Author Archives: Ramblin' Rose

About Ramblin' Rose

Ramblin' Rose: Travels with Charlie and WB is about two adventure seekers and their fearless Airedale Terrier Woolly Bear. Thanks for stopping by as we share our journey across North America, one RV trip at a time!

Glacier National Park

After two days camped at Teddy Roosevelt NP, we aimed the camper North to Montana. What should have been an 8 our day turned into a 13 hour trek, but ended with awesome views of Glacier!!!!IMG_0988.JPG

The Going To The Sun Road is still under snow removal, but we managed to see 7 Grizzly bears in the open 12 miles from St Mary’s.

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in addition, we spent our second day there at Two Medicine Campground and picnic area, one of my favorite places on earth!!! The wildflowers were the best I have seen, Bear Grass, lupine, columbine, etc flooding the ground. IMG_1030.JPG

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The  weather has been cooperative and we are now heading for Banff National Park.

We saw 7 Grizzly bears at St Mary’s and Chas has the photos, but I can’t access them yet! Will post the bears later:)!

On the road again…

The beginning of our trip was a bit hectic, as most beginnings are. We set the alarm clock for 4 am, planning to be on the road by 4:30. I thought everything was in order: had packed everything but the dog the day before, had prepped the coffee pot so it just had to be turned on, and had our travel mugs ready to be filled. Those that know me know I don’t function without my morning coffee:)! All should flow smoothly, or so I thought.

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What actually happened was not what I had planned. The coffee part was perfect, but when we hooked up the Jeep to the Winnie, the lights did not work!!! After a bit, Charlie found some contact spray and the connections worked perfectly, lights blinking in sinc. So we began our journey, only to get to I 95 and realized that someone didn’t have their good reading glasses ( and it wasn’t the one of us addicted to reading) so back home again. Had to park in the street because the camper towing the Jeep cannot go up our driveway, nor turn around if it did. Finally, at 5:30 am we were on the road.

The next few days are a whirl of driving and camping at mostly 5 star rated commercial campgrounds. It costs a bit more, but the standard of quality accommodations is worth it at this time of our lives. We like KOA’s for the consistency of the services. We did stay at one 3 star, but quickly wished we had not. Even WB did not want to wander outside!

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Our first real stop was at Teddy Roosevelt National Park at the far end of North Dakota. This has long been a favorite of Charlie’s, but this time we had a rude awakening!!! Sometime in the last year or so they have started letting people reserve the campsites. We were operating under the old rules, first come, first served, and arrived at 9:00 a.m. Only to find that all the sites on the Little Missouri River and with a view of the mountains, were reserved ahead!!! The interior loop sites( read undesirable) were still up for grabs. So we found ourselves a nice site for the requisite $7 fee( senior pass is half price) and stayed in the 90 degree heat dry camping. Unfortunately, the majority of the pre-reserved sites remained unoccupied for the two days we were there. Now I will reserve my site ahead of time, but this time we were caught unaware after 35 years of first come, first served!!!

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We have better pictures, but they are on Charlie’s computer and inassessible at this time:) Will post wild horses later:).

2017 “Back to Alaska” Trip

Our  2015 Alaskan visit was cut short after we visited Valdez and Tok. We missed camping in Denali and touring the Kenai Penninsula so Charlie and I decided to go back to Alaska while the going is good! And we now have a better idea of what to expect along the AlCan.

We have purchased new tires for both the Winnebago and the Jeep Wrangler, have changed the oil in both vehicles, and done whatever maintenance needed to be done.  Charlie has agreed to share the driving with me, and I have practiced driving the Winnebago around town, just to get a feel for how a vehicle a foot wider than my Jeep handles on turns and on the highway.

Our bicycles are packed, our refrigerator has been started, clothes have found their way to the camper, and the count down has begun. We are getting ready to ramble!

We plan to visit some of our favorite places on our way North: Teddy Roosevelt NP, Glacier NP, Banff, Jasper and Yoho NPs, and visit some new-to-us Provincial Parks that we missed the last time around. In addition, we will take a left turn at Haines Junction and spend a few days on the ocean in Haines, then spend a few days at Kluane National Park, and visit Liard Hot Springs. I am hoping the road is in better shape than it was in 2015. We are a bit later in the season, so more of the repair work should be done.

This may well be our last trek to Alaska, so we are intent on getting it right this time!

 

Summer of 2016 Update

I am taking a break from packing the RV for our “Back to Alaska” trek, and I realized we never posted last summer’s adventures. Last summer was a low key trip, in August, to the Badlands, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Glacier.

Highlights included driving through the Big Horn Mountains, dry camping at Colter Bay in the Tetons, camping in Yellowstone at Fishing Bridge, and driving the Going-to-the Sun Road in Glacier National Park. We were only gone for three weeks, but saw plenty of animals and beautiful scenery!

