Thursday, August 30, 2012

August 29, 2012: Back to Star Valley

We left Declo, Idaho, about eight thirty in the morning and continued to follow the Snake River. Potato fields and more potato fields,all grown in land watered by melting snows from the mountains of Wyoming. Lava fields and columnar jointing along with great examples of reverse topography came and went,(reverse topography is when lava flows on older rock and eventually erosion removes the surrounding landscape leaving the lava as a cap rock on a butte).
Reaching the Grand Canyon of the Snake it wasn't bad as the road climbed gradually alongside the river and its a pretty drive. We reached Palisades Reservoir and it was surprising how far it had been drawn down. It was nearly full when we left in early June and now the boat ramps and shore were high and dry.
Crossing the border into Wyoming we neared Alpine and luckily Game and Fish wasn't checking boats so we didn't have to stop and show our canoe documentation. We had it anyway but its one of the hassles with all the invasive species).
Passing through Alpine we saw the Local Art Shop where our work is sold and thought of Barbara. She grew up in Homer and had told us tales of when her Dad mined for gold. Renita thought she saw Mike and Loretta's truck. Later, after we set up, they stopped by and they are staying here for another week so we invited them over for a salmon barbecue and time to trade Alaska stories.
It was a pleasant surprise to see them as we had written about their sign at the sign forest and here they were, at the same resort. We set up on our place and we are not moving for a whole month! A beautiful sunset came as the smoke from the fires bent refracted light into a beautiful shades of orange.
I am so reminded of the book, The Hobbit or There and Back Again.  You never know where the road will take you, once you start down it, this time it was Alaska. We traveled to a place that was beyond our expectations. Clear skies.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 27, 2012:From Sunnyside to Baker City and then into Idaho

August 27

Its a pretty drive from Sunnyside to Baker City Oregon. Prairie mostly, or more correctly steppe, with the occasional mountain sticking up. Huge anticlines dot the landscape and the numerous lava flows makes themselves known with their columnar jointing.
Its really amazing when one crosses the Columbia River as its such a grand river in such a dry environment. The locks and dam were something I knew about but had kind of forgot. There are really quite a few things we would like to do here but for now we must get back to Wyoming.
So no digging for sunstones, this trip, or panning for star garnets. (I did purchase some star garnet rough on ebay and we will have it shipped to Wyoming). Our truck made it up and over Deadmans Pass so it should be ok for the rest of the trip.

August 28 

We left Baker City and headed east on Interstate 84. Our goal was to drive to somewhere in eastern Idaho and only have a 200 mile day tomorrow. The first part was clear but then the smoke increased and by the time we got to Boise visibility was really bad.
My allergies started to be bothersome but luckily we drove out of the smoke and the miles flew by. You forget how good the US interstate system is until you have spent time up north. We basically followed the Snake River up stream and it was easy driving until we climbed out of Boise. There we had turned on the air conditioning and we overheated a little. Turning the air off the engine cooled and we were able to finish the hot drive to east of Burley,(it reached 92 and its the hottest temperature we have seen this summer).
There we stayed at a Passport America park, Village of Trees and its one of the nicest parks we have stayed in. In fact we stayed here three years ago on our way to Mono Lake and Alan and Sharon.
So tomorrow we should finish our Alaskan Adventure and I can get started on the repairs from the eight thousand plus mile odyssey. Clear skies

Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27, 2012: Whats Really Important

I feel foolish writing about our travels when our hearts are in Louisiana and Florida as people we love prepare for Hurricane Issac. Our daughter works tonight and so we will call her tomorrow and my sister and her husband have evacuated to Thiboudoux.
Jenny's apartment is a ground floor bungalow about three feet above sea level. She took all her valuables to her boyfriends house and moved everything else up from the floor. It sounds like maybe the worst passed west. She was going to find out if they were going to evacuate her hospital in which case she would have gone with her patients so we will have to wait.
Connie and Gary evacuated from Grand Isle and are planning to stay in Thiboudox until everything clears. People who live on the coast have such a beautiful lifestyle, at times, and pay for it when a big one rolls in.
We have been blessed to meet many of their island friends and I am sure some have refused to evacuate. Anyway ours prayers and thoughts are with our family and Gulf Coast friends.

