Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day Nine – Liard Provincial Park

Today, very early this morning, we left Fort Nelson. Our wake up time was 4:08 – yes that is A.M. Amazing – and we all got up with fairly decent attitudes and such. Even mom. Our goal in getting up that early was to see lots of wildlife – and WOW!! We did. It was so cool. We saw 1 mouse, 2 small bears, 2 rabbits, 2 either stone sheep or moose, not really sure which. And the most fun – a whole herd of bison. That was so fun. They were right there – just hanging out in the grove. Lots of babies.

We stopped at several places along the way as well. Isn't this a cool picture? Vince took it at the first stop and the reflection and stuff - just totally unique!! We stopped at Tetsa River Campground because we had read in the Milepost Book about the cinnamon rolls. Fresh baked daily – and they were very yummy!! Another place was Toad River Lodge. It was a place that has thousands of caps on the ceiling. For those of you who are familiar with McGuires Pub, it’s like the dollar bills there, only caps instead. Pretty cool – it seems they go on forever. Today’s count was 7,777. Nice round perfect number! We stopped at many viewpoints or vistas as well. Then a few other stops, just to stretch and stay awake!!

We arrived at Liard Provincial Park around noon. Got into our assigned space and took off to do some exploring. Primary on everyone’s mind was the hot springs. We took off on the walk to there – it ended up being almost a 20 minute walk. This is just a small part of the boardwalk that we took to get there. Our first trip there – Jordon and Elizabeth went in. Then later in the afternoon, Jordon went back in. Our plan was to go back in the evening as a family.

We BBQ’d some steaks for dinner. It was good to have a bit of meat! Afterwards, it was raining and we didn’t really want to take that walk to the hot springs in the rain, so we headed off on a little drive. Well there isn’t really much of any places to drive to in Liard, so we drove across the street, and enjoyed a piece of pie at the lodge there. Then went back and we all went to the springs.

We are calling it an early evening – it’s only 10:30 and everyone is sound asleep except me, and I am well on my way. Bye for now!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day Eight - Fort Nelson, B.C.

Today was a different sort of a day. We were awakened a bit earlier than planned, by our darling daughter. So, we all kind of got an early start. It was *supposed to be* a relaxing kind of morning, but, not so. So, we headed out and started out at the hardware store. Where else does a family on vacation start their day's excursions? Well, at the hardware store (where Vince was NOT able to accomplish either of the two things he needed to do) both Elizabeth and Matthew started feeling kind of sick. So, we all headed back to the trailer, to see if they were going to start feeling better or get worse. Decided to take advantage of that, and I (mom) went to do some laundry. That is quite the task!! Vince stayed with the kids, they watched a movie and rested, and Vince slept as well. So, after I got back to the trailer the boys had lunch - Matthew was feeling better - so Vince and the boys headed over to the Fort Nelson Heritage Museum. They spent a couple of hours there - and had a lot of interesting fun! After they got back, we all went out and went to a cool place called Trapper's Den (Mile 293 of the Alaska Highway Kip!!!) Then we went to the IGA and actually I was quite amazed at some of the grocery prices. So, we bought a few things we needed, and a few things we didn't need. As much food as we packed to bring with us, we really thought our grocery shopping would be VERY minimal. But it's amazing that we still need to buy things - bread, milk, etc. Fresh fruits and veggies - today some fresh meat. My plans of using TVP (texturized vegetable protein) did not go over as well as it did at home - so ground beef, we are revisiting you. Plus - we splurged on some petite sirloins - actually they were surprising inexpensive. So, that is that.

Don't know if I have mentioned before, but I got each of the kids (and myself) a journal to keep while we are on the road. It's actually a sketch book, kind of spiral bound - thick paper - quite nice for writing on actually. So, they are writing in it each day. I thought it was going to be harder to get them to do so, but they are actually quite willing to keep up with it. Here's a picture of Matthew and Jordon doing their journal-writing for the night.
Tomorrow - we head off early (5:00 a.m. - oh my goodness!!) to Liard Provincial Park. We will stay there and enjoy the Hot Springs there for a couple of days as well. It's been kind of fun in that we met some folks in Dawson Creek - actually Elizabeth made their acquaintance and spent quite a bit of time visiting with them. Well - who shows up here today - but them (and the rest of their caravan). They are traveling with something like 21 trailers in their caravan. They will be at the hot springs as well. It will be interesting to see how many people we run into again as we make this trip.

