Our Semi-Daily Newsletter Archives
Status Report - Sunday, June 7th; Day #1
Well, we made it to
We managed to leave the
house exactly on time and everything went smoothly till we got to the
Verizon store in
The bad news is that a bigger problem surfaced later in the day. First, I noticed our EGTs (Exhaust Gas Temps) were 200-300 degrees higher (900 at cruise & 1200-1300 degrees on normal grades) than I thought they should be. This was the first time to tow since the pyrometer was installed, but we’d never exceeded 950 on the steepest grades with our Beaver (Cummins C8.3 engine) or our Ford F350. I checked for loose intercooler hoses when we stopped for fuel and everything was OK. Just as we pulled into the Wal-Mart the check engine light came on. The ScanGauge read code P0045, which is the turbo vane control solenoid circuit. So, it seems that we have a problem with the turbo vane control solenoid, the related sensor or the engines ECM. I guess we’ll have to explore getting it repaired in the morning.
Steve & C. J.
Today seems to be working out well, especially in light of our engine problems yesterday, the first day of our trip.
We got up at 8 (which is early for us night owls) and started out by removing the Banks SpeedBrake system from the truck so it would appear stock when we arrived at the local Chevy dealer. Diesel truck owners love to hot rod their trucks and the manufacturers respond by voiding warranties on trucks that show evidence of such. Then, we dropped off the trailer at BD Diesel & headed to for the Chevy dealer to seek help with our malfunctioning turbo. The dealer was wonderful. They had a tech working on the truck in less than 10 minutes and were done by noon. The thinking is that a bit of carbon jammed the control for the vanes in the turbo. It checked out A-OK after the tech removed & replaced the control solenoid. We got back to BD Diesel just 9 minutes before our 12:30 appointment.
But, BD Diesel didn’t have a transmission valve body in stock, so they rebuilt ours to their heavy duty specs and finished the job right at closing time. We can’t tell the difference driving it, which means that it still has that silky smooth Allison shift, but the HD version of the valve body should prevent the clutches from slipping, especially the torque converter clutch.
We pulled out of BD Diesel
at 5:30 PM – a bit late in the day to get on the road, eh? Had dinner
at a nice breakfast shop/café in Hope and continued on till we reached an
itsy bitsy rest area at N 49ş 42.416’ W 121ş 24.660’ just above the historic
Mosquitos. Yep. We were lucky in 2004 and only saw about 2 mosquitoes in the entire trip. It doesn’t look like we’re going to be so lucky this time. We had about a dozen mosquitoes in the truck by the time I got the door closed at the rest area. Both of us ran to the trailer for the insect repellant.
Steve & C. J.
We had a pleasant night at the little rest stop last night & Gracie & I took a walk down to the river to see the old bridge. The old suspension bridge was quite scenic but had a steel deck that wasn’t dog-friendly, so I only went out on it a short distance while Gracie waited on terra firma. We saw a small snake (solid olive drab color, about ˝” dia & 15” long) that Gracie was oblivious to. She wasn’t so oblivious to the squirrel though!
The drive today was pleasant, and would have been more so if I wasn’t keeping an eye on the pyrometer. The nature of the turbo boost issue is such that it’s almost better to run up the hills at wide open throttle & then lift off when the EGT approaches 1300. But, it’s a bit nuts to use 330 HP on hills that only need 150-200 HP.
The wild life count today:
A few turkey vultures
1 grey squirrel
1 ground squirrel
2 badger crossing signs
2 moose crossing signs
1 big horn sheep sign
We made it to
Steve & C. J.
After researching the forums, we’ve figured out that while 1300 degrees is considered the max on most other engines, a sustained 1350 is OK on the Duramax. Sooooo, we’re going to proceed and see what happens when we don’t modulate the throttle to keep the exhaust gas temps under 1300. The worst it could be is melted pistons. I’ll reprogram the pyrometer to sound the alarm at 1250 vs its current setting of 1200.
