Just another one of hundreds of wonderful views on this trip. We never got tired of them.
Between Pendleton, OR and Caldwell, ID (today's trip) a lot of sand hills and sage brush dotted with farm fields--much like Lyle's home area of NE Colorado. Circle irrigation is helping good looking crops. The RV park was full, so the manager put us in her overflow spot--the only shade in the park! With 95 degrees and plenty of electricity for the air conditions, all is good.
After Caldwell, our next stop was Tremonton, UT, moving back to mountain views along the Snake River with cattle and hay farms. We stayed at a brand new RV park. Very nice, but lacking trees on another very hot day.
Our second Utah stop was Vernal skirting the Utah ski resort towns of Heber City, Park City and Deer Valley. Stopped for lunch in Heber City.. Like many other beautiful ski towns, it was very busy in summer, too.
The trip from Vernal to Steamboat Springs, CO was through Northwest Colorado and Dinosaur National Monument territory. We did not take the short detour to the entrance, since the park covers thousands of acres of pretty desolate lands. We did stop in the VERY small town of Dinosaur.
Getting closer to Steamboat, we enjoyed more hospitable river valleys with miles of ranches and haying operations. GPS sent us on another goose chase, locating the RV park. Once there, we learned Steamboat operates a free shuttle from the park to downtown (and back). Enjoyed walking the downtown area and then locating a wonderful Italian restaurant for dinner.
Today's journey between Steamboat Springs and the Boulder area started with an arduous climb of Rabbit Ears Pass--a very long, steep grade that Lyle and the motor home did not like. We finally ducked in behind an equally encumbered loaded semi and climbed at a comfortable 20 miles an hour. No overheating! We fueled in Kremmling and headed south along Colorado highway 9 and another beautiful mountain valley and the Blue River.
Met Lyle's brother Tom and his wife, Linda, for a pleasant lunch near the intersection of highway 9 and Interstate 70. Tom and Linda spend part of the year in Breckenridge and was a treat to see them after several years.
Then on to Superior, CO via the Eisenhower Tunnel and Denver/Boulder/Golden traffic. Finally, pulled in front of Erik and Joanna's (Lyle's son and daughter-in-law) about mid-afternoon.
Our three day stay in Superior included a trip to Lakewood (west of Denver) to have lunch with Lyle's 97 year old aunt Leota Hettinger and her two sons, Bob and Ron. Lyle's sister Sharon set up the lunch meeting and drove. A very pleasant visit. Aunt Leota is still mentally sharp, remembering relatives names that Lyle could not!
Another event was a surprise 80th birthday party set up and planned by Kirsten and Erik, Lyle's children. He was very surprised. Guessing about 25 people, including Lyle's siblings, nieces, nephews and grand children made it a very special day. He knows he is blessed!
On the road again! Stopping to have lunch near the family farm with Lyle's cousin Gordon and his wife, Earline. Stayed at North Platte, Nebraska and Davenport, IA before experiencing the heavy truck traffic on I-80 at the southern edge of Chicago. Make that very heavy truck traffic, but we made it back to St. Joseph, MI without incident.
Road construction and rain = mud.
Below: Dease Lake crime scene
After lunch on Alki Beach
Motor home back home and cleaned up from 10,000 miles (actually 101 miles short of 10,000)
First time we've seen a camper pulled by a motorcycle. Lyle thought it was cool. Judy not so much. Below: Mother nature's accidental artwork--after forest fire.
View on the slow ascent of Rabbit Ears Pass
Judy logging another couple of hours behind the wheel.
It is easy to get behind on posting to this blog without cell/Internet service along much of British Columbia's Cassiar mountain highway. From Teslin, Yukon to Dease Lake, BC was another rough highway. We were not able to contact RV parks or campgrounds ahead of time, but found an RV park right off the highway. Lyle asked the owner why he had no phone, he said he didn't need it. He has a personal phone, but wouldn't give out the number. The park had a pay telephone, since cell service doesn't exist in Dease Lake. Chilly, drizzly weather here (we know that doesn't sound bad to those suffering heat waves).
Shortly after leaving Dease Lake, we came upon emergency vehicles at the edge of the highway. It was a burning pickup truck in a rest area. But wait, there's more! About a mile farther, more flashing blue lights and crime scene tape. A human body was off to the side of the highway. Judy saw it. Our traveling companions, Bill and Pam, saw it from their motorhome. Lyle later Googled :police activity in Dease Lake to get more information. Confirmation that is what we saw, and later we learned the Dease Lake crimes were linked to a double murder in northern BC. The hunt is still on for two teens suspected of the spree.
Low clouds again today, preventing us from seeing what must have been magnificent mountain scenery. Our stop for the night was Stewart, BC right on the Alaskan border with the town of Hyder, AK. The expressed purpose was to see bears fishing for salmon. There is an elaborate viewing stand over Fish Creek for humans to watch the bears. But. No fish, so no bears. The salmon had not yet begun their spawning run. The side-trip off the Cassiar Highway was not a total loss. We had delicious deep-fried halibut at the bus pictured here. The husband of the woman who runs it (by herself) catches the fish. Lyle thought batter-fried is the best way of eating halibut.
The highway conditions have improved greatly as we motor south--wider and smoother--but still mountain terrain. Our stop tonight will be Fort Telkwa, BC (just beyond Smithers). Very pleasant RV park overlooking the river. AND they offered free pressure-washing for RVs! Such a deal!
An uneventful trip to Prince George, BC. After so many small, isolated villages for the past week, Prince George is like coming back to civilization (as we know it). Drove past Costco, Best Buy and so many familiar fooderies. Sintich RV Park has grass, not dust, so we brought out the grill and invited Bill and Pam to join us for an outside dinner without bugs! Bill and Pam will go on ahead of us to meet friends near Seattle, so Judy and Lyle will travel solo from here to home.
