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!

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!

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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.

Our Great Alaskan Road Trip: Custer State Park, South Dakota

A view from The Needles Highway, Custer State Park, South Dakota

A view from The Needles Highway, Custer State Park, South Dakota

We caught some sunshine between rain clouds and drove the Needles Highway to the Sylvan Lake area of Custer State Park. The highway is only about 18 miles long, but the scenery is outstanding!  The road traverses the high land and has two rather tight tunnels  cut through the rock formations. The Needles Eye is adjacent to a tunnel and sits almost on the highway. It is the featured image for this post, but if you are driving the highway and watching the narrow switchbacks, it is easy to miss it!

Once we arrived at Sylvan Lake we let Woolly Bear out of the car and set off on the easy hike around the lake. Dogs are allowed on the trails, but not on the swimming beaches. The lake water was high as South Dakota has had quite a bit of rain in the Black Hills area, so some of the trail was under water. After completing the easy mile long hike we continued on some of the other trails until Woolly began to tire. As those of you who follow this blog know, he had both knees operated on less than a year ago, and he is still not quite up to par. A mile or two is about all our exuberant Airedale can handle at one time.

We decided to have a picnic on the Wildlife Loop watching the bison and the wild burros.

Wild burros at Custer State Park

Wild burros at Custer State Park


Bison having lunch with us at Custer State Park

Bison having lunch with us at Custer State Park

Friday we drove the Iron Mountain Scenic Highway and visited Mt Rushmore in the morning. This highway consists of a series of pig tail log bridges, the road spirals up the mountain and has a series of circles, bridges, and narrow stone tunnels. There is one particular tunnel that gives you a look at Mt Rushmore as you exit it. We stopped at several look offs, let Woolly Bear stretch his legs, and reminisced about our time at Custer State Park and Mt Rushmore 30 years ago! We can’t figure out why it has taken us so long to visit again. Custer State Park is a very special place!