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 > Your search for posts made by 'joe b.' found 417 matches.

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RE: Roll Call Alaska 2015

Road conditions are a lot like beauty, it is all in the eye of the beholder. I have driven the Top of the World, 8 or 10 times in the past, and have to admit it is one of my favorite drives. It is one of the few roads in the north that is built on ridges, so you can see for miles, the views are spectacular to say the least. Most northern roads run in the valleys, often between mountains, so you look left and there is a mountain, look right and there is another mountain. The Top allows a visitor to see. The perspective most people have to road conditions is tied to their personal experiences. For those of us that grew up and learned to drive on back country gravel roads, the Top of the world is not all that intimidating to us, but many of the northern travelers, by RV, may be experiencing their first time driving on a gravel road without shoulders, or painted lines or even guard rails. But if a person thinks it is dangerous, then to them it is, as perceived dangers are just as concerning to them as if they were real dangers. So the Top highway, probably isn't for everyone. Folks planning to drive it for the first time need to take an honest internal look at their driving experience on secondary roads, especially hilly/mountain type roads and also how well they know their RVs. Just like I tell people asking about driving their RVs on some of the shelf road highways in western Colorado, how well do they know their RVs. Do they know where their passenger side front tire is within a foot or less? If not, stay off those roads and I would say the same about the Top Highway. Know when to stop, allow plenty of time for the drive, don't hesitate to pull over at a pull off to wait out a rain or snow storm. They run 18 wheelers, pulling fuel trailers over the road several times a day, the commercial tour buses run it often and both are driven by skilled drivers that tend to be very courteous, IMHO. Most of the horror stories told about the Top are usually second hand and they get better every time they are repeated, it seems. Sure people get hurt in accidents on the TOP, they also do here in Florida on Interstate 95. Driving vehicles is inherently dangerous, killing approx 4,000 people a year in Florida alone. So all this verbiage is the Top is a great drive, if care is used, along with good judgement. A couple of years back a US Customs officer was killed on the Top, when his vehicle ran off the road and ended up in the creek/river below. I never did hear what caused the tragic accidents, a bad road, a heart attack, a stroke, who knows. I am enough of a Calvinist by by religious beliefs, that when it is my time to go, it is my time to go. Nothing I can do to change that. My only thought is when it is my time to go, you may not want to be standing too close to me, riding in a vehicle with me or as a passenger in an airplane I am flying. LOL Lots of pixels to say, if you are comfortable driving on gravel roads, with sharp turns, no shoulders in places, dust or mud depending, sharing the road with trucks, buses, cars and other RVers, go for it, as it is a very memorable drive.
joe b. 07/28/14 04:17pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Blowing tires on 5th wheel

Most people having tire problems are , over loaded, tires under inflated, tires are too old or they are driving too fast. Many ST tires have a max speed of 65 mph stamped on them. I try to stay at about 60mph when towing. I run the max tire pressure stamped on the tires. Two years ago I switched to Maxxis 8008 radial ST tires and have been pleased with them. Towed our 5er from south Florida to western Colorado, then to Utah, Arizona and back home with zero tire problems. People towing too fast with under inflated tires seem to have the most problems.
joe b. 07/27/14 05:23pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: Weather Radio recomendations?

