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Driving to Alaska

Sunday, October 23, 2011

7/10/93 – Yesterday the BW said that if we have to sell the house to continue this life-style, she would be ready. But she still doesn’t want to sell it yet.

Today I talked to one guy who first drove to Alaska in 1952. He worked there during WWII and while the Alaska pipeline was being built. He has lost track of how many times he has driven to Alaska and said he has never had a flat or a broken windshield. During the early days he did get a hole worn in his gas tank – then he covered the front of the tank with an old inner tube. He said the guys who had tire trouble are the ones who drive 60 miles per hour. He would go as fast as 50 if the road was good – otherwise slower. Also – the road from Edmonton to Dawson Creek was bad – just ruts left by the trucks, but once you got to Dawson Creek you had a good gravel road all the way to Fairbanks.

It looks as if we picked the right day to go to the mountains. It’s overcast and drizzling today.

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MS.ELENI 10/24/2011 10:12AM

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Hurricane Ridge

Saturday, October 22, 2011

7/9/93 – Found a big town called Sequim (pronounced “scum”) on the way to Port Angles. Through port Angles, into Olympic National Park (saved another $4 with the Golden Eagle Pass - $7 Padre Island, $5 Mt. Rainier, $4 Olympic is $16. Only $9 to break even). Up to Hurricane Ridge Lodge where we had lunch and listened to a ranger talk bout the mountain goat problem (12 introduced in 1920 turned into about 1200 by 1988 – wiping out the unique plants on the Olympic Peninsula).

Then we started out to take the baby trail, shifted to the medium, and then did the High ridge Trail and the “Overlook Spur”. I’ve seen stairs that were shallower than parts of the trail. The Overlook Spur was only 600 feet long and not steep at the beginning, but it also was round topped and maybe six feet wide where you could walk. In the center you couldn’t see down either side, but if you moved over you could. The glaciers carved the Olympic Mountains and a distinguishing characteristic is the extremely steep slopes. As a result, you could see that if you sent over the edge you could not possibly climb back up. The drops were several hundred feet on either side – maybe 1,000 feet or more to the valley floors. When we got up to the top, you had the drops on three sides, a few trees hiding the ridge on the fourth, and an Olympic marmot chewing on a root. The BW climbed up on the peak and said “take my picture.” I started the hike with film in the camera and an extra roll in my pocket (had two extra rolls in the van). I shot the last exposure as she was climbing the knob. She never wants me to take her picture – how was I to know? To make it even worse, there were several totally unobstructed, magnificent views on the second half of the loop. This visitor’s center is at 5230 feet, and I was taking pictures of clouds going by below us on the first half, but by the second half it was totally clear (it took us 1 hour and 40 minutes to cover 0.9 miles (1.0 with the spur) but we were not moving fast going either up or down.

Then we stopped in Sequim for halibut steaks for supper (delicious). They have a clam chowder cook-off there on Saturday and Sunday this weekend, so we thought we would go back today (9/10/93).


Moved to the Olympic Peninsula

Friday, October 21, 2011

7/8/93 – Had breakfast with Annie at JB’s. Left Yakima at 8:40 – made it over the mountains OK. It was bout 250 miles to Chimicum, and we got to the post office by a little after two and got our mail. Door handle broke on van, and I had Chimicum Auto Parts order one. Found the Co-op and paid $60 to stay a week ($56 plus tax) but had to move on Friday because we wanted a sewer connection. West to Port Townsend and got some post cards and groceries – also the Vancouver ferry schedule and rates.

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BREWMASTERBILL 10/22/2011 7:22AM

    July in the Pacific Northwest is gorgeous.

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End of 7/5/93

Thursday, October 20, 2011

7/5/93 Continued - Now I have a leak in the coolant system that won’t go away. We intended to leave for Chimicum tomorrow morning, but I will be up at White Pass Garage, instead. We visited Mt. St. Helen last Monday and Mt. Rainier yesterday – and seem to keep leaking coolant no matter what happens. I put stop-leak in the coolant and that stopped the leak for awhile – but it came back. More Later.

PS – Annie got a dog on 5/21. It’s a nice little bitch Annie named “Fuzzy” – German Shepherd bitch – with papers. The dog story is a saga itself.

7/7/93 – I was at White Pass Garage at 7:30 yesterday morning and turned Big Blue in for repairs. He got a new radiator and hoses, then spent the night with a pressure test in process. I’ll call in an hour to see if it’s ready (it’s 8AM now). We had a very nice last supper with Annie last night – she barbecued shrimp on skewers. Tonight she has to work. We all reflected on how fast 10 weeks went – then Annie spent the evening wrapping presents for Emily, Louie, and Julia while we played (watched) “Norma Rae”.

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MS.ELENI 10/20/2011 5:40PM


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Three Month Summary - Part Four

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

7/5/93 Continued - We drove through downtown San Francisco on a Saturday morning. There are lights at the bottom of steep hills, and every time there was a full car length space between me and the car in front of me, someone would squeeze in, so that several times I thought I was going right through the guy in front of me when a light turned red. For some reason it never occurred to me that US 1 would go right through the middle of a big city, but it does. We even went over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Then we spent two nights in CCC Campgrounds and one night boondocking on the Pacific coast in Redwood National Park, and got to Yakima late on 4/28. We left Mesa about 2 PM on the 21st, so it took 8 days, including the first one, to get to Yakima. It seemed as if there were nothing but mountains everywhere we went, but that’s probably not true. Starting in Mesa, we ended each day in the following locations: 4/21, Blythe, CA; 4/22, Ventura, CA; 4/23, Salinas, CA; 4/24, Ukiah, CA; 4/25, Orick CA; 4/26, Redwoods National Park, CA; 4/27, Newport OR; and 4/28 Yakima, WA.

We spent one night in a campground and got the holding tank shiny clean, then moved into Annie’s driveway on 4/29/93.

While here I got my teeth cleaned again (for $89 instead of $25 in Florida), made a large number of improvements to Annie’s house (reinstalled the wall heater and installed woodwork for the windows and doors because a friend's husband had "helped" her by ripping off the existing finish woodwork), spent a week by myself here and a week in Seattle with Annie, took off with the BW and Annie for a week to go to Roger’s wedding in Sacramento, and made numerous maintenance and repairs to the van and trailer.

We now have new everything on the brakes, even the hoses ($780); and we have new valve stem seals and coolant ($475), and new motor mounts ($105). I also washed the trailer and van and even waxed the van (a full two day job). I got touch-up paint for the white part of the trailer, but nothing for the brown. I rebuilt the two back beds, which were coming apart, using steel plates, corners, and screws, and I repaired the right rear damage I got (apparently) in North Bend, Oregon.

We stopped at Fisherman’s Grotto in North Bend and the food was as good as it was the first time – the best seafood ever, any time, anywhere. It’s really rare to go back to a restaurant that was wonderful and have as fine a meal as the first time, but that happened to us in North Bend.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MS.ELENI 10/19/2011 9:33PM

    What wonderful travels you had emoticon

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OURELEE1 10/19/2011 7:37PM

  Enjoy reading your blogs.

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