The agenda for today
is a quick stop by Costco to see what interesting things they have up
here and then onto the highway. Since we’re about a half day ahead of
schedule, we think we’ll stop at Heart Lake Campground in a provincial
park about 150 miles up the road. There’s no cell phone coverage
between here and
FYI, we updated the web site with some photos last night. As usual, BC is beautiful.
Steve & C. J.
Status Report - Wednesday, June 10th - Day # 4
Today was pleasantly uneventful. The truck behaved perfectly; we saw 346 HP on the ScanGauge – not bad for a 305 HP engine – and the exhaust temps stayed under 1300 all day except for one steep grade where we hit 1365 before I backed out of the throttle at 60+ MPH going up a 6% grade at 3000 feet. I was able to accelerate on every other grade all day while the temps stayed down. As John Denver would say “Waaaaay cool!” Oh yeah, we were running the AC all day, too.
|One Golden Eagle soaring over the highway,|
|One black bear this afternoon but he ran off into the woods before we could get the picture,|
A Spruce Sawyer beetle about an inch long plus 2” antenna, on our screen door,
A pair of Barn Swallows showed up briefly at our campground, but found slim pickens, so they moved on. Good news for us.
Speaking of campgrounds. We planned on going to Heart Lake Campground, but the road to it was 2 km long and it started out narrow, winding and steep. So, we turned around on the highway and retreated to a rest stop about 200 yards back. Grilled hamburger on the BBQ & enjoyed a pleasant & cool evening after a day in the mid to upper 70’s (hot for us).
Steve & C. J.
As the frog likes
to say “Another sh**** day in paradise.” We got up around 9ish this
morning and continued up Canada Hwy 97 towards
The run to
A minor bit of excitement when I connected our water hose to the adjacent site’s hose bib and the pipe came apart and spouted a geyser for about 20 minutes while the young woman that owns the place ran into town to get help.
Steve & C. J.
Status Report - Saturday, June 13th - Day 7
We’ve been camped the last couple of
Our plan tomorrow morning, however, is
to head east out of
In approximately 1970, the highway was
extended west from what is now the southern terminus of Highway 3 to
Fort Simpson, and in 1971, when the
section to Fort Simpson was opened to traffic, work began to prepare
a road grade from there to
Wrigley, but the work was abandoned. This
roadway, which starts at a junction 2.2 miles (3.5 km) from the
island that "downtown"
Just east of
A bit over 200 miles down the road,
Twin Lakes Provincial Recreation Area, about 60 KM north of
Manning, AB. The following days we’ll be traveling
through an area with numerous water falls which should be quite
scenic. OTOH, that also implies hills which means our fuel economy
goes in the toilet. Oh well, this ain’t
We think we’ll have cell phone
coverage on the
Steve & C. J.
Status Report - Sunday, June 14th - Day 8
We rolled out of Tubby’s
RV Park in
The countryside along
Highway 49 going east was surprisingly green and lush, as we were expecting
the dryer prairie of southern
There was a brisk wind from the west that gave us a boost when the road was headed east, but kicked our butt when the road headed north. The computer was showing 10-14+ MPG going east, and 5-8 MPG going north. Later, I dropped our speed from 55 to 45 and we saw our instant MPG readings jump from 5.2 to 6.5. We averaged 11.32 MPG for the day; our best yet for the trip.
We saw 1 brown/grizzly bear on the side of the road south of Manning, but the road was too narrow to stop and the next place to turn around was over 5 miles later. So, no pix of the bear. OTOH, we passed about a zillion small lakes ranging from Ľ to 2 acres in size. About 30% of the larger ones had a beaver lodge in the middle of the lake and we saw numerous beaver dams, too. Beavers are nocturnal though, so it’s doubtful we’ll get any beaver pix.