We went to the weather radio app after a tornado alert we received while staying in Lajunta Colorado. (eastern Colorado) Having grown up in tornado alley and being a pilot, I am fairly good at spotting developing bad weather. We turned on our battery operated weather radio and about midnight it gave the alarm. The main problem was it was giving the storm area by counties and we had no idea what county we were camped in. My wife grabbed the road atlas and started searching for our county. She finally found it as I was getting the Class A ready to move if need by. Turned out to be the county next to us but we got lots of rain, wind and lightning. So at that point I decided to get something that kept track of where we were and would only send alerts for that location. Weather Radio was recommended and it has worked for us very well. I just put my iphone on the night stand next to the bed in sleep mode and it will wake up on receiving a signal. Whether it gets the signal before, at the same time or 30 seconds later, is no big concern to me. I want to know if if is for my location. If the old weather radios work for a person, that is good, but I wanted something better and I have it IMHO. If a person could tie one of the old weather radios to a GPS system, then it would work the same as does a smart phone with GPS capabilities. My real answer is to stay out of tornado alley if the weather is looking threatening but since we run out to western Colorado, from Florida most summers, sometimes going on north to Alaska, it is hard to miss all the bad midwest weather at times.
joe b. 07/24/14 08:34pm Technology Corner
RE: Boondocking in Hyder?

The road out to the bear viewing area, goes on to re-enter BC. This road was in heavy use, back when the Granduc Copper Mine was working in that part of BC. One of our forum members, Murray, worked out there for sometime, before moving north to Carcross YT. As I understand, it was one of the largest copper deposits ever found in North America. They had a bad snow slide out there at the mining camp that killed over 20 workers as I remember. The mine operated for about 20 years and the ore concentrate was shipped out, by truck to Stewart and loaded on ships to be sent to the smelters. Not sure what is remaining of the mine, the buildings, etc. or if you can even access the area, as I am sure it is still considered to be a private mining claim. Perhaps Murray, (explorenorth.com) can share some light on this. I personally have never driven out past the bear viewing area, as seeing glaciers in Alaska, is very common when flying throughout the state. To many people, such as the OP, glaciers are not something to be seen where you live, so easy to understand the desire to see and photograph.
joe b. 07/24/14 08:58am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Weather Radio recomendations?

For the last four or five years we have used an app on our iPhones called Weather Radio. Think I paid $9.99 for it originally. Don't know what it costs now. It tracks your location and will wake up my iPnone if there is a weather alert where I am located, when traveling. We have a standard weather radio but you have to turn it on at bedtime and know what county you are in as that seems to be the way weather warnings are given. The app keeps track of our location. Best weather app I have found. Having grown up in southern Oklahoma, I have a very healthy respect for what tornados can do to RVs, buildings, etc.
joe b. 07/23/14 05:16pm Technology Corner
RE: how do you know when to trade

Lots of good comments above. Also look at how you use the rig and how many miles a year do you put on it a year. One fifth wheel we owned in Alaska, we pulled it for three or four years and then bought a river front lot on the Kenai river. So we decided to set it up semi permanently as a fish camp. So the age didn't really matter as we liked the floor plan, kept the roof seams caulked, etc. for several more years. When we sold the property, a dozen years later, we threw in the 5th wheel with the sale of the land. I tend to keep RVs for as long as we still enjoy using them and still trust them mechanically, out on the roads. Doesn't matter what class of RV it is. We have changed types of RVs more due to changes in our lives than any other reasons. We owned a large Class A at the time our daughters started to college and it was just my wife and I traveling. It no longer fit our needs, so we sold it and bought a smaller rig, for our travels. So we have no real set measure on when to buy or sell, like I do with our trucks and cars. I keep those till the general costs to bring it back up to new standards is equal to the book value. Our last Dodge Cummins truck needed about $10K in work, new paint, overhauled tranny, new seats, AC work, etc. and the book value was $10K so I traded it in on the current Chevy I now drive. I have done the same thing with private airplanes, in the past. Prior to living here in the swamps of southern Florida, we lived in Ouray Colorado and did much of our camping in Colorado. Now that we live in south Florida, we still do much of our camping in western Colorado. So road worthiness is more of a concern to us now than it was when we lived there. A three hundred mile trip was a long one for us. Now we put 5,000 miles on our RV to camp in the same places.
joe b. 07/23/14 02:22pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: Why only one bed in a fifth wheel and why sooo tall?