August 25-26, 2012: Lynden and then Southeast to Sunnyside

We decided to rest in Lynden for a couple of nights before heading on the last leg to Wyoming. I was tired of driving and we needed to buy some meat as we are kind of tired of fish. We also wanted to contact our daughter who lives in/near Tampa Bay and is preparing for Hurricane Issack.
So we called her and of course she has everything pretty much under control. I don't know where she gets her planning abilities from, probably from both of us as we have always insisted that one should have a plan.
So today we headed out. The sky was crystal clear on Saturday and we could see Mount Baker, but today the haze had moved in and Rainer was obscured. So we drove to Seattle and then headed east on Interstae 90. The roads here are so much better then up north but there are lots more people and more tax money to fix them.
Lots of trees and lots of traffic. The road climbed up Snoqualmie Pass and of course the truck got hot. It cooled off, after we crested out and I thought we were ok until the low coolant light came on. So we pulled over and let it cool off and I was able to add some more coolant,(there is not sign of any leak anywhere).
Continuing on everything was ok for quite a while and then the low coolant light came on again. The temperatures were all fine and so we kept on . We did a few more hills and then the light went off!! Totally confused but thats the way it has been since Homer.
Turning south on Interstate 82 we had Manastash,(or something like that anyway its a big anticline as are all the ridges), Ridge to climb and it was a repeat of the same things. So we let it cool off a bit and then the low coolant light went off and all was normal,(a weird air lock perhaps). I could see the fluid level was ok so we continued on to Sunnyside, Washington where we found a cheap campground for tweleve bucks a night.
Tomorrow its south to Oregon and then east on Interstate 84. We have about seven hundred miles,(1142 kilometers), until we reach Star Valley, Wy. There we plan on sitting for about a month as we get caught up on stuff we need to do. Clear skies

Saturday, August 25, 2012

August 24, 2012: Decision at Cache Creek

So the decision was should we go east from Cache Creek or should we head down Fraser Canyon. Milepost suggested/warned that the Fraser Canyon drive had curvey and narrow roads. So we just about decided to take the easier but longer route east on Highyway 1 to Kamloops and then down the four lane highway to Hope.
Luckily we decided to head down the canyon and if you ever come this way drive the canyon. Milepost should add the following caveat, "If you have driven on the Top of the World Highway go where ever you want to, it will be easier".
So we headed down the beautiful canyon and marveled at the white water rapids. A bighorn sheep appeared alongside the road and the tunnels added their charm to the delightful drive. Renita finally filled her memory card, her total for Alaska is now about four thousand images, and so she grabbed another new one and finally got it in the camera's slot.
I tried to view as much as I could and so I slowed down. It was ok as the road has numerous passing lane segments and no one seemed too concerned. It was busy but still the traffic was pretty light compared to what waited for us at Hope.
The drive was mostly a long long downhill, amybe the longest I have ever been on but it was managable by downshifting and using our good brakes.The tunnels were all named and Renita snapped each ones image as I reminded her to take off her sunglasses.
Soon we reached Hope and then merged onto Trans Canada One West and the joy of the dirve left me. So much traffic and so many trucks and they all took any further fun from traveling down the Gold Rush Road.
Still I would drive the drive again, and I would never drive this way north up the long long pull. Crossing the border we got into an hour long jam that wasn't helped when a waiting car caught on fire. Once we reached the Border Guard he quickly passed us through and Renita found a really nice campground in Lynden.
The plan is to rest here. a couple of days and then head east for Wyoming. Then its time to renew my liscense and make our last doctors appointment for this year. We are both glad to back in the lower forty eight and its time to make our route and how to dodge the forest fires as we head back. Clear skies

Friday, August 24, 2012

August 22, 2012: Brake Repairs and the Drive to Prince George

August 22, 2012: Brake Repairs and the Drive to Prince George

See I know I had the brakes checked before we left Texas so as we were traveling down the Cassier I couldn’t believe it when the trailer brakes stopped working. I mean it didn’t matter if I tried the slide or the pedal, the lights all were apparently working but the trailer brakes weren’t there.

So I drove the rest of the Cassier slowly and used manual gear so I could have help with the engine brake. It was ok, but not great. The closest help was in a city of Smithers where there was a mobile rv repair service. Of course it turned out it was closed and so we drove to a truck repair shop called Truck Pro, hoping for results.

Tim called Robert over to meet us and Robert carefully listened to all I had tried and all that hadn’t worked. It was really nice to be in the hands of an expert and he methodically attacked the problem. He also explained everything he was doing, so if I ever had to work on them again, I would have a better idea.

