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Monday, 13 July 2020
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From Santa Barbara USA to the Mexican border PDF Print E-mail

From Santa Barbara USA to the Mexican border

July 2nd to July 6th, 2006

Sunday morning July 2nd we drove from Lake Casitas, east of Los Angeles to Ojai, where we could receive and send mails. Beautiful scenery from there to Frazier Park. Following the road in the direction of Lancaster we came on an old gravel road, the Old Ridge Road. Beautiful far looks, but slow. We were glad to find a campground on this ridge, and nobody present.

Monday we went to Palmdale and from there to Victorville where we booked the KOA campground for 2 nights in view of the long Independence weekend. Again a typical KOA location: always near a highway, airport, railway or a combination thereof. At here 3 highways and a railway. We visited the AAA for information for the border crossing with Mexico, but in vain. Nice people, but not competent.

Tuesday the Fourth of July, Independence Day. We only noticed some fireworks at night. Again a hot day, we did some swimming and reading about Mexico. We met David and Cheryl Laing from Australia, already during 3,5 years cruising the world on their Honda Shadow. Now they are tired and  fed up, and are going home from LA. They tipped us on car insurance for Mexico, and the address of Jolanda’s Restaurant on the Pacific coast.

Wednesday after the long weekend, we first called the insurance company and took the insurance at an agent at Victorville, including bail money. Thereafter to a haircutter, as after 3,5 month this ain’t a luxury with temperatures of some 40°C. We took the road to the south west and found a campground at the State Recreation Area at the bank of the Salton Lake. The car lights broke down, but after some fingering with the cables under the dashboard it was OK again. British car!

After a  terrible hot and sweaty night on Thursday July 6th we took the road to Mexicali, where we arrived at 8.30 h. We had to have a declaration signed at US Customs to prove we exported our car again. This went easy, thanks to an officer who was smoking a cigarette outside of his office. We couldn’t even find the entrance of the office, only an exit from which Mexicans came pouring out.

Now we only have to send the declaration to Customs at Baltimore. Later. From here we went to the Mexican border for documents and formalities.

From Baltimore we have driven now 29.750 km.

 
From Clearwater, BC to Santa Barbara, CA PDF Print E-mail

From Clearwater, BC to Santa Barbara, CA

June 17th to July 1st, 2006 

Saturday June 17th we stayed at the KOA campground in Clearwater, British Columbia, Canada. Unfortunately no more clear skies, even at times a shower. We went into the Wells Gray Park near Clearwater. At Lake Clearwater we rented a canoe and crossed the lake and had a picknick. In the afternoon we did some shopping. I bought a new watch as my old one had a loose part from driving gravel roads which stopped the watch working. On Sunday we went into the park again; the weather was cold and rainy. The Spahatz Falls we saw are beautiful falls, 120 m high, in a volcanic canyon. We also walked to the Dawson Falls in the Murtle River, over a bad trail in a beautiful forest.

Monday we drove via Barriere along the west bank of the river to Kamloops, to Max en Karin, Kees’ cousin. Accompanied by Max we bought on Tuesday a set of new tires for the Land rover. The first set was finished after some 50.000 km. Further we bought motor oil to change the oil of the Laro. Wednesday on the road into the direction of Vancouver. We camped at Hope in the Hope Valley RV Park.

On Thursday we reorganized and cleaned the Laro and Manna packed her personal things and books. In the afternoon we read a book in the sun, as the weather had improved: it was sunny and 22°C. On Friday we drove from Hope to White Rocks, a suburb of Vancouver on the coast. Along the boulevard on the roof of the Boathouse Restaurant we had tasty grilled salmon. From there we went to Vancouver Airport where we said farewell to Manna. Kees and Ton drove south via Hwy 99 the USA border, which was crossed without problems. We camped at Burlington on a KOA campground.

Saturday we went on our way to Seattle, when Manna called to tell us she arrived home safely again. Kees and Ton took the road to Mount St. Helens volcano, which had its latest eruption in 1980. Just before Cougar we found a campsite at the Lone Fir Resort. Two state campgrounds were already fully occupied. Sunday after driving a part of the I-5 we headed for the Diamond Lake and the Crater Lake. The latter has an elevation of some 2000 m and is really marvelous, still with snow around it.

Monday on our way to the coast via the Hwy 234, I-5 and Hwy 199. From there to Hwy 101 where at Grants Pass we had the front wheels of the Laro rebalanced. The road to the coast is beautiful, with giant Redwood trees up to a 100 m. At here it was blue sky and hot, some 38°C. When we reached the coast the temperature dropped by 20°C! At the town of Eureka we took the KOA-campground.