Our 5th wheel is just over 13 ft tall, hitched to the truck. Which is great for me as I like to be able to stand up at the foot of the upper bed in the morning to get dressed. I am 6" 4' tall and it works great for me. We have a queen bed up, the sofa makes a queen, very uncomfortable so great for sleeping guests (they leave after a night or two at the most) LOL and a set of bunks in a slide out room. Just perfect for our 9 and 11 year old grandsons when they go with us. Most trips when it is just the wife and I, we use out truck camper, especially for long trips or when we want to tow our Jeep with us to run the mountain trails. This combo works for us at this stage of our lives. In the past, Class As have worked best, a couple of Class Cs (with bunks) when our daughters were young, a popup when $$$ were a bit short, a couple of 5th wheels for destination camping. For living space for the most bang for the buck, a 5th wheel is hard to beat for most people. I see full timers parked for 6 months at a time in a half million dollar Class A, never turning a wheel and it makes me wonder if they wouldn't be happier in a trailer if all they are going to do is park.
joe b. 07/23/14 02:07pm Fifth-Wheels
RE: Expense , money etc etc

As a general rule of thumb, a 5 year old RV will be worth about half of the original selling price. Example: if a new RV is sticker priced at $100,000 and sells for $80,000, then at the 5 year mark, it should be worth about $40,000 on the average market. That means the person that owned it for the first 5 years has lost $40,000 in depreciation, or $8,000 a year. Those are real dollars, which many owners don't like to even think about, as you can tell from some of the posts. The depreciation slows down considerably after about 5 years, give or take. Fun can be very expensive, not just with RVing. We all tend to have some limits to our disposable incomes, which varies from person to person. Most of us involved in RVing, accept the costs involved. For rough operating costs, I tend to think in terms of about $1 a mile, not counting depreciation or loss of investment income, on that money. This would be using the RV for 10,000 to 15,000 miles a year and spending a month or two sleeping in it. Less or more of either will make the costs vary. So many variations in costs, as mentioned above. Miles per year, maintenance costs, self done or shop done work, camping costs, insurance, depreciation, storage, and other items such as lawn chairs, grills, etc.
joe b. 07/22/14 07:57am Class C Motorhomes
RE: Boondocking in Hyder?

Trying to figure out what gates you mean. There is not a US Customs office there, only Canadian for coming back into Canada. The rangers may go to work at 6 AM, I don't know, but the parking lot for the viewing area, is parallel parking along side the road which heads back into Canada a few miles farther along. I don't remember seeing any signs prohibiting parking in the lot beside the road. The bears are there when the salmon are running, 24 hours a day. Now after a big salmon breakfast, the bears may decide to take a mid day nap, I don't know. We have stayed at the Bear River RV Park in Stewart, BC and then driven over to Hyder, in mid morning to watch the bears. But I am not much for watching bears, just doesn't do much for me. The last couple of times, we have visited Stewart-Hyder, we stayed at Meziadian Junction, where Hwy 37A leaves the Cassiar Hwy to go to Stewart-Hyder. There is a campground in Hyder, called Camp Run Amuck, somewhat apply named IMHO. It is a mile, give or take from there to the viewing platforms. The most redeeming quality to Hyder, to me, is the outstanding food served at "The Bus", located one block west of the main road out to the bear viewing area. The fish and chips are worth the drive into Hyder. Hyder, on a nice day. http://pajbcooper.com/IMG_2040.JPG The parking lot at the bear viewing http://pajbcooper.com/IMG_2049.JPG Camp Run A Muck http://pajbcooper.com/IMG_2059.JPG The famous bus in Hyder http://pajbcooper.com/IMG_2042.JPG My wife and I with brother in law at the booth. http://pajbcooper.com/IMG_2071.JPG I have heard there are people that were born and raised in Hyder that have never seen the sun. LOL
joe b. 07/20/14 02:59pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: What's the quickest route to Fairbanks?

