Friday, July 20, 2018

Into the Heart of BC

We crossed over into Canada on Wednesday at the Osoyoos BC crossing. The crossing was relatively uneventful which is always nice. The guard had the standard questions but this time added a new twist by asking current employment status and most recent employment history. Guess he decided we were not going to be a leach on Canadian Society as he let us proceed. First stop after crossing into BC was at a local fruit stand to load up on some of that great Okanogan fruit. Found some yummy peaches, apricots, corn, cherries, and apples. We made overnight stops in Cache Creek BC, Prince George BC, and tonight are in Smithers BC.


Today we stopped at a grocery store in Prince George for a few items and we are still shocked at the prices. Our observation from a few years ago that groceries are about 2-3 times more expensive in Canada than at home still holds true. A half gallon of milk that we would typically pay around a dollar to a dollar and half for at home is $3.62 here. Likewise, a gallon of water that we could get at home of $0.89 was priced at $3.99! Of course, on the flip side they do not directly pay of health insurance or health care so in the end it probably works out about even. Gas has been running around $1.45 per liter, which works out to about $5.50 a gallon.  We expected gas to be this much in the northern reaches of Canada but it is unusual for it to be this much in the southern part.


Tomorrow we start the most challenging part of the whole trip as we head up the Cassiar Highway. The Cassiar is a 725 km wilderness highway from central BC up into Yukon Territory where it joins the Alaska Highway near Watson Lake. The highway is very remote with only one real town about 2/3 of the way up called Dease Lake which has a population of about 300 people. Last time we were on the Cassiar, it was very eerie as it was not uncommon to go 10s of miles without seeing another person. We are hoping to see lots of wildlife. Our plan is to spend about 4 days on the highway including an extra day at Boya Lake where we hope to finally get the kayaks wet.



A beautiful sunset on the banks of the Osoyoos Lake near Oroville WA

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A robin says it bath time!

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An old truck in a field just outside of Cache Creek BC

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A beautiful drive between Cache Creek BC and Prince George BC

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From around our campsite near Prince George BC

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When we were planning our trip, we discovered and joined a Facebook group called "RVing to Alaska 2018". The group is a way for travelers to share ideas, experiences, and tips along the way. To show membership in the group they produced these small blue signs for the back of your rig. Every since leaving home we have been keeping and eye out for other group members. Finally, at a rest area south of Quesnel BC we spotted a fellow group member. Was great to meet Ken and Sue from Grants Pass OR hope to see you again along the way.

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Track Logs:

Day 8 – July 17, 2017, 247 miles

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Day 9 – July 18, 2017, 206  miles

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Day 10 – July 19, 2017, 266  miles

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Day 11 – July 20, 2017, 245  miles

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Making Our Way North

We have been on the road for about a week now and are slowly making our way north. Right now, we are in Pasco WA, which is about 235 miles south of the border. So far, we have driven 1381 miles and have about 2800 miles to go before we dip our toes in the Arctic Ocean. We plan to cross into Canada on Wednesday and then spend the next 2 weeks or so going through British Columbia and Yukon before finally arriving in Alaska. So far, the trip has been nice but the temps have been a little warm with most days approaching 100 degrees. We are expecting the temps to cool off and scenery and wildlife sightings to increase as we get farther north.


View from our campsite at Utah Lake State park.  Not too bad!

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Some of the beautiful red rock country north of Kanab UT

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Sunset over Utah Lake 

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Sunset from our campsite at Three Island State park in Idaho

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The following are plants and wildlife from Hood Park near Pasco Washington

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A couple birds posing for us at Utah Lake

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Track Logs:

Day 1 – July 10, 2018, 150 miles driven

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Day 2 – July 11, 2018, 268 miles driven

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Day 3 – July 12, 2018, 265 miles driven

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Day 4 – July 13, 2018, 319 miles driven

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Day 5 – July 14, 2018, 99 miles driven

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Day 6 – July 15, 2018, 281 miles driven

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Destination: Arctic Ocean

The last several years we have discussed the idea of traveling the famous Dalton Highway from Fairbanks to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay Alaska to visit the Arctic Ocean so this year we are going to make that dream a reality. We left southern Arizona today and over the next several weeks will slowly make our way up to the Arctic. One additional benefit of this trip is we will go to the most northern point on the North American highway system.

