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Old 05-24-2014, 05:00 PM   #1
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Default Bob and Pat - Spring 2014 Road Trip

Bob and Pat - Spring 2014 Road Trip

Hi Again,
People have been asking when we are going on our trip and the answer is, we’re back! Instead of going to Newfoundland we decided to go visit the Great White North. Well it kind of got decided for us not to go East, Bob has to go for an angiogram sometime in the near future and we decided going East was too far away, we thought about going just to Ontario, but if we do that, we won’t want to drive there again to get to Newfoundland (which is on the back burner for fall). Sooo, we decided to go north. We left the 28th of March and the weather was great the whole trip – much better than home. It was cool at night but lovely during the day. The major problem was that very little of the touristy stuff is open so early in the season, most open mid to end May. We are quite self-contained in our van, but things like showers can be problematic. All in all it was a good if short trip.

I just happen to have pictures! We started off by visiting a friend in Didsbury (small town between Calgary and Edmonton). My friend has an acreage with horses – some hers and some she boards, it’s always interesting to visit Iris. Next day we went pretty well straight north to Grand Prairie where we spent the night in a Walmart and visited another friend (it’s so nice to have friends scattered all over). From there north to Liard Hot Springs. We spent the night at the camp ground right at the springs (about a quarter km walk on a boardwalk, cautiously looking out for bears the whole way!) The water was so hot I spent most of my time in the second pool which was cooler and only made it about a quarter of the way up the first pool. There were other people besides us, but not many! It is in a beautiful natural setting, the pool Bob’s in has a gravel bottom, and the second pool is natural wood/dirt/whatever bottom. It doesn’t show but there was lots of snow in area.

From Liard we made it to Whitehorse the next day. For those of you who don’t know – and shame on you if you’re Canadian – Whitehorse is the capital of the Yukon. It’s a lovely small city of about 27, 000 people. We had a campground all picked out, the Robert Service Campground, but – it wasn’t open yet. We were told we could park the night there but no water and no bathrooms so we decided to move on. By that time I was desperate for a shower – to heck with a hot springs, I wanted a shower and almond smelling hair! In the Great White North fashion I was saved, on our way out of Whitehorse there was a gas station and small store that had a sign ‘showers $3.00’. Sold! Lovely, clean and refreshing! We spent the night in a territorial campground just north of Whitehorse. When we visited Tourist Information in W.H. earlier in the day the fellow told us the territorial campgrounds weren’t open yet, but if the gate was open, it was OK to stay there for free (they are only $12 when they are open, what a deal!) We spent that night in a great place with outhouses but of course no running water.

Next day we were off to Dawson City – home of the gold rush back in 1896 - 1899. Bob and I had been up this way years ago when we lived in Winnipeg. We had rented an RV and with our boys drove up to Dawson City one summer, also *Bob and friends paddled down the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson City a few years back. We had both absolutely love the place. We even knew of a campground right in town but of course, you guessed it – it wasn’t open yet! The fellow let us stay the night ($10) – but no water or washrooms. Well, the location was perfect. We walked a few blocks to the river which had just broken up the day before. Wow, the ice was amazing. Being a prairie girl a river break up was not something I was used to. We went and played with the ice on the river bank, when we touched it, it broke up into hundreds of icicles sounding like tiny glass crystal chimes. Unreal!

Dawson City has a population of about 1300 but draws around 60,000 visitors every year – obviously mostly in the summer. We were hoping to go to Diamond Tooth Gerties, but – not open yet. We found a lovely restaurant for supper – it had been open just 3 days! Some things were open, like the road up to the top of the Dome, the landmark mountain that overlooks the city, what a view! On the 21st of June, the summer solstice, the sun never sets, one can sit on the Dome and watch the sun dip down and come back up, but never disappear. Not that I’ve been there the 21st of June, but I would love to be – probably me and the other 55,000 visitors!

We also went to visit Dredge #4, about a 20 minute drive from town where we saw plenty of people prospecting for gold. Of course Dredge #4 it wasn’t open, but it is accessible from the outside.

The dredges were used for about 50 years and Dredge #4 is now a National Historic site. See: . It is huge! Just look at the gang plank.