We came down to the swamp to help out with my wife's aging parents, and then our daughters moved down to go to college in Orlando, then both got married and now we have grand kids here can't seem to be able to move away from the grandsons. They tend to go to western Colorado with us in the summers. Last summer we spent a month at the Ouray KOA, great RV park, IMHO. Then a couple of weeks at the Montrose KOA, using it for day trips to the surrounding area. The grand kids love Ouray. The swimming pool, hiking, Jeeping in the San Juan's, visits to Silverton, etc. they never seem to get tired of camping in the area. We usually stay a couple of weeks at Ridgway State Park, our favorite Colorado SP. My wife grew up in the Springs and her family moved to Woodland her freshman year of high school. So we end camping around the Springs for a week to visit old friends. So many great campgrounds in Colorado, especially the West Slope. The crowds on the Front Range are a bit of a turn off for me. We really miss Ouray. When we moved there from Alaska, we bought an old Victorian home and worked on it for the nine years we lived there. We kept it for a year after moving to Florida, but didn't see us returning anytime soon, so we sold it. We have considered buying a second home there, but the increased prices have messed up that idea. The trip to Alaska is great, no matter how much time is available to do it. We all have to use what we have for the trip. Any amount of time spent in the north country, is better than not going, IMHO.
joe b. 07/20/14 08:57am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: What's the quickest route to Fairbanks?

Sure do know Gary, Terry and the three kids. We spent about two months in the Ouray area the last two summers. We had to skip going out this summer due to some personal health issues. We lived in Ouray for about 9 years prior to moving here to the swamp country. That move made it near the top of the list, of the "Ten dumbest things joe b. has ever done." LOL
joe b. 07/19/14 08:08pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: What's the quickest route to Fairbanks?

We used to live in Ouray and the route we used was to go to Grand Junction, west on I 70 Green River Utah, cut NW to Provo, then north on I 15 to the Canadian boarder. Cross at Coutts-Sweatgrass and north to Calgary, Edmonton, cut NW to Dawson Creek and take the Alaska Hwy north to Delta Junction Alaska and then the Richardson Hwy on to Fairbanks. There will be bugs up till a couple of good hard frosts, about the first week of October in the Interior around Fairbanks. We used to live in Nenana Alaska as well. Nenana is about 65 miles SW of Fairbanks. Google thinks it is about 3,168 miles from Grand Junction to Fairbanks and they show 57 driving hours. That distance I can make in 5 days of hard driving but six or seven are more comfortable to all concerned.
joe b. 07/19/14 08:00pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: tay away from Muncho Lake, BC