So - isn't that gorgeous! That is one of what is probably at least a million of these bugs!!! They are gross. One attached itself to my finger while I was walking into the laundromat. It didn't want to let go. Then we had two in our trailer. They weren't really interested in leaving!! With a little persuasion they did though! Icky, ick, ick, ick!! I DO NOT LIKE BUGS!!!

Well, that's all for today. Thanks to each of you who are reading, and those who comment. It makes it so fun for us!! Don't know what our connection will be tomorrow or the next day - but when we can - we will post again. Blessings to each of you!!

Day Seven - Fort Nelson

Well - we tried to post on Day Seven - but our connection was lacking. It's a bit better this morning, so hopefully it will work better.

We left about 9:30 Sunday morning, about an hour late, after realizing that our beds in the back of the trailer will no longer go up and down as they are supposed to. Minor inconvenience, but nothing that will keep us from going forward in our journey. Especially since it is Sunday and no one is open to fix it. So we carry on. The sign in the picture says Thank you for visiting Dawson Creek - taken out the front window of the truck.

So, here is a picture of our children enjoying their truck riding adventure. Let's just say that they are not always this smiley!

This picture was taken of a bridge - it is the last wooden trestle bridge on the last driveable section of the Old Alaskan Highway. It was quite *fun* riding across it. The view was amazing. After we crossed and looked back, this is what we saw. WOW!!

Along the way, we also stopped at a memorial that was created to honor 12 men who lost their lives when their pontoon sank while working on the highway to bridge Charlie Lake.

The beauty of the land around us is simply amazing. Each direction we look, we are simply in awe of God's creation. Here are a couple of pictures of this. Also, the pictures are showing the way the highway goes on *forever*!!

We had intended to stop somewhere along the way on our route to Fort Nelson. But every place that was advertised in the Milepost was - well - icky. So, we kept on going to the next place, until the next place was Fort Nelson - so here we are. We pulled in around 5:00, and got settled a bit, not totally, because we intend to have the beds looked at and in case we need to take it somewhere. We went to dinner at the restaurant here at the campground. Let's just say, we would have been better off to eat at the trailer again. It was okay. Yep - okay.

Came back and everyone got showers for the night and then we tried to settle in with a movie and a snack. And that concludes Day Seven - can't wait to see what Day Eight holds!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day Six - Dawson Creek

Yes - we are in Dawson Creek. We had a good night of rest last night and headed out today to see the sites of the city. We went to a couple of museums and a gallery, walked around the city/town. It was a beautiful day, for which we are thankful. The highlight of the day, according to a family poll, was seeing and getting our picture taken by the Mile Zero marker. We have met some people who are both going to and returning from travel to Alaska. It definitely sounds like we have an exciting and interesting time ahead of us. (One gentleman's tow bar for his tow vehicle was bent in half from the ice heaves. Another had cracked his windshield. Another broke a serpentine belt on the Top of the World highway and had to backtrack quite a way in order to get that fixed. Then yet another had broken two axles on his travels, and he hadn't even started the AK highway yet. One person said that now instead of keeping a log as to how many miles they traveled and what they saw, it was what major issue happened that day.) Yes - your prayers are appreciated for protection for our vehicle! Tomorrow we start our journey on the Alaska Highway. Each of us is excited - and ready to get going. Probably have an early bedtime and an early wake-up. We are already encountering late night sun and early morning sun. So makes it a bit easier to get up! When we have access we will continue to update.

Here is our picture taken at the Mile Zero Marker.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day Five - Dawson Creek - Mile Zero of the Alaskan Highway

So, this is the real beginning of the journey! The stuff before here was just necessary to get us to this point. But - today - HOORAY!! We made it to Dawson Creek. This is what is known as Mile Zero of the Alaskan Highway.

We left Whiskers Point Provincial Park around 9 this morning, and headed on our way. Not too far up the road, we saw a black bear crossing from one side of the road to another. This wildlife is so exciting to see!! A bit later on we saw - yep - you guessed it, another moose!