The real excitement began about 5 miles south of Twin Lakes Rec Area where we’re staying. First, the temperature started dropping like a stone; from 82 to the mid-60’s and eventually 53. Then, it started raining. When the rain stopped, there was a layer of fog from about 1’ above the road to about 3’ feet above the road. I could see the headlights of oncoming traffic, but not the car. Weird. Then, I noticed the shoulders were white. Snow!?!? Our elevation was 2600’. Very shortly after that we arrived at the campground and discovered the ‘snow’ was actually golf ball sized hail. We’re the only RV in the campground now, but some in a car with a heavily dimpled hood said there were a couple of rigs with extensive hail damage. It’s now 2 hours later and there is still quite a bit of the hail on the ground even though it’s back to T-shirt weather.
I suspect this will be the
last daily update till we arrive in
Steve & C. J.
Status Report - Monday, June 15th - Day 9
Well, we made
it to the
The roads today were 99.99% straight and flat today, so the driving was easy as pie. I can’t wait to fuel the truck and see what our mileage is without wind or hills.
For the first
hour or so, the road was also smooth but then it was thumpety-thump on minor
frost heaves and the tar they fill the cracks with in the summer so the
water doesn’t destroy the road in the winter when it freezes in the cracks.
Interestingly, the road got smooth again after we crossed the border into
|3 Northern Goshawk; one feeding on the side of the road, and a pair flying towards the forest together|
|A large hawk nest with an occupant|
|Another hawk nest, but no visible occupant|
|Ravens. Instead of the usual scavenging on the road & shoulder, the ravens were in the grass near the highway|
|One deer running like crazy|
Butterflies (yellow &
black) on highway in |
|Dragon flies @ Indian Cabins (name of town)|
|Black flies at the campground – not a good thing!|
|Red squirrel at the campground|
interesting tidbit about traveling in the NWT. Water. It seems that
we made an error in assuming that we’d have access to potable water here in
Another interesting detail. While there is no drinking water, sewer dump, or cell phone coverage , we do have Internet access. Yep, our Verizon air card is able to connect. Only about half a bar and it’s slow, but it works.
Steve & C. J.
Status Report - Tuesday, June 16th - Day 10
Well, the big
question is whether y’all be getting this in a timely manner or in several
days when we arrive in
road to the Escarpment Creek area below Louise Falls was closed, so we went
on to the town of Enterprise to see if we could get water, or a funnel &
container to transfer water. The
We found a
good funnel and a 4-gallon water jug as well as a couple of light-weight
long-sleeved shirts to help deal with the mosquitoes and black flies. After
fueling up, we headed back to our campsite at
They have these neat license plates on their vehicles up here. They’re white in the shape of a polar bear. CJ was wanting to steal one as a souvenir, but then she spotted a new bright red F150 4X4 with the personalized plate “CJ”. If it hadn’t been parked in front of the RCMP office, she might have stolen the whole truck!
Back to the
funnel and water jug . . . we made just over 4 trips with the water jug to
fill the fresh water tank this afternoon. We have 3.5 gallons left in the
jug to top off the tank after tonight’s showers. Theoretically, we only
have one night of dry camping between here and
Steve & C. J.
Status Report - Friday 19th in Yellowknife, NWT
It’s been several days since the last update because (a) there was no Internet access, then (b) we got busy seeing what there is to see, and finally (c) we discovered that our Verizon service isn’t what it was supposed to be, or what we thought it would be (details on that to be determined).
we arrived in
We’ve got one
more day to play tourist here and then it’s back on the highway to
As usual, our SPOT will be reporting our position regularly at http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0dTs1VETrG1fdFIelBH0dfd76We03XBSy You can follow this link and see our trail of bread crumbs in map format or satellite imagery. Really cool. FYI, the local electronics store here carries the SPOT. Not something you find in most towns.
We’ve also made some changes to our web site at http://www.serenitysys.com/photogallery/alaska_2009/ to try to make it more user friendly.
Steve & C. J.
Status Report - Saturday 20th in Yellowknife, NWT
we’re 300 miles south of the
out our last day in
drove out Highway 4 – the Ingraham Trail – in the afternoon. Highway 4
starts just down the road from the campground and is paved for a while.