The Dredges were floated, they dug out the rock and sifted it for gold, then spit it out the back, they didn’t oil any of the machinery because the gold would stick to the grease and not fall to the bottom (gold is heavier than rock) so when the dredges were working they could be heard for miles and miles. The last dredge was decommissioned in 1966. The dredges only go about 90% of the gold out of the rocks so that is why there are so many individuals digging for gold at $900ish an ounce.

Below you can see the tailings from the dredges, they are everywhere! There are houses and yards built on the things! You can see the size if you compare to the houses nearby (looks like big worms to me).

While in Dawson City I went to the hospital to have my blood work done as I’m on Warfin which is a blood thinner and I need to make sure it’s in the right range, anyhow, I happened to tell them I’d had chest pains the night before. Not unusual, I seem to have something like muscle spasms – I had it checked out before we left home. They have a beautiful new 3 month old hospital in D.C and I spent a lovely day with 3 nurses and a South African Dr. What a great bunch of ladies! Anyhow they found nothing wrong with me – probably muscle problems. So my hint of the day is if you don’t want to spend a lot of time waiting in Emergency just tell the staff that you are having chest pains, started in the middle of the night. No sitting around the waiting room!

We had planned to drive the Dempster Highway to Inuvik and then try to get to Tuktoyaktuk. I just like the sound of that – Tuktoyaktuk! We would drive north through Yukon and into the Northwest Territories to get there, crossing the Arctic Circle. How cool is that? Well maybe next time! For those of you world travelers who’ve been there before, in the photo below the Van is facing AWAY from the Dempster Highway because we took this picture on our way back. Call it artistic license – can you see Bob waving from the van?

The Dempster is gravel road for 700 km although they paved the first 5 KM just to give you that warm fuzzy feeling before they dumped reality on you. We had decided we weren’t going to go the whole distance as there are two river crossings that are ferry rides in the summer and ice roads in the winter. At this time of year it is spring breakup and there is about a month of ice flows before the ferry can start. How cool is that? We were told the ice roads were still in effect, but there was water on them. Not so cool! We thought we might get caught on the north side and not be able to get the van back. It gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about going over an ice road that has a couple inches of water on it! Not to mention 700 km of gravel road – which by the way was in great shape, just not very wide if one met up with a large truck (which we didn’t)! So we decided to drive up the Dempster Highway for only about an hour, have lunch and then return to Dawson City. About half an hour up the Dempster we were in the most beautiful mountain range – Tombstone Territorial Park, which had a lovely interpretive center and yes, it wasn’t open yet. So I guess Tuk will have to remain on our bucket list for a while longer.

We can hardly mention the Yukon without talking about Robert Service – which I’m sure all you Canadians know! They named schools, roads, subdivisions, hospitals and everything else after him. He was almost as famous as the gold rush. Who doesn’t know The Cremation of Sam McGee? My favourite! *In Whitehorse there’s a museum with the original cabin of Sam McGee - who knew Sam was a real person? The story goes that while Robert Service worked in a bank in Whitehorse and had a customer called Sam McGee, he liked the sound of the name so much that he asked Sam if he could use his name in one of his poems. No one from Dawson will tell you this story because they like to believe Robert Service wrote all his poems in Dawson City (where Service’s house is preserved as a museum). He lived in both places.

The Cremation of Sam McGee
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

The poem goes on and on but that’s the best part! Here is Johnny Cash reading the whole poem- for those of you who don’t read poetry. *And by the way we stopped at Lake Laberge for a look see – oh yes, Bob wants to add that he has paddled Lake Laberge. Name dropper!

Our original plan after driving the Dempster was to go to Prince Rupert and take an overnight ferry (with the van) to Vancouver Island. Well, at this time of year the ferry only runs once a week going south, and since we didn’t use all the allotted time to get to Tuk, we were early – 6+ days to be exact. *Long time to go without a shower! That, along with me being a little paranoid about my chest pains, we decided to turn the nose of the van in the direction of home. We headed east on Yukon Highway 1 (Alaska Highway) and then took Stewart-Cassiar Highway 37 south to the Yellowhead*Trans-Canada*Highway 16 then west to Jasper. We turned south at Jasper and continued to Banff along the Icefields Parkway 93.*

It’s been a very long time since I drove the Icefields Parkway, I had forgotten how beautiful it is. What spectacular scenery! **Amazing how we spend so much time travelling but ignore what is in our own backyard. What a beautiful country we have!