We made quite a few stops on the way, as the scenery is just amazing. It is so wonderful to be able to enjoy that beauty that God has created. Just a taste of what is ahead, I am certain. We wish we could share some pictures, but the WiFi at the place we are staying lacks. So, hopefully we can add those in tomorrow.

One of the most noteable places we stopped was Chetwynd, B.C.

It is the chainsaw carving capital of B.C. And WOW - those chainsaw carvings are numerous and beautiful. There was just about everything you could imagine. We had a lot of fun walking around and taking pictures and just enjoying people's creativity. Again - pictures to follow!!

We got in to Dawson Creek around 2:00 and set up camp. After dry camping and not draining the black water tank for a couple of days - well, let's just say that things got a bit, hmmm, icky. But that got taken care of, and we went into town to the visitor's center. We got quite a bit of info for our plans for tomorrow - a walking historical tour of Dawson Creek. And then a few more things, as well. After that, we made a stop at Wal-Mart (yes they are up here as well) - and Safeway. We were all kind of craving some fresh fruit and salad.

So after that we headed on back to our campsite, and had dinner and here we are updating the blog. That's the excitement for the evening! Thanks for each of you who are praying for us - those who have commented, or sent emails and those who have not. We appreciate you!

Day Three and Four

We started out the day on our way to Valemount, B.C. As we headed up the highway, we decided it was going to take longer to get where we wanted to get, so we did a search with Susan (our GPS). She told us that we were right near a turnoff that would take us a different way and would cut off quite a few miles. So we veered off the road we were on, highway 5 and cut across on 24 and then started going north on Highway 97. While we were cutting across - we saw our FIRST MOOSE!! It was quite an exciting moment. So exciting, in fact, that Jennifer almost deafened Vince in hollering - MOOSE!!

We headed on our way, driving for what seemed quite a while - 275+ miles, and made a phone call to one of the parks that we are already reserved at on our way home - Robert's Roost outside Quesnell. It was a nice park, so we already know we will enjoy spending our two days that we have reserved there in August (boy, that seems like a long way away!). The next morning, we got up and went into the town (quite nice town) and did 2 hours worth of laundry and Vince was able to take care of a couple housekeeping chores - like getting a key made and a new hose for a water pump, etc.

We headed on our way after those few chores. On our way up 97. We drove without too much incident - except seeing ANOTHER MOOSE!! Fun, again. We were headed to a provincial park. But we were a bit concerned because they were only back-in sites. Fortunately, we found a place we could pull off the side of the road to a bit of a drive through site, well - actually just pull off site. The mosquitoes were ferocious, and it was rainy, so we pretty much stayed inside - enjoyed a couple of DVD's - Tim Hawkins and Chondra Pearce. This was our first experience with dry camping. We had a few moments of concern with the tank settings reading full and just about full. But = we made it through okay. Good training for our time that we will spend driving up the Dalton Highway towards Prudhoe Bay. We all had an early bedtime - catching up on lost sleep somewhere along the way. And that concludes days three and four. Tomorrow - we head up to Dawson Creek - Mile "0" of the Alaskan Hiway! The excitement builds!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day Two - Kamloops, B.C.

We spent a second day in Kamloops - and it was a HOT one! We spent quite a bit of the day at the B.C. Wildlife park. That was a lot of fun, and we got to see several different animal feedings, along with a birds of prey show. The park is set up to be like a hospital for injured wild animals. They are taken here to be taken care of, and then, when able - are let back out into the wild. Here are some pictures of what we enjoyed today. Or not, as it seems like again, I am unable to load! Maybe tomorrow on that.

We will pack up and head to Valemount, B.C. Only about 200 miles up the road, and we will stay there 1 night.

So, that is all for now. Thanks for checking in - and feel free to leave a comment!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Journey has Begun (Day One - Kamloops, B.C.)