Our Alaskan Road Trip: Valdez

We drove down into Valdez after leaving Tok. Valdez sits at sea level, so the mountains seem much taller than ones starting a thousand or so feet above sea level. Clouds covered some of the peaks, but our campsite had, as the real estate people would say, ” location, location, location”!!!

We pulled the nose of the RV up into the site, and had a great view of the small boat harbor from our window. Better yet, we put our camp chairs outside next to the bank and watched the fishing boats, kayakers, and sea otters as they traversed the harbor.

We took a trip back up the highway to Worthington Glacier and hiked the short walk to look at it up close. It is one of the easiest glaciers to access, and Charlie took lots of pictures of it, but we can’t access his photos due to poor internet connections. His photos of the glacier and other scenic Valdez images will follow, once we reach better wifi!

View from our camp site, Valdez small boat harbor

View from our camp site, Valdez small boat harbor

We enjoyed watching the Eagles, boats, and sea otters in the harbor but all good things come to an end, and when Charlie and I looked at the wild fire situation to try and decide where we should go next, there were not good choices! Fires had increased from 200 to 300, and we were reading reports of heavy smoke on the Kennai Penninsula, Denali Park Road, and Fairbanks. So, after much deliberation we decided to head back to the Alaskan Highway, which had managed to burn itself  both sides of the road between Tok and the Border Crossing in our short time visiting!

Map showing wild fires on day we decided to turn around!

Map showing wild fires on day we decided to turn around!

Our Great Alaskan Road Trip: Jasper National Park

Bear on side of Columbian Icefield Parkway

Bear on side of Columbian Icefield Parkway

We left Banff and headed North along the Columbian Icefield highway. This is one of the most scenic drives we have experienced! Mountains, glaciers, snow, and wild animals all in the same place. The Winnebago managed to tow the car easily up the hills and into Jasper National Park.  Charlie captured this close up of a bear on the parkway. The bear continued to graze while at least five photographers were snapping away. I had my hands full containing Woolly Bear!

Elk resting at our campsite!

Elk resting at our campsite

We camped at Whistler’s Campground within Jasper National Park, at site 29 E. This site was spacious, private, and wooded but did not have electricity or water. That was fine, we would much rather have the space and privacy, and we tried out our new solar suitcase to keep the batteries charged! Generators are allowed for an hour and a half in the morning, and two hours in the evening, but we dislike hearing our generator run, so use it sparingly. Our hope is that the solar suitcase will provide enough charge to the batteries when we camp off the grid.

The second day at Jasper Charlie was taking pictures of a unique camping set up across the loop from us (a school bus with wood stove!!!) when he came face to face with a Black Bear! The  bear turned and vanished into the woods just as Charlie tried to take a picture of him. He did get pictures of the bus. We would love to know the story behind the bus RV, but the fellow moved on before we had the chance to talk to him.

We spent time visiting Maligne Lake and Maligne Canyon,  accidentally crashed a wedding at Pyramid Lake on the island there, and drove to Athabascar Waterfall.  We really wanted to drive up Edith Cavell Mountain, but the road was still closed from winter. And speaking of winter, we had snow mixed with rain our second day there. It rained off and on the three days we camped there, and the rain followed us into Hinton, and up to Dawson Creek and the beginning of the Alaskan Highway! We are currently camped at mile 300 of the Alaskan Highway in British Columbia, heading into Yukon Territory tomorrow,  and will be writing about this next segment of our trip as soon as I have suitable internet!

Woolly Bear checking out the glacial lake at Jasper

Woolly Bear checking out the glacial lake at Jasper

Our Great Alaskan Road Trip: Customs and Banff NP

We left Glacier early because of the road closure, and headed for Banff NP. At 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning we rolled up to Customs. We had always had a quick and painless interrogatory, and quickly were sent on our way. Not this time!!!!

This time the questions at the gate window became more pointed: what had we done for a living? How long were we going to be in Canada? How many guns were we carrying? And the like. We soon were told to pull over to a grassy area so the Officials could search our camper. So with Woolly Bear on his leash, we exited the camper and the two men began a very thorough search. Fortunately for us, they were neat about it and even though no inch went unsearched, they did not create the chaos that would happen if cabinets were just dumped onto the floor. After their thorough search, they exited the camper and checked the battery compartment, then let us resume our travel. I sort of wish they would have told us what the heck they were looking for!

