Winthrop, WA

Arrived in Winthrop, Washington – about 2 hours from the Canadian Border and settled into the RV Park (http://www.pinenearpark.com/), the sites are on grass and are very spacious.  We liked the area so much we extended for 2 extra nights to give us time to look around properly and also to relax a little after 2 big days driving.

The town is a pretty town, very “oldie worldie” with wooden boardwalks and covered veranda’s.  The shops are a variety of gift shops, coffee shops and supermarkets/gas stations etc.

We have had 2 days of rain so a little sunshine is appreciated, we could walk through the Shafer Museum grounds and down a pretty boardwalk, through a covered bridge over a little brook and we were in town.

Did a little shopping in the Boutique and took photos of the town, had coffee and wandered in and out of most shops.

Met Geri and Kim who are part of the Escapee Club (we are members, they manage our mail forwarding, have RV parks we can use and have helped us immensely to get set up and organised since we arrived).   Geri and Kim are members of a Washington Chapter, this means they travel as a group or caravan, 3-4 times a year to different destinations and organise interesting tours and visit new areas as a group.  We were very kindly invited to join the group for dinner, giving us opportunity to meet everyone else, we had a wonderful time.  Backgrounds were shared, ideas for travel and places to visit and some great conversation was the extent of the evening.

A few days later they were going to the Smokejumpers for a tour, and we were invited along, which we gladly accepted.  (https://www.northcascadessmokejumperbase.com/), smoke jumpers are highly trained individuals that parachute into a fire area and fight the fire first hand, sleep on the ground and then trek back out when the fire is extinguished, very skilled and dangerous job.

If you wish to see more of our days in Winthrop, please watch our video below, subscribe and like – even share it among your friends.

Where to Next – September to December

“I’m looking forward to the future, and are grateful for the past”

Mike Rowe

As I sit here on a rainy day in Washington thinking about where we have been and what we have achieved since we arrived in the USA back in January, which is another whole huge blog, although reflection is satisfying – I think it is timely to look ahead at the next couple of months and see what that holds for us too.

We are now heading to the West Coast of the USA and heading South!!!

Part 1 of the trip is across to the coast and Anacortes Peninsula and the San Juan Islands, then to the Olympic National Park and down the coast of Washington and into Oregon.

Transit down the whole West Coast of Oregon and into the top of California.  Following the highway down the California Coast and duck inland to Napa Valley for a few nights.

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Part 2 is Napa Valley to Monterey and then down the California Coast via Big Sur and Santa Barbara area.  We then head inland to do Death Valley and Joshua Tree – staying and visiting with friends we have met on the road!!! Getting very excited….

Then off to Mojave Desert and onto Las Vegas for Bert’s birthday celebrations and more friend catch ups.

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Part 3 is to travel from Las Vegas, Nevada via Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, meeting some new friends in Fredericksburg TX for a few days – counting down to this wonderful catch up.

Back to Houston for Christmas and more adventures with some wonderful friends coming to visit us for our “Southern Road Trip” – but again that is another huge blog.

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These 3 parts will be approximately 3000 miles (4800 kms) and will take us 98 days (14 weeks).

This will close the circle of 

  1.  Our first year on the road
  2.  Houston to Alaska and back again

Hope you can come along on this next part of our journey, and will be blogging and videoing our trip.

Our Youtube Channel:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0Z7mOZONVWMR7Fy_tTxUPg

 

Stewart and Hyder – Video Release

The long awaited video of Steward, British Columbia and Hyder, Alaska detour is now available on YouTube.    We loved our trip to this very pretty and remote area.

If you are planning on the Cassiar Stewart Highway (Highway 37) route to or from Alaska we both can highly recommend a visit to Stewart and Hyder, please remember you do need your passport to return from Hyder to Stewart.

Lunch at “The Bus” was fantastic and you can only have what was caught the evening before, the menu is not extensive but Diana the owner and chef is very accommodating and the food is wonderful, we luckily had the Halibut.