Three hours later, we pulled out of town with brakes working like brand new and it cost a lot less than we expected. So if you are ever in that part of the world, and need repairs, Truck Pro people are definitely the good guys!

The Yellow head highway is busy, far busier than anything we have driven in the past three months. We had a steep hill to climb and of course the truck heated up but it was ok and we were able to continue on. Houston, Fort Fraser, Vanderhoof all and came and went and we reached Prince George.

Arriving at Prince George, we pulled into an rv park and it was time to rest and relax after a full day of repairs and driving. Tomorrow is the anniversary of when we started full timing and it doesn’t seem possible that we have been at it for five full years. Tomorrow we hope to reach Cache Creek and maybe cross the border on Friday or Saturday, so knock on wood…… Clear skies

August 20, 2012:From Stewart to Smithers

We woke up to clouds and a light rain and we knew it was time to head south. By eight thirty we were on the road and driving up the gentle slope to Merziadan Junction. Of all the roads this is the easiest as it follows an old railroad grade and so is a gentle pull.
Turning south we didn't get far before a car was stopped for a black bear. We actually had some traffic and so I couldn't stop but Renita, ever the resourceful one managed to snap a few images. Further south the Seven Sisters Mountians showed up and we knew we were near the end of the Cassier Highway.
As soon as we turned onto the Yellowhead Highway traffic picked up and two semis were on our rear end. I pulled over and let them pass but soon another convoy formed and so it went. The easy driving of our journey was over and so we fought traffic for the next seventy miles until we reached Smithers.
There we checked into an rv park and tried to get the fifth wheel in for service. No, luck as the one person here who works on rv's is injured and unable to crawl under so I am trying to locate the problem  myself. Bob the rv mechanic, did give me quite a few suggestions so I hope to locate the short in the brake line tomorrow. Clear skies

Monday, August 20, 2012

August 19, 2012:An Extra Day in Hyder and Stewart

When I mentioned to Renita that I would like to spend another day in Hyder and Stewart, she readily agreed. So of course we had to visit the shops, see the bears, and check out the Stewart museum.
Returning that evening, to Fish Creek, it didn't take long before the sow appeared. She waded down the creek, stopping to eat a dead salmon now and then, and even tried fishing. It was obvious she didn't know how to catch them and she only succeeded in chasing them around so she soon gave up and came onshore to eat leaves.
She stayed there quite a while, until Renita noticed the boar approaching far upstream. Huffing he hurried down the stream and she quickly took flight. She watched him fish for a while and then neared him, grabbing a dead salmon and running back into the forest.
The next day we decided to stop and shop a bit in the local stores, and if you visit no other shop, be sure to stop at the Boundary Store in Hyder. When you do, ask Caroline really nice, she will even play you a tune on the dulcimers she sells there. She also makes jewelry and we complimented her on the artistry she displays in wire wrapping.
Oh, and don't speed through Hyder as Caroline sits on her front porch and uses a radar gun to catch speeders. She doesn't ticket them but instead shoots them with her paintball gun and then calls the speeders company to report their reckless behavior.
Finally, Renita suggested we visit the local museum, and its really one of the places we should have visited first. Located in the old fire station on Stewart, the curator, Donna, will entertain you with stories and will offer to show you movies on the towns history and on bear behavior.
The bear behavior movie is one everyone should see. It shows the difference between defensive attacks and predatory ones and explains what you should and shouldn't do. It tells you when to play dead and when to fight back and when we return up north I believe I will buy some bear spray.
So we have had a good time in the area and I really recommend Hyder and Stewart to all who are heading down the Cassier. About the only thing we didn't do here is visit the Salmon Glacier but we didn't want to travel the bumpy four wheel drive road,(we talked with a person from Wyoming who blew two tires as he hit potholes at too high a rate a speed). May you be blessed with bears. Clear skies

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 17, 2012: Claws

August 17, 2012: Claws

It wasn’t just his size that amazed me, and that was impressive enough, nor was it the size of his head as he grabbed a chum salmon in his huge jaws and teeth. No what really impressed me and will always be in my memory is the size of his claws. While you could see them even as he walked but it was when he held a large chum salmon that the claws really became prominent.

It was the second time today that we were at the Fish Creek Boardwalk. Its located three miles out of Hyder, Alaska, and it is owned and maintained by the US Forest Service. It’s an elevated boardwalk that gives all a birdseye view of feeding Brown and Black Bears.