Our campsite at Tunnel  Mtn Village, Banff NP

Our campsite at Tunnel Mtn Village, Banff NP

We camped at Banff NP at a beautiful site at Tunnel Mountain Village, with a view on two sides of the mountains. Our site, C46, had electricity and water was available elsewhere. The cost was $32.00 per night. It did not have a fire pit, but did have a picnic table and plenty of space for Woolly Bear to sit and watch for bears! He didn’t see any bears, but we did have a large coyote walk into the site at lunchtime one day. The walking path was adjacent and made walking Woolly Bear a pleasure.

Coyote visiting our campsite at lunch time in Banff.

Coyote visiting our campsite at lunch time in Banff.

Coyote visiting another campsite after WB chased him away from ours!

Coyote visiting another campsite after WB chased him away from ours!

We stayed in Banff for five days, visited Cave and Basin and did the Marsh Walk, drove the Vermillion Lake Drive, went to Morraine Lake and walked the lakeshore, spent time at Lake Minnewanka, and drove the Icefields Parkway on our way to Jasper NP.

Our Great Alaskan Road Trip: Glacier National Park

We arrived at St Mary’s, Glacier NP to find that the magnificent Going To The Sun Road was closed at the campground. We had purposely chosen the east side and St Mary’s cg so we could drive the Going to the Sun road and perhaps re- hike some of the trails we had taken with Shannon back in the 80’s.Unless we drove an hour to the west side of the park, it was inaccessible. There was construction going on, so later this year the road will be open. Just not while we were visiting!

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We have camped at Two Medicine cg four times in the past 30 years, it is a very special place for us. Excellent views of the lake and mountains, quiet campground without any amenities, and lots of hiking! We spent one of our days there and had the good fortune of seeing a Big Horn Sheep swim part of the lake to cross right in front of us.

We also drove up to Many Glacier and enjoyed time hiking, scanning the cliffs, and picnicking.image

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Our Great Alaskan Road Trip: Yellowstone NP


After leaving Custer State Park in South Dakota we drove to Cody, Wyoming and then on to Yellowstone National Park. Towing the Jeep through the Big Horn Mountains was a bit tricky, as we believe we got bad gasoline at the stop right before the hills. After stopping at a pull off to add dry gas, the Winebago resumed her good work, and we were able to ascend the hills with more ease!

We had reservations at Fishing Bridge RV inside the Park. This campground has electricity and water at each site, but resembles a parking lot. There are bear warnings everywhere, but I fear a Grizzly would trip on someone’s water hose or electric cord if he actually ventured in. We chose to stay there because the temperature was hovering around freezing each night, and we wanted to run the electric heater. With the Jeep available for driving around, we spent little time at the campground.

Fox right outside of Fishing Bridge

Fox right outside of Fishing Bridge

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We spent six days in Yellowstone, and saw three bears the first day, multiple prong horn and elk, lots of bison, and a variety of birds including Bald Eagles and Western Blue Birds. Charlie likes to set up his spotting scope and tripod to share with fellow wildlife lovers! He helped many children view the mother bear and her baby as they frolicked in the shade of the pine trees.

Bison never bore!

Bison never bore!

On Tuesday we traveled through the Geyser area and spent time driving all of the small roads that our RV was not allowed on when we visited the Park in 2011. Firehole Lake was especially nice, as were the paint pots and various other thermal sights. But the most memorable part of that day will be the shock of seeing a tourist gored by a bison on the boardwalk adjacent to Old Faithful! The poor man was walking the boardwalk ahead of us when he came in close proximity with a huge bison. I did not see what happened, but saw the aftermath and was impressed with the Park’s immediate response. A Ranger quickly drove her car between the bison and the man lying on the boardwalk. After shielding the man with her car, she administered first aide until the ambulance, then life star helicopter arrived. The most shocking thing for me was observing some of the tourists taking “selfies” of the scene after it happened. Unbelievable behavior!

Thermal activity at Yellowstone

Thermal activity at Yellowstone

On the Wednesday we drove through the Lamar Valley area, and had the opportunity to watch four wolves, two gray and two brownish black, feeding on a bison they had killed a few days before. We heard that the bison was having difficulty giving birth and that the wolves had watched her til she weakened, then moved in for the kill. Both pairs of wolves had litters of pups that needed to be fed and they worked together to do so. We had always looked for wolves when we visited, but never had the luck to see them before. Charlie set up his tripod and spotting scope and we spent a good portion of the morning just watching the wolves! The kill was about half a mile from the road, so the camera didn’t capture it, but the spotting scope made it very clear to see.

The best Charlie's camera could do. Four wolves, one rib cage in the distance!

The best Charlie’s camera could do. Four wolves, one rib cage in the distance!

On Friday we broke camp and moved North to Glacier National Park. We did not have wifi or cell service in Yellowstone, and even as I write this in Glacier, the connectivity is sporadic! As we move further North I expect more issues with wifi, but will post when we can.