Tuesday brought us again Hwy 101 and Hwy 1, the latter along the coast through towns like Fort Bragg and Mendocino. Again large differences in temperature. In bays along the coast one sees Harbour Seals, pelicans, cormorants and gulls. Near Bodega Bay we found a campsite in the dunes, Bodega Dunes. The Hwy 1 became, before we reached San Francisco, narrow and very curvy. The Golden Gate Bridge was largely invisible in the fog. A pity! Via the bridge to Fisherman’s Wharf, where we had lunch with Clam Chow. From San Francisco we took Hwy 101 again. Our car gave trouble, we suspected the alarm installation, which was used at San Francisco. We applied the emergency procedure, without success.

Thursday morning we called Chris Elliott at Stein am Rhein to ask advice. When we applied his advice we heard a strange noise at the motor. The campground manager gave us a jumpstart. That succeeded in starting the motor. Combining these items we concluded the battery would be at the end of its life, so we bought a new one at the Wal-Mart at Gilroy. This solved all the problems. The old battery appeared to be swollen at a side and was gone.  Back to Hwy 1 where the weather was improved. We camped at campground Plaskett Creek in the Los Padres National Forest. A lot of flowers and birds we observed: a kind of eagle, pelicans, cormorants and gulls. We are missing Manna with her knowledge and books! Now we can’t determine the birds and flowers anymore. After the dinner we went to the beach and took pictures of the sun going down; already just after eight o’clock.

Friday June 30th we drove again the Hwy 1 south. We saw many birds, harbor seals and also a number of elephant seals. At Pismo Beach we had fish and chips for lunch. This Friday appeared to be the start of the Independence Weekend (July 4th is Independence Day). All of the USA is on the road and campgrounds are full. Therefore we went off the coastal route and succeeded to find a site at the overflow of Lake Casitas. We booked for 2 nights, so now on Saturday I’m sweating in the shadow of a tree at the lake to write this text for our website. We parked our car yesterday in the shadow of a tree. This morning it appeared that thousands of very small ants have used the branch of the tree to pass into our car. We are lucky that the ants don’t like our insect spray… Yesterday at 7 at night it was still 29°C and the vultures or condors, sitting in a tree at the campground, were too lazy to fly.

From Baltimore we now made 29.000 km on and off road.

 
From Alaska to Clearwater, BC PDF Print E-mail

From Alaska to Clearwater, BC

 

June 5th to June 16th, 2006

 

Monday June 5th we stayed in de City of Kenai, campground Beluga Lookout Lodge & RV Park. The text for the website was being completed, photographs were selected and Manna did our laundry. Tuesday we went in the direction of Tok.

 

At Eklutna we visited a russian-orthodox cemetery. Very special, in particular the wooden “doghouses” for the spirits of de deceased.

 

We drove farther over the Glenn Highway along gigantic glaciers. At Glennallen we found a campground, Northern Lights. Before we were there we saw some Dall sheep.

 

Wednesday we decided to visit Kennicott and McCarthy in the Wrangell-St. Elias N.P. The road is unpaved and follows the former railroad of Kennecott (the still existing copper mining company named Kennecott has not been named Kennicott due to a typing error, the latter is the name of a local explorer. At Kennicott is an historic copper mine of Kennecott, shut down since 1938). At the moment the wooden buildings are being restored, if not beyond improvement. We have been camping at a kind of parking lot with an “outhouse”.

 

Thursday June 8th we walked the foot bridge to McCarthy. The shuttle to Kennicott would leave only after one and a half hour, so we could enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning sun at the porch of the local Saloon. We visited the old copper processing buildings. We followed the trail to the Root Glacier. This glacier really is enormous, with a large area of moraines. Twice we saw a black bear. After the visit we drove back to Glennallen. Friday morning we left for Canada via Tok over the Alaska Hwy. Along the highway we saw moose, one of them was in a lake. Saturday we went to Whitehorse. At Burwash on the banks of the Kluane Lake we had coffee. There was also a small roman-catholic church and school, where a Dutch father had been, according to old Dutch newspaper cuttings. .Sunday we went on. Just after Watson Lake we camped at the Irons Creek campground at the border between Yukon and British Columbia. It appeared that a Swiss couple, which is living at Spiez, close to Mary and Kees’s home, was camping there.

