Saturday, June 13, 2015

To drive or not to drive

Do it! According to the AAA Tour Guide for Western Canada and Alaska, "Natives didn't call this state Alyeska--the Great Land--for nothing. There are approximately 3 million lakes, 3,000 rivers, 1,800 islands and 100,000 glaciers in Alaska's 586,000 square miles of untamed wilderness" (p. 600). Kind of makes Minnesota's boast of 10,000 lakes feel pretty puny. And driving there is half the adventure! We would do it again at the drop of a hat (although Steve says I need to unpack before I begin planning my next trip.) We ran into people who do it every summer!

If you have ever considered driving to Alaska, do it. (Of course, if you hate spending more than half an hour in the car, it's probably not a good idea, but then in that case, you have probably never considered driving to Alaska.) Driving gives a much better idea of the hugeness of the North and of Alaska itself. To pop in and out on a plane and bus to Denali would give only a tiny glimpse and little of the feel of this huge reality. Steve has added up our expenses and in three weeks, including food we spent significantly less that we would have spent for one week flights and tour without food. And we saw so much more!

Hotels are not cheap (even the ones that look and feel cheap.) By the number of RVs on the road, that is the way most drivers go. Camping is no doubt a great option for those who can sleep in those conditions. Steve can't, so camping has never been our thing.

Restaurants are also expensive. Entrées often start at $20. The Alaskan crab I didn't order one night was $52 and that was NOT a fancy restaurant. You definitely want to bring lunch fixings. Needing to be near a restaurant at lunch time would significantly cramp your travel schedule. Most places we have stayed had microwaves. A box of Hormel Compleats microwavable meals, canned stew and instant noodles has been invaluable for dinner alternatives. One night in Anchorage we bought a roast chicken and a bag salad. We have eaten in restaurants about every other day.

The hours of sitting (even if I was oo-ing and aah-ing) made me glad for a simple kitting project to do with my hands.

The three weeks we spent traveling were really a minimum. You could shave a few days off if you have already been to the Jasper-Banff area and are willing to skip them, but I can't imagine just driving by. We missed the Kenai Peninsula because the only day we had was raining and the mountains were invisible in the mist. There were so many more places we could have explored.

The Alaska Tourist board will be happy to send you their booklet on three separate routes. We steered away from gravel roads, but needlessly as we discovered. If they don't say "four-wheel drive only" your regular car can do it just fine.

In short, I highly recommend driving all that way.

Day 25: Moorhead, MN, to home

311 miles
8:30 AM - 3:30 PM

Thank you, Lord, 
for an incredible time
an awesome view of your world
kind and helpful people along the way
everyone getting along so well
no car trouble (once we took care of that tire bulge)
keeping home safe while we were gone
a beautiful place to come home to (even if it doesn't have mountains)

Last day. The world looks much more like summer than when we left mid-May. Everything is lush and green. More vehicles. More dead deer along the road.

We've been gone long enough that the bridge that has been under construction in Cambridge for a year is now open ... and they have started construction on another section of Hwy 95 through town.

We took Mom out to lunch at Culver's in Cambridge so Steve could claim his free birthday sundae--our first fast food in three weeks. Steve passed his sundae around--a habit of the road. I did a quick trip to Cub Foods to stock up on fresh stuff for both Mom and us. Katie brought granddaughter Bella to meet us and come to the lake for a few days. Number to be determined. Her brother will be at camp this week. He will get his time later.

We have to detour home for the rest of the summer because of construction on Hwy 70. There are only so many places you can cross the St. Croix River. Unfortunately the detour does NOT take us past Burnett Dairy. Steve and Bella made a stop at DQ in Hinkley instead. The dairy is better.

Home has no mountains, but it is still a pretty nice place to be even if today is cloudy.

We arrived home with:
1 butterscotch pudding
2 chocolate puddings
1 applesauce
1/2 c peanut butter
about that of jam
maybe an ounce of cream cheese
a half dozen American cheese slices
and ... you get the picture.

