaskan, Day 3

It rained off and on all night and into the morning. By about 10 AM we could see that it was going to clear off soon, but the clouds still obscured all the mountains and there were still scattered rain showers so we decided to stay put for one more day. Since this may be the only time we ever go through this area it would be nice to actually see it.

By about noon it had started to clear off with even some patches of sunshine interspersed with showers. I took advantage of the opportunity to clean the windows and back end of the trailer with lake water. Now we can see out our windows again, and people behind us can see that we are not just a dirt covered box going down the road.

By 2 PM the sun was shining so we decided to drive down the highway about five miles where a trail leads to another lake and Cascade Falls. It sounded pretty so off we went. In the five miles from the campground to the trail head we drove through two showers and it was raining hard when we got there. Scratch that idea. We returned to our camp site. The sun was out and we could see snow on all the mountains surrounding us when the clouds lifted just a little. If it clears off tomorrow morning it should be beautiful.

We had more of our halibut for dinner. Afterwards we talked to the campground host about the falls we tried to go to this afternoon. She said it is good we did not try since it requires a boat to cross the lake to the trail on the other side. She agrees that it is not well marked and should be addressed. There is a trail from the end of our campground that goes along the lake side. She said it was OK for a while, but did not think we could get all the way to the river that flows out. She was right. It was a muddy mess that could better be called a path than a trail. Ok well, we got a little exercise.

Dianna figures we have now experienced all four seasons on our trip. She considers the snowfall last night and the below freezing temperatures to be winter, so as we head south we will probably get to experience fall all over again. We have seen the foliage changing at different rates as we have gone south. A trip like this really gives you a perspective on how plants and animals react to the changes in climate. By now on the North Slope it is not getting above freezing during the day and winter has already set in. All the animals everywhere are migrating south, as so are we.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Lake Kinaskan,Day 2

It rained all night and was still raining this morning when we got up. We took a vote and decided to stay put until the weather clears up some. There is no reason we have to be anywhere at any specific time, and driving these slippery, rough roads in wet and foggy conditions is not the safest thing to do. Besides, with all the low clouds we would not see any of the beautiful scenery around us.

Both of us often still feel the urge to keep moving on, which is a feeling that we understand from other retired full timers takes a year or two to overcome. When we were traveling on vacation or moving from one work location to another, we always had deadlines and time limits on when we needed to be somewhere. Early this summer when we had the grandkids with us, we had the same kind of time restraints since we had airline reservations and wanted to show the kids as much as we could in the time available. Now, we have no such constraints. But it still takes some doing to really get your head around the concept. It is harder for Dianna than for me, partly because she is not fond of the weather we have had up here. I am in my element, but she is a warm weather girl and wishes we were out of the cold and rain. I reminded her that just about everyone in the lower 48 would gladly trade places with us right now, sitting on a pristine lake, gentle rain falling, snug and warm in our RV and looking at a thermometer that reads 45 degrees at 11 AM.

Many retired full timers follow the 2-2-2 rule. That means they never travel more than 200 miles in one day, always stop by 2 PM and always stay for at least 2 days in each place. We are not at that point yet, but it is a goal and we are close. Maybe we need to modify the stopping by 2 PM rule since we often don’t get on the road until close to noon, but if we travel no more than four hours that should do it. So far our trip this summer has taken us just about 10,000 miles in 86 days. That averages only 116 miles per day.

One of the blogs I follow is Tioga George. The link to his site is in my links. He is a single full timer whose goal is to average no more than 30 miles per day. He does pretty close to that and still covers a lot of ground during the year. He usually winters in Baja California and spends his summers traveling to cooler country in the Rocky Mountain States. His blog is fun to follow.

It is now 9 PM and the rain has not stopped. It has rained for over 24 hours straight. We obviously did not do much today. We played computer games, worked on crafts and I cleaned out the receipt tray, a project that has needed doing for some time. I had to run the generator for a couple hours to replenish the electricity we have used since there is no sun for the solar panels. That is the first time in a couple weeks we have even started the generator. We did take a walk in the rain late this afternoon, with raincoats on, but that was the only time we were outside all day. The campground host said the rain is supposed to stop late tomorrow so we will be ready to move south when it does.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Lake Kinaskan, Day 1

It was such a pretty place that we felt in no hurry to get going this morning, so we did not leave the campground until about 11. By then all the rest of the campers were long gone.

The road did not improve much and we continued to drive about 30 to 40 MPH, slowing suddenly when we saw dips and frost heaves, or when we saw a sign warning of one. Unfortunately, those two do not always go together. We have found that all through our trip not all the signs should be where they are, and there are many places where more signs or flags should be located. It is really up to every driver to be vigilant. Many people on this highway are driving up to and beyond the 50 MPH speed limit. If I was driving a car or pickup I would be going much faster also, but I have no desire to tear up my trailer and our truck is not the smoothest riding rig on rough roads either.