Gary, I would use the word, selective, instead of cheap, for you, me and most others on the forum. The folks that have chosen to stay are the Northern Rockies Lodge and campground on the shores of beautiful Muncho Lake are being selective. They must have felt the location, the view, the attractive buildings, etc. was worth the extra costs, but didn't expect the attitude problems they encountered. Just like my friend Larry, and his Prevost rig. He considers himself to be cheap as well, driving 30 miles out of the way to stay somewhere cheap or free in a campground. My thinking is if he wants to be cheap, spending close to a million dollars for an RV is not the way to do this. LOL I know soon after you bought your Class C rig, you spent a few thousand dollars on having it modified to be a 4 wheel drive. In Colorado I had a new 15 passenger van converted to 4 wheel drive, for my employer and it cost them about $4,500. But that van was being used year around in snowy western Colorado in the mountains so was very handy and used often. So again, you were being selective where you spend your money, not cheap by my definition. The last Class C we owned was a mid sized bunk model that we made, I believe, 6 round trips to/from Alaska, to the Lower 48, and I can't remember ever needing 4 wheel drive. We put over 80,000 miles on that rig. I know you posted a video of you driving through some flooded road. But for me, when the water is deep enough to need 4 wheel drive, probably not where I want to take a Class C anyways. I suspect you feel differently. The old addage of different strokes for different folks. Which works for me ad I suspect you too. Now I have 4 wheel drive in my current pickup, a Chevy one ton, and one of these days I may need to use it. But until then I will just continue to drive it, looking all cool and that is not easy for a 72 year old guy to do. LOL Again, being selective. Now I know you and I define boondocking differently, to me, I use the term to mean away from a dedicated area for camping or parking area, private or whatever, but I don't consider rest areas, parking lots, ect to be boondocking. That is pavement parking which I don't enjoy. I just don't enjoy sitting outside my camper in my lawn chair, in a Wal Mart or Canadian Tire Store parking lot, when I can have more attractive scenery. To me, boondocking is pulling down by the creek or river, the lake shore or other impromptu spot for the night, often starting a small campfire, to sit around and enjoy the night sounds of the place. But I know from your posts and our emails, Gary and I email often to each other and have for years, you find pavement parking to be most satisfactory to you. To you that is being cheap, to me it is being selective. You are willing to give up anywhere from a half to a mile per gallon less on fuel, just to have 4 wheel drive on your rig, just in case you need it. That is not being cheap and I believe you are the only forum member I have read of having this conversion done. We have a few that drive rigs build on a truck chassis that were originally built with 4 by, such as the Tigers, and a few others. But the best thing the OP can do is to write some good reviews of the place he stayed. I would also suggest he use RVparky.com as they are a fairly new site but will post the actual opinion of the writer without censoring it, as the other one mentioned will do. RV Parky.com also has a nice app you can download on your smart phone or tablet. This site will even let you comment on the management and their attitudes, which won't get by the censor/administrators of the older site. I know we have gotten off the subject of the OP but hopefully the discussion is related to why people stay at RV places like that, in the first place.
joe b. 07/17/14 04:48am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: tay away from Muncho Lake, BC

Gary, good question. We stay about half and half, boondocking or pivate or government. Never liked math a lot. LOL The reasons we will stay in a private campground is when we want to plug in to power. I really dislike the sound of generators and find too many with people, boondocking at times, when we need to do laundry or when the weather requires the AC or if it is smokey for a forest fire. Some places we tend to stay in privates more than others, such as for a 4 or 5 day stay in Whitehorse, also in Fairbanks, in Valdez and a couple of more places. We do like the provincial parks and national parks, where they enforce the generator rules. I much prefer to take a shower in a campground facility as my Lance camper wet bath wasn't designed for a guy my size, 6'4" and 285 lbs. It fits my wife fine, 5'2" and 125, but not me. I have made trips to and from Alaska when I was sleeping, wrapped up in a surplus tarp and bag, showering every couple of weeks, whether I needed one or not. LOL So there are lots of reasons why people stay in private campgrounds. Somewhat the same reason why some travelers stay in motels instead of tent camping. Some people think those of us that own RVs are nuts for spending that kind of money. You as a Canadian, could be driving a diesel Smart Car and getting 65 mpg and sleeping in a tent in a boondocking site. Then you would really save money. I have a good friend, with lots of money, that has a Liberty converted Prevost bus. However he will drive miles out of his way to stay in a cheap or free camping spot. At about 6 mpg, he is spending more on fuel looking for those cheap sites than he is saving, but to him, he is saving money. I tend to think of the "back to the land" movement when I was in my 20s and 30s. People wanted to grow their own food, windmills for power, raise goats, attend rock concerts with others of the same thoughts. Not sure any of those folks ever saved any money doing it their way. Sort of like don't condemn the other guy, because he sins differently than you do. LOL
joe b. 07/16/14 01:38pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: US/Can entry and exit passport scanning plan