We had plenty of crackers and granola bars left over because we went through a couple loaves of bread instead. Steve calculated that we spent a $13/person/day on food by bringing groceries from home and eating out every other day. Not bad for such an expensive destination.

Somewhere along the way we lost:
a paring knife
small cutting board that fits in the picnic basket
the last of a roll of paper towels
lens cap from the camera
1 pair of reading glasses
1 sock

Some of those might show up as we unpack, but none are irreplaceable.

We have driven 9,280 miles, not counting the boat from Wittier to Valdez or the wilderness tour in Denali. That is further than Minneapolis to Boston to Miami to Los Angeles to Seattle back to Minneapolis, a mere 8,422 miles. We have enjoyed every mile. Well, almost every mile. Creation is a new surprise around every corner. But for now it is time to unpack, do the wash, catch up with e-mail, organize photos and enjoy our own home.

We have meetings in Turkey in November and plan to add a few days visiting ancient ruins. I'll be back to blogging here then. Until then, God bless, and may you see his craftsmanship all around you.

Afghan update: I started casting off somewhere between Princeton and Cambridge. Bella is thrilled with the result.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Day 24: Moose Jaw, AB, to Moorhead, MN

585 miles
8:10 AM - 7:30 PM local time (6:30 by the time we got up)

Thank you, Lord, list:
Our own beds to look forward to tomorrow
Good beds we have slept in in the meantime
Another beautiful day while the place we left behind gets plastered
No border complications

On this our next-to-the-last day we took Rt. 39 that angled from Moose Jaw to North Portal, ND.  The scenery has been pretty much this shot taken outside Moose Jaw all day:

We spent our last Canadian currency for gas before we crossed the border. Steve says it was probably the longest immigration interview he has ever had, and believe me, he has had a LOT of immigration interviews. We figure the cause was probably the thickness of his passport and the potential for terrorists to use Canada as an entry point to the US.

It has been very windy all day. Hard driving for Steve. Very noisy with the windows open for circulation. We found a park in Bowbells, ND, to eat our picnic lunch. Nice houses, but most businesses were closed. Nothing for miles in any direction.

Mom spotted a beautiful bighorn sheep poised on the crest of a hill, silhouetted against the sky, but there were no bear locks on the trash bins in the rest stops, which made me homesick for the north. I teased Mom that when she put the visor down, I couldn't see any mountains. Of course, I couldn't see any mountains with the visor up either.

We've stayed in too many hotel rooms. This evening when I went back to the car for our fridge items, I carried them to room 318. But my key didn't work. Of course. Last night we were on the third floor. Tonight is room 218. But my key card didn't work there either. I finally phoned Steve to ask what room we were in. Good thing we were back in the States where I don't have to pay international fees. We are in room 418. Tomorrow there will only be three bedrooms to choose from, and I think I will be able to find my own.

I already miss the camaraderie of this trip. Up north we were always asking people where they were from. Everyone assumed we were either headed for Alaska or coming from there. The adventure was a shared experience even with strangers. I have wished we had gotten an e-mail for the Larry Smiths headed for Kenya who noticed our Minnesota license plates outside a lunch stop south of Fairbanks. It has been a wonderful trip, a dream come true, not just for Mom who was the inspiration, but for me as well.

Afghan update: Lots of knitting. Not much outside to distract me. :-)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Day 23: Banff, AB, to Moose Jaw, Sasketchuan

527 miles
8:15- 5:15

Thank you, Lord, list:
A mother-in-law who is so easy to please and so easy to get along with
A husband who drives without complaining and organizes logistics
A husband who goes out of his way for ME to have a good time
Sunshine instead of the rain that had been predicted
Hot fudge malts

We said good-by to the mountains between Banff and Calgary, not without regrets and the desire to return. Even Mom was thinking about what it would take to make moving out here feasible for her. It isn't, but a girl can dream., can't she?

