Monthly Archives: March 2013

Day 5 – Dawson City, YT

Today was a longer day driving at about 600 kilometers.   You learn first hand just how expansive our country is when you explore it in a vehicle.  We left Northern Lights after another big breakfast with our hosts.  We drove into Whitehorse for a car wash, fuel, and Tim Horton’s coffee. We made a quick stop at the paddle wheeler.IMG_5038

We headed north on the Klondike highway after leaving Whitehorse.  Our first stop was the Braeburn Lodge for their giant cinnamon buns.  We bought one for $9.00 …Julie’s note “Yikes!” …but were too full from breakfast to eat.  We will share it tomorrow morning and will post a picture if we remember and if our fingers aren’t too sticky. IMG_5039

We made another highway stop at an overlook of the five fingers rapids on the Yukon River.  I think it would be better viewing in the summer when you could get a sense of the water flow around the islands but it is still quite a view in the winter.IMG_5041

While we were stopped, there was a raven playing and making all kinds of sounds. I was able to get his picture while he was sitting on the sign.IMG_5045

Suddenly, I heard another funny sound and spun around just in time to see an old crow. (SHHH!  She won’t read this blog will she?)  Julie notes “Hope the old coot knows how to sleep with one eye open. We have decided we would fit right in in Dawson City if we were about 25 years younger or if we grow white beards. Since we can’t make ourselves younger, beards it is. As a Holmes girl I am up to the challenge.”IMG_5044

We made a lunch stop just past Pelly Crossing and had some great sandwiches at another roadside turnout – better than any subway.IMG_5048

After more driving through sun, clouds, and snow flurries we stopped to view the Tintina Trench at an overlook. Julie notes “I read all the points of interest signs along the way and find it all very interesting. My recall sucks though and by the time I get back to the truck I can’t remember if I read 450 …kms, feet, years, kabillion years, species of birds migrating or freckles on an arctic fox… but I do remember the name of the little white bird we have been seeing in little flocks rising up out of the ditches as we drive along… a hairy chested nust scratcher… but goes by the formal name of snow bunting.

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We arrived in Dawson City, YT just after 5:00 PM and checked into our hotel, the Aurora Inn.  It is very quiet in Dawson in March.  Many of the restaurants, hotels, and businesses are closed.  Probably even more so on Easter Sunday. Love the look of the old gold rush here though. They’ve worked to keep it looking authentic.

We were directed to a restaurant but it was closed so found a pub, Bombay Peggy’s for a couple of drinks and an appetizer.  There was a BBQ out on the street so we grabbed a couple of the last smokies.  It was very popular and they ran out of food and condiments by the time we got there. Julie notes “No kissing the ‘sour toe’ tonight and no, that’s not a pet name for Brad.”

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Our thoughts today are with Julie’s parents, Jim and Vera, who both have health challenges, also Julie’s Uncle Ron who broke his hip in Coquitlam, BC, and again her Uncle Herb and Aunt Lynne.  We hope they are all making improvements and wish them a speedy recovery.

…over and out from Dawson City

Day 4 – Northern Lights Resort & Spa

March 30, 2013

Today was a very relaxing day for Julie and I, mostly.  We started out with a continental breakfast in the main lodge with a few other guests.  It tasted fantastic and the scenery was spectacular.

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We had booked some massages for later in the day but after the big breakfast and before being pampered, we decided to do a recommended hike through the Yukon wilderness. The trail climbed to a lookout and then we followed a ridge line and eventually circled back.

hike near whitehorse

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The snow was still deceivingly deep.  If you stepped off the hard pack, you found out the hard way just how deep it was.  Julie notes “I’m smiling in this picture, but the air was a bit fouled when both of my legs  and my trekking pole were stuck in snow past my knee. Brad has natural snowshoes with those giant feet of his. I definitely worked for my apple pie and whipped cream dessert.”

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We had a bite to eat in our cabin and then a long soak in the outdoor hot tub.  It felt good after the 2 hour hike. Julie notes ‘One of the best parts of the trip so far is watching Brad hit the camera timer and then scramble out of a snow bank or in this case, over the side of the hot tub. It sure makes me smile. Although a little splashy sometimes.”

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It was soon time for a sauna and massage in the main lodge.  Then back to our cabin for a cocktail before our German supper in the main lodge.