Then it becomes a nice wide gravel highway. Then it narrows and gets
rougher. Then it narrows and gets rougher. We drove the last 30 miles
at 25 MPH or less. Along the way, every turn brings another lake.
Seriously. At the 68 KM marker, the road turns left an abruptly enters
the lake. This is the beginning of the “winter road” aka the
totally out of touch for the next 4 days, except for the SPOT updates, till
we arrive at
Steve & C. J.
Status Report - Saturday, June 20th - Yellowknife, NWT
Who’d a thunk that this
place would be so interesting? While knew that
We’re amazed at the number of new cars and trucks. Especially new Ford trucks. For every rust bucket, there’s 3 brand new Fords. They also like chrome on their trucks, but otherwise very stock, probably because shipping stuff here costs a fortune.
The traffic is rather amazing, and yes, they have a rush hour. We tried to cross a main drag a few minutes after 4:30 yesterday and it took several minutes to wait for the long string of cars to drive by. The number of people on the streets is amazing. All over the down town area all day today. And you should have seen the number of young people out in the streets this evening. Especially around the pubs!! They must have a no smoking indoors policy because there sure are a lot of people hanging around outside the pubs.
We filled the truck this evening. The good news is that we managed to get 10.24 MPG by going so slow yesterday. The bad news is that half a tank of fuel cost us $126 ($1.009/liter => $3.40/gallon).
We solved the water
mystery today. Naturally, the reason is quite simple. It’s so
cold here for so much of the year that it’s VERY difficult & VERY expensive
to have year round water lines outside. The ground is so cold that I
have to wear gloves to hold the nozzle when I fuel the truck because the
fuel is near freezing temperature in the heat of the summer. So, any
place that isn’t open all year does not have a water connection.
Instead, they have a plastic water tank and a truck comes by and fills the
tank with drinking water. Here in
Verizon and our Internet
access. Again there’s good news and bad news. The good news is
that our air card has worked in every location that our cell phones worked,
and a couple where they didn’t work. The bad news is that our
statement indicates that Verizon didn’t change our account to provide for
Bounce dryer sheets make great mosquito repellant, especially for the dogs. Every time we go outside, we give the dogs a quick wipe down with a fresh Bounce sheet and the mosquitoes just hover around them without landing. If we don’t, then they target both where there fur is short. That’s on Gracie’s long nose that looks like she’s got the pox after a bunch of mosquitoes get to her. Bo’sun’s short hairs are at the other end and . . .
We spent much of today on
a side trip out the length of the Ingraham Trail –
Steve & C. J.
Status Report - Sunday, June 21st in Fort Providence, NWT
Solstice! Especially to
about as close to boring as it’s going to get on this trip as we back
tracked almost 200 miles from
At one of the pullouts we stopped at, I noticed the front spare tire under the trailer was hanging down a bit. This is a mount we added and it’s not quite as stable as the OEM mount under the rear of the trailer because of conflicting structures (living room slide mechanism, LPG line & the A-frame at the front for the hitch). So, the tire can wobble a bit and given the frost heaves, it worked it’s way loose. I’ve got an idea on how to resolve the issue, but I need a 3’ piece of steel to do it. In the mean time, we’ll just have to check it regularly. Of course, that means remembering to check it which is harder to do than the actual checking. J
both of us had today was that the campground at
Steve & C. J.
Today was our first day pulling the trailer primitive roads. Yesterday we drove about 150 miles of primitive roads, but we weren’t pulling the trailer and it makes a big difference. We drove 203 miles today, 141 of which was on dirt & gravel roads. The nice thing about dirt and gravel roads is that they don’t get frost heaves. The bummer is that they do turn into wash board surface. If you haven’t driven on a wash boarded dirt road, imagine driving on a big louvered door where the louvers are about 9” wide and 3” high. It’ll rattle your filling loose. The good news is that the wash boarding wasn’t too bad and was only on parts of the road. None the less, we still rattled loose the both handles on the bathroom sink faucet.