We encountered a stretch of gravel road again and it was very rutted and potholed. It made us slow even more for that 20 miles or so. We then stopped in the town of Dease Lake to use the free wi-fi available at the college. We just had to sign a sign in sheet and then they gave us the public user ID and password. We checked our email but nothing else. I did not want to use their generosity to post blogs and upload pictures.

Another few miles down the road we came upon more construction. They are working on completing the paving of the entire Cassiar Highway and this was one of the short sections they were still missing. We had to wait for a pilot car to take us through, then we stopped for lunch at a pullout before continuing on again. A little later on we saw definite signs of buffalo on the road, but we never did see the herd. It was very wooded in the area so they could have been anywhere.

We finally stopped for the night at a British Columbia Provincial Park. It is a very pretty place right on Kinaskan Lake and we got a campsite backed up to the lake again. Unfortunately, the weather is not so nice tonight. In fact, it rained during the night last night and we encountered several showers today. It began raining here shortly after we got set up and looks like it will continue for quite a while. It is only about 50 degrees out, the clouds are low on the mountain sides, and there is fog forming on the lake. It’s a good night to hunker down and stay snug in our home on wheels.

We only traveled about 120 miles today, although we were on the road until about 4 PM. It is still about 175 miles to Hyder, AK where we plan to spend a couple days, so who knows if we will get there tomorrow or not.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Winter came overnight! At 3:30 AM I heard the furnace running and it was set to 62. I got up to set it lower so we would not burn too much propane overnight and saw that it was 35 outside. This morning when we got up the temperature was 32! It is definitely time to head south.

The day warmed quickly and turned out to be beautiful. We saw no reason to go into Watson Lake so we made the turn onto the Cassiar Highway as planned. The first thing you see is a sign telling you that there is no fuel for about 150 miles. Then the road deteriorates immediately and we drove at about 30 to 35 MPH. Although the road is paved, it is very primitive pavement. Most likely it is a chip seal type of paving where they just put down alternating layers of hot oil and gravel. There must not have been much road bed preparation because the road had terrible frost heaves and dips everywhere. It continued that way for about 75 miles until we reached Jade City.

About 75 percent of the worlds jade is mined here in the Cassiar Mountains of British Columbia. At Jade City there is a jade shop with more jade in it than you can count. Unfortunately, they are very proud of their jade and it is all priced accordingly. We looked but did not buy.

The road did improve after we left Jade City so we could drive about 45 MPH. We did see a couple mountain goats near the road but failed to get their picture. Down the road at the Dease River Crossing we found a rustic private campground. They only charged $15 per night and we felt the view alone was worth the cost.

We rented their pedal boat for an hour and pedaled all the way around the lake. We chased some small ducks who were very confused by us, and we stopped when we heard a waterfall. We could not see it from the lake but could hear it and see where the stream entered the lake. A short hike took us to a beautiful scene that very few people see.


We grilled pork chops for dinner and spent a quiet evening looking at the lake, reading, working on cross stitch and relaxing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

South from Whitehorse

Realizing that we would not be near a decent sized store for a couple of weeks, we made another trip to WalMart to buy some staples.

Next was a stop at the bank to get some cash from an ATM. I have discovered that MasterCard is charging 2.07 per transaction in addition to the exchange rate for my credit card use. That is not too bad on a decent sized purchase, like $400 in fuel, but horrible on a small purchase. I decided it was less expensive to get some cash and use it for the small stuff. The exchange rate right now is about 94 cents to one Canadian dollar. I had always heard that using a credit card was the best way to handle foreign cash transactions since you would get a decent exchange rate. Maybe the fee I am being charged is something I can get them to waive. I will try when we get phone service again.

We left Whitehorse about 12:30 and drove until around 4. We stopped in exactly the same place we parked when we were headed north on June 14. Tomorrow we will continue south and make the turnoff onto the Cassiar Highway just before we get to Watson Lake. We have been over this section of highway before, but it looks completely different from this direction.

What a difference two months makes. Heading north we saw snow capped mountains, beautiful waterfalls, abundant wildflowers and hordes of mosquitoes. Now there is almost no snow left on the mountains, the waterfalls have dried up and the foliage is changing color so you can tell that fall is coming fast in the North Country. In place of the mosquitoes are tiny Black Flies. They can entirely encapsulate a weak animal in order to kill it and get into every open orifice on the human body if you happen to be where they are swarming. Fortunately that’s not everywhere though we have experienced them.

We had tentatively planned to stop earlier at a well known restaurant and free RV park back up the road called Mukluk Annie’s, but they were closed for the season already. I know that sounds strange to all of you roasting your tushies off in the lower 48, but winter’s a comin’. You better get your heavy coats ready!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Five Finger Rapids

Shortly after leaving our campsite this morning we stopped at Five Finger Rapids. It is an area on the Yukon River where there are four huge pillars of rock standing in the river forming five channels. The local Indians named it. Early paddle wheelers had a real challenge getting up by these rapids and navigating the channel. They even attached cables and used them to winch themselves through.

