Sunday, July 27, 2014


Well, we're back in the land of wifi and cellular, so I thought I'd at least drop in. In sure Rob is catching you up on all the details, so I won't bother with that. The shawl has been fixed so that's finished for now. It will need blocking at home so that will be a project - I don't think I've ever made something before that has required this many pins. 

We're definitely getting close to the end of the trip now, and it's bittersweet. I think you can tell that Meghan is ready to be home, and there are certainly things we are talking about, like hour-long showers and soft beds. But we've got a fee more stops to make and friends to see so we're not done yet!

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Here we are in the state of Washington, in the United States of America. Officially across the border of Canada and back in the lower 48. With only an estimated 1 and a half weeks left, we have had quite the trip. I will get back to my guinea pig, Noel, my friends, (Samantha, Aly, Eve, and all the rest), and finally back to my own room that is actually bigger than Byron. WOW! We plan to go down the Oregon coast, to Cali, see Brian and Celestine, (again), go to Redwood, Yosemite, and finally to Utah and Slat Lake City. Our trip is ending so soon!

Well, I don't really have much else to say. So... see all ya'll next post!

(Dad taught me that "ya'll" is only for 2 or less people. "All ya'll" is for 3 or more.)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Good news bad news

The good news is that I have enough yarn for the shawl. It was getting pretty close and I sweated that out a bit. I know I have enough yarn because I did bind it off completely... All 895 stitches in a lace bind off that has you knit two together so I essentially knit 1.5 times that number to bind off...and then just as I got to the end saw that I had dropped a stitch at stitch 6. Yes, 6. The very beginning. I fudged it here, but I think I'll be unknitting. Oh well, the trip isn't over yet, right?

Thursday, July 17, 2014


It is so hard to believe we are on the way home already. Time really flies. Only yesterday we were just leaving home. We are out of Alaska for good now, and going back through Canada. WOW! Now we are at an RV park in I don't know where but we are going to Prince George tomorrow. We can go to Costco! Yeah! So far Mom has collected both Alaska and Canada Starbucks mugs. She plans to get more as we go down. We are heading over to Seattle to visit a friend and go to the original Starbucks. Do you see a theme to this trip?(COFFEE!) Well... I don't really have that much more to say. See ya next post!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Haines to Juneau

In Haines we stayed at a small RV park in town with good walking access to town. Haines is a small town that only "hosts" one cruise ship per week. The local enconmy depends on tourism and local fishing industry in general. We didn't realize what that meant until we got to Juneau...more on that later. 

Once we got a campsite, we toured around a bit and ended up driving out to the mouth of the Chilkat River hoping to see some wildlife in the form of bears etc... Unfortunatey it was not to be on this night, but we did catch site of Byron's "sister", another Vanagon of similar vintage to ours, white, and clearly a GoWesty vehicle. Given that she was parked in someone's driveway, a photo seemed a bit weird. We ended up seeing her again in town just as we were leaving for the ferry. 

Haines is basically the bald eagle capital of Alaska. About 400 are resident, and about 4,000 come there each fall during a salmon run. They were everywhere! Also, the Bald Eagle Foundation has a facility in Haines for rehab, education, and exhibition. We visited there on the day after arrival, thoroughly toured downtown, visited the town museum, and the Hammer Museuem, with a collection of over 1,200 different hammers. Corny, but cool at the same time. After some relaxing, we went for a hike on the Battery Point trail and were amazed at the trek through the rain forest and the flora we saw there on the way to a gravelly beach where Meghan enjoyed some climbing and scrambling time, and we saw some great views. For dinner we ate at Fireweed and had some excellent local brew and pizza!

Battery Point rainforest

Amazingly large trees. Felt like California redwoods.


Note Meghan climbing in the background.

She made it!

Bald eagle (yes...another one)

On ferry day, we caught up on laundry, hung out in town, drove out to Chilkat lake, and eventually loaded up for the ferry ride to Juneau. The ferry ride was short enough that they did not do a "car deck call" allowing us to visit Willow, but again she did fine despite having quite a late dinner that night. Upon arrival in Juneau, we discovered that an event at the Mendenhall Glacier had drained a small lake that the glacier normally holds back, causing Mendenhall lake to flood and the campground was closed where we'd planned to stay. Despite that, a steady rain was falling. We tried to bool a pet friendly hotel for that night, but all were booked solid. Off to the RV park we go again, and we were somewhat lucky to get in there as it was filling quickly with evacuees from the state campground. 

Mendenhall glacier near Juneau

Mendenhall lake

Falls near the glacier

From Juneau we caught an overnight ferry to Wrangell. Some rain, but overall great scenery on the Inside Passage during the journey. 

Nice view from Petersburg (inside passage)

The Narrows near Wrangell

We got some groceries and the lay of the land in town, then headed out to find camp...and really lucked out that we were willing to endure the road to get there. 

Killer campsite...steep gravel road with narrow stretches.  100% worth it...see following pix. 

The view


Petroglyph Beach, Wrangell


More still 

Super low tide let us explore tide pools. 

Marker rock usually underwater!

Sea cucumber

Starfish seeking refuge during low tide

Shakes island with totems and "gremlins"

Here's to you Pat!

You have a pretty lake!

Salads for dinner with wild berries we picked

Sunset on last day on Wrangell Island

Now, on to Prince Rupert BC and points south.  Just about out of Alaska. :(

No data plan until back in USA. We'll try to grab some WiFi once in awhile in BC

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My Photos...

