Friday, August 21, 2009

Heading back to the lower 48

Our 30 min. trip to Skagway started at 6:45 AM on the fast ferry from Haines. It was raining but did not put a damper on our trip. Just as we were leaving the dock a gentleman approached us and asked if we were Bob& Linda,(what did we do now?). It so happens he and his wife read our blog and they were in Haines doing the same trip as us. So they figured they would look us up. Small world isn’t it. They were a very nice couple from Wisconsin.

Our 3 hour ride was on the White Pass & Yukon Railway. The ride was very enjoyable and had an interesting history. It stated in 1898, it is a narrow gauge railway due to the curves of the White Pass. The rails are 3’ apart on a 10’ road bed. It took 2 yrs, 2 mo. and 2 days to build and is 110 miles long. The Baldwin Locomotive Works of Phila. built two of the engines the #69 in 1908 and # 73 in 1947. They are the pride of the fleet.

Skagway (Skaguay) means “stiffy wind rippled water” in Tlingit(Indian). The downtown historical district is made up of false front buildings and a boardwalk dating back to the gold rush days. The main attraction is the Railroad and The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park’s Headquarters. The cruise ships dock here as well as many Rv’s. Jewelry stores and gift shops just like most ports. By early afternoon the sun was out a little and the ride back to Haines was great. We could see waterfalls and a few glaciers. When we got back to Haines we went to Chilkoot state park to see if any bears where fishing for salmon. We were in luck. There was a black bear fishing. We watched him for a good half hour and all at once he stood up and looked across the creek. We followed his stare and saw three Grizzly bears coming out of the woods. It looked like a mother and two yearlings. The black bear went down river and swam across to the other side. A fisherman and his dog scurried up the bank and out of his way. The bear did turn and look up at them and then went on following after the other bears and out of site. What a great experience.

Next day we headed to back to Whitehorse, same RV park as before. We did laundry and grocery shopping, it is a nice size town. We toured the S.S. Klondike Historical

Site , which is a Parks Canada Heritage site. The S.S. Klondike represents a history of riverboat transportation . It was built in 1929 , it was the first stern wheeler large enough to handle over 272 tonnes (300T) without having to push a barge. It’s career ended when it ran aground on the Yukon River. A Carbon copy was built and used from 1927 till 1952 as a cargo ship, but later became a cruise ship. It was very popular but the cost of operation ended the brief history as a passenger ship in Aug. 1955 when it steamed into Whitehorse for the last time. When we where here in early June the ship wasn’t opened for tours for the season.

We spent one night at a Yukon Government Territory Park, along side a creek and beautiful scenery. No campfire ban here. We then headed down the Cassiar Highway. Next night we stayed in Iskut at an RV park called Mountain Shadow, a park that was down in a valley with a mountain and a pond and lush green grass. One of the nicest parks we stayed in.

The next day was a long , but very pretty. There were many glaciers, ponds mountain and creeks One creek in particular was the Kodak Creek, named after George Eastman(Eastman Kodak family) He spent a lot of time hunting big game here. We stopped at Jade City. One of the largest Jade mines in the world. Of course they have many jade items for sale. This area supplies 75% of the worlds jade market.

We are now on our last leg of our adventure. We are now in the Steward / Hyder area on the border of AK and BC. Stewart is BC and Hyder is AK. You need only stop at the border when you go from Hyder into Stewart. Stewart population is 699 people and Hyder is 100 people. We thought the Hammer Museum was different, well Stewart has a Toaster Museum with over 500 toasters. Major attractions are the Bear Glacier as you drive into the town of Stewart, very impressive. In Hyder it is the Salmon Glacier which is about 17 miles out of town on a dirt road but very pretty. It is the biggest glacier out of all the glaciers we seen and it’s a good thing because it was a white knuckle ride, on a 20 mile dirt road with several thousand foot drop offs with no guardrails, to the top. We passed a few mines, waterfalls and some really pretty spots on the way. And we can’t forget the bears. We stopped at the Fish Creek Wildlife Viewing Area which is operated by the U.S. Forest Service. We visited the park 2 nights. The first night we only saw one female bear hunting for Salmon. She wasn’t a good hunter, she walked up and down the creek edge but didn’t catch a thing in fact she ate one of the dead fish, but it was still a good show that she put on. The second night was a bonus night, there were 2 brothers just romping around and wrestling with each other, they didn’t hunt either ,they just played and played, they were about 3 years old. When they were gone their mother came out and she was on a mission to catch a fish. She did a super job of it to. She was huge and hungry. We were on a boardwalk with probably about 100 other people and we were all trying to get a good spot for photos. We all just followed them wherever they went. Linda has two memory cards full of bear movies. We stayed at the Rainy Creek Rv Park and this was the first time we met up with a caravan. While in Hyder it’s a must to eat at the bus. Look for the photo’s to see this great eating experience.

On our way to our next stop we passed thru many small towns even a Hazelton which our PA. friends are familiar with. We stopped for the night in Smither’s at the Glacier View RV Park (yes another glacier). The Visitor Center came to the park with information about the town (this was the first time we came across this, and thought this was a great idea).

The next day was long, we were heading to Prince George. We stopped in Houston BC visitor Center and saw the world’s Largest Fly Fishing Rod. The 60’ long anodized aluminum rod was built by local volunteers. The center was one of the nicest we seen.

There are many fields of hay and horse farming is a big thing here. We stayed at the Sintich RV Park.

Next day we stopped at Quesnel’s visitor Center (known as the city of a million blooms). It sure was beautiful. Forestry is dominant in this area there are many pulp mills, plywood plants and sawmills. We also saw the world’s largest pair of cross country skis, they are 39.5 feet long.

Our next stop was the nicest rest area, truly it was. It was adjacent to 13 historical buildings. This site began as a post house on the Cariboo Trail in 1867. It also has a museum with antiques from the 1920’s to 1950’s.

Our stop for the night was in Clinton at a Passport Park called Golden Trail RV our last night in BC. Very smokey, fires all around. Clinton was originally the 47 mile Roadhouse Gold Rush Settlement on the Cariboo Wagon Rd. Today it is called the “Gateway to the Cariboo”.

Our next days travel was long, we were heading to the border. We are now back into civilization. Passing thru some nice size cities and many fruit and vegetable stands. No stopping our next stop is the Border in the State of Washington. Passed thru the Border no problem,not like the motorhome ahead of us, they ripped off their sideview mirrors as

They pulled thru to the booth.

We are back in the lower 48. Our first stop was about 6 miles from the border in Oroville,WA. We stopped at the Oysotoos Lake State Park. We are still here for a few days. Boy is it hot yesterday it was 100, they set a record. This is not what we expected in the state of Washington. This side of the Cascade Mountains is high desert. Again there are many orchards and wineries and grape orchards. They have the lake effects for growing grapes for wine like New York. But here and it’s a big but its all done with much irrigation. We’re not used to this, we just came from cool weather and a comforter at night to heat, but that is ok. We even had our first corn on the cob last night and it’s already the end of the season.

We had a wonderful adventure thanks to all the hints and tips that we received from everyone. We really appreciated them. Hopefully someday we can go back. Hope you enjoyed our adventure with us and we didn’t bore you with it all. We are back in the lower 48 and can now use are cell phone's.

Keep in touch and stay tuned for our next adventure. We are heading down the Pacific coast to CA and the Rose Parade for a rally with the Escapees. We will list our stats for our Alaska trip in our next update. Look for pictures soon. Be sure and check out our map.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you made it back without incident. We had a great time on the Marine Highway and landed in Bellingham yesterday. In Billings Montana tonight. Safe travels.