Sunday, June 4, we said good-bye to Alaska – well, at least for now.
The little community of Hyder is the only Alaskan town at the end of Hwy. 37A. There is no USA Border Crossing going INTO Hyder, but there IS a Canadian Border Station you must drive through to reach the adjoining community of Stewart, BC. We had to show our passports, answer the usual questions about our destination [Stewart], length of stay [maybe an hour], purpose of our travel [ice cream cone and to cruise the stores], and whether we had any firearms, bear spray, etc. [nope, still don’t]. The two agents were friendly, but business like. They must have a boring job. When we left with the motorhome, the agent wished us a safe journey.
The first 41 miles of our journey was a retracing of our drive on Friday so our attention was on watching for wildlife, a full-time job when traveling. I did, however, want to stop again at Bear Glacier and see if I could capture the blue color of the receding glacier with the morning sun. We did have more sun and the photo does capture a bit more of the blue.
Once we were back on Hwy. 37 we continued our journey towards the afternoon’s destination: Dease Lake RV Park.
As mentioned before, we are traveling with the Frank and Gloria King, so we have had almost two weeks of working out our travel styles. Typically, we agree on our destination the night before and get the rigs ready for travel between 8:30 – 9:00 a..m.. Because Luke likes to drive a more leisurely pace, the Kings take off first and wait for us at rest areas every hour or two. (CB radios and cell phones have been useless since hitting the wilderness roads.) When we stop we compare animal sightings, have snacks, walk the dogs, and take care of our own needs -- not necessarily in that order. When we caught up with them at the Mehan Lake Rest Area, they were visiting with Escapees John and Ruth Snashall. They have been SKPs for 15 years but just went full-timing two months ago when they left San Jose, CA, drove to Texas to become Texans, and then started their trek to Alaska. We will see them again as our routes overlap. (Sorry, I only got a photo of all three rigs, not them.)
The road to Dease Lake was not as driver-friendly as our previous routes. There was a lot of construction and we started watching for the little “SLOW” signs that sat at ground level adjacent to dips, potholes, and frost heaves. In some places we saw construction areas, but no work being done. At this site, the “flaggers” on either end of a bridge under repair were at least given a chair to use while waiting for traffic. Hopefully they had lots of tunes to listen to on their iPods.
We have been using the Church’s “Travel Guide to Alaskan Camping” in choosing our campground destinations. We’re not really sure our impressions match those of Mike and Terry Church. The description for the Dease Lake RV Park, for example, said: “Large RV owners will appreciate this campground. Although it is little more than a large gravel lot filled with RV sites, there is lots of room and the surface is solid and well drained.” Well, factually, the write-up is accurate when it comes to a large gravel lot (weeds not mentioned), but squeezing into the pull-through sites was not easy in an almost empty park. We would hate to try to park here when the sites start filling up.
I must admit, however, that when a bright rainbow appears over your home on wheels, we must remember how lucky we are to be able to enjoy the RV lifestyle and to see places like we are seeing on this trip.
We are definitely seeing more wildlife, but capturing good photos has been another matter. Sunday we saw a camera-shy small bear eating along the road, a large moose who wandered down the drainage ditch out of camera range, another moose standing on a river island, two wild horses standing calmly along the road (the Kings saw six horses), and another bear (see below) who could have cared less that he had an audience snapping away. We first spotted him in the distance after the Kings had stopped to take photos. When that happens, most of the time the critter moves back into the bushes before we can get our own shot. Not this time. Frank is sharing his “good” wildlife photos so we won’t leave Alaska empty-handed.
NEXT: Wildland Fires and Watson Lake, Yukon