Another issue with gravel roads is the gravel that gets kicked up by the oncoming traffic. The first big rig going the other way gave us a real taste of what we can expect on the Dempster & Dalton Highways later. We got pelted with about a dozen pieces of gravel. One landed on the roof and sounded like a coin hitting the bottom of an empty can. I pulled over and checked – sure enough, he scored one in the tray of our sunroof that was opened to the vent position. Fortunately, he was the only big rig that kept going full speed as he passed. Every other rig we met today, responded to our pulling over to the far side and stopping by slowing down enough to stop throwing gravel. Nice!
Then there is the dust and dirt. And since it rained today, mud. I think we got the trailer dirty too dirty to get away with returning it when we’re done with this trip. J Since they treat the roads with something to keep the dust down, the mud isn’t like regular mud, either. Almost oily.
About mid-day I stopped on a bridge to take some pix of the river and there was a strange noise coming out of the rear of the truck. We pulled up the road a bit to a pullout and I started my search with a stethoscope to find the source of the buzzing noise. Turned out to be the back-up beeper that is connected to the trailer hitch. We’re guessing that the sensors on the hitch got so dirty with the oily, wet dust (you can hardly see them) that one of them was trying to run the backup beeper, but the short circuit was only good enough for a buzz instead of a beep. Today’s solution was to pull the wire on the beeper.
The wildlife count today was next to zip & all birds, not counting the ubiquitous raven. The first was a Swainson’s Hawk that was working on his lunch when we drove by and flew into the forest. Later, I had to walk back a couple of hundred yards to re-read a sign and a sand piper type of bird was very unhappy with me & yelled at me until I turned around and headed back to the truck. What was really funny was that he kept trying to land on the tree tops to yell at me, but he’s not designed to perch so he’d jump as if the needles on the tree pricked his feet. Finally, I saw an unidentified passerine here in the campground; commonly referred to as an LBB (little brown bird).
For those of you who are
comparing our itinerary to our progress may have noticed that
Shortly before reaching
Speaking of itinerary
changes, we’ve decided to go to
Did we mention how much attention our truck gets? You’d think that off-road prepared pickups would be everyday things up here, but they’re not. Everywhere we go, people look at it. Not just 20-something guys either. A couple of days ago, a couple of 30-something women spent an entire traffic light looking at it. Today was the best, though. Some guy was looking at it while walking across the gas station parking lot and walked straight into the back of another truck in the process. J
Last but not least, the transmission seems to have learned my ‘new’ driving style and adapted well. I’ve been able to drive at 42-43 MPH in high gear almost all day today. Besides being a bit quieter than in 4th, we pulled off 10.64 MPG today without the benefit of a tail wind. Very cool.
Steve & C. J.
Status Report - Tuesday, June 23rd - Fort Liard
OK so here we are in the
middle of no where and we have both cell phone service and online access via
our air card. Five years ago air cards barely worked in
We started the day with another ferry ride, only this time I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get onto the ferry because of the soft dirt and big holes in the dirt at the ferry landing. But, I was prepared and in 4-low and we kept on moving so it worked OK.
We drove another 130 or so
miles on gravel roads today. Most of it was smooth, but there were many
places where the surface was soft and the rig would sink into the gravel
some, slowing down that side of the truck and trailer. Well if you
slow down one side of a vehicle the vehicle will try to turn in that
direction. Not my favorite thing with just the truck; less so with a
10,000# trailer in tow. We learned quickly to do our best to avoid the soft
spots, but sometimes it just wasn’t possible because the soft spot was
nearly the width of the road. According to the woman at the
Besides the soft spots, there were a few rough spots and areas where there was an excess of loose gravel. Fortunately, modern 4X4’s shift into 4-wheel drive on the fly at the press of a button.
