Alaska RV Camping Journal- Day 3
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Recreational Vehicle Camping Journal Day 3An RV camping trip to Alaska is a dream most RVers will never get to experience. We are fortunate to have been able to spend the time to take this amazing RV camping trip. Follow our daily RV camping travels as we cover over 6000 miles of the most incredible scenery in North America. We'll share a few pictures of the trip along the way, but pictures can not do justice to this beautiful landscape.
The CampersPassengers on our RV camping trip were Brian, Margie, Helen (Brian's Mom is 87), Casey our 4 ½ year old Golden Retriever, and Sox, a 10 year old gray house cat with an attitude. Brian and Margie have been living full time in their 36' Class A motor home over 3 years, and boondock (remote dispersed camping) almost always. Mom has RV camping experience since she and Brian's Dad owned both a pickup camper, and Class C motor home.
MilepostsYou will notice that we often refer to the Mileposts book throughout the journal entries. We feel that if you drive to Alaska, you MUST have this book! Alaska, and Canada's British Columbia and Yukon are rich in History. Jack London wrote popular novels such as White Fang, and Call of the Wild, and the contemporary poet Robert Service helped make knowledge of life in the north country wilderness well known. The Mileposts book will help you learn about the history as you go, with descriptions of what happened in the past, as well as what to expect on the road ahead.
We recommend that you only use the most current issue of Mileposts as it contains the most up-to-date road and service availability information.
The Road To Muncho LakeWe wake to a beautiful, sunny morning, and temperature of 41 degrees. Everyone slept well, with the exception of me, who heard every truck pass on the road. But I'm a light sleeper, and there wasn't that much truck traffic. We do notice the big rigs have monstrous bumper guards over their grills, we are thinking for the moose that are still very prevalent! With so many birds, moose and sounds in the forest, we know we're not alone!
road to Ft. Nelson is a good all weather road, and we do see another 2
deer and a baby caribou-suspect mama crossed the road just before we
passed. Rolling hills and gentle curves are part of this road
with a couple steep grades sharp turns peppered in. Still
very thick forest until Wonowon (very small town) and then the road
becomes relatively high with excellent views of the of the Rocky
Mountains to the west. We are treated to wonderful views for
at least an hour!
We cross the Trutch Mountain summit (2nd highest pass on the Alaska Highway) and stop at The Prophet River provincial park for some breakfast. Another lovely location with picnic tables, toilets, trash, and overnight camping available in either pull-thru's or back in sites at $15 and tent sites for $10. Not much of a view though as the forest is very heavy. Only 2 RV's are occupying the camp ground, and we feel fortunate to have gotten an early start on the summer travel season. After our cereal the stepladder comes out to wash off the wet and now buggy windshield. Have to be able to see these views!
into Ft. Nelson around 9:30 to fuel up at the ESSO station. They are
quite proud of their diesel here at $1.219 per liter and we
needed 188.68 liters! This is a full service station, and
we're sorry we cleaned off our own windshield at this
point! The attendant is a very nice young man with a bald
head and quite the goatee! At least 6 inches long! Everyone is very
friendly in Canada and he's interested in
where we're from and if we've been to
California? There's lots of time to visit with all
the fuel we're getting! He says he's
always been interested in zoos, and would like to get to see the San
Diego Zoo someday and also Disneyland. We assure him the
traffic will be like nothing he's ever seen before, and you
won't be able to tell where LA ends and Anaheim begins unless
you watch the signs very closely! So far we're
averaging 10.7 per gallon, which isn't bad! The
hard part is converting from liters to gallons to figure it out!
There is an IGA grocery store across the street from the gas station, and we pick up a few items we didn't have as we crossed the border at Sumas, WA--such as milk and meat--prices are high here in the north. Smallest bone-in rib eye they had is $8.50, ½ & ½ is $2.99 a quart, head of lettuce $1.99, and a 5 pound bag of ice is $2.49.
Back on the road heading westerly and it becomes what they call chip seal--a type of gravel coating that leaves the road surface quite rough, and places where there have been potholes are just barely filled in. You can't go very fast, and the shoulders slope down sharply 3-4 feet into the muskeg….a swampy type of low land ground. There is no center line or edge markings, to go off the road here would be a big mistake…HUGE!
cruising over beautiful rolling hills and from the pressure on the
accelerator we can tell we're climbing. Twisting
switchbacks afford gorgeous views of where we've been, and
suddenly an expanse of open ground and we're at the
highest point on the Alaska Highway. Summit Lake Pass is in
the middle of the Stone Mountain provincial park and there is a
campground here, but with the elevation 4,250 feet we'll keep
on trucking! There is an over look where we stop to chat with
some other travelers, and take a picture or two. The highway
department is working on moving more gravel around at the top and they
need to! The spring rains and runoff have moved lots of rock
and road bed around.
The road down from Summit Pass is very steep and winding! Keep an eye out for Stone Sheep! They will be on the road and most likely where you want to be driving! They look to be a smaller version of the USA Dall sheep and are a darker color.
after leaving the Stone Mountain provincial park, we begin to wind
around the most amazing looking lake we've ever
seen! The color is fairly indescribable, a rather clear
bluish green, and almost transparent! Muncho Lake is the
loveliest place that we're been so far on our trip, and float
planes dot the water around the long, narrow lake. The road
is right at the water's edge on the driver's side
and the shear cliffs rise just outside my window to amazing
heights! I think about the Stone sheep and hope they
aren't hopping around above us!
We pass the first campground and have tentatively decided to stay in the next one which is a couple more miles. We're aren't far from our destination when a strange noise begins to emanate from Gozer. Brian and I look at each other as we're both hearing it, and thinking what the hey??? At first it seems like it might just be the road as it's gotten very winding, and may be the original alignment of the Alaska Highway, but as we pull off into the campground it seems more like possible transmission trouble as the gears shift and the whining changes pitch. By the time Brian strong arms Gozer back in to a camp space, it's seeming more like a power steering problem. Class A motor home without power steering isn't something you want to experience! Nor is a campground 300 miles from any town without your TOAD vehicle...
for two nights in the MacDonald campground, buy a box of firewood and
settle in. First order of business is to get under the motor
home and figure out what is wrong, and Brian discovers
Automatic Transmission Fluid dripping from the engine area. Closer
inspection looks like it's actually coming from the
power steering pump and couple hours later it's narrowed down
to either a hose or a fitting. Lots of things staying behind
in Mom's garage in Bellingham to lighten our load, and our
fluids were among them. But doubtful we would have had enough
to take care of this problem anyway. Campground host to the
rescue! Nice lady offers to pick up some ATF for us as
she's headed to “town”--actually the next
wide spot in the road--it's an Air charter service and they
have some emergency items for travelers. She returns a couple
hours later with 2 quarts at $10 per quart!!! Beggars
can't be choosers and we're so thankful for her
help! We decide to get cleaned up, and tackle this again
We spend the evening marveling at how the Canadians take such good care of the camp grounds and the countryside we have traveled through. Our camp space is $14 per night and we have toilet, trash, hand water pump and a boat launch. We see our neighbor catch a trout from the shore, and watch the float planes come and go. We’ve gone 345 miles today and sunset is at 10:45 pm!
Road notes - Road from Ft Nelson not nearly as good as previous days. Quite a bit of rather rough road, many more curves, and often no lane painting. Few guard rails along the road, and if you make a mistake and drive off the edge of the road, you won’t be able to forget it as the edge of the road drops off immediately 3 or 4 feet.
Tomorrow - What I Like About Automatic Transmission Fluid
Yesterday - Milepost 0 of the Alaska Highway
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