We took the one mile hike to the observation platform above the rapids. It was good exercise for so early in the day.

Our next stop was at a place our Guidepost told us about where you can buy huge cinnamon buns. We bought one which we had ¼ of for desert after lunch, and the rest will probably disappear tomorrow sometime. It is huge, about the size of a pie only 3 inches high, and very good.

We arrived in Whitehorse late in the afternoon, did some shopping at WalMart and checked into the Pioneer RV Park where we stayed on our way up. We now have to retrace our route down to Watson Lake where we will take the Cassiar Highway instead of the Alaska Highway on the way south.

One of the reasons for stopping at WalMart was to try to fill a prescription. When I got my annual prescription for my thyroid medication late last year my Dr. wrote it for 90 tablets with three refills. WalMart pharmacy misread it and set it up for only two refills. I noticed it right away and had my Dr. call them to correct it. He did, but they didn’t which I did not find out until I tried to refill it in California. So, I was three months short of my years supply. I knew I would run out so had my Dr. send me another prescription. I received it in Tok but learned there was no pharmacy there. I figured I would get it filled in Whitehorse, but when I took it in today they told me they cannot fill a prescription written by a US Dr. The way the internet pharmacies do it is they have a Canadian Dr. sign off on all prescriptions they get.

Anyway, the long and short of it is I will run out of my medication in a few days, so I will once again have a medical excuse for being fat, lazy and stupid – at least until I get back to the US and can get the prescription refilled.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Toward Whitehorse

Today was a travel day and not much more. We continued our journey toward Whitehorse after leaving our campsite about 11 AM. The road was paved but there were some frost heaves so we took it fairly slow. Then we hit a stretch where they had recently chip sealed the surface so there were small rocks up to ¾ inch in diameter all over the road. There is no way to stop them from being thrown everywhere and many vehicles do not slow down when meeting other vehicles. I always do, but we had lots of rocks thrown our way. Fortunately none of them hit the windshield or headlights hard enough to break anything.

The other bad thing about rocks is that the rear tires pick them up and throw them at the front of the trailer, even though my mud flaps come within an inch of the road. This is making a mess of the front of the trailer. When we get back to the lower 48 we will have to have it repaired in some way. I am toying with the idea of having it coated with Line‑X or a similar product. That is a spray on material like the coating on my truck bed and what many people have sprayed in their pickups to line them. It comes in many colors and is almost indestructible. Some people are even using it to replace their rubber roofs on RV’s.

This road is not like most roads we have been on in the north country. We sometimes went many miles with no place to pull off the road. It took almost an hour to find a decent place to stop for lunch and when we were ready to stop for the day the only good place we could find was a Yukon park. It is similar to a forest service campground which means we have to pay $12 for nothing but a place to park. And, it is right next to the road so it is not any less noisy than the pullout we were in last night. At least there is not much traffic.

It has rained off and on all day so it is kind of gloomy. Looks like the only summer we will see was the really warm day in Dawson City. We should be in Whitehorse tomorrow.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dredge No. 4

We packed up and left the RV park about noon, headed up a road along side Bonanza Creek toward a gold dredge. Bonanza Creek flows into the Klondike River. Dredge No. 4 is now a historic site and run by the Canadian Parks System. We took an hour and a half tour with a very knowledgeable guide who explained all about dredges.

They were brought into the area in the early1900’s, shortly after gold was discovered in the area. All the gold around Dawson is the gold dust or gold flake kind. There are very few nuggets. The only way to get the gold out is to dig up the dirt and use a gold pan or a sluice box. All the individual miners do their mining with pick and shovel, but some major companies got into it in a big way. They built huge machines that were capable of excavating a whole river valley down to 60 feet deep, and processing the gold dust out of it.

Although the dredge was run by only four men it took over 100 men working in the surrounding area to keep the water flowing into it and preparing land for the dredge to work in. They were run by electricity that was generated many miles away in hydroelectric plants on the McKenzie River. It was these dredges that drove the industrial development of the area since they needed electricity to run and were very sophisticated pieces of industrial equipment for the time.

The dredge we toured was first used in 1913 and worked until 1959 and extracted $9 million in gold over its lifetime. Of course, that was at from $20 to $35 per ounce. Today the price of gold is about $650 per ounce so they would probably be profitable again. There is a lot of mining going on in the area, but it is now all done with front end loaders and backhoes. No one seems to be getting rich, but they make a living.

Dredge No. 4 was built in Ohio and took three months to ship to Dawson City. Some of it came by train but the big parts were shipped to the Bering Sea and up the Yukon River on a barge.  Rather than put pictures here we have posted them all in our gallery on the Klondike Loop album.