We were back in the ordinary world of fields and highway billboards. Calgary could use a by-pass. Steve didn't think so. He enjoyed seeing what the city looked like, but I could have done without the Subways and Tim Hortons and tattoo parlors.

Most of the day looked pretty much like this:

 Or this:

Lots of oil pumps. I noticed three cows playing king of the mountain on a pile of dirt. Or maybe they were there for the view. Mom "wondered" why I wasn't asking to go for a hike. I said it would be a long hot walk just to get out of sight of the car!

In Brooks, Alberta, we broke into a Horseshoes Club for our picnic. (Okay, so we untied the rope around the gate.) Not scenic enough to merit a photo, but there were picnic tables in the shade. Who knew that many people played horseshoes? There were 18 pitches! It was in the corner of the rodeo grounds. I guess horseshoes and horses DO go together.

We stopped for bathrooms at the Alberta welcome center just west of Saskatchewan. Alberta has major dino digs. I took this for grandson Alex:

The fan in the car has not worked most of the trip. Air circulation comes from opening windows a little bit. When you can't stand the noise of the wind (or what to say something for others to hear), you close them until you get too hot. Today was the first day it was hot enough to matter. But that made a good excuse to stop at Dairy Queen.

Tomorrow we return to the US via North Dakota. Almost home.

Afghan update: You can probably guess that I got lots of knitting done today. Maybe I'll finish before we get home. :-) No more cute settings. Just an ordinary Days Inn. Why do hotels put that stupid little colored cloth across the foot of the bed? Do they really think you will be tricked into believing they have turned down the bedspread for you?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Day 22: Banff

287 miles
8:45 AM - 5 PM

Thank you, Lord, list:
another bear
beautiful places to enjoy without having to pay the hotel bill
warm grilled vegetable salad with balsamic reduction and goat cheese
hot tub that looks out on mountain views
good health for all three of us
comfortable beds almost every night
Great weather almost every day of this trip

We didn't exactly hang out in Banff today. We returned to Lake Louise, the most photographed spot in Canada, and I threw out the dark, dreary pictures of yesterday in exchange for this:

Lots of foreign languages and accents in this iconic place and all over this part of Canada. I met a couple from Durban yesterday on the Glacier Walk because they recognized my Ekhuruleni Libraries ball cap. (Ekhuruleni is the post-apartheid name for our part of Johannesburg.) We have been surprised at the number of waiters, tour guides and hotel workers with Aussie accents. Easy visas one told Steve and a beautiful place to work.

We checked out Moraine Lake, another turquoise jewel and then drove west on Route 1. It was marked scenic on our map and lived up to its designation as our lunch spot at the Visitor's Center for Yoho National Park at Field, BC, shows. I asked what Yoho means. Evidently it is Cree for "Wow!" Appropriately named.

The guy at the Visitors Center recommended the Natural Bridge where a waterfall has eaten out the rock beneath so that it goes under the stone bridge. A short walk for Mom.

He also recommended Emerald Lake. It had that gorgeous turquoise water surrounded by mountains and not nearly as many people as Lake Louise. The wildflowers were mostly past their peak, but the scent remained strong. I fantasized celebrating my birthday at this lodge next year until Steve went on-line and discovered it cost $350 per night withOUT breakfast.

At the town of Golden we turned south on Rt. 95. Rt. 95 was NOT marked scenic on the map. Mom concluded the lack of scenic designation just means they don't provide turnouts for gaping at the view. Or taking pictures. This "non-scenic" area includes the headwaters of the Columbia River, route to the Pacific for early explorers. This view was behind a rest stop. I had to climb through the woods and along a railroad track to get it. It should not be considered scenic because there were no little dots along the road on the map.