We began our Great Alaskan Road Trip today, June 21, 2010. It was great to finally have it all come together and get on the road! We left the house around 9:30 after a time of prayer, and headed off to VanLoo's Auto Service to have the tires and lug nuts checked out for safety. Then one of their guys came and prayed over us - and that was quite nice. Off to the DOL to have our tabs renewed. (It's always something, isn't it!) Then we stopped at Bedlington's and had our trailer weighed. It came in at 8,840 lbs. - which Vince was really pleased with. The truck weighed in at 10,320 lbs. So a combined weight of just over 19,000 - not too bad. The border crossing went well and we went on Highway One to get here. Through some pretty good grades and up and down, and Vince was almost in tears at how well the truck managed the whole way! There was no straining or anything - it ran perfectly, like almost nothing behind us! We made it to a Kamloops around 2:30 and checked into our Kamloops RV Park. It is decent, the staff nice - we are at After getting hooked up and all, we headed off to the Riverside Park - the kids did some water play and we met a really nice couple - so many comment on the truck and ask questions about the scooter lift up front. So, here we are back at the campsite. Hoping everyone falls asleep - SOON!! Tomorrow we will go to the Wildlife Park - I think everyone is quite excited about that! Then the next day, we will hit the road again. That's all for now. Here's some pictures to show you about our day. Well - so we thought - but our internet connection is really sketchy so they aren't uploading. We'll try again in the morning!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

2 sleeps left!!

We only have one day and 2 sleeps til we leave. We had a small gathering tonight, had a bit of cake, etc. We are packed to the gills! With everything except for a few perishables and our clothing and toiletry stuff. It is amazing to realize that it is almost time! Just a small snafu! Vince realized tonight that our tabs are expired!! That means just a bit of a delay in leaving on Monday, as that must be taken care of before we leave! It's always something, isn't it! We leave you with a few pics from tonight. There is our cake, a view from the top of the trailer of the truck and I think that's it! We'll either post again tomorrow or we won't! We'll see.

Thanks for your comments and your prayers and thoughts and all that. We appreciate them - and you!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

4 days to go

Wow - it is amazing to realize that we are just 4 days out from our departure. Today, my parents arrived from Florida. They usually come up in the summer, and usually we get to be here to enjoy time with them. But, this year, they are staying in our home while we travel. Hopefully they will stay for a while after we return, so that we can enjoy at least some time with them this summer.

So, we continue to work on packing. A little more each day. There is seemingly always something to get done. We still have to get clothes packed, as well as perishable foods. Then there are all the toiletries, etc. I know it will all pull together! As of yesterday, we officially closed the office for the summer. Not accepting messages, got our machine set saying we are *North to Alaska!* Then there is the truck. Vince is working on making sure that it is all ready to go! Continuing the countdown!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Down to the Wire

So, two weeks from tomorrow (Monday) we leave on our adventure. It is hard to believe that after working towards this and waiting for all this time to pass, that it finally is here. Watching Ice Road Truckers tonight was like - Oh my goodness - - - we are REALLY going on THAT ROAD???? Hmmmm, what have I signed up for (Jennifer talking here!).

This weekend we finally got some sun that helped us to get some stuff finished. One of those important details was to finish painting the rusted tongue of the trailer - - - it's amazing with how much a person pays for these RV's and they can't seem to put a decent primer or paint on it. Our trailer is barely a year old, and we had to do this already. Then we laid out where the food bins will go, along with the mobility scooter and the 13 gallons of fresh drinking water.
And at the last minute, Vince noticed that with the small wardrobe that we had right inside the trailer it was actually quite a bit of wasted storage space. We aren't planning on taking too much in the way of hanging up clothes. So, we got it all measured out, and Vince set to work on making it into a 3-shelf closet. The top shelf is perfect for the printer that we are taking with us. The next shelf down is basically set up to be a charging unit. This means that all electronics (cell phone, ipods, etc.) will have a place to be when they need to be charged. It is set up with an APC Surge Protector, with power strip liberators (little mini extension cords), so up to six bricks for charging can be plugged in at a time. And - with a family of five, and all our assorted electronic paraphernalia - we need it!! The last shelf has a purpose as well! We will use that to store DVD's and the variety of medications - both prescription and not - that we need to keep our family happy and healthy! Underneath the bottom shelf, there is about 18 inches still. We will use that area for a bin of parts and tools that we are taking for computer repair, or possibly for extra shoes - or who knows what!

Vince also worked on getting the GPS unit updated (new map updates) and googled all the RV parks and got them input, so that is ready to get us where we need to be as well.

So, the countdown is on. There is much still that needs to be done, but we feel that we got a lot done this weekend. We are thankful for the weather that God provided for us to be able to get so much done! We will be posting more frequently now that the departure date is eminent.
--Vince & Jennifer