We had planned on staying in Jasper/ Banff campgrounds – and some were open – but the weather was the coolest we’d experienced our whole trip, so we kept on moving until we got home.

I forgot to mention the critters we encountered! We saw some wood buffalo (remember the difference between the wood buffalo and the plains buffalo? What! I told you that in my newsletter last fall!) There were elk and deer and my very first (and second) sighting of a moose in the wild. Wow was I excited! Bob and I both saw 2 bears each, but not the same bears. His were way north and they were skittish but mine were along the Icefield Parkway and I think they were paid to be photo ops (maybe in fish) they were not the least bit phased by the traffic. I also saw a Sasquatch, you know that elusive hairy smelly fellow that looks almost human. No maybe that was Bob before he showered!

So now we are home until my nephew’s wedding in July, we are hosting people from Birmingham Alabama with the Friendship Force in June. Hopefully if Bob’s angiogram is OK and I continue to be healthy we will try again to visit Newfoundland in the late summer.

It looks like the weather is finally warming up, have a great summer and remember - if you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.
P.S. Keep away from those greasy chips and nachos, keep healthy and walk walk walk!

Two bikes on sliding cargo box: & 1997 GMC Savana 6.5L Turbo Diesel Custom Camper Van Specifications:
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Old 05-25-2014, 08:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: Bob and Pat - Spring 2014 Road Trip

This was forum member .boB's trip report and photos. I just helped with posting to get the photos in there.


Beautiful photos! Sounds like a great trip. Really makes me want to hit the road.

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Old 05-27-2014, 01:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: Bob and Pat - Spring 2014 Road Trip

It really was a great trip, much more than Pat has written up.
Pat & I wish to add:
1 The Yukon visitor information center in Whitehorse is directly across a large ‘R.V. only’ parking lot from the Territorial Legislator where tours of the legislator are available if you ask at the reception desk.
2 There is a public Gas & Diesel Card Lock across from the Bonanza Gold Motel & R.V. Park in Dawson City, best prices around (1.449). Just follow & complete the online instructional (safety) guide to receive your pin then pay with a credit card. Keep the PIN so that you don’t have to do the “course” again.
3 The most expensive gas was $1.649 at Dease Lake, BC; the cheapest was Costco $1.189 Grand Praire, AB. Our most expensive fill-up was Smithers, BC 98.89liters @ $ 1.419 = $140.32
4 We drove approx. 6500km over 12 Days. Longest driving day was the 16hour sprint home. The distances are very long, there’s not much can be done about that. Fortunately the days are long too. We like to get an early start, wheels rolling about 8:00, stop for lunch someplace special along the highway and finish the driving day with lots of time remaining for sightseeing & exploring.

I want to thank Marko for posting my wife’s write-up, it looks great, just like the original word document. If possible I really would like to know how you did it. Can a word document with photos be “just” posted and is there a tutorial?
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Old 05-27-2014, 02:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: Bob and Pat - Spring 2014 Road Trip

Great report. We drove to Alaska two years ago and experienced much of the same in the Yukon and British Columbia. We did get to see Diamond Tooth Gertie.

In Whitehorse a visit to the salmon fish ladder or whatever it was called was interesting. They had viewing windows so you could see the salmon working their way upstream to spawn. We also visited the Yukon Brewery. Their can beer all have works of art on the can by well known regional artists and snippets of poems including those by Robert Service.
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Old 05-27-2014, 02:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: Bob and Pat - Spring 2014 Road Trip

Originally Posted by .boB
....... Can a word document with photos be “just” posted and is there a tutorial?
Putting the text from a document into a forum post is a basic copy / paste operation. You don't have to re-type it, just copy and paste.
Adding photos is just a bit harder. The photos need to hosted somewhere on the internet. You can upload the photos as attachments on the forum as you make the post. Or you can use another image sharing website. The displayed photos are like links but instead of seeing a link you see the image.

Here's the forum practice area:
Here's a how to post a photo topic:
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