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At the table with the other B&B guests.

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Our hosts, Wolfgang and Renate of Northern Lights Resort & Spa.

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Before ending the post for today, we want to give a shout out to Uncle Herb and Aunt Lynne from Sheridan Lake, BC who are facing some serious medical challenges.  We are thinking about them and hoping for the best.

 

Day 3 – Northern Lights Resort and Spa

March 29, 2013

I hate to say it again, but what a great day.  We left Fort Nelson with full coffee mugs and a full tank of diesel, and headed to Whitehorse, well actually 23 km from Whitehorse at Northern Lights Resort and Spa. (http://www.northernlightsyukon.com/)  An easy days drive at around 425 kilometers.  I had booked this place last November to try and entice Julie into joining me on this adventure.  It worked! (Some of the remaining stops, especially north of Dawson City, will be a little more, shall we say, rustic.)

We arrived here in the early afternoon and were greeted by the great German couple that own and built the log cabins and spa on 160 acres.  We had a tour of the facilities and then Julie and I had a soak in the outdoor hot tub while enjoying the views of the surrounding mountains.  Julie notes ‘We narrowly escaped an embarrassing hot tub faux pas as Brad made the rookie mistake of forgetting his bathing suit at the Liard Hot Spring change room.  Luckily he remembered just before we drove off and we made the double trek back up the somewhat slippery boardwalk to retrieve it.  Doubling our exercise for yesterday and no commando in the hot tub today. So we have not been banned from this spa…yet!  We still have massages and saunas tomorrow.”

We made some supper in our private cabin with kitchenette.  We enjoyed some cold cuts, veggies, spinach and yogurt dip, cheeses and a nice bottle of wine.

Before leaving Watson Lake we made the obligatory stop at the sign post forest.  The information centre was closed but you can still browse through the forest.

Sign Post Forest

We saw another small herd of caribou today about 2 minutes after leaving Fort Nelson. Tis the season for caribou migration.

Watson Lake caribou

The drive through the mountains on a mostly sunny day with crisp snow gleaming from the slopes is hard to beat.

Alaska highway near Teslin

We arrived in Teslin just in time for a nice lunch at the Yukon Motel and Restaurant on the banks of Teslin Lake.   Julie notes “The washrooms were a clean and a welcome sight after some definite ‘no goes’ along the highway.”

The bridge crossing the lake is impressive.

Teslin bridge

We are booked into the Northern Lights Resort and Spa for 2 nights.  We have a massage booked for tomorrow and a German style supper in the main lodge.  Stay tuned for more updates.

Thanks for all the comments.  It is difficult to respond to each one as we are traveling but, rest assured, we enjoy reading them and seeing them posted. Keep them coming!

Day 2 – Watson Lake

What a great day today!  Great weather, beautiful scenery, lots of wildlife viewing, and a soak in the natural hot springs.

We travelled from Fort Nelson to Watson Lake today. BC time had us up early and out on the road by 9:15 after our yogurt and berries. It is about 520 kilometers.  We stopped at a cute truck stop in Toad River to refill our coffee mugs. Once again Julie approved of the facilities and however tempted, she did not buy the ‘so cute’ Toad River souvenir baby’s outfits. Julie notes ‘We can still pick some up on the way back home.’ Maybe she’ll be snoozing when we pass that way again.

We spotted Stone sheep. They seemed to be voguing for us. Move a bit and strike a pose. Noticeably different than the Dahl sheep we are used to seeing near Jasper. IMG_4972

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bison, over sixty in total by the time we reached Watson Lake. A few big fellows on the highway just daring us to come closer! No baby cabbies (Melodie speak) yet though (as our grand-baby would say).

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…and caribou (they were right on the highway but scurried up the bank and proceeded to moon us!)

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We stopped for a BBQ and a soak in the Liard Hot Springs.

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Brad entertained the other bathers with his click and dash from the camera in to pose position. One wrong move though clunked his leg into a cement bench. And it left a mark. Julie notes ‘I was not planning on piggy backing him back out over the somewhat treacherous icy walkway. Lucky for him he could still walk, otherwise some hungry bear coming out of hibernation would have found his lucky first meal. Poached Brad.’

Hot Springs

And then finally entered the Yukon… (but is the Yukon ready for us?)

