Thursday, August 24, 2006


Thursday, August 24, 2006, Dunn Bros Coffee Shop:

According to a native in Northern British Columbia, the Inukshuk has been used by their people for centuries. It is usually made of rocks in the shape of a man and it is often called a blessing for travelers. Originally it was used to mark the way, or to indicate that a food cache is located nearby. The Inukshuk can also be a sign of friendship or just the simple notation that their people had been there. This woman also told me that it can be used as a kind of thanksgiving altar, as in the case of a successful elk hunt. We saw several along the road in the northern part of British Columbia and in the Yukon. The grandsons thought they were neat, so they took to building their own Inukshuks to show that they had been there. You will find them along the bumpy frost heaved roads in the Yukon, at a pull out along the Cassier Highway in British Columbia, at the top of the narrow mountain road overlooking the Salmon Glacier in Hyder Alaska, and in the middle of a stream, on a sandbar, at Many Glacier Campground in Glacier National Park, Montana. You could say it's the kind of graffiti that I approved of, as opposed to the painted "kilroy was here" kind.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

This is one of the beautiful places we saw on our trip. This is Salmon Glacier in Hyder, Alaska. We drove many miles up a narrow, winding dirt road to the top where we could view the glacier miles back into the icefield. The grandsons delighted in walking next to the edge of the cliff and causing my already gray hair to turn a shade or two grayer! I love mountains, but am deathly afraid of heights. Does that make sense?

Saturday, August 19, 2006


We have been on the road since June 3, about 9000 miles ago. It's been, for the most part, an awesome trip, filled with wonderful memories. Traveling with a teen and a preteen grandson has been a trip back to the past when we were raising our own 5 boys and 2 girls, challenging at times, but something I wouldn't have missed for all the money in the world. A big thank you to the parents of these two boys who trusted us to spend the summer hauling their boys all the way north through Canada to Alaska and back. It was a blast!

Here are the greatest memories for each of us:

The Redhead: Hauling in a 98 pound halibut (Thanks Tim!)
More waitresses (and I don't think he means you Amy, Demara, or Diane)
That one girl at the swiming pool in Aberdeen, South Dakota
Pot lucks in Seldovia, Alaska

The Dude: Catching his first Salmon
The 4th of July and all the fun activities that day
Flying to Uncle Gary's cabin (Thanks Gary!)
Going on the boat to the restaurant and fishing with Jeff (Thanks Jeff!)

Dear Husband: Catching a 33 pound salmon (Thanks again Tim!)
Flying to brother Gary's cabin (Thanks again Gary!)
Watching The Dude in the parking lot at Glacier try to explain to people where
the grizzlies were on the hillside
The mountains through Jasper and Banff, British Columbia, Canada
Supper at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton Lakes, British Columbia, Canada

Me: First sight of son Chris as we stepped off the ferry in Seldovia, Alaska
Having Chris stop by the RV before or after work and just visiting with him
Meeting girlfriend Amy's parents (Love you guys!)
Potlucks in Seldovia with Chris and Amy's friends (Best eating of the whole trip!)
The peaceful mountains and ocean seen from our campsite in Seldovia

We also did a Top Ten List:

1. Top Campground: The Wilderness RV Park in Seldovia, Alaska
2. Top Restaurant: The Tide Pool in Seldovia - (Thanks for all the Classic Burgers with cheese and bacon Matt and Sarah!)
3. Top Mountain: Red Mountain in Seldovia
4. Top Fish: 98 pound halibut!
5. Top Boat Captain: Tim (I think it has something to do with #4!)
6. Top Beach: Outside Beach
7. Top Waitress: The one at Ricky's in Whitehorse, Yukon (Sorry Amy, Demara and Diane!)
8. Top activity: A tie here, fishing and kayaking
9. Top Wildlife: The wolf at White River in the Yukon
10. Top Meal: The first potluck on the boardwalk in Seldovia

Thanks to all who made this trip such a great memory for us and for the two boys. They will never forget the summer of '06!

Above all, we thank God for being with us every day and for keeping us safe for all the miles that we traveled. This world He created is an awesome place!

Monday, August 14, 2006


Great Falls, Montana:

After traveling for two months in the back seat of our big truck, the boys were complaining about the uncomfortable seat. They said it was too hard and they had sore butts. So I said I'd buy them each a pillow if we came across a Wal-Mart. Of course they spied one and reminded me of my promise, so we had to stop. I found some neat pillows made of long white hairy stuff. No. I found a solid colored one. Nope. I found a manly looking striped pillow. No, not that one either. They finally found what they wanted. The Dude has one that says Drama Queen, and The Redhead found one that says Princess! And I actually paid $8 apiece for them....silly me! It did stop the complaining about sore butts. Now they are complaining when I call them Princess or Drama Queen. Well, what did you expect boys?