At Radium Hot Springs (scary name if you ask me!) we turned back northeast on officially scenic Rt. 3. We could see the hot springs pool from the road.  It looked like a YMCA. Liard River was way better! We were now in Kootenay National Park. As the guide book said, it has a pretty dramatic entry. The road  is built OVER a waterfall where it passes through a narrow gorge.

The upper part of this route was devastated by fire in 2003. For forty days it burned! The dead trees cover 170 acres. So sad to see.

We saw a bear in the morning on Rt 1, the only wildlife we spotted all day. This whole area is national park. Jasper and Banff and several over towns are located inside the parks. I thought these flyovers for wildlife were a great idea.

Tomorrow we start home in earnest. We have gotten only a taste of the Canadian Rockies, but it is a taste like dark chocolate or Alpha Morning Sun five-year-aged cheddar from Burnett Dairy--something to be savored. I am thrilled that Steve is talking "when we come back," not "if we come back." 

Afghan update: I actually did four rows on that "not-scenic" part of our day. The valley was broad enough that the view wasn't changing every hundred yards. But I didn't take a picture. This Red Carpet Inn is remarkably blah for such a spectacular setting. Don't ask me about the housekeeping.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Day 21: Jasper to Banff, Alberta

200 miles exactly
8:30 Am - 5:30 PM

Thank you, Lord, list:
Patient husband who stops for all my photos
Mom's desire not to miss anything!
Elk on the road where we can't miss them
Colorful wildflowers, even the ones I normally think of as weeds
Thick fields of ice,hundreds of years old
Stunted trees hundreds of years old--who knew God invented bonsai?
Yet another scenic picnic site
Turquoise glacial water
Awesomely high water falls

It wasn't hard to turn a three-hour drive into a nine-hour tour. We did NOT stop at every pullout. We skipped at least two. Maybe even three. We figured if the park folk thought people would want to stop, there must be a reason, and there always was.

There wasn't even a pull out for these elk crossing the road. Or for the grazing black bear we saw later.

Having visited Athabasca Falls yesterday we skipped it today. It would have been well worth another visit, but there was so much on our to-do list! This is Sunwaptu Falls. Not as spectacular, but still beautiful.

Mom climbed on the shuttle bus and onto the ice rover vehicle to walk on Athabasca Glacier, part of the Columbia ice field.

A hundred and thirty years ago the ice was so thick that the smaller glacier to the left flowed into Athabasca. It is still melting at an average of 65 feet per year. But this past winter they had significantly less snow than normal so this year's melt will likely be greater. See it now!

BTW, the Athabasca River is one of the few in the world that flows north into the Arctic Ocean.

Mom didn't walk out to the Peyto Lake overlook with its turquoise glacial flour waters. The distance was just a bit too far and too steep. (No buses or ice rovers available.)

It was a fabulous day of breath-taking views. As Steve said, "The Ice Field Highway lived up to its reputation in every way." Even dandelions are beautiful here.

Tonight we are in Banff. We have tomorrow to explore the area before starting east the day after. We stopped at fabled Lake Louise this afternoon, but it was clouding up and the pictures aren't worth sharing. We plan to go back tomorrow for morning light.

Afghan update: Not a stitch.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Day 20: Jasper National Park

104 miles
9 AM?-5 PM

Thank you, Lord, list:
Exhilarating mountain climb
Walking on snow
Breath-taking canyon views
Cool spray of mist from a waterfall
Another beautiful picnic spot
Red wine with bison meat loaf and crispy salad greens

Did I mention that today would be spectacular? It will be hard to describe. I took 117 photos and that was just with the camera. I also did a few panoramas and videos on my phone. According to Mayo Clinic, I walked 19,531 steps today (7.88 miles) and climbed the equivalent of 91 floors!

We didn't rush out. I had a quiet cup of tea with my devotions. Ate breakfast sitting down rather than in the car as some days. Since the weather was nice we decided to start with the Jasper Tram, which is really a cable car.