I'm an utter failure at this. Blogging, I mean. I've got a couple posts, nothing amazing. Dad is the committed one. He has posts every day, but while Mom writes once in a century, her posts are long and good. Anyway, I'll try and write something today. I can't promise you anything, but...

I have met a lot of new friends, some my age or older. There's Remie, Marley, and siblings Caitlyn and Wyatt, who, by the way, are from Greeley, Colorado. Their grandmother owns Kathleen Lake Lodge, and they have been helping manage it for the summer. We met Remie and her family at a campsite where there were two spots on one stretch of pavement. She taught me how to make mini bows and arrows, melt sap to make glue, and so much more. We met Marley at Liard Hot Springs, who was going up to Juneau for a summer job. She told me she was going to work at Willow Bea's Popcorn, which is the name of our dog, Willow Bea Barnes. Weird coincidence. Anyhoo, I've been trying to read every single book on my Kindle App. I have gotten through about 15 so far, hopefully I won't run out of books! I spend my time in the car drawing, reading, playing games, sleeping, cuddling the dog, or looking at HGTV magazine. Or looking at scenery, of course.
Here is my photos of scenery and other stuff:
                                                      This is adorable Stewart, the pet pig
My mini bow and arrow
Quite the pile eh?
Ya think that's a little close people?
The sea lions are fishing!
Saw this on the 4th. Cute!
I hate to say this, but that is seriously all the photos that are reasonable on my iPod...sorry.

Kenai to Valdez to Haines


Somewhere in the last day or so we blew past the 5,000 mile mark on our trip! Wow, that's the longest road trip any of us have been on. We're well into week six on the road now and still have only stayed in a hotel two nights. I never expected that we'd become this fond of Byron and his confined space, but it's become quite comfortable for all of us. The only really challenging nights have been those that are especially buggy outside, or with consistent rain. We have some gear that we normally put 'out' on arrival (such as camp chairs, etc...) that is a real pain to put away wet, so we figure a way to stack these inside, and that's when things get tight (as we now define the word).

Over the past few days we've had a great time traveling from Whittier, AK (after leaving the Kenai) to Valdez via ferry, to Tok, AK (where we rejoined the Alaska Highway), back into Canada for the trip south to Haines, AK in preparation for our next ferry ride through the Inside Passage.

In Whittier, while waiting for our ferry departure time, we got to tour around the town. As many places in Alaska, the town has a significant military history as it was an ice-free port where the military brought in fuel that eventually ended up in Fairbanks via train/tanker. We traveled through a ~2.5 mile long single-lane tunnel that also has train tracks. Until not too long ago, cars were loaded onto the train and ferried through the tunnel rather than driving. My previous post showed a pic of the tunnel entrance. Below is a very rough photo from inside the tunnel.

Train tracks visible in the middle of the road in the tunnel.

Once in Whittier, we explored the dock area and town a bit. We saw an obviously abandoned building and found out it was a former army building, The Buckner Building, that was an all-in-on facility with housing, mess hall, entertainment, training etc...

The Buckner building in Whittier

Each day, we try to note the oddest thing we've seen that day. In Whittier, it had to be this guy walking a Caribou on a leash.

Taking the caribou for a walk!

Our purpose for traveling to Whittier was to board the ferry to Valdez. We traveled on the MV Aurora, which helped lay booms and with the extensive cleanup effort from the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster. I believe that this trip was the first time that I've purchased Exxon gasoline since then (my own little protest of how they handled it), and only because it was the only choice when we needed fuel.

The MV Aurora. 36 vehicles fit in this thing! (including Byron on this day)
The ferry trip was as much to avoid some driving as it was to travel across Prince William Sound for the scenery. During the crossing we saw tons of glaciers, 'icebergs', whales, eagles, etc...

Glaciers, glaciers everywhere!

This guy popped up close enough to say hi!

The Columbia glacier moves at ~80 feet per day, and calves about TWO CUBIC MILES of ice in the sound per year!
We arrived in Valdez on 04-Jul in time for their evening festivities and fireworks. Unfortunately, they choose to shoot them off at 10pm, which is just not dark enough this far north. Still really loud though!

Wildlife sightings included bear, otters, sea lions, and more bald eagles than you could count!

Two juvenile bald eagles 

Bear taking some easy salmon at the hatchery weir

At this point, we decided to leave the area

Yep, they really are all over up here!
Waterfalls galore in & around Valdez, and on the drive out to Tok, AK! The Thompson Canyon regularly is closed in the winter due to snow slides...up to 150 feet deep! We saw some of the remnants still remaining from this year's.

We've seen lots of glaciers on this trip, and hiked to many as well. Here's yet another from around Valdez.

Finally, we traveled from Valdez to just across the Canadian border and camped at Porcupine Creek. It was rainy all night there,and we pretty much pulled in, ate, slept, and left. From there, we went to Haines Junction and stayed at a private cabin / campground property where we met some folks from Greeley, CO visiting their relatives who run the place. Meghan made friends with Caitlyn and Willow made friends with Jazz. Caitlyn even came with us on a hike to Rock Glacier in the Kluane NP. I wish we had a clear day here because we might just have popped for a flight tour of this park to see the enormous ice fields, glaciers, and Mt Logan, the highest in Canada.

The Haines Junction town monument. We said it's a giant cupcake with animals!

Meghan and Caitlyn on Rock Glacier.

Rock Glacier

Lake Dezadeash view from Rock Glacier

We are now in Haines, AK with a ferry reservation for Friday to travel to Juneau, and on eventually to Prince Rupert, BC.  More to come!