The amount of information sharing that goes on now is almost total from my understanding. That combined with face recognition software in use, by both countries doesn't leave much to the imagination of either side of the border. It never ceases to amaze me the questions I get asked from time to time by both. Both my previous employment situations, the trips I have made outside the US, and the list goes on and on. One time I was asked by the Canadian side, why I had been stopped on the high seas by the BDF? (Bahamian Defense Force) Of course the real answer as to why I stopped was that they were armed with automatic weapons and I wasn't. LOL But I gave the polite answer of, just a routine stop and search and sent on my way of sailing. Customs and Immigrations, have the best data of any of the agencies, from my personal experience. With all today's technology being used by most of us, from our cell phone calls, credit card use, emails, air line tickets, etc. there isn't much private anymore and hasn't been for some time. They can tell how long I have been in Canada, by most of these ways. Just look at the dates and locations where I used my credit card to buy fuel or food. I can't remember the last time my passport was not scanned, along with my wife's. A couple of trips back, the border agent asked my wife, sitting in the passenger seat, to remove her sunglasses and to lean forward. She did and asked why? He told her he needed to get a better look and I pointed out to her, the small camera mounted behind him that was adding/comparing, her to the face recognition software data base. I know both sides have access to the same data base for just after 9-11, the lines coming into the US got way too long, so the US requested assistance from Canada. Canada agreed to help out, so for a week or so, many people cleared into the US were cleared by Canadian officers, in Canadian uniforms, enforcing US rules, regulations and laws. Both side know the laws of both countries and have access to the same information.
joe b. 07/16/14 09:27am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: tay away from Muncho Lake, BC

Here in the Lodge being discussed by the OP, Northern Rockies Lodge. This new main building was built by the current owners, quite a few years back. Very high quality log work, expensive. http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL621/2555455/23996521/409787895.jpg The old main lodge is still there and in use, not sure what for. http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL621/2555455/23996521/409787890.jpg The high priced fuel pumps. http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL621/2555455/23996521/409787894.jpg Part of the campground - beautiful location http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL621/2555455/23996521/409787891.jpg The Rockies Mountain Lodge is a large complex of buildings. Here are some thta face the highway. The lodge is worth a visit inside even if you are not staying there . It is grand to say the least, if you like log work. http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL621/2555455/23996521/409787879.jpg
joe b. 07/15/14 05:30pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: tay away from Muncho Lake, BC

There are two private campgrounds on the shores of Muncho Lake. The one mentoned by the OP is Northern Rockies Lodge, as he mentions in his text but not his thread title. The Northern Rockies is toward the south end of the lake and a mile farther north is the Muncho Lake RV Park. Both have ads in the 2014 Milepost Guide on page 157. The Northern Rockies lodge is specializes in catering to European tourists coming to Canada for a remote fishing experience, float planes, remote cabins, boat rentals, etc. It was originally called the Highlands Glenn Lodge when first built as I remember. It was operated by a couple from Germany for many years. They sold it to the current owners, also German, as I remember reading somewhere. He does the bush float plane flying. The renamed it when they bought it, as well as put a lot of money into the place. They have always been one of the highest priced places on the Alaska Hwy, for fuel, meals and rooms. I would suspect a major part of their business is from the European tourists that come and stay a few weeks at the lodge. The Muncho Lake RV Park is the old Muncho Lake Lodge operation. It was closed for a number of years, 10 or so, when the current owners bought it and tore down the old delapidated log lodge buildings and other out building. They build a new shower house-rest rooms building and were trying to improve the place as they had the money to do so. I stopped in there on our 2011 trip, just to talk to the new owners and see what they planned. No fuel sales, I was told as they didn't want to tie up so much of their working capital in fuel inventories. Sure seemed like a real pleasant couple. There place is next door to the, also closed lodge building for several years now and like most of the old lodges is for sale. LOL The place next door has gone by many different names, Larry's Fish Camp, J & H Lodge, Den's Place (current owner's first name is Denny as I remember) He and his wife ran it for probably 30 years, decided to retire, but couldn't find a buyer for the place so shut it down and boarded up the windows. It was a real popular place for the caravans to stay in that area. The owners of the Northern Rockies Lodge have always had the reputation of not caring if road tourist stop or not as that isn't where they make their money. But too bad the people staying there have to put up with the rudeness the OP mentioned. On our last trip I stopped to take a couple of photos but can't remember the last time I spent any money there. The Rocky Mountains Lodge, just up the road a half mile sell fuel when they are open. (that varies as to when they are open) There used to be a couple of other places along the shores of Muncho Lake but they are long gone. I suspect the campground being next to the generator building was an after thought. The generators were put in for the lodge buildings and later came the campground, next door to it. So from what I can tell, the owners of the Muncho Lake RV Park are nice people, a couple trying to get a new business started, so please don't confuse them with the Northern Rockies Lodge. Muncho Lake from the north end looking south. There is a nice pull off on the west side of the highway on the north end looking down on the valley. http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL621/2555455/22241579/375646921.jpg Here is the Rocky Mountain Lodge in one of their closed times. There usually are cars there, even when closed. Suspect the owners use it more for a summer residence, than pushing the business aspect of it. The right side is a small cafe, standard breakfast fare, and lunch when open. The gas pump sets directly in front of the door and the diesel pump is just to the left a few meters. I think I have seen the place open once in the last ten years (our last 4 round trips) http://pajbcooper.com/IMG_1024.JPG This is the old lodge building that was taken down by the new owners of Muncho Lake RV Park http://pajbcooper.com/IMG_1064.JPG J & H lodge, fuel, fishing and RV Park plus bar. I called the owners in southern BC to talk to them about the place as I always wanted to own a roadhouse on the Alaska Hwy. Their price wasn't too bad but I lost interest, or was going to lose a wife if I bought the place. LOL http://pajbcooper.com/IMG_1067.JPG
joe b. 07/15/14 01:42pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Which first - the Cassiar or the Alcan?