Mom and Steve hung around the top for a while.

I walked farther--80+ of those 91 stories I climbed today--including crossing this ice field to the top.

Well worth it for the views.

It was so windy coming down that I thought I would blow right off the mountain. In fact, it was so windy that they closed the tram for an hour, and I had to wait for it to re-open. Too bad Steve and Mom had already gone down (last tram before they closed) or we could have lunched in their top-of-the-world restaurant. Instead we had another delightful picnic spot on Edith Lake.

In the afternoon we continued to Maligne Canyon, so named by the Catholic missionary who had a hard time crossing the river on his horse although if he had crossed at the canyon, he probably could have jumped across--only 10 feet wide in places. Mom napped in the car while Steve and I checked out the incredible drop to a stream you could hardly see at the bottom.

There are four bridges across the canyon and two more at the bottom across the river. Steve graciously agreed to wait for me at the bottom so I could hike down. That's where a lot of those photos came from. Awesome! We met at the sixth bridge. Note: the fifth bridge would have been a mile closer to meet up and by then the river was "only" a rushing mountain cascade with "ordinary" mountain views like this one. Ordinary. Yeah, right.

There was way more water at the bottom than the top because a nearby lake is "a leaky bathtub" with a network of tunnels pouring water into the river from the sides of the canyon.

Next stop: Athabasca Falls.

Another incredible canyon of falling water.

And so we returned "home" to our hotel, weary and well-satisfied. Patio dinner. Mom and I split a plate of bison meatloaf with spaghetti squash, red cabbage, greens and new potatoes (including the purple kind)--easily enough for three. She started with a bowl of salmon chowder. I started with a salad--real greens with blue cheese, apple slices and candied pecans--and that was the house salad.

My feet hurt. I think I'll head over to the hot tub.

Tomorrow with be "The Ice Field Highway." It's only a three-hour drive to Banff, but we expect to take a lot longer.

Afghan update: Are you kidding? On a day like this?

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Day 19: Dawson Creek, BC, to Jasper National Park

519 miles
9:45 AM-6:30 PM (5:30 get-up time)

Thank you, Lord, list:
Sunshiney day to drive back into the mountains
Passing lanes around slow trucks
People who repair these roads even if I get impatient while they are doing it
Smell of pine underfoot
Clouds and evergreens reflected in water
Sunlight on snowy peaks
Mom's cell phone is actually off
Promise of good weather to explore Jasper National Park

Late start to the day. Would you believe it's already time to change the oil again? Have I mentioned the distances up here?

Or you could say it was an early start to the day. At about 3:30 AM Steve and I woke to a pinging. (When Mom takes her hearing aids out, she can sleep through anything.) Before we went to sleep (in a comfortable Days Inn with fridge, microwave, TV and a bed for each of us to stretch out at little more than half the price of the night before with none of those things), Mom had clarified, "The alarm clock IS turned off, isn't it?" We have all been awakened at way too early an hour by hotel alarm clocks set by previous occupants. We verified that, as far as one can understand a strange alarm clock, it was turned off. So the pinging at 3:30 was very irritating.

Steve pulled out my mattress looking for the plug. No, that was the cord to the lamp. He pulled out Mom's mattress. (She never stirred.) Got it.

Ping. Louder than before.

It was Mom's cell phone, telling her the battery was low and she needed to plug in. She thought it was turned off, but obviously it wasn't because she had received an ATT text earlier in the day,reminding her that she was abroad and although she could use her cell phone, international charges would apply.

Where was her phone? Not in her purse. Here it was beside her bed. Now, how do you turn this thing off? The only thing worse than figuring out how to turn off a hotel alarm clock (and not have it ring again after a ten-minute snooze) is figuring out how to turn off someone else's cell phone.

Ping. Still louder. You really do have to plug in if you don't want your phone to go dead. Dead was what we wanted. I even suggested throwing it int he toilet.