The other issue was the
dust. Most of yesterday’s road was treated for dust, but only parts of
today’s road was treated. Anything over 20 MPH left a dust cloud trailing
us. We spent most of our time slightly over 40 MPH so the dust cloud was
huge. No problem, right? Well, except that some dumbie (me?) left the
front ceiling vent open, so EVERYTHING in the front half of the coach was
covered with a layer of very fine dust when we arrived in
Today’s wildlife score
card highlight was an Arctic Fox. It’s always been exciting to see a fox,
but since our coach is an Arctic Fox it’s especially exciting now. This guy
was in his brown phase, but no pix because he skedaddled before I could get
a long lens on the camera. It’s a real challenge getting photos of the
wildlife because even though we’re only driving at 35-45 MPH most of the
time, it still takes a while to stop 10 tons safely so I’ve almost always
passed the critter before I get stopped. Most critters, even the buffalo,
turn tail and head for the forest as soon as they see me. They’re OK
with the vehicle, but not OK with people outside of the vehicle. We also
saw another small all-male herd of buffalo about 10 KM east of
CJ loves it here at this
little lake (
Steve & C. J.
Status Report - Wednesday, June 24th - Fort Liard
We slept in
this morning—a side benefit of having the bedroom windows completely caked
with dust that the bedroom stayed dark this morning. As always, for
every benefit, there seems to be a gotcha. Our inverter appears to be
a casualty of the dust, or maybe the vibration. It lights up the
“Fault” warning light instead of running its dedicated circuits. The
only way we’re going to be able to get it serviced on the trip is if Costco
has one in their
Whack-A-Skeeter. That’s our new game. It has a bunch of interesting twists. For example, the ceiling of our trailer is carpeted so the mosquitoes sometime survive the initial whack; but the second whack of the fly swatter against a wall does them in for sure. J However, when one of the little buggers has just had lunch on our dime and does go splat on the ceiling, he leaves a big red splotch that requires immediate attention to keep the ceiling from becoming polka dotted. An unfortunate casualty is Gracie. It seems that she was disciplined with a fly swatter by the breeder when she was a pup, so she gets upset just seeing a fly swatter. But, after a couple of years of praising her with the fly swatter, she’s much calmer now.
The alternative game is Catch-A-Skeeter. Both of us are getting pretty good at snatching them out of the sky. It took a few days to remember to smoosh them in the hand before opening the hand or they just fly away.
to consider is the health benefits of Whack-A_Skeeter & Catch-A-Skeeter.
Besides the obvious advantages of not being bitten by the little suckers,
there’s the physical exercise involved. Not an insignificant issue when
we’re spending large portions of the day inside the coach to avoid the
onslaught of them outside. And another factor is the maintenance of good
hand-eye coordination, an important issue for us senior citizens.
decided to stay at
we’ve seen a pair of Common Golden Eye ducks, a very precocious American
Robin, raven, two types of dragon flies, water striders that jump off the
water onto the lilly pads, and what looked like a super giant mosquito the
size of a small butterfly. There are at least 3 varieties of
butterflies here; 3” black with white stripe in middle of wing, 1” very pale
blue, & 1.5” orange & black pattern. They’re much more difficult to
photograph than the dragonflies because there are very few of them.
Gracie & I went for a walk along part of the 3km trail around the lake. There’s a large are of animal scat not far from camp. My current guess is that it’s beaver or bear scat, maybe some of each. Our Peterson Field Guide avoids the indelicacies of describing animal scat, so we’re left to eliminating the alternatives.
There was a
younger couple from
that have a copy of the itinerary, our new plan is to leave for Fort Nelson
in the morning and then stay one night vs. two at
Steve & C. J.
We had a
challenging time last night with the mosquitoes at
drive was the last stretch of gravel roads in the NWT till July on our
venture up to
Today was an excellent wildlife day:
|The last herd of Wood Buffalo we’ll see this trip,|
|A momma bear and 2 cubs (we got a couple of so-so pictures)|
|A momma moose and her calf (she split as I was skidding to a halt)|
|One UFO – Unidentified Furry Object - some rabbit-size critter ran across the highway too far away to ID|
And the beaver swam by our campground again last night, but he turned and swam away across the lake when he heard me leave the coach to photograph him.