Arriving at a little after six am the first parking lot was full and so we had to park a little further down the road. The boardwalk had just opened and already there was a crowd of people hoping to catch a glimpse of bears feeding.

Below you could see chum, (dog), and humpies, (pink), salmon and it was the first time we have seen chum. They are quite a bit larger then pinks and they put on their own show as they jostled around the females. The larger males would push each other attempting to get a better position as the female turned sideways to dig her redd.

Many were talking, rather loudly I thought, and several were smoking cigarettes. One even lit up a pipe and I thought, do these people think they are in a zoo? It was obvious that they had never sat in a blind/stand and hunted or bird watched. Soon the road construction started and the road became busy as water trucks passed back and forth.

No bears showed up and so we drove back to camp, (we later learned that several bears showed up at 8:30 am). A couple with two kayaks told us of a lake where they had watched two grizzlies playing for over an hour. We drove up to Clements Lake but didn’t see any bears.

Returning to town we stopped at the visitor center and walked the boardwalk that extends out into the tidal marshes. After dinner we decided to head back to Fish Creek and hope to see a bear. Waiting patiently again I seethed as several women begin an animated and loud discussion in a different language. Finally they shut up and wandered away.

The forest service volunteer suddenly said bear and we watched as a large boar brown wadded out into the creek. It fished a bit before slowly wading up missing salmon. One ear was scarred from a previous fight and the same person said the bear was about eight hundred pound in size.

Cameras clicked and a crowd crammed around as he caught a salmon and gripped it with his teeth. Carrying it to a small rock island, it held the fish with its paws as it ate the skin and head of the fish. It seemed to have a taste for the skin as it left most of the carcass for the mew gulls.

Grabbing another salmon, he again would just eat the skin and maybe a bite or two of the rest. We watched it as it slowly fished the entire length of the boardwalk. The volunteers yelled at people to turn off their flash and several cars topped along the road.

One person even got out of his car and walked over to the edge of the road, having no idea how close he was to the huge set of teeth and claws. The Forest Service person yelled at the idiot to get back in your car!

The bear fed for an hour before going upstream and waded under a bridge before walking into the parking lot. Suddenly people begin pointing into the brush and a much smaller female brown appeared. She fed on some  leaves and then headed downstream, stopping to feed on left over fish.

Meanwhile the big boar returned and started wading downstream, smelling the air. The sow, picking up his scent, grabbed a salmon and ran into the brush. She knew better to tempt her fate! We continued to watch until the light became too low and so we returned to camp.

This is why we came to Alaska, to see bears feeding. It’s why we took the long and narrow Cassier Highway and it was worth the price of admission. I will never forget the claws and oh by the way children, monsters do exist. Clear skies

Friday, August 17, 2012

August 16, 2012: From Dease Lake to Stewart, A Stunning Drive

You almost get inured to the beauty that surrounds you here. The mountains line both sides of the road and you pass into the boreal forest. Kettle lakes and beautiful rivers are everywhere but you have seen so much beauty that its almost anticlimactic. Then a bear wanders onto the road and you brake hoping that you can stop in time.
Of course we were going slow and so we didn't have any problem and that's what was good about this segment of our travels. It was a three bear day as the black bears were in the ditches eating berries. Added to this a moose and all in all a good days drive for animals.
The road was so so for the first bit. Its pretty typical here to have steep ditches with no shoulders and so the driver must concentrate on the road and not the scenery. When we get parked for the night I upload Renitas images and get to see things I have missed.
We drove through four construction areas, one of which involved helicopter lumbering. There we had to wait about thirty minutes, and it would have been longer, but the crew shut down for lunch. Huge slash piles were all along the road waiting for winters snow and the wet to keep their burning under control.
The bridges are really different as they use planks here for the roadway surface and the layout is not the usual one you see for wooden decking down south. On one bridge the surface was being replaced and several others were only one lane. The use of wood seems so normal however as you are surrounded by forests.
Turning down to Stewart and Hyder the road descends gradually and hanging glaciers appear. Stopping is prohibited as there is danger of ice fall and avalanche even in the summertime. A huge avalanche was along one side of the road and I have never seen such giant slabs! We pulled over for Bear Glacier,(a legal turnout) and again admired the blue ice and the river appearing from its snout.
This drive could arguably be the prettiest one we have been on although the approach to Valdez is also filled with waterfalls. My favorite waterfall here was one in which the water actually poured off from the surface of ice and then descended into a series of plunges each rivaling any waterfall I have ever seen before.
We crossed a long single lane wooden bridge and entered Stewart, parking in the very first campground. There we met Paula and Norm, a couple we had first met on our trip up the Alaska Highway. You might recall Rick and Karen and the Escapee group that traveled in a small and unofficial caravan.
Regardless we are here for three days and hope to see the bears feeding on pinks and silvers. The campground has warnings as bears and wolves wander in and out of it and it is highly recommended that you stay inside during the night. Its a warning we plan on obeying! Clear skies