We had thought about going to the museum in Dawson City today, but decided we had seen enough in the past couple days so we stopped at the grocery store and then headed out toward Whitehorse. We passed the turn off to the Dempster Highway where Mom and Dad made their sojourn above the Arctic Circle, and stopped at a pull out about 30 miles from Dawson City for the night.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dawson City, Yukon

We had a fun day exploring Dawson City. In fact, we had so much fun we may do it again tomorrow. Dawson City was started in 1898 when gold was discovered here in the Klondike. By 1902 it was a major city with all the refinements of civilized living. Many of the original buildings still stand and are in use. Of course, most of them are being used as tourist traps, restaurants or hotels, but that is probably not far from how they were used originally. In addition to the regular stores, they were having a local crafts fair so we spent some time looking at their wares as well.

We stopped by the cabin the famous Klondike poet, Robert Service, lived in as well as the home of Jack London.

We then rode the scooter up Dome Road. It leads to a peak right above Dawson City where you have spectacular views of the city, the river and the road we came in on yesterday. While we were there we watched two hang gliders take off and glide down toward the city. They were using a flexible, wide wing instead of the old style metal framed hang gliders. It looked like a lot of fun.

This evening we went back into to town for dinner (burgers) and to watch the show at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Dance Hall and Saloon. It is an authentic building that is still in use today. They have a casino with slot machines and table games as well as a dance hall show they put on three times a night. It was a lot of fun.

Tomorrow we may stay and visit the museum and a historic gold dredge located a few miles out of town. No sense in rushing off when we have no place to go.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Yukon Again

We returned to Canada today. We left our mountain top campsite and continued on to the border which was located about 10 miles down the road. The road conditions were still poor, but we drove mostly along the tops of the mountains instead of up and down the canyons. The weather was gorgeous as there was not a cloud in the sky. After crossing the border the road improved significantly as most of it was paved. All of it was much wider than what we had been on in the US. Although most of the road in Canada is paved, there are sections that are under construction and are now dirt or pea gravel. The dust from them was really bad and Dianna had to clean the inside of the trailer and I had plenty to clean outside. The worst is the gravel that bounces everywhere, including into the slide mechanism for the propane tanks. I can see it bouncing everywhere as we drive along, so I slow way down to a crawl whenever we meet another vehicle.

We continued for about 70 miles on the tops of the mountains on our way to Dawson City, Yukon. The road is known as “The Top of the World Highway” and it is easy to see why. The views were just like we had enjoyed the past two days.

We finally descended about the last 5 miles to the Yukon River across from Dawson City. There is no bridge, but the Yukon runs a free ferry. We only had to wait for one round trip ahead of us before they put us on. The trip across only takes about 5 minutes which is much less than the time it takes to unload and load.

We decided to stay here for a couple nights. We checked into an RV park with full hookups and internet so we could catch up on things. We had not filled or dumped our tanks for six days, and we also need to do laundry again.

This weekend is Discovery Days in Dawson City. We’re not sure what that means but we will let you know tomorrow. We plan to unload the scooter and take it into town (we are a couple miles south) since it is a very touristy town and has lots of old buildings and narrow streets with no place to park.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Eagle, AK

We were both up before 6:30 this morning. No good reason either of us could think of, but it gave us an opportunity to leave for Eagle at a decent hour. The road from Chicken was rustic, but the road from here to Eagle was probably the most primitive and “scary” 63 mile road we have ever been on. It is one lane most of the way with blind corners and steep climbs alongside huge drop offs. There was not a guardrail to be seen. But what beauty! It was some of the prettiest country we have seen that was not snow covered.

The road hugs the tops of the mountains for part of the way and it is easy to see why they call the road to Dawson from Chicken “The Top of the World Highway.” You can see forever in 360 degrees. Then the road drops down into a canyon and runs along tumbling streams and rivers. I wish I could have seen more. I was too busy watching the road and spinning the steering wheel. About the only time I had to really look around was when we were stopped both going and coming while we waited for a pilot truck to take us through about 20 miles of construction. We tried many times to take pictures but nothing did it justice. We just could not capture the scale and grandeur of the place. You had to experience it.

Eagle is about as close to a turn of the century Alaskan town as you can get. It is still a thriving place with about 200 residents. Some of them work for the Park Service which has an office there for the Yukon-Charlie National Preserve, and some make their living from the tourist trade. It is on the banks of the Yukon River and people on tour come up river on a boat to meet tour buses that have brought other tourists. Then they trade.

The photo below on the top is upriver from in the town. The photo on the bottom is downriver toward Eagle where I took the other photo.

The photo on the top below is the District Court House, now a museum. On the bottom is the "airport". You can barely see a Piper Cub with big flotation tires in the trees to the left.