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Great Falls, Montana, Sunday, August 13:
Just a quick post to say we are back in the USA! The drive down through Jasper, Lake Louise, and Banff Canada is beautiful, but I have never seen so many tourists! It was terribly crowded and that is not my cup of tea. We spent two nights at Many Glacier Campground in Glacier National Park, and that was also crowded. And two trails that we had planned to hike with the grandsons were closed because of grizzly bear activity, so plans were changed. I'll NEVER take chances with grizz! Glacier is one of our favorite places, and just being there is relaxing.

We are now at the Air Force Base in Great Falls and will stay here two nights. I have not done laundry in almost two weeks, so that's what I plan for tomorrow. We also can shop at the commissary and BX and stock up on a few things.

So, we're on our way home! I can't wait to get back to Minnesota to see the grandkids and kids, and my mom and siblings. And we now have phone and computer access, so we should be able to keep in touch more often this week. Should be home by the weekend.

Friday, August 04, 2006


This picture shows us sitting at milepost 1238 of the Alaska Highway in a crippled RV. Seems the rocks and frost heaves (or should I say frost canyons) have taken their toll and we have a broken spring on the RV, 85 miles from a service center! (sorry, the picture won't load....signal is too weak.)

After we saw the smoke from the tires rubbing on the underside of the trailer, we found a flat spot to pull off on and we unhitched and drove ahead 9 miles to the Tetlin Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center where a kind employee gave us her phone card to call back for a wrecker from Tok. (Cell phones are useless up here.) The man at the service center said someone would be out in 2-3 hours and they would bring several springs along and would attempt to fix it on the spot. Otherwise we'd have to be towed back to Tok, 85 miles in the direction we just came from. That would have meant we would have to spend another night there, and the next day we would have had to travel back over those same frost heaves. That would have been a bummer.

But it could have been worse. We could have not activated the Good Sam membership card with roadservice ---the day before! Can you believe that? We activated our membership the day before.....hope they don't think something is fishy here!

Or we could still be in Anchorage waiting for an appointment for The Dude to have toe surgery. As it was, he got right in on Monday, had his toe nail removed in the afternoon, and the doctor said we could travel again on Tuesday, which we did. (By the way, his toe is doing just fine.)

And we thank God that the RV damage wasn't caused by an accident. No one is hurt and it was just a few hours delay out of our planned milage for the day. We just adjusted our schedule and all is fine.

And, I am most thankful that the boys were so well behaved during the 4 1/2 hours we spent on the side of the road. They could have been cranky or whiny, but they did what boys are supposed to do-----played in the dirt! It would have been very stressful if we would have had to deal with undesireable behavior. Thanks guys!

As mentioned before, cell phones are worthless here in the wilderness, and computer access has been difficult to find, so we beg forgiveness for the lack of phone calls, emails, and blog enteries. Hopefully things will improve as we get closer to the good old USA.

PS: It was $686 and the guy fixed it right on the side of the road. And he took a check!

PS#2: It could be worse, right? Last night we took the boys out for dinner ($60) and to the Frantic Follies ($70), and when we came out we were treated to the sight of a flat tire ($75.) It's peanut butter sandwiches for the next few days, guys!


Leaving is always hard for me and I cry at anything and everything. I bawled when I said good-bye to my mom to go on this trip. I really sobbed when we left Seldovia last week Tuesday after saying good-bye to our son. And I shed tears again on Sunday evening when we said good-bye to hubby's brother and wife in Anchorage.

We arrived in the big city on Wednesday afternoon, and after doing 3 loads of laundry we had dinner with all the Alaska relatives at the home of brother and sister-in-law. On Thursday after doing 9 loads of laundry (can you tell Seldovia had no laundry facilities?) we had dinner at our RV with the same brother and sister-in-law. We were planning to say good-bye that night and leave first thing in the morning, but we were offered a deal we couldn't refuse and we quickly changed our minds. Hubby's brother has a cabin on Alexander Creek, about 30 minutes float plane ride across the inlet from Anchorage, and he offered to treat us to a weekend with them at the cabin.

We had a wonderful time visiting and relaxing. The grandsons were in their glory playing horseshoes and badminton, running around and fishing, and best of all, riding the 4 wheeler. They even eagerly helped stack firewood if they could haul it on the back of the 4 wheeler. One of the highlights for me was a bath in the banya (not sure how it's spelled) which is the Russian name for a sauna. I asked hubby to build me one, but he said we couldn't tow it behind the RV! I don't see a problem, do you? It's just a very small log building with a dressing room and the bath room, a small wood stove and a few galvanized pails of water.

After the wonderful restful weekend it was tough to say good-bye to brother and sister-in-law. Thank you so much G & G! It was great! You are so generous and we love you dearly.