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August 15, 2012: The Cassier Highway, Jade City, Dease Lake

August 15, 2012: The Cassier Highway, Jade City, Dease Lake

We left Watson Lake, (well not really Watson Lake but the junction of the Cassier and the Alaskan Highway), and headed south for Jade City and Hyder. Our goal for the first day was to make it to Dease Lake, after first stopping at Jade City and hopefully adding to our jade collection.

The highway itself started out as a narrow version of the Alaskan Highway. It was really pretty good and we averaged thirty five miles per hour. It actually got a little better and the scenery is simply spectacular as the Cassier Mountains rose in their entire splendor. The road itself follows the Dease River for quite a while and so we enjoyed the river and numerous quiet lakes.

Ruffled grouse all seemed to be feeding on gravel along the route and I thought we were going to catch a few in our grill but they all flushed as we neared. We got passed by everyone but that’s ok as who knows if we will ever travel this road again and so it’s our time to smell the roses.

Seventy miles south we neared Jade City and so we stopped to look for some free jade. The road cut was full of green rocks and we actually picked up some BC jade and some emerald snowflake jade rough. When we arrived at Jade City we saw huge boulders of jade and tables filled with sliced pieces and slabs.

We were both like little children as we posed besides the mammoth rocks. Emerald greens, mutton jade layers and black speckled greens were all in abundance. Walking to the tables we started to wet pieces and soon one of the miners arrived and sprayed the blocks with water allowing us to grade the jade ourselves.

I asked her where the highest grade was and she said that it all was purchased by Chinese buyers and sure enough a buyer was inside the store. WE did manage to find and purchase some rough that will make some beautiful cabochons including some that had inclusions of bright green chromium, chromium diopside I believe).

We put our purchases in the truck and went back just to see all of the beautiful rock. One of the miners showed us some stunning, what I would call a turtleback translucent jade, and he took our card promising us he would contact us when he had sliced more.

See they have an outcrop of the jade and they can’t blast it as it will fracture so they have to slice pieces in the mine and then bring them to the store to further slice, grade and sell. All of the miners did admire Renita’s Wyoming Jade pendant and complimented us on our work.

So we left Jade City and continued our drive. The road was really good for about forty miles and then the frost heaves and gravel breaks came out to play, Slowing down again I took it easy and so it took us about five hours to travel one hundred and fifty miles to Dease Lake and the private campground.

There are lots of places to boon dock along the road, but we wanted electricity for our freezers as they are filled with salmon. We did find diesel and filled up so we are good to go for Stewart and Hyder tomorrow. Clear skies

August 14th, 2012: Heading South to The Cassier Highway Junction

August 14th, 2012: Heading South to The Cassier Highway Junction

The drive from Whitehorse to Watson Lake was pretty uneventful. It didn’t seem like it had been two months since we had passed the repaired road and headed north. Swan Lake, the Cassier Mountains, Liard River all came and passed in the rearview mirror. They all reminded us of their beauty. The wildlife seemed to stay hidden except for the ever present ravens. We did see a ruffled grouse as it pecked gravel from the side of the road.

I drove the first two hours and then Renita took over and except for a few frost heaves the road was about as good as you could hope for. We made excellent time and before we knew it we were crossing the flash flood breaks and got a chance to see the new built Bailey Bridge.

It wasn’t finished yet and so it was still one lane past the damaged road. Again we passed many places we would have liked to stop and explore, but our rig is just too big to turn around in some of the parking areas. No matter really as there is so much to see and do and so we just enjoyed the drive.

The truck worked fine and so our last stop of the day was at the visitor center in Watson Lake. There we got great help and information and the latest information about the construction areas on the Cassier Highway.