Entering the Yukon

Before we left Fort Nelson we met a guy living the dream! We don’t have a rig like that so we are staying in Watson Lake in A Nice Motel. That is actually the name and they did not lie. It is very nice. But not as nice as this.

Living the Dream

We posted more photos in the Photo Gallery “Ice Road 2013”.  Check them out.

 

Day 1 – Fort Nelson

We started our Ice Road adventure today driving from Grande Prairie, AB to Fort Nelson, BC, while our tans are still sort of fresh from our recent Mexico trip. We drove about 580 km today.  This is the first stage on our Pan American highway adventure. It was a gorgeous spring day with sunny skies showing off the distant mountain peaks and temperatures around 4C-5C. As you can see in the pictures below we did the tourist photo op at Mile Zero in Dawson Creek. We were ‘those’ people popping out in between traffic to get the shot. Only got honked at once though. Will have to try harder next time. We stopped at the Alaska Highway Mile 80 rest area for lunch. We have a couple of coolers with us and made some great sub sandwiches to go along with our remaining Tim Horton’s coffees. Julie notes  ‘This rest area had wonderful warm and clean washrooms.’ She is taking after her parents who were our washroom inspectors on previous trips. But I have to agree with her. Tonight we are staying at the Woodlands Inn, a locally owned hotel. Very nice room but some of the lights don’t work so I am typing this to the light of the TV. That is my excuse for any errors you might find.  We tried the One restaurant at our hotel for supper.  Rated #2 on Trip Advisor for Fort Nelson.  The #1 rated restaurant, Triple G, was closed. 🙂 or at least that was what we assumed  the snowbanks in front of the main door indicated.  Pretty good food at the One even though it was our number Two choice.  Some great thai curry mussels as an appetizer.

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Alaska highway sign post at Mile 0 in Dawson Creek, BCIMG_3588

Trying to get a picture without getting run over! 🙂IMG_3585

A typical view along highway 97 in northern BC.IMG_3589

 

 

 

 

Deposit – March 23, 2013

We paid our deposit today for the “Trek of the Americas” RV trip with Adventuretours RV Tours.  We will be leaving McAllen, TX on July 25, 2013. But first we will drive the Ice Road to Tuktoyaktuk, NT, Canada leaving later this month. It is exciting to see this all coming together!

Gourmet Dinner March 16, 2013

Our gourmet dinner club got together Saturday evening at Frank and Lola’s house.  They hosted a Mexican themed dinner with mango margaritas, Mexican beer, and other fine drinks.  The meat  was a baked chicken dish.  For appetizers, Nathan and Karen provided a taco “pie” and guacamole. Dave and Grace supplied sweet rolls and a mixed salad and dressing.  Julie and I prepared Mexican rice and grilled vegetables. Nathan and Karen’s dessert was a decadent chocolate brownie with coconut ice cream and spicy peaches.  Everything was excellent.  A fun time was had by all with our good friends, as usual.

Visit with Lukah (and skiing) – March 12-15, 2013

Julie and I made a trip to Fox Creek to visit Lukah, our great nephew.  He is an 8 week old healthy, happy baby.  Lukah is Sean Tollett’s son. IMG_4950 IMG_4930 IMG_4947 IMG_4942 IMG_4935

After visiting in Fox Creek we continued on through Edson to Jasper.  We stayed, once again, at the IMG_0508Lobstick after getting a good deal on rooms through Hotwire.com.  We skied Wednesday and Thursday in fresh snow and great conditions.  Julie doesn’t appreciate the powder as much as everyone else.  She finds it a challenge but did really well both days.  We used of Sunshine Marmot cIMG_0511ards and got the first (our seventh) day free and a good discount on the second day.  That will probably be our last ski trip.  It was a great way to end the season.

Truck Upgrades March 11, 2013

I had some upgrades installed today to hopefully improve our diesel truck mileage and performance.  After some internet research and speaking with Supreme Diesel in Sexsmith, Alberta, I decided to go with the following upgrades;

  • PPE Xcelerator Tuner
  • Edge CTS Insight Monitor
  • S&B Cold Air Intake Kit
  • FloPro 4″ Aluminized Exhaust

The goal is to improve mileage and performance over the long Central and South America trip.  The total cost of the upgrade including tax was $2496.52.  With even a small improvement in mileage, this will pay for itself in fuel cost savings.  Time will tell if the upgrade was worth it.