I talked to the young lady, Starla, who was the “flagger” at the construction stop. We waited about 45 minutes each way so we had time. She was born and raised in Eagle and only left last year to go to college in Juneau. She said the community is just like a big family. Everyone knows everyone and everyone’s business. The road closes in mid September and does not open again until early May so the only way in or out all winter is by bush plane, snowmobile or dog sled. But, they are connected. They have phones and internet so they have good access to the outside world. In the summer they get supplies easily on the river, but almost nothing comes in during the winter. The Yukon freezes solid in November and does not break up until April.

During the course of the conversation with Starla I found out how much she earns being a flagger. She works 12 hours a day, 6 days week and earns 26.40 per hour, not counting overtime after 40 hours. Not bad for standing/sitting in a beautiful wilderness and talking to people in the only 15 or so cars and busses that make the trip each day.

We toured the town, the courthouse and museum, and then toured the old Fort Egbert that was built in 1899 and abandoned in 1911. Alaska was a pretty rough place back then. Civil codes and laws were not even adopted until 1900 and before that it was just frontier justice.

It was a long day, but very enjoyable. Eagle is a pretty unique place. The weather was beautiful all day, sunny and warm, and this evening we read and marveled at the view from our solitary mountain top campsite. We are about 100 yards off the road and only a couple cars have gone by all evening. What a beautiful place.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Halfway to Eagle

It rained again during the night and we awoke to low clouds, fog and more rain. I checked the weather report and it sounded like it might clear up so we kept up hope. While I was sitting at the table eating breakfast about 8:30 I saw a female moose trot right in front of the truck and across the RV park to the meadow beyond. That was the closest encounter with a moose so far. If I had been outside I would have been concerned.

Sometime later, about 10 AM or so, an ambulance went by with his siren blaring. We wondered where he was going.

By about 11 it looked like it would be fine for travel so we got hitched up and left the campground at a few minutes past noon. I wanted to wait for the road to dry out since I am not a fan of mud. We had plenty of that on the Dalton Highway and I did not want to clean the trailer as well as the truck.

The dirt road had started just 2 miles before we got to Chicken and the Milepost guide, as well as everyone we had talked to, warned us about the hairpin turns, steep grades and narrow road. They were not kidding. Although the Dalton Highway was also dirt it was pretty well taken care of in most places and the turns were reasonable for larger vehicles. This road looks more like a Forrest Service logging road and the turns are very tight with no guardrails and very steep drop offs. I drove most of the time at no more than 25 MPH.

About 20 miles up the road, at a place the Milepost warned was particularly bad, we found out where the ambulances had gone to. In fact, just 5 miles earlier we had met not one, but three of them coming back toward Chicken. A motorhome with a car in tow had cut a right hand hairpin turn too close and gone over the cliff. It was down about 50 feet, upright but it had obviously rolled, and the still attached towed vehicle was upside down. It did not come apart, but I am sure both vehicles were totaled. I don’t know how they will get it out of there, nor do I know if anyone was hurt, but the ambulances were not running sirens or going fast coming back. Of course, a helicopter could have flown in without our knowing.

This is not a road for inexperienced drivers, which unfortunately many motorhome drivers are. I had no difficulty at all and would have enjoyed the drive if not for having to dodge pot holes and avoiding rocks and the muddy spots. Dianna was, as usual, petrified.

We arrived at the turn off to Eagle about 2:30. That was over two hours to go 30 miles. There is a large pull out just a couple hundred yards up the road so we found a level place to park for the night. We are on top of a mountain with fantastic views in all directions.

These two pictures do not do the scenery justice. They were taken from the same spot only 180 degrees from each other. Every other direction looks at the same view over distant mountains.

The weather forecast is for clear skies for the next three days so we will drive the truck to Eagle and back tomorrow. It is 70 miles each way, but with these roads it is probably a two to three hour trip going and coming. Most likely we will just stay here again tomorrow night.

We had baked potatoes to go with our halibut for dinner. I finished a book and Dianna worked on logic puzzles and cross stitch. It was a pleasant evening.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Historic Chicken

Today we woke to partly cloudy skies – but no rain. At the gift shop here we read about tours of historic Chicken they were offering at 9am & 2pm. We were up & around so went on the 9am one.

It was a walking tour and very interesting. We saw about 17 buildings of the 26 still around from when Chicken was a gold mining town. We saw a barn, machine shop, roadhouse, mining company storage shed, the head man’s home and office and Tisha’s schoolhouse, home and storage area. It had originally been built as a two story saloon and hotel but there was a fire and when it was repaired it was turned into a single story schoolhouse. As it had been a saloon it was larger than most one room schoolhouses.

We haven’t read the book, Tisha, but when we do it will be memorable as we’ve seen a lot of the buildings she talked about in her book. It is her story of being a school teacher in Alaska beginning here in 1928. Mom has read it and remembers it fondly. We’ve been told that she moved to Eagle to teach for awhile and then came back to Chicken, married and adopted 10 children. Most have stayed in the state and one of her great grandchildren was in to visit at the store here a week or so ago.

