Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Rather Challenging Day

Our trip has been filled with good times, some serious adventure, and lots of smiles; but some days are more challenging. Yesterday was one of those days. It started with a 300 mile drive to Hardin, Montana in 95 degree heat. When we arrived at the Campground and I took WB for his ritual new Campground stroll, I noticed the dry grass crunching under my feet. Woolly Bear then slipped his collar and made a game of tag out of me trying to catch him. Fortunately he stayed away from RVs and cars, and I was able to capture him. Today he is wearing his harness and cannot escape!

After capturing WB, I stepped into the RV to find Charlie had sliced his thigh open while making “extenders” for the sun visors out of corrugated cardboard. I washed the wound with peroxide, applied neosporin, and bandaged him up. We decided the bleeding had stopped and stitches were not needed. Our new cardboard sun visors add much to the aesthetics of the Winnebago:). But we tend to drive early as the sun is rising, and we have now turned East so the sun is directly in our eyes.

After cleaning up the cardboard and blood ( he used a sheet rock knife), I decided we would sit outside in the shade. I got our chairs and left Charlie with WB while I fetched beverages. Should be simple, right? As I exited the camper and went to close the door, I found it would not close.

This worried me, because 3 days earlier, at a gas station in Hinton, we could not exit the vehicle! Our RV has only the one door, no drivers door. We had pulled up to the gas pump and the camper door would not open. Charlie finally forced it open, and we had a mechanic look at the latch. He suggested cleaning the locking mechanism. So we had thoroughly cleaned the inner parts of the door latch just 3 days ago. It had worked fine for those 3 days, and we thought our problem was solved.

But it wasn’t. We now had a door that could not be closed. I had the owner of the KOA help Charlie take the lock apart yet again, and we thought we had it fixed. It would open and close from the outside. The man showed us how to open the lock from the inside ( components were sliding around and sagging out of alignment) and we knew we would need to replace the entire mechanism upon our return home. I was fearful that we would be unable to open the door from the inside, so Charlie went inside while WB and I stayed outside. I shut the door and asked Charlie to open it. He could not! He was stuck in the RV until I opened it from the outside.

This was scary. Our Winnebago Vista 26e has only one door. The escape window is probably 8 feet above the ground, and I am pretty sure both Charlie and I would get hurt badly trying to crawl out the window. But worse yet, WB would not be able to escape through the window. He weighs 90 lbs and could not be dropped 8 feet to the ground without being hurt badly. So, we decided to remove the entire door latch/ lock and secure it until we could get it fixed. That would allow us to be confident we could exit or enter the RV as needed.

We got the latch system out easily, just a few screws to remove. Then the fun of how to secure the door began. We tried string, wire, stainless steel tie wraps, and bungy cords. None worked as well as we would have liked. The steel tie wraps would be strong enough to hold the door as we drove, but would need to be cut each and every time we entered or exited the rig. And we did not have an unlimited supply. The bungy cords would allow the door to wiggle too much, but we thought we would have to make do. Charlie went to the back compartment to get more bungy cords, and spotted our canoe tie downs. We didn’t bring the canoes, but did bring the trusted Thule webbed tie downs, these  could be cinched tight and certainly hold the door closed as we drove down the highway. We were ecstatic! We added some duct tape to cover the rest of the opening and were good to go. I think we rival the Beverly Hillbillies with our duct tape, card Board visors, and tied door.

Today we drove 360 miles and the door stayed securely closed. It takes a minute longer to let the dog out and to get out for gasoline, but the peace of mind it brings is worth it. When we get home we will have the dealer repair the latch, but I may be resurrecting our backpacking and car camping tents!

The Kenai Penninsula and Denali

IMG_1276We spent several days on the Kenai Penninsula after our stay at Eagle River, right outside of Anchorage. The salmon came in, and the bears and fishermen followed. The Kenai Pennnsula has it all: scenery, coastal areas, and wildlife.