Finally, Steve figured it out. Black screen. Silence. Back to bed. But I don't think he more than dozed the rest of the night.

When we did get up and get the oil change, we then set out across the prairie. Looks kinda like prairie, doesn't it? Instead of wilderness we have wide fields and distant farms.

It's Sunday so we let a gospel CD be our worship time. An old group called "Melody Four." The bass made Steve keep thinking of his dad. 

At Grand Prairie, Alberta (sounds kinda prairie, doesn't it?) we turned south on Hwy 40, Bighorn Highway. Didn't see any bighorn, but we left behind the strip malls, traffic and all services. We were definitely ready for bathrooms by the time we hit the Big Cache visitor center. We also left behind the fields. The way  became more and more rolling and definitely wilderness. After Big Cache, it was downright beautiful. We had to remind ourselves that we weren't yet on the scenic route. The Big Cache Visitors Center people advised us to stop at Kelly's Bathtub in . William Switzer Provincial Park.  Good advice. I took a walk around this small lake while Mom and Steve napped in the car.

Then we reached Canada 16. NOW we were on the scenic route.

We have two nights in this lovely Best Western Suite complete with ski locker and mountain view. Tomorrow should be LOTS of fun. Can't go to bed until I get the laundry done--the curse of travel.

Afghan update: Prairie is a good place to knit. Mountains are not.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Day 18: Liard River to Dawson Creek, BC

501 miles
7:55 AM - 6:15 (Thanks to almost an hour of road construction delay during rush hour at Fort St. Johns)

Thank you, Lord, list:
Bull moose by a lake with mountains behind--exactly what the North should look like
Easy picnics in the sunshine
"Facilities" that don't smell bad (mostly)
Traffic jam at the end of today instead of setting off tomorrow
hotel with free Internet and breakfast included

Sun breaking through the clouds on beautiful mountains to start the day.

Steve thought Muncho Lake sounded like a great place to retire.

This bull moose was our SECOND one of the morning.

I don't think I have commented on "facilities" along the road. Mostly long-drops, but such a setting!

The road became a lot less photogenic after our lunch outside the Visitor's Center in Fort Nelson.

Suddenly we were out of the mountains, nudging the prairie. Traffic is much heavier. Lots going north. This is the beginning of the crowded season. Eventually we came into rich agricultural and oil and gas areas. After becoming accustomed to rarely seeing another vehicle, even moderate traffic was rather overwhelming. Then we got to Fort St. Johns where the highway department decided that putting oil in cracks was more important that rush hour traffic. We were nearly an hour in start and stop. When we got through, we counted more than a hundred cars waiting in line going the other direction. If I were local, I would definitely writing a letter to the editor about priorities between 4 and 6 PM.

I'm beginning to feel quite at home in my nest in the back seat with all the maps, snacks, jackets and knitting within easy reach.

Afghan update: Hanging on a sign post in our Dawson Creek hotel pointing to Mile Zero of the Alaskan Highway.

Tomorrow we are off to Jasper National Park and the Great Rocky Mountains.

Day 17: Haines Junction, YT, to Liard River, BC

519 miles

Thank you, Lord, list:
Beauty even in the clouds
Multiple bear sightings
Multiple bison sightings
The beauty of these hot springs to relax in
Mom’s spunkiness

You can tell we are getting further south. It actually gets dark at night. Late. But it DOES get dark.

This was another long day in the car. Cloudy and/or raining most of the morning. I might have taken pictures if I hadn’t taken so many on the way up with clearer skies. But in the afternoon we moved into new territory—road we hadn’t been on coming north. We saw this black bear, the first of several.

And this bison, also the first of several.

It was hard to get Mom to nap. She was too afraid she might miss something! Picked up the nightgown I left in the communal showers at Watson Lake and showed Mom the sign forest there (see day 10)

The goal of the day was Liard River with its amazing hot spring. All you hot tub lovers, you definitely want to make this a stop on your trip north (which I know you will all want to do after reading this blog). The further up stream you go the hotter the water—as much as 109 F. Farther downstream is for the wimps. I mean, for kids and those with heart problems.