It was either mountains or tunnels along the Fraser River Gorge in British Columbia. No choice, but Judy does not like tunnels in the motor home. We made it and the pay off was this fertile farmland along the river.
Above: Dinsosaur Ntl Monument at a comfortable distance (from the highway).
Left: Not much in Maybell, not even electricity which went out while we were in the store.
Left: Steve, Sharon, Lyle and Tom at the birthday surprise.
Below: Near Des Moines, the legendary Iowa Machine Shed restaurant. Still good!
The lush greenery of the Pacific Northwest is apparent in this view from our coach parked near Seattle ( left and below). Our cloudy, smoky weather for the last two months (Alaska and Yukon) took a break here.
The last hour of this five hour ride today was thrilling. Winding mountain roads--and rough! Pulled into an RV park that was not meant for larger motorhomes and trees scratched the paint on the side of the coach. Lyle is not happy. We're right along side the Fraser River, with busy train tracks on each side of the river. Waited until it cooled off a bit for us to wash the bugs off the front of the coach (a daily chore). Judy fixed brats for dinner. Comfort food hit the spot.
Well THAT was an RV park not to experience again. We continued to follow the large and fast-moving Fraser River through a canyon and then through a beautiful valley with healthy looking farms.
On this section of the trip the road were good, but proof that the 7,000 miles traveled so far has been hard on the coach, a screw holding the bottom part of the left rear fender snapped leaving it vulnerable to highway speed winds. Lyle could not find a replacement screw in his inventory, so we tried taping the fender to the adjacent body part. That seemed to work, but then we passed a truck and tractor repair shop. Explained the dilemma and minutes later it was fixed correctly (no tape).
Stayed at Pacific Border RV Park right on the U.S. border. Nice park, but Lyle didn't know there were two "Border RV Parks" and went on the wrong one first. The first was a very small park with permanent residents. Our efforts to turn the coach in nearly impossible quarters provided entertainment for them--not us.
Crossed the border near the RV park. Easy to get to. Very tight (for a motor home) passenger lanes. Made it! Traveled east suburban Seattle to Bothell and the nicest RV park we've been to on this entire trip. Lake Pleasant RV Park really was pleasant. One of the residents, A.J. owns a limousine service and took us into Seattle. Went to Space Needle, Pike Place Market, then Alki Beach for lunch at Duke's. Wonderful food.
We spent two nights at Lake Pleasant. Could easily have stayed longer. Can't say that about most of the parks we've been in.
On the road again, through Seattle and Portland traffic (even the by-passes) to Portland Fairview RV Park east of the city and not far from the Columbia River.
We started our trip along the Columbia River Gorge on Interstate 84 in cloudy, misty conditions, but we had the chance to take Historic route 30 closer to the gorge. And did. What the heck were we thinking? Very, very narrow (had to use both lanes or scrape the side of the coach). The winding road with tree canopies would have been beautiful had we not been in a 13 ft high motor home. We did not belong there and took the first chance to get back on the Interstate. Still managed to see much of the Gorge and watched as the Columbia River went from heavily forested scenery, to fewer forests and finally to a river running through massive sand hills and sage brush. Quite a transformation. Eventually, the river turned to the northeast and 84 went southeast and into farm country. A notable feature of the Columbia River Gorge was the wind roaring up the gorge as the river flowed west. Pretty spectacular waves for a river!
We spent the night at the Wildhorse Casino RV Park in Pendleton, OR. Judy managed to win a small fortune (emphasis on small) at video poker, we had a delicious meal and then listened to the thumping of drums from an outdoor concert nearby.--until midnight!
The Columbia River is wider than we expected and navigable for a long distance because of a series of locks. The clouds that kept us from seeing Mt. Hood gradually lifted and we enjoyed the scenery for more than a hundred miles. You can see the changing riverscape in the photos.
Above: Misty mountain, rushing river near
Right: No salmon. No bears. But still beautiful
Below: Convenient roadside glacier near Stewart.
Panorama of Green Mountain Reservoir along Colorado highway 9
Strain your eyes or use your imagination. That is Mt. Ranier as viewed from the Space Needle
As you can see, Santa Claus is really big here at the North Pole
Great to see scenery without smoke again, even if it is on our way out of Alaska/Yukon.
Welcome to Vanderhoof, BC. Never heard of it? Neither had we. An attractive and prosperout lumber milling community along the Cassiar Highway.
Motorhome Experiences of Lyle Dean and Judy Lebsack
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Lots of signs the woman who operated the fish bus was independent. Right is one of those signs.
Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church just outside of Tok. Must be a small parish.
Riverfront view from our front window at Fort Telkwa RV Park.
Left Fairbanks with sunshine and no smoke, but it was time to head down the road. First stop was North Pole, Alaska. Our families will be getting cards with that unique postmark. The Santa Claus House has just about everything Christmas and/or North Pole. We found most things pretty pricey, but elves and reindeer are expensive to feed and house!
Our stop for the night was Tok, then crossing the Canadian border and staying at Destruction Bay. The view from the park is of mountains and lake--beautiful--but the "park" is a dusty field. The drive between Tok and Destruction Bay was the roughest we've yet encountered. We were invited to dessert on Vic and Pam Lorentz' elegant Newmar Essex motor coach. Both of us were wowed at how much difference a half million dollars (list) makes between our "low end" diesel pusher and their near-top-of-the line from the same manufacturer.
Today's drive to and through Whitehorse to Teslin Yukon was smooth, just the way the other roads weren't.