Its also the location of the signpost forest and as we left Renita noticed the sign that our friends Mike and Loretta had made in 2003. Tomorrow it’s off to Jade City and then we plan on camping about one hundred and fifty miles south near Deese lake. We will also fuel up there as the fuel places along the Cassier are few and far between. Clear skies

August 12th, 2012: Tok to Kluane Lake

August 12th, 2012: Tok to Kluane Lake

Of all the roads we have driven so far the stretch from Tok to Kluane Lake is what I expected to find when traveling the Alaska Highway. It’s a stretch of almost constant frost heaves, punctuated by construction, and beautiful kettle lakes.

The border crossing was almost anticlimactic as we answered a few questions and were easily waved through. The border guard listened as I told her how I had my guns locked and the ammo saved and she renewed the permit, saving me twenty five more dollars.

The road itself was pretty good until we crossed the border and then the frost heaves were so bad that we had to slow to ten miles an hour. Washboard gravel and some big holes and we both thought that it was going to be a long day.

So we slowed down, averaging about thirty miles an hour and while it was still bad it was drivable Tiring form the constant strain of watching the road, Renita took over driving and of course she ended up driving the worst piece with a long construction section. Even this stretch was wide however, and so I got to enjoy the beauty of the kettle lakes, the subarctic tundra, and the stunted forests of drunken black spruce, (drunken forests are forests that are on unstable permafrost and point every which way).

Often trumpeter swans swam, serenely in still and dark clear pools of water, stained by the tannin a color of black tea. WE Crosse several large rivers, one of which, the White River, milepost warned, do not attempt to float!

Stained a dirty brown white, with volcanic ash, it was filled with snags and rapids and looked about as scary as the warning said, (Now we have carried a canoe with us on this trip and haven’t launched it yet, the rivers are too scary and we have been sightseeing too much to have time for simple pleasures).

The construction ended and the road improved. Renita sped us to forty five miles per hour and we reached Kluane Lake and Burwash Landing. We had hoped to meet our friends here but when drove to Cogdon Creek Campground, we found out it was closed due to habituated grizzlies. The mother and cubs had found garbage sacks left by careless campers and the campground was closed for the season.

So we drove a little further and stayed at Cottonwood Rv Park. It is one of the most beautiful little campgrounds, fronting middle Kluane Lake, that we have stayed in on this journey. Tomorrow we plan on heading to Whitehorse and then beyond to the Cassier Highway. That is if the truck continues to run as good as it did today. Clear skies

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August 11th, 2012: Heading Back to Tok

We said our goodbyes to Valdez and headed back up the road. Of course it was the usual beautiful drive as we passed the waterfalls. The road sliced through the narrow canyon before heading up towards Thompson Pass.
Its a steep and long steady pull and our truck heated up, so I pulled into a turnout and we waited a bit for it to cool down. Now I had checked the fluid levels before leaving Valdez and all were fine but we had boiled some out and so I added more to the overflow tank.
Continuing on we reached the pass and all was well. Soon we were north of Glennallen at the Tok Cutoff. Now Milepost describes the Tok Cutoff road as quite good in some places, filled with potholes in others, and now and then bad spots where the road is trying to fall off into the drunken forests. To this I would have added, gravel washboardy stretches from hell, yeah that's a pretty good description.
It was a scenic drive and we passed a mountain that's a sixteener, yeah a sixteen thousand plus high volcano. Trumpeter swans occasionally dotted the tundra lakes and moose warnings were everywhere.
After about one hundred miles the low coolant light came on and so we pulled over and looked for rocks. I added a little more fluid but it didn't need much and so we drove the rest of the way to Tok,(I did find some nice rocks which I added to our load).
Arriving at Tok, we camped at the same spot we had when we came north and later went over for happy hour with Steve, Mike, and the two Sandys. They had just arrived from Fairbanks and were also heading south.
Trading stories about our travels since Salmon Camp, they talked of the ice truck road to the Arctic Circle,(be sure to read their blogs, they are both on the side bar of blogs we are following).
So tomorrow we cross back into Canada and head south. The original plan is to head to Hyder and the Cassier Highway, but it will all depend on whether or not the truck behaves. Its not that the Alaskan Highway is any better but there are the occasional large towns/cities along the way. Clear skies.

ps We are heading into Canada so we will only post when we have free wifi, in other words we are going off the grid,(as our daughter would say)