And, we’ve decided that the scat I found yesterday just a few yards from our campground was courtesy of a moose.
Our first order of business was getting the laundry done, followed closely by pressure washing hundreds of miles of dust and dirt off the rig. After dropping CJ off at the local Laundromat/buffalo meat supply/etc I took the rig to the RV park which has a pressure washer. Which was located in a mud hole. But, I was prepared with my Muck Boots! J I also had to put on full rain gear shortly as the rain started. I was almost done setting up the coach in our site when CJ called to say she was done with the laundry. Great timing.
lunch I started wiping down the dust in the galley when I notice that
the front window frame had water standing in it. Not good. I’d
sponge it out and about a tablespoon full would appear in less than a
minute. Definitely not good. The rain gear goes back on and I’m
standing on the front A-frame of the trailer furiously wiping down the
outside of the window frame while CJ’s trying to guestimate my effect on
the flow of water inside so we have some idea of where the water is
getting in. Only the water is pouring down the front of the trailer
faster than I can have any impact. So, I break out the duct tape.
Gorilla-brand duct tape is really great stuff, but it wasn’t made to
stick to something that’s soaking wet. None the less, I layer some
tape on the window frame and squeegee it with my hands over and over to
get it to stay put. CJ reports the flow is virtually stopped.
So I make a run to the local hardware store looking for something that
we can apply in the rain. Two employees helped me read the instructions
on every caulk and roll of tape in the place and every one said to apply
when clean and dry.
Back to the trailer. The duct tape is still holding but it’s
supposed to rain for several days. Idea! Back to the
hardware store and buy a 6’x8’ tarp to drape over the front of the coach
and window rock guard. Dig some line out of the back of the truck
and jury rig a mini-tent over the window. It worked great and
before long I had a nice clean and dry front cap & window frame.
We ran a fresh bead of silicone caulk around the entire frame plus the
hinge joint where it opens. We left our little tent up to give the
silicone a chance to fully cure before it gets rained on. In the
mean time, we’re looking a bit “trailer trash” with our little tarp
draped over the nose of our rig – which is parked directly in front of
the office door of this VERY busy RV park. So much for looking
good, eh? Hey, if it keeps the water out, we’ll be happy
While I was finishing the window repair, CJ took the dogs for a walk in the park. Both came home looking like they’d been in a mud fight and lost. Some guy hanging out at the office chuckled at my response to seeing Gracie.
One last problem of the day. The LED display on our brake controller seems to have lost the bottom row of cells. That makes two places to call in the am to see about getting electronics repaired.
to get the web site up to date with the current photos uploaded, but the
leaking window changed that plan. Since we’ve decided to stay here 2
nights and then drive straight through to
Steve & C. J.
Wow, today was chock full of exciting stuff.
First, about an hour out of
Both of us seemed to think that the trailer was wandering around
behind us much more than it usually does. A few minutes after we
passed the bear, I realized that I’d forgotten to tighten the 2 screws
on the hitch that prevent it from turning at the ball. About the
time I had my “Ah ha!” experience, a pullout magically appeared for us
to get off the highway and make the needed adjustments to the hitch.
For those inclined to wonder what I’m talking about, we replaced the OEM
Chevrolet hitch with a PullRite hitch that pivots under the center of
the truck instead of at the ball. There’s more info on the web
site about this killer hitch.
There was a trucker pulled over in the pullout who’d blown a radiator hose on his nearly new semi. One of the clamps on the hose was too tight and cut the hose. I carry some special tape called “Rescue Tape” that sticks to itself like crazy and we wrapped the hole in his hose & he put some layers of duct tape on top of that and was able to get on the road again. Cool! It’s always much nicer to be able to fix someone else’s vehicle than having to fix ours. What CJ calls “Pay it forward.”
