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Old 07-12-2013, 12:30 PM   #113
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Big update on the blog (up-to-date!) and pictures are uploaded!

www.vango.be
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:41 PM   #114
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Crossed back into the USA for the forth and last time on this trip about noon today and stopped in Kettle Falls , Washington . It has been a great trip so far ,no flats at all , unlike the trip in 1970. Kind of a let down though at the loss of most all the adventure that came from dealing with the old Alcan with it's constant winding, steep grades and a thousand miles of dirt , rocks , mud , dust . and fixing flat tires every night at camp. It is now simply a paved road that poses little challenge to anyone other than being a long drive.
Did not see one trace at all of the many US army air strips or the old camps that were still there in 70.
But had they not made all the drastic leveling of hills and straightning of curves
and of course paving the whole thing , there would be a huge loss of tourist travel up through Canada and into Alaska . Most folks in their huge motor homes and house sized fifth wheel trailers would never dare attempt the Alcan of over 4 decades ago.
That said , in 1970 we did see two or three Wallys Airstream caravans up in the Yukon back on that trip. Pulled with mostly International Travellals but a few pulled with big boat Cadillacs , Buicks, Lincons and Ford Station Wagons.
Thought they looked pretty sharp and had to give them credit for being on that road and surviveing ! Said to myself that I might have to get one of those some day.
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:43 AM   #115
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You mean the Alcan is paved?? I wonder when that happened. I was going to suggest heading straight to Vancouver and getting on the ferry with the Airstream. That's what we used to do to avoid the hellish road conditions. The best time to do that trip is in December before it gets really cold, but the pot holes are full of ice. Guess that doesn't matter now. It's also good to drive to Prince George and get on it there. You can go to the car deck and take care of the animals, walk them, etc. The trip is fantastic through southeast AK. Even Alaskans take the ferry whenever the can. I used to take it instead of flying when I traveled from Sitka to Juneau for state engineering seminars. Have a lot of fun anyway.
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:10 AM   #116
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This is a good thread. You hit all my favorite places going through AZ. I lived on the rez for years. Lucky you saw Valley of the Gods! Most people miss it and Goosenecks, too. My former Navajo husband worked on the last cattle drives through Valley of the Gods from from Telluride to Blanding. I don't know how to use this site very well. Just got my Airstream. Sorry! Hope you are having a lot of fun up there.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:38 PM   #117
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The weather is awesome and the mosquito count low. No complaints here!
We're leaving the Kenai peninsula today and are making our way up to Denali. We made reservations to stay at the Tek campground in the park for 3 days and then 4 at the Riley campground.

The past 3 nights we stayed at the Williwaw campground at the Portage glacier: amazing scenery.
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:51 PM   #118
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The weather is awesome and the mosquito count low. No complaints here!
We're leaving the Kenai peninsula today and are making our way up to Denali. We made reservations to stay at the Tek campground in the park for 3 days and then 4 at the Riley campground.

The past 3 nights we stayed at the Williwaw campground at the Portage glacier: amazing scenery.

Very much agree that the Williwaw was top notch , as we also stayed there a couple of weeks or so back. Did you take the Glacier cruise and drive out to
Whittier ?

We are now at the Norris Hot Springs Campground North of Ennis Montana, and about to go soak in the hot water springs.
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Old 07-23-2013, 01:12 PM   #119
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Danny, we liked Teklanika. You can ride the bus anytime when you are well into the park at that campground and you only pay once. Also you are far from all the turmoil of the campgrounds near the entrance, so it is quieter and you are camping in the wilderness.

Riley is near the entrance and you can explore Glitter Gulch as well as all the development around there.

Be prepared to see lots and lots of wildlife in the park. The bus stops anytime there is wildlife. We saw wolves on the road calmly walking past the busses, grizzlies, moose, arctic fox, arctic squirrels and more. Our camera did not have enough telephoto capacity for the wildlife, so when we returned we bought a better camera and long lens. Now we have to go back. Most tourists get a lot of photos of wildlife rear ends as they run away from the bus, so be prepared to shoot fast.

Good luck at seeing the mountain. I don't know where these statistics come from, but it is said 70-80% of tourists never see the entire mountain because of the weather it makes. We were blessed when we stayed at Teklanika.