 

Travel Days – to Washington State, USA

We have been travelling in Canada, Alaska and Canada again from June 29th to September 14th – being 78 days in total.

We’ve had a wonderful time, seen some wonderful sights and taken hundreds of photos and miles of video.

We have achieved everything we planned, wanted and more.  Met a lot of remarkable people, shared stories and experiences and are ready to start the next adventure, the trip south.

Two days of travelling has brought us to a little town just north of the Canada/USA Border where British Columbia meets Washington State, near Oliver BC and Oroville WA.   Rose early on this morning (Sunday 14th) and made the drive of 20 miles to the border and cross over with a few questions from Border Security and the Agricultural Officer and we were on our way.

Stopped in Omak at Walmart to restock the fridge and pantry, there is a long list of food stuffs (fruit, vegetables and meats) you cannot bring into the USA so we got rid of everything and shopped again in USA.

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We are at the blue dot in the left of centre of the screen.

Onto Highway 20 and wound our way up the hills and round the bends to a little town called Winthrop, where we will be for the next 3 nights.

Having 2 driving days back to back is tiring, so we will sleep late and hang out here for a the next few days. Watch for blogs and video’s as the township looks very interesting.

 

Stewart and Hyder Visit

We headed off nice and early for Meziadin area and planning a short day trip down to Stewart and Hyder, about 1 hour into the 3 hour trip, we decided to go into Stewart and stay a few days and be closer to the action – if there is any.   Fueled up at Meziadin Turn off and there is nothing there – just the service station.

The drive down to Stewart is a windy but good road and the views are magnificent, follow a rushing river and suddenly Bear Glacier is right there on the side of the road, you  are only about 1km (0.6 miles) from the face to the road, the road has parking spots for photos and sitting and looking around.

Continue down the valley through narrow passes but the road is good, we arrive in Stewart and set up the trailer, unhook the truck for the first time in about 4-5 days.   Both desperate for a good coffee so down to town we go, only a few km’s away, and found the only open coffee shop and had a sandwich for lunch – it was 2pm.

Went to the Information centre and a walk down the boardwalk in town that is above the flood area at the end of the Portland Canal, this leads out to the Haida Gwaii Pass and the open ocean.  There are hundreds of huge logs floating in the harbour and trucks go day and night delivering more.

Off home to slow down.  We need to set up properly and get some dinner.   The internet is great so I loaded up two video’s!!  Been trying to load them for a week or more – finally got them up.

We were told to go to the Salmon Glacier and the Bear viewing boardwalk at Fish Creek both in Hyder, AK – yes we need to cross back into Alaska, USA for the day to visit these two places.  Passports in glovebox and we were off early.

Drove across the border  – no USA Border office, into the quaint and eclectic town of Hyder – a lot of the town buildings were as built 50-70 years ago and I am sure are only held up with the few repairs and layers of paint.

Got to Fish Creek Bear viewing area and there was a huge black grizzly bear – a young male about 5 years old and not yet fully grown  – sitting on the other bank eating fish.  There was loads of dead fish in the river and along side it and he would come across the river and hunt down the “just dead” fish and eat the eggs and organs and skin, then look for another.  We stayed a couple of hours and took loads of photos.   There were a few only like fish still coming up and spawning the majority were dead.

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We drove on up to Salmon Glacier, it was a short while and the road turned to dirt, and we had about 25 kms to get to the top, the views were wonderful of the mountains and the passes.  The road was one lane each way but the drop on the side was straight down and a little scary but the views were remarkable.

Got to the top of the pass at the Salmon Glacier and this huge wide and very very long glacier was coming through the mountain pass and turned to our left and headed down the valley we had just come up, at one point on the drive we did see the “toe” of the glacier being the end of it.  Spoke to some very nice folk at the top and took another batch of photos before heading back down to try our luck again at the bear viewing area.  No luck this time, our morning bear had gone off down river, the warden said for a nap.