The town is run on generators, uses wells and has only outhouses. It’s been fascinating seeing Alaska as it was not even 50 years ago. One of the buildings we saw was used as little as 10 years ago as a dormitory for seasonal workers for one of the other three businesses. They are all in disrepair and the floors are very uneven as the buildings are all sinking into the permafrost. I know I wouldn’t want to have stayed there!

We had a downpour this afternoon but it has cleared up nicely. After it had dried out for awhile we took a walk up to the post office – built in 1903.

You can see all the pictures in our gallery with descriptions included.

We will head out in the morning for Eagle. We’ll leave the trailer at a pull-out while we make our way up the hill. The young man who took us on our tour told us there’s a very interesting old fort there that has been refurbished as well as other historic places so we know we will enjoy ourselves.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Tok to Chicken

This morning I drove the truck back into Tok to check on the mail. It did not come on Saturday but the postmistress said to check back after 1 PM when today’s mail came in. So I filled the truck with the last of the inexpensive diesel fuel we will see for a while and returned to our camp. After lunch I made a trip in on the scooter and our mail was there! So, we are off.

We hooked up and headed up the Taylor Highway toward Dawson City, Yukon. The paved road ended after 64 miles and the metropolis of Chicken, Alaska was only two miles further. During the summer the population of Chicken is 21 and the winter population is 6. But, they do have two RV parks including one where a coupon in our Toursavers book let’s us stay for two nights for $10. Of course, that does not include any hookups, and it costs an extra $15 if we want to dump our tanks. The appealing part however, is that they have wireless internet available, so we decided to stay for a night or two. We have plenty of water and space in our holding tanks, and we make our own electricity, so we are set.

Tomorrow we will look around and take some pictures of the historic buildings and the gold dredge located here. That should be interesting. Chicken is an old gold mining town that got its name when the local residents couldn’t spell ptarmigan. I don’t blame them. I couldn’t spell it either without a spell checker.

We are not sure how long we will stay here. There is 41 miles of dirt road between here and the Canadian border where pavement begins and I don’t want to pull the trailer through mud if I can help it. So, when we leave depends a lot on the weather. Tonight there are dark clouds all around so we will see.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tok - Day 3

The day started with high thin clouds but it cleared off nicely in the afternoon so we decided to take a ride on the scooter. First we rode back into Tok where we had wireless access so we could post the blog entry from yesterday and also check our email. It is nice to see that some people other than family are also reading about our journey. I posted our blog address on one of the RV forums I participate in and invited anyone who was interested to follow along.

After the computer work was done we rode toward Valdez on the Tok Cut off highway. It is the best road we have seen in all of Alaska. We rode about 20 miles and came to a State Park Campground at Clearwater Creek and decided to check it out.

The campground had a one mile nature trail and another two mile trail to a lookout point. We decided to take the nature trail and it was excellent. The trail was well marked and the explanatory signs were very informative. We thoroughly enjoyed the hike.

The campground was like most of the State Park Campgrounds we have seen in Alaska. The facilities were new and very well maintained, the camping spots were too small for anything except tents or small RV’s, and there was absolutely no one there. We have seen a few campgrounds where they have added large pull through spots for bigger RV’s, but when they do they place them in an open field and line them up side by side. Nothing like the camping experience you would have in the other spots.

But, the interesting thing we have noticed is the lack of use of the campgrounds. This is a phenomenon we have seen everywhere we have been in Alaska. The state has built many beautiful campgrounds, but they insist on charging at least $15 a night for using them. While they are often in very pretty locations, the only facilities they provide are pit toilets, a picnic table and a fire pit. There are no facilities for RV’s at all. No electric, water faucet (most have well pumps), and no dump stations. For most people, us included, $15 a night for just a place to park does not make sense. We have found nice commercial campgrounds with full hookups for as little as $20 a night. So for us, and for most people, it makes more sense to stay for free in one of the thousands of pull outs along the highway the state also provides. For example, the pull out we are in tonight has five other rigs besides ours here, and we are well spread out with plenty of room for everyone.

If I was a consultant to the Alaska State Parks system I would encourage them to lower the price of their campgrounds, especially in remote, unused areas so they would get more use. It seems a shame for such nice places to just deteriorate due to lack of use. We often see fees of $5 to $10 for such facilities in other locations including in the Yukon on the way up here. I guess Alaska thinks they need to charge a lot just because everything is expensive here. But this is one of those situations where they have priced themselves out of the game due to the abundant availability of less expensive options. The other thing I would encourage them to do is to remodel the campgrounds for primarily RV use. Tent campers can always use a spot designed for an RV, but not vice versa. There are very few people who tent camp, and we often see those that do camped in the pull outs as well. They are even less inclined to pay $15 a night for a place to pitch a tent.