We stayed at a few places, the first called itself the Kenai Riverside Resort. And it does sit on the beautiful azure Kenai River. But the majority of campsites were in a gravel parking lot with little space. We had an end site until a big diesel pusher was parked next to us, with their slides so close to our door that Woolly Bear could not get in because his back hit the bottom of their slide. Needless to say, we had to move!!!!

IMG_1279We moved to the Cooper Creek National Forest Campground, a wonderful wooded, private site with picnic table and fire pit, but no potable water or services. We stayed there until the weekend, when all the sites were reserved. The camp host tried her best to get us a weekend site, but when the salmon are running, the weekends are full!

IMG_1280After being ousted from our site at the Cooper Creek Campground we found no availability on the Kenai. So we headed up to Denali for a few days. We drove the 15 miles vehicles are allowed into Savage River several times, looking for animals. We also spent quite a bit of time at the Denali Visitors Center, one of the most interesting Vistors Center we have seem. Lots of Denali/ Mt McKinley history there!IMG_0432IMG_0436

Seward and Exit Glacier

We drove to Seward and Kenai Fjiord National Park, hiking in to Exit Glacier and stopping at the Visitors Center for the National Park. Saw lots of Eagles. Here is a picture of Charlie trying to capture the Glacier!  I have been having lots of difficulty finding wifi to post! I will update the pictures when we have better internet.IMG_1161


IMG_1125We reached the Alaskan border the day after camping below Whitehorse. We found the Alaskan Highway in much better shape than it had been two years ago. More pavement, less gravel washboard. In addition, we arrived in Tok without the flat tire that plagued us on our first venture. We camped for two nights at the Tundra RV Park in Tok. A commercial Campground with a laundry facility and spacious sites in the trees. We needed a day to regroup, grocery shop, and do laundry before heading to Anchorage. Woolly Bear was relieved to just hang out in the great outdoors, without riding in the camper for hours on end. And I was glad for the excuse to hang out with my dog. After all, it is Bear country so I couldn’t have him outside by himself!

After our day of rest, laundry and grocery shopping, we headed for Anchorage and camped in the Chugach State Park at Eagle Creek Campground for two days. This campsite was on the river and very pleasant. It was dry camping, meaning no hookups, but potable water was trucked in if you needed to replenish. There were Bear warnings posted, but we saw no bears.

IMG_1146After two days in the Anchorage area we were ready to move to the Kenai Penninsula, famous for wildlife, fishing, and outstanding scenery.



Liard Hot Springs and the Alaskan Highway

IMG_0429We left Charlie Lake and headed North, stopping at the Fort Nelson Triple G Campground. This is not a great Campground, but is quite good by the standards commercial campgrounds along the AlCan seem to use. It has a bit of space between you and the next site, and has room for a picnic table. We were tired from driving, and really had no other options, so we crashed there.

We find we are much happier in National, State, Provincial, and Forest campgrounds. We prefer the woods, space and solitude to whatever ammenities the commercial cgs offer! We don’t need electricity, wifi, or tv; but we do need the wilderness and the solitude provided by spacious, secluded campsites. Everyone is different, some prefer tv, wifi, and electricity over solitude. No judgement here.

The following day we had reservations at Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park.  It was so much nicer! A large wooded site with room for our screen house and a functional fire pit. The Hot Springs were interesting. There were reports of lots of bears and moose, and 14 types of orchids. We looked, but saw nothing but a river filled with lots of people, soaking in the warm water.  As an introvert, I chose not to join them. But I did hike up to the hanging gardens in search of the orchids.IMG_0428

The day after we drove 400 miles and stopped for the night just below Whitehorse at another undesirable commercial Campground. But it was a banner day, in that we saw 16 bears! 12 were Black Bears, 4 Brown. We also saw Stone Sheep near Muncho Lake Provincial Park, and one moose.IMG_0427

Saskatoon Island Provincial Park and Charlie Lake Provincial Park

IMG_1071We camped at Saskatoon Island Provincial Park, a designated bird sanctuary for Trumpeter Swans and other migrating water fowl.