Home for what is left of the afternoon, shared our firewood with Yvonne and Bill – a lovely couple travelling Canada and the USA in a very posh Mercedes camper.  They are Canadians and travelling across Canada before heading south to Las Vegas and Arizona for the winter.

Next morning was a slower start and we decided to have one more chance at Fish Creek bear viewing – no luck at all but wonderful and friendly folk.  One couple from Vancouver Island that come back here all the time for photographing bears and a Cayman Island family who are travelling the USA with two daughters and seeing the world.  Very enjoyable few hours with these folk and no bears…..   We are travelling tomorrow so home for pack up and tidy up for an early start, it is supposed to rain so we are hooking up and saving the work in the morning.

Cassiar Highway, Boya Lake

Woke early and hooked up, on the road by 8am no rush just plodded – we only had a 2 hour drive to Teslin and about 1 hour into the drive – we decided we could just keep going and do the extra 4 hours to Boya Lake on the Cassiar Stewart Highway – a brand new road for us and our start to heading south for the next few months.

Stopped at Teslin for fuel and let them know we are moving on.   We then continued through the yellow and green mountains – autumn/fall is definitely on its way here and we are seeing the difference in some dramatic and colourful scenery.

Highway One crisscrosses in and out of the Yukon and British Columbia for this leg of our journey.  We had lunch overlooking some mountains and a wide grey rushing river in the bottom of the valley.  Then more fuel at the Cassiar turn off at a funny little old style gas station.

The Cassiar is a much narrower road but the surface is fine, and no shoulders or lines and winding and steeper than the big highways we have been on.    Much more remote.

We are spending a few days at Boya Lake Provincial Park – our first “first come first served” basis park and must pay cash all for $20 per night.  I knew about the cash so made arrangements for this before we left the towns.

Found the entrance to the park and it is 2kms down the road and the sign is “find your spot” the camp manager will come and get your funds later.  Generator times are listed.  We drove in and found a beautiful spot right on the lake and a pull though site at that…  We are very lucky as there is only 4-5 of these in the park, within ½ hour another 3-4 rigs came through and I think everyone wants a pull through lake side spot.

The view is amazingly beautiful, reflection lake and no wind at all…  See pictures.

The next morning it is cold – probably 0C or 35F, as it smokes when you breath and the sun is now weaker and the solar will need a charge up.  The lake is warmer than the air so there is steam lifting off it.   One of the most beautiful sights and views I have ever seen – literally a picture in every glance.  We are about 20 feet from the water edge and we can see squirrels and birds and hear other creatures we haven’t yet identified.

No internet and no cell service either.

Off for a walk – there is a track around the lake to a beaver dam, off we start. It was a beautiful walk on a dirt track and the tree roots are all over the place so you have to watch your feet, up and down some steep sections but it was beautiful to peak through the trees and see the lakes and waterways.  There was some Bear Poop on one section of the steep path full of berry seeds!! Mmm our bushcraft knowledge is very limited – this could 1 hour old or 2 days – no idea!!  Down to the waters edge and there is a wonderful beaver dam with fresh mud packed on the top – the little chaps are busy and still active.  We could see trees chewed through, like sharpened pencils!!  We didn’t see any beavers but there was 2 beaver lodges in view – one above the dam and one below (which looked older).

Walked back and met some nice folk on the path that were making a lot of noise, then we realised this keeps the bears away – we are used to keeping quiet in the bush to see the creatures, here you don’t want to see the big stuff so make a noise.  Some people wear bells on their backpacks to make noise. We both carry bear spray and keep it handy and hope we don’t need to use it.

Spent the afternoon at the trailer watching the water change colour with the sun moving around and got an opportunity to see 2 loons (black and white birds) cruise the lake and feed, Bert even got some pictures – they were a long way away.

Moving day tomorrow – off to Iskut about 3 hours down the road.