We started to go with Mom. The lodge was across the road, but had a wheelchair to loan us.

But pushing it in gravel was very difficult. Steve went back to get the car to take her to the boardwalk. I found it hard to control the chair and keep it from sliding sideways down hill. Mom ended up using it as a walker. Steve arrived and we sat Mom back in the chair for the boardwalk. But it jiggled too much. I could see her holding her neck, and Steve asked if she wanted to change her mind. She hesitated (never give up!), but ended up saying she would wait in the car.

She missed a beautiful spot. The best part was just relaxing in the hot water in a natural setting.

Afghan update: Another long day with lots of time to knit.

Tomorrow we head for Dawson Creek, mile 0 on the Alaskan Highway.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Day 16: Valdez, AK to Haines Junction, YT

568 miles
7 AM – 6:30 local time (5:30 Alaska time)

Thank you, Lord, list:
Same driving in rain
Gorgeous sights despite the rain
No significant construction delays
Yummy tuna sandwiches
Clearing skies
Great Chinese supper
Comfortable beds

This was our longest day. Mom was up by six so we were out the door before 7. (She has left her watch on Seattle time so for her it was almost 7, but that is still early for her.)

There is only one road out of town so it wasn't hard to find. It was raining, but the climb up the Coastal Range was fabulous anyway. If I could have stepped back a little farther, I could have gotten a couple more waterfalls in this picture.

We came around the corner to see this unidentified glacier. There was fresh snow on the higher peaks.

Tunes from "Sound of Music" kept running through my head. On road trips when we were kids, my sister and I would sing through the album from the starting orchestral notes to the final "'Til you find your dream!" I did not do that this time. Just snatches. Over and over.

We have now left Alaska behind with lots of promises to return. There was so much more to see. So many byways left unexplored, even ones marked "scenic" on the map! As of Tok, we are retracing our steps from the trip north. I had this fear that after Denali, the return trip that we had enjoyed so much on the way north would be a disappointment. Not to fear. It still took our breath away--even in places that were not marked "scenic" on the map. It was so North--wild flowers by the road, blue pools on the tundra with mountains in the background and snow-capped peaks beyond. The only thing it lacked was a grazing moose by one of those pools. But Mom did spot a grizzly by the road! 

We are back to wilderness. Alaska is the destination. The roads were much more crowded there with tour buses and RVs. There were more resorts, billboards and tourist attractions. Yukon and northern British Columbia are simply pass-through areas, the end of the world for Canada. As Steve said at one point, "You know you are near civilization when the side roads are paved."

We loved the Kluane Lake region on the way up. As we approached this time we wondered why the mist rising from the water. I even hoped I would catch a rainbow when I stopped for this photo. 

But no. The "mist" turned out to be dust from this dry flood plain at the south end of the lake.

 So just pretend that's mist not dust in this picture with the flowers.

Lots of wind. Hard driving for Steve, not to mention the distance and construction. Actually, the construction areas where the pavement had been taken up and the road was gravel were a LOT better than the heaving asphalt areas they replace. But "What's a road trip to Alaska," Steve asks, "without a few bad roads." You can tell you're getting near civilization when the side roads are asphalt.

Dinner for two at the Chinese restaurant connected with our motel was more than enough for three.

Tomorrow we continue southeast. At Watson Lake we will stay on the Al-Can for the eastern route instead of turning south for Seattle. It will be another long driving day.

Afghan update: I ended yesterday discovering a major error, made worse by an earlier attempt to "adjust". After sleeping on it, I came up with a solution, not to fix the mistake, but merely to get myself back on track. "There goes your chance of a State Fair ribbon," says Steve. Not my goal for the first thing I have knit in 20 years.