The plan is to slowly make our way up through Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington entering Canada at the Osoyoos crossing in British Columbia. On the way up to Alaska we will take the western route along the Cassiar Highway joining the Alaska Highway near Watson Lake Yukon. We will continue on to Whitehorse Yukon, which is the capitol of the Yukon Territory. If the weather is decent, we plan to continue north to Dawson City, which is a famous gold rush town. We will then continue on the Top of the World highway into Alaska. In Alaska, we first plan to visit Valdez on the southern coast before heading up to Fairbanks. From Fairbanks we will head on north up the Dalton Highway to the Arctic Ocean.

Our original plan was to leave the RV in Fairbanks and continue on up the Dalton in our truck but the more research we did the more concerned we were taking our vehicle all the way up given the sketchy road conditions. We did some searching and finally find a car rental company in Fairbanks that rented trucks specifically for the Dalton. As we looked more into the rental idea, we discovered that by the time you rented the truck, purchased all the special insurance you needed, and rented a sat phone the price was almost as much as some of the tour packages from Fairbanks to the Arctic Ocean. Therefore, in the end we booked a 3-day tour with Northern Alaska Tour Company. They will fly us to Deadhorse in a small bush type airplane and then take us in a van to Prudhoe Bay to visit the ocean and the north slope oilfields. (Prudhoe Bay is a company town and is only accessible via tour van). We will spend the night in Deadhorse before heading down the Dalton Highway toward Fairbanks in a van the next day. The second day we will drive from Deadhorse through the Brooks Range and over Atigun Pass before spending the night in Coldfoot at about the halfway point. The third day we will continue on south arriving in Fairbanks in the evening. As much as we would like to drive all the way up the tour option, is the safest and made the most since.

After completing the Arctic Ocean visit, we will start slowly heading home. The plan is to take the eastern route home going through Watson Lake, Dawson Creek, Edmonton, and Calgary before re-entering the US at the Sweet Grass Crossing in Montana. From there it will be a fairly quick trip on home. We really love the Yukon and northern BC area so we plan to spend several extra days along the way enjoying the scenery and doing a little kayaking on some of the beautiful remote lakes.

All total we expect to be out about 7 weeks and cover nearly 10000 miles. We plan to update this blog every few days and hopefully produce a few YouTube videos along the way.

Monday, April 2, 2018

San Juan del Sur Nicaragua

Our expectations for Nicaragua were not very high based on what we had heard/read in the news media. We were pleasantly surprised and actually found San Juan del Sur to be our favorite port on the whole trip. We found the city to be very clean and well organized. The people were all very friendly and we felt completely safe. Our biggest surprise was that the street vendors did not harrass us to buy their wares. In the other ports, they were all over you to buy something. Hint to the vendors... we actually bought more in San Juan than any other port!


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Seems like all the Centeral/South American countries have very interesting electrical power systems.  Not many standards or rules here.

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Port was too small for the ship so they anchored about a mile out and used small tenders

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This guy was anchored just off our port side.  At least the guns were covered.

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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Puntarenas Costa Rica

In Puntarenas Costa Rica we took a mangrove forest river trip with the hope of see some of the famous Costa Rican wildlife. We were not disappointed. During the two-hour cruise we saw lots of birds, crocodiles, and iguana. We were even fortunate to spot a gorgeous macaw bird. Valerie, who is an avid birder, added 7 new birds to her life list! Besides the wildlife, we were not overly impressed with Costa Rica. What was most noticeable was the fact that virtually every house and business was surrounded by a wall topped with razor wire. While we did see lots of really nice looking eco resorts we did not get the feeling that was a particularly safe area.


Prothonotary Warbler

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Roseate Spoonbill

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This gorgeous Macaw was back in the forest tending the nest.

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Ready for flight!

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An Iguana along the river bank

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Doesn’t look too friendly

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Not the place to go for a swim

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Coconut Tree

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Bananas

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