A couple of hours later we entered ‘sheep country’ but were disappointed that all we could find was a handful of Caribou. Life is hard, eh? The second caribou was alone and freaked by the rig. But, instead of running into the forest he ran alongside the road in the same direction we were going. I was afraid to pass him because he might try crossing the road in front of us, so we tried going slower. He just slowed down, So we sped up, and so did he. CJ’s photos of him running beside us cover a span of 53 seconds. Finally, I just nailed the throttle and got by him.
Less than a minute later, we spot a momma moose and 2 calf on the right side of the road. I was only doing about 35 MPH so we were able to stop quickly—right in the middle of the road. I jumped out with my camera & 150-500 telephoto & positioned myself between the truck and trailer, while CJ stayed in the truck with her 18-80. At first, momma started to head for the hills, then turned around and walked back to the soggy ditch along the road and right towards me! At one point she was so close my camera wouldn’t focus! Several shots nearly filled the frame with just her head and the lens was at just 170mm. Momma spotted me and I backed further into the gap between the truck and trailer and she seemed OK with that as she went back to eating the wet grass in the ditch. After a few minutes, there was a small sting of cars behind us and momma decided to head for the forest. One of her calves found a tasty bush to eat at the edge of the forest and entertained up with that for a bit before following mom.
An hour later we came across a small group of female Stone Sheep
with one cute little lamb. Half an hour later, a larger group of
Stone Sheep with 4 lambs. While we were photographing them, Two
idiot young guys got out of the car in front of us and walked across the
road. As soon as one of them walked into the middle of the group,
I sensed something was wrong and started taking pictures of them.
The guy walked into the middle of the group of ewes and picked up one of
the lambs. Then a woman and child got out of the car to the guy
with the lamb—the rest of the sheep split. About the time they had
the child petting the lamb CJ got close enough to yell at them.
They quickly put the lamb down, got back into the car and drove off.
But not before I’d taken close-up photos of them and their car with my
500mm. But, we’re in the middle of no where again and didn’t
expect to be able to find a ranger or RCMP till tomorrow afternoon when
we get to
Just 15 minutes later we come across 2 Wood Bison. More photos.
Twenty minutes after the bison we arrived at
Steve & C. J.
Today was another exciting day on the
The big highlight of the day came just minutes later when we came across a herd of buffalo and another black bear. Both were enjoying the lush grass on the side of the road seemingly getting along OK, although not comingling. But, at some point, two of the buffalo started moving towards the bear and got close enough for the bear to feel threatened. The bear responded by standing up and doing his big bear thing before retreating a few yards. Fortunately, I had my camera aimed and ready and got a few of shots of the sequence.
Just 10 minutes later, we came across another bear; a mom with two cubs. Another bunch of photos—between the two of us, we took over 350 photos today. J
Half an hour later, another small herd of buffalo. The treat this time was two of the bulls in a shoving match not more than 50’ from the truck. I got one photo of them facing off, but that was it so we don’t have much to share on that one. L
Afternoons are generally not ideal times for finding & observing
wildlife, and today was no different. OTOH, we finally got a chance to
actually put some miles under the rig. We arrived in
The first thing we did after setting up camp was to take our old name board from our motor home and put it up in the “sign forest” here in town. We got a spot on top of one of the poles right near the entrance to the highway entrance to the sign forest. After adding our sign to the collection of over 65,000 others, we went looking for the sign from our trip here in 2004. It was exactly where I remembered it, so that exercise only took about 5 minutes. Whew!
Another minor technical problem. The DRL (Daytime Running Lights) on the truck have quit working. So, since the law requires them, we’ll have to run our headlights till I’ve solved this one. I spent some time on it this afternoon and everything seems to check out OK so far, but the DRL’s still don’t work.
Once again, we’ve decided to make an adjustment to the travel plan.
The shows us staying in
Steve & C. J.
Status Report - Tuesday, June 30th - Whitehorse, Yukon
The last couple of days have been almost completely uneventful. Virtually no critters, but then no issues with the rig either, so we’re not going to complain. At least not yet.
We arrived in
Just before we left
Steve & C. J.