End of editorial.

On the ride back to our rig we stopped in Tok again so Dianna could try to call Darin and her folks. Neither of them answered their phones so after an ice cream bar at the market, we continued on to our site below the Tanana River where we spent an uneventful evening reading and working on crafts.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Tok - Day 2

We puttered around and finished another load of laundry before leaving the campground at noon. We did not go far. About 12 miles south of Tok is the Tanana River crossing. Just south is a very large two ended pull out that goes behind a small hill. We have made camp here for a couple nights while we wait for our mail.

During the afternoon I unloaded the scooter and made a trip into Tok to buy oil for the generator. It was down a quart and I had forgotten to buy it while we were in Fairbanks earlier. The scooter was fine, despite all the mud it had received. There was still some mud in hidden places but I got most of it with a bucket and rag.

We have not used the scooter nearly as much as I would have liked. When we are in a place only over night it is somewhat of a hassle to unload for such a short time, and when we have been in places longer the weather has been too cold or rainy to enjoy it. If tomorrow is as nice as today was, we may take a ride somewhere.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Tok - Day 1

As promised, we motored on down to Tok today. We arrived shortly after noon and checked into the Sourdough Campground for the night. Dianna began doing laundry and is still doing it as I write this a little after 9 PM. I think this is the 7th load.

We just got back from the “show” here at the campground. They have a singing group who were not bad, and a comedy act that includes throwing pancakes into a bucket for a free breakfast. It was a hoot. We also had pie and coffee along with a couple roasted marshmallows.

I checked on our U.S. mail this afternoon and it was not here yet. I really did not expect it to be, so we will be here until at least Monday since the post office is not open on Saturday or Sunday. We will not stay here in the campground but will find a place where it does not cost anything and the nearest neighbor is a lot farther away. That will also mean less access to internet so postings may become more sporadic again.

One thing I am expecting in the mail is a new prescription for my thyroid medication. I asked at the visitor center where the nearest pharmacy is, and they said Fairbanks. That’s 220 miles the wrong way. Guess I will have to wait until we get to Whitehorse, YT again. Fortunately, I have enough to get me through. Just consider that this is on the main highway. What do people who live out in the boonies do? Plan ahead, I suppose.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

South to Delta Junction

We headed south today, but not very far. We left Fairbanks a little after noon and drove to a pull out about 5 miles south of Delta Junction. Along the way we saw a couple moose grazing by the road.

After we had been here a while another rig pulled in behind us for the night. I looked out the window and laughed. It was the couple who had been sitting next to us at Pioneer village the last two nights. It turns out we have been following similar routes and similar time schedules for the past two months. They said they have seen us in many places. People tend to notice our rig.

Tomorrow we will go to Tok where we will stay for a few days. We have had our mail sent there so we need to wait until it gets there. Then we will head up toward Dawson City.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

My new family in Fairbanks

We decided to stay in Fairbanks another night and see a couple more things before leaving. We went to the museum at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks but decided we did not want to pay the $20 admission fee. It was probably a fair price, but we have seen so much in other places for far less that we just decided to pass. So, we went to Walmart and spent $70 on groceries in preparation for leaving the “big city” and heading for more rural places for the next couple weeks.

This evening I did go to the aviation museum here at Pioneer Village. It was quite good and well worth the $2 admission fee, if I had paid it. I was behind a lady and her grandson who told the clerk “family ticket”. The price for a whole family was $5. The clerk assumed I was with them and sold them the family ticket. When I handed him a $20 bill he looked confused. I explained that I was not with the other two and he tried to give them back their extra dollar. The lady said “He can be part of our family tonight, if that is OK.” The clerk thought it was fine, and I did too. I wanted to give her the dollar but all I had was a twenty so all she got was my heartfelt thanks.

Tomorrow, for sure, we head south toward Delta Junction and Tok. Or maybe not.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

So, you think your car is dirty?

I only thought it had stopped raining. It rained some more during the night and we awoke to very dense fog. It burned off around 10 so we decided to go into town and take care of things. We left the trailer and the first stop was a bank to get some cash. Next was a truck wash. We spent $29 and used the high pressure washer to get off the worst of the mud. It is not clean, and I missed some spots, but it is much better than it was. Do you think it needed it?

Next was some grocery shopping and fuel, then we returned to get the trailer and bring it in to town for the night. We are staying at the Pioneer Park parking lot. It is a city run pioneer village that has lots of shops, museums and old cabins and other buildings from the Fairbanks area. Best of all, most of it is free. It’s a nice place.

We found we have internet service here in the parking lot so we are updating the blog again. I have also posted to the gallery all the pictures from the Dalton Highway trip to Prudhoe Bay.  They have not had any descriptions added yet.  That will wait for some later date.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Home Again

What a miserable day. It was raining and the wind was blowing when we woke up and it did not stop all day. We had originally planned to move down toward Fairbanks somewhere and do some shopping, post the blog, wash the truck and get back to civilization today, but I could not bring myself to getting out in this mess to hook up and move. So, I let the rain wash as much of the mud off the truck as it would and we spent the day playing games on the computer, working on needlepoint and reading.