The campground was one of the nicest we have ever stayed at, large private wooded sites without another tent or camper in sight! Many walking trails to the water and several viewing platforms.IMG_1068The next day we drove to Charlie Lake Provincial Park, named after the 12 Soldiers who drown while transporting materials on their pontoon boat, for the Alaskan Highway,  in 1941. There is a statue   dedicated to the U.S. Army and the fallen at the lake.

My most challenging moment thus far was when a little blonde, blue eyed child, not more than 3 years old, pushed her doll carriage into our wooded secluded spot yesterday afternoon. She was very confused and had lost her way. Fortunately Charlie and I had walked the entire camping unit earlier, and I had a good idea where she belonged. She fearlessly walked back the half mile, through moose and grizzly country, until her Aunt came running toward us and I returned her to her father. It was a very scary situation for the little girl until we located her people! I really wanted to keep her!

And here is a picture of my very dirty Jeep!!!!IMG_1067

Jasper National Park and The Icefield Highway

After enjoying all Banf NP had to offer,  we headed up the Icefield Parkway, past the glaciers and two bears! This road is extremely beautiful, with glacial streams, wildflowers, majestic mountains and the glaciers. One thing it doesn’t have is fuel for the RV, so we gassed up in Lake Louise at 6:30 in the morning. The only fuel available the entire length of the Icefields Parkway is at Saskatchewan River Crossing.

Our first fun stop of the day was at Herbert Lake, where we had breakfast and walked down to the lake. We then drove by Crowfoot Glacier, Bow Glacier, and Peyto Lake. We stopped frequently for Charlie to take pictures and Woolly Bear to romp around.  We stopped Midway at the Icefield Centre near Sunwapta Pass,  and were dismayed to see how much the Glacier has melted since our last visit.

At the Junction of 93A we passed Athabaskan Falls and then the trailhead to a favorite hike of mine, the Valley of Five Lakes. Finally we arrived at Whistlers Campground in Jasper National Park. Our site was 26F, and was a nicely wooded site with a picnic table and no visible neighbors. No hookups, but perfect for the three of us!

We are heading to Hinton next, for a day of grocery shopping and laundry doing. The next day we will be on our way to the Alaskan Highway via the Big Horn Route and will be camping in some Provincial Parks we haven’t visited before. We can only post gen we have wifi, so it may be a while before I can update you on our trek. No worries, will catch you up when I can!

Banff and Yoho National Parks

IMG_1035After spending three nights at Glacier National Park, we headed the camper North to Banff. Our plan was to camp at Tunnel Mountain 2 at the same site we had camped at two years ago. It was an end site with views of both mountains and meadows, and I knew that Woolly Bear would have room to chill.

We were dreading our trip through Canadian Customs, as we received the full camper search two years ago. I made sure all was neat and tidy, even to the point of making sure we only had clean clothes! We drove up to the window and were amazed that after a few cursory questions we were happily sent on our way!

We stayed in Banff at Tunnel Mountain 2, with electric hookups, but we spent a day in Yoho National Park, visiting Emerald Lake and Takakkaw Falls. Yoho is a very scenic place, and we really need to spend more time there in the future. We also stopped at Lake Louise and Charlie took some pictures. There is a lovely hike up to a tea house on the side of the lake, we hiked it when Woolly Bear was younger. I was the only one of the three of us that wanted to hike it again, so we headed next to Morraine Lake.

The road to Morraine Lake was closed!!! Apparently there were too many people there, and you really need to visit it before 8:30 am, or after 7 pm.  We had spent lots of time there on previous trips, so our disappointment was not devastating and we just headed off to check out the Bow Lake wildlife loop. Even that was more crowded than I had remembered it being on past visits. Then I remembered that Canada is celebrating a very special 150th Canada Day this weekend! No wonder everyone was out and about! Entrance to all the National Parks and National Historic sites are free this season, and from the looks of the crowds, people are enjoying this!



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.


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


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:)!