Some years back, we took a plane from Talkeetna to see the mountain. We only got up to about 7,000' when the weather closed in and it was barf inducing flight—no one did, but it was very quiet on the plane and some people looked like they were going to lose it. They had their heads in the hands and their eyes closed—quite a trip. The pilot kept talking very calmly and that helped. But even at the lower elevation it was obvious that this is a really, really big mountain. Glad we took that flight, but I'll never do it again (maybe). There are lots of planes at Talkeetna for tours of the mountain; we choose the one with 2 engines since that seemed to be better for getting to a mountain with almost perpetual awful weather.

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Old 08-12-2013, 02:57 PM   #120
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Update: we're currently staying in Fairbanks for a week (if everything goes as planned). The blog is up-to-date (at www.vango.be) but pictures are underway.

We spent 7 nights in Denali national park and then headed north up the Dalton Highway. We took the Airstream with us and parked it in Coldfoot (Marion Creek campground), to explore the Brooks range and arctic plains by car.
The Dalton is rough, but better than anticipated.

After the Dalton highway trip (took us 4 nights), we stayed northeast of Fairbanks in the Chena river recreation area.

We have some things to fix on the Airstream, but nothing major so far. Knock on wood.
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Old 08-12-2013, 06:45 PM   #121
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Marion Creek CG is nice, although the last time we were there, the mosquitoes hadn't read the article that says when it rains, they don't fly. Did you go as far as Deadhorse? Never have made it that far and seeing an oil field is not my idea of sightseeing. The Brooks Range is quite amazing and the tundra north is very different than Colorado tundra. I agree, if you take it slow, the Dalton is not that bad.

Sounds like you're having a great time. Takes too long to look up blogs, so I'll have to be content with whatever shows up on this thread.

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Old 08-24-2013, 01:10 PM   #122
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We're staying in Dawson City for a few nights to visit the town and drive the top of the world hwy (without the AS). We're hoping to see the aurora but the forecast is not looking very promising.

After this our plan is to head south on the Cassiar. Anyone passed by Hyder recently? I wonder if we can still see bears there at this time of year.
We saw grizzly bears eating salmon in the Chilkoot river in Haines a few days ago: that was quite a treat.
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Old 08-24-2013, 04:04 PM   #123
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We're staying in Dawson City for a few nights to visit the town and drive the top of the world hwy (without the AS). We're hoping to see the aurora but the forecast is not looking very promising.

After this our plan is to head south on the Cassiar. Anyone passed by Hyder recently? I wonder if we can still see bears there at this time of year.
We saw grizzly bears eating salmon in the Chilkoot river in Haines a few days ago: that was quite a treat.
This was taken in Hyder a few days ago North to Alaska
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Old 09-10-2013, 09:22 AM   #124
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Hyder worked out great! We spent 2.5 days on the platform and saw grizzlies, black bears and wolves fishing for salmon in the river.

We made it south of Canada now and are staying in Seattle for a week. Then we'll be following the coastline south.
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Old 09-13-2013, 06:21 PM   #125
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How was the Top of the World Hwy? Several years ago we heard from a number of people it was in bad shape on the Canadian side. I realize that any gravel or dirt road is called awful by some people, so I'm not sure what to believe.

At Hyder, we were in the wrong season for bears at the platform, but we drove up the road, past some mines, in an out of the US and Canada, to the end of the road. From there you can see a glacier and when we looked down the canyon side, there was a sleeping black bear. He eventually woke up and we decided it was time to leave.

The Pacific coast is another great trip. Great pizza at Upper Crust Pizza in Gualala, Cal.

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Old 09-16-2013, 10:45 AM   #126
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Gene, on our way back down, we were thinking of taking the Top of the World Hwy but were advised to take the Alcan to Whitehorse and then the Klondike Hwy to Dawson City: a big detour in other words. We ended up taking the Alcan to Haines Junction >>> Haines >>> ferry to Skagway >>> Whitehorse >>> Dawson City, and back.

We drove the Dalton Hwy on this trip (we took the AS up to Coldfoot) and other dirt roads: based on what I saw on the Top of World Hwy, it was in decent shape and we did see several RV's driving the road. Just take it slow.
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