Mom, I wouldn't be too concerned with the ice and snow on the roads. If you get a snow storm, just lay over for a day or two at some lodge or campground. That time of year, it will melt off in a short time, plus the northern road maintenance crews are the best, with good equipment. Give them a day or two and they can have most any snow storm moved off the highways and the surfaces sanded or graveled. LOL I had lots more issues with slick roads in western Colorado when we moved there than I ever did in Alaska.
joe b. 07/13/14 09:46am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Which first - the Cassiar or the Alcan?

I have done the round trip both ways, but normally, not as late in the fall as you are talking about. The Cassiar on the way up in late May or early June, is very nice, very few tourists, you don't have near the truck traffic, lots of wildlife babies out and about, but no bears have reported for duty at Hyder as of yet. Traveling from Seattle, I would probably do the Alaska Hwy first. Cross the border at Sumas or farther west, then up the west side of the mountains, cut over to Banff NP and head north on the Icefields Parkway to Jasper, then east toward Hinton and north toward Grande Prairie, to Dawson Creek and the start of the Alaska Hwy. Coming back south, cut off on the Cassiar Hwy, just a few miles before you get to Watson Lake, YT. The Cassiar is a more remote and scenic road, than is the Alaska Hwy, IMHO. But the Cassiar is a slower drive, because it is much the same as when it was first finished, with the road curves, ups and downs of the hills, etc. It is a nice paved road, a bit narrow in places, that takes more attention to your driving at times. But it is more rustic, like the Alcan used to be before it got so civilized, etc. LOL The three provincial parks on the Cassiar are some of the most scenic I have found in Canada or the US. September would be a better time to see them I think. Of the three Boya Lake is our favorite, on the north end of the Cassiar. Then in the middle of the Cassiar is Kinaskan Lake, also nice and on the southern end, there is Meziadin Lake PP. it tends to be much busier and have more visitors but a great place to stay while visiting Stewart-Hyder, closer to the coast. The weather tends to be better at Meziadin Junction and Lake. If you like to see the bears, this route will work. I am not much for spending time watching bears, they smell bad and they will bite if you are not careful. Plus I have spent too many days bear hunting in Alaska, the 25 + years we lived in rural Alaska. But many folks seem to get a lot of pleasure out of watching a bear catch and eat a salmon. Different people like different things, it seems. However by the time you get back to Hyder in the fall, you may well be sick and tired of seeing bears, as they are abundant in northern Canada and many parts of Alaska. The last trip we made, 2011, I enjoyed watching the young brown bear at the fish hatchery in Valdez. He was a less than full grown one, probably the equivalent of a teenager. Once he got full of eating fish, he loved to charge the crowd of people watching him from way too close, in my opinion. He would scatter the crowd of screaming running tourists and then after feeling very much the "big bad bear", he would get back in the water to fish a bit more and play. Then when the crowd gathered again, out of the water would charge Mr. Bear. He would do this for a couple of hours and get tired of it and wander back across the road and into the forest. I found it much more fun to watch than the bears at Hyder catching and eating fish. LOL Boya Lake PP http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL621/2555455/12355287/183128776.jpg Boya Lake is one of the clearest lakes I have ever seen. http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL621/2555455/12355287/183128768.jpg http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL621/2555455/18536416/372845839.jpg http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL621/2555455/18536416/372845837.jpg http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL621/2555455/18536416/372845831.jpg http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL621/2555455/18536416/372845826.jpg
joe b. 07/13/14 09:09am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: From Valdez - To Delta Junction of Tok?