Oh well. After the hard day yesterday, I guess we needed a day off. It finally quit raining about 7 PM so hopefully tomorrow we can get out and do something.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

South on the Dalton

We awoke to a rainy day and, unfortunately, it continued all day. We didn’t get as early a start as we would have liked considering we were driving all the way back to our house – 335 miles. That’s a long day’s drive for us under normal conditions, and today’s drive was far from normal.

Our first major hurdle was Atigun Pass…again. I prayed we would get down it safely and we did. But not without my being terror stricken and in tears as we came down the two mile, 12% grade on a slippery, muddy, wet road in the rain and fog. About the only good thing that can be said is we didn’t meet up with any other vehicles while Richard expertly maneuvered us down the treacherous Pass. How the truckers do that stretch of road in the winter on snow and ice we cannot imagine.

We spotted a black bear scampering across the road about 30 miles north of Coldfoot, but he was soon far off into the woods before we got close enough to try to take a picture. He turned out to be the only bear we saw on the Dalton Highway. We were hoping to spot a grizzly or polar bear but it wasn’t to be. Our guide, yesterday, said they had a polar bear there just a week ago!

Everything was green when we drove up last Wed. – Fri. I thought I noticed that the colors on the shrubs and trees seemed to be changing to yellow and orange today so when we stopped at the Artic Visitors Center again I asked if that were true. They informed me that within a week everything will be cloaked in fall plumage! The day after the longest day things started turning - absolutely amazing.

After a fitful night’s sleep and my stressful event earlier I needed a nap and was soon sound asleep. (I could handle anything after Atigun Pass!) Richard soon found himself on a stretch of black mud. It turns black where they have put calcium chloride on the roads. It turns them in to a slippery slime when they’re wet. He met up with two trucks and did a valiant job maintaining control. I was glad I slept through it all!

We continued on to our trailer still parked at Hilltop Truck Stop where we had dinner, cleaned out the truck, put everything away, took showers and climbed into bed, wondering how we are ever going to get all the mud off the truck and scooter.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Arctic Ocean

The truck did indeed run all night and we were toasty. When we woke the fog was still completely obscuring everything. We fixed coffee and had our cereal, then drove to the post office to mail some postcards. Then we went to the Artic Caribou Hotel where our tour was to leave from.

At the hotel we met up with a young French couple, both school teachers, who we have become friends with. They flew into Anchorage and rented a Jeep SUV which they have driven all over Alaska. They purchased a tent, stove, sleeping bags, etc., (basically everything needed to camp) and have been experiencing the trip of a lifetime. We first saw them our first night out at the Hotspot Café camping area. We saw them again at Finger Rock, the Arctic Visitor Center in Coldfoot, and then they came into the campground at Galbraith Lake where we introduced ourselves and got to know them. It turned out that they had also scheduled the 10 AM tour for today.

The 8 AM tour consisted of three bus loads of tourists who had flown to Coldfoot and were bussed to Deadhorse where they spent the night. After their tour they will fly back to Anchorage in the afternoon and then board a ship for a cruise back down to the lower 48. Our 10 AM tour consisted of just the four of us; Dianna and me along with Stephanie and Alex, our French friends. The tour guide drove us through the oilfield and explained some of the specialized equipment and techniques they use. He also described camp life and what it is like to work there.

Our last stop was at the Artic Ocean. The tour guide said they had two certificates available; Dippers and Plungers. Three of us opted for the Dipper Certificate and dipped our hands into the 36 degree water, but not Dianna. She said she had not come this far just to dip. She brought extra clothing (the polar bear tee shirt) and sure enough, she waded in and sat down where it was deep enough so the water came up to her neck! She said it was cold, but not as cold as she expected. The fact that the outside temperature was only about 43 degrees at the time probably helped. She did not find out it was only 36 degrees until after she had been in. That was probably a good thing.

After the tour we watched a movie that explained a lot more about the oil operations and then ate a hot dog at their cafeteria for lunch. Then, sadly, it was time to leave. We headed south, the only way you can go from there, and soon saw the herd of musk ox again. A little while later we saw a peregrine falcon on a post not 10 feet from the truck. We thought surely he would take flight as we approached, but he merely spread his wings as we went by, giving us a tremendous view of his plumage. I stopped as quickly as I could and started backing up to get a picture, but he flew away as we got near. Sorry. No picture.

We continued on through a couple heavy downpours and stopped for the night at Galbraith Lake again. After dinner we played cards again and turned in.

This picture was taken at our campsite at Galbraith Lake. It and the whole area was amazing. There was a full rainbow behind the truck.