Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bear Tracks

For any of you that didn't get enough of our Katmai Bear Adventure, here is a slideshow of some of our shots, put to the music of one of our favorite songs...Ole Slew Foot by the late Chris Ledoux.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

25,000 MILES!!!

Friday we hit the end (or the beginning) of the Alaska Highway! Yep - Mile “0” of the 1942 wonder.

Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek, British Columbia

The Magic Bus traveled EVERY mile of this highway dubbed the AlCan Highway by the Army when they built it in 8 months in 1942 - seen as a necessity of World War II to get troops and supplies to Alaska. The literature says it is paved?!?!? In fairness - it also says there may be long stretches of gravel where road work is being done. UH - you think so?!?!?! Magic came through fine - BUT, we have a car that will definitely need a paint job some time soon;-( The literature also says “For many people the Alaska Highway is a great adventure. For others, it’s a long drive.” We fall into the first group - IT WAS A GREAT ADVENTURE!! Didn’t see as many wild animals on the road as Gary would have liked - BUT, Denali and the bear viewing made up for all of that!! So - Mile “0” proved to be the rainbow at the end of the road for us - literally!! How fitting -

As we settled into our campsite in Dawson Creek we encountered a weather front which brought with it heavy rain and a dust storm. It made for some interesting colors, a double rainbow, and

a very colorful sunset.

Another fitting ‘happening’ in the last two days. Just after leaving Mile “0” Magic passed 25,000 miles!! In exactly one year we have put 25,000 miles behind us and in the memory banks!!!!

One year and 20 days after Magic joined the family, we recorded 25,000 miles.

Gary and I had to laugh hysterically as we stopped to take this ‘memorial’ picture. After all the beautiful, wonderful scenery that we have viewed on this trip - Magic turns 25,000 miles in a coal ‘dust cloud‘ at a coal burning power plant!! We decided NOT to share this picture with you;-(((

Sunday morning we sat at at a KOA campground just outside of Jasper NP making a blog posting (due to the long Labour Day weekend here in Canada, we could not get into a camping spot in the Park until Sunday night). The next four days we are visiting two of our favorite spots here in Canada - Jasper NP and Banff NP. Then back into the US and home.

Hope there are more rainbows in our future;-)

XOXOXO - Chasing Rainbows Elizabeth & Gary

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Horses Headed for Home?????

Whew! The last three days have been long and grueling;-( Almost 1500 miles in the three days - leaving Homer, Alaska VERY early Monday morning - making Tok, Alaska that evening - a VERY early departure on Tuesday (as we immediately lost an hour leaving Alaska) making Whitehorse by dinner - then a 12 hour day on Wednesday to Toad River;-)

While the days were long - there was some fun packed in. For instance - Whitehorse brought a bath for both “Magic” and “Magic Kbus” before we set up camp for the first time ever in the WalMart parking lot!!!

We finally decided to try a new type campground in Whitehorse -
the Wal-Mart parking lot

It was handy with a Starbucks at one end and the WalMart and Canadian Tire at the other end. AND - it was FREE!! (Even better than all Gary’s Senior discounts!!)

About 4 hours east of Whitehorse we finally arrived at ‘virgin’ territory. Up to this point we were retracing our steps from the trip up - thus, the hurry to get through it. About mid-afternoon Watson Lake was in view with its World Famous Sign Post Forest;-) The forest was started in 1942 by a homesick US Army GI from Illinois. While working on the Alaska Highway, he erected a sign here pointing the way and stating the mileage to his hometown. Others followed his lead and are still doing so to this day - the forrest now has over 20,000 signs from all over the world!!!

In Watson Lake, YT, there are more than 20,000 of these signs and plates on display. (Above is only a small piece!)

The stretch of road that followed is known for the bison on the road - and we were not disappointed -

We saw many bison along the Al-Can Highway between Watson Lake, YT and Toad River, Alberta.

Must be their afternoon nap time.

About 5PM on Wednesday we arrived at Liard River Hot Springs Park. Everyone we had talked to in preparation for this trip said “Don’t miss it!” So - in the pouring rain we donned our bathing suits and trekked the 10 minute walk to the pools. The springs are comprised of two deep pools, which fill naturally with water that has been heated deep underground by the earth’s core, pressurized and forced back to the surface along faults in sedimentary rock under the park. Water temperatures reach up to 126 degrees - and did it feel good on our weary bones;-)!!!!!!!

Enjoying the very hot waters of Liard Hot Springs

After being so relaxed, the next two hours in Magic were REALLY hard. BUT, we arrived at a cute little stop in the road - Toad River - and decided to park here for a couple of nights and have a ‘down day’, which was much needed after the 1500 miles!!

The White Tundra swan that was out here in the morning has not been seen since I decided to include it in the shot from our campsite.  Just pretend you see the big honkin' swan in the middle of the shot. 

Five loads of laundry later, along with first of the month banking and email catch-up - we were revived and ready for the next week. There is “Mile 0” Dawson Creek, a return to Jasper NP and Banff NP ahead of us - keep you posted.

Love to All - Ready to Go Again Elizabeth & Gary