For me, it really depends on what the purpose of my trip. The Richardson Hwy was originally the only way to drive from Fairbanks to Anchorage, prior to the Parks hwy being completed in the early 70s. I especially enjoy the Glennallen to Delta section of the Richardson if I am not in any hurry. I have always had better fishing on it than the Glenn Hwy from Glennallen to Tok (known as the Tok Cut Off). These days, most of the land along the Richardson in that area is privately owned by the Aetna Regional Corp. but they do sell fishing permits for a reasonable costs the last time I was through there. The old lodge at Sourdough, burned a few years back and was rebuilt after being closed a couple of years. Sourdough Lodge had the best home made blueberry pies to be found, IMHO. They also had a huge dog, looked like a cross between a bear and a Volkswagon. A gentle giant that had a couple of talents, that I ever saw. One is he could open the screen door with his paw, as well as a person and he wasn't a picky eater. When standing on all fours, he was eye ball level with the tops of the tables in the cafe. He would visit the different tables and check what everyone was eating and then try to mooch some bites from the favorites. He was worth a stop just to feed him a few french fries and last bite of my burger. LOL Anyway, you will find the Alaska Oil Pipeline follows the Richardson Hwy in that section of Alaska, lots of photo opps of it. The Gulkana River is also along side the highway much of the way and it is a good fishing stream, spring through fall. Has a good fall run of steelhead trout, close to the mouth of Paxson Lake, if they interest a person in trying to catch them. Then at Paxson intersection, go west on the Denali Hwy, paved for the first dozen miles or so, to the Tangle Lakes area for a few day of remoteness and often good fishing for grayling. Take lots of bug spray as they tend to be vicious up till the first couple of good frosts in fall time. So I can make an easy weeks trip out of getting from Glennallen to Delta. If I am in more of a hurry to head south then I will take the Tok Cut Off and usually camp for a night or two. Eagle State rec Area is a good campground about a dozen miles south of Tok. Several nice CGs in Tok and most services available. Some nice gift shops also there if anything you have forgotten to buy. Also stop at the gas station at the junction to the village of Northway. They, most of the time, have locally made art objects for sale. The people of Northway are known for the baskets and sewing work they do. You buy from them and you are supporting local artists, not some big corporation somewhere. Not sure if the Black Rapids Glacier Lodge, on the Richardson is open these days or not. It has had a history of periods, of being open and others of being closed. Nice views from there.
joe b. 07/11/14 08:40am RVing in Canada and Alaska
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