 

This week had a lot of driving, via Fort Nelson, Chetwynd and Purden Lake, beautiful weather, between 25 and 30°C with blue skies. In general we had marvelous weather on our trip, only one day of rain, and sometimes a shower in the night.  We have seen  a lot of game, moose, black bears and grizzlies, dear, some kinds of squirrels and the like. At the moment it is Friday and we are at the KOA-campground of Clearwater, where for the first time in weeks we have to use lights again at 10 at night because it is becoming real dark again at that time.

 

And yes, Mike Vandermaas wrote to us that the chipmunk on Kees’s shoulder in one of our pictures, is not a chipmunk, but a ground hog; we noticed that, but it is badly rhyming on skunk….. Thank you, Mike.

 

Most asked question on our trip is “Where are you from?” and “Neat rig you’ve got”, it realy gets a bit boring. Most boring activity is buying bread, the bread we like is not the white or yellow soft spongy cinnamon or honey bread sold here, but dark bread.

 

Most striking, particularly in Alaska, but also elsewhere, is the marvelous landscape, flowers and wild life, contrasting sharply with the junk the people collect since the time of their great-grandparents near their houses: rusty cars, trucks, machinery, etc.

 

In many states/provinces you can only buy wine or beer in Liquor Stores against phantasy prices: a six-pack of beer will cost you some 12 Can $, a bottle of wine starts at 10 Can $; the AA will not be flowering here!.

 

From Baltimore on we drove some 25.000 km.
 
Alaska PDF Print E-mail

Alaska

May 23rd until June 4th, 2006 

On May 24th we left the Hi Country RV Park at Whitehorse for Dawson City via the Klondike Hwy. In the morning we had some rain, but later on it became sunny, some 25°C. In Dawson City we checked in at the Gold Rush campground;in the evening we took a stroll through the town with its nice historic buildings. Till eleven thirty we could sit in the sun, although it became colder at that time. The wireless internet connection wifi, which didn’t work on Wednesday, did connect on Thursday morning. Then we read that Hans, Manna’s brother, died in his sleep unexpectedly. We could call our relatives in Holland and Switzerland and decided that we would not come over for the funeral. We were very upset.

Before crossing the Yukon with a small ferry boat, we had our first tire repaired. From there we drove on the Top of the World Hwy to the USA customs of Alaska, with really magnificent views. We camped at Moon Lake in a State Park, soon baptized by us in Mosquite Lake…. As the Laro was not yet mosquito proof we didn’t sleep a lot that night. Friday via Delta Junction to Fairbanks, the end of the Alaska Hwy. From there the Elliot Hwy to the Dalton Hwy. It appeared to be a frustration to call Switzerland and, to a lesser degree, Holland from Alaska with AT&T. Credit card, collect calls, coins, nothing is accepted. Our Cingular SIM card had no reception were wherever we tried, so we have put our own Dutch SIM card in the phone. In practice e-mailing appears to be a convenient way of keeping contact.We slept at  Campground Five Mile (north of the bridge over the Yukon) along the Dalton Hwy to Deadhorse. Saturday we went on, cloudy and wet, fortunately the weather improved soon. We saw a grizzly with 2 cubs! We tanked at Coldfoot and had coffee. Further on our way to the Atigun Pass, Alaska’’s highest. We did observe Caribou and Moose. Just after the pass we camped at Galbraith lake in the sun, nice and warm. Ton and Kees took a hike from 10 to 12 h at night, in the sun. As we are here above the arctic circle, the sun is not going down.

Sunday on our way to Deadhorse, at the Prudhoe Bay. We saw white tailed ptarmigan, polar fox, caribou, marmot, rock ptarmigan, tundra swan, and for our connoisseurs, a Greater White Fronted Goose. Deadhorse was even less interesting than expected. No campground, no groceries, no bread. And it was cold, 6°C and windy. So we decided to return to our campsite at Galbraith Lake again.

Monday May 29th it was raining and snowing. So we broke up quickly and went to the Arctic Circle Campground. When Kees and Ton at 11 in the evening were talking at the campfire they heard a black bear approaching in the woods. Beautiful!

The Laro in the meantime had taken the muddy color of the Dalton Hwy due to rain and anti dust spray trucks. Tuesday we could shop at Fairbanks and went to Denali N.P., Mc Kinley RV & campground. Finally we could take a nice hot shower.

Wednesday it was cloudy and the forecast was that it would stay that way for days. So no chance for Mount Mc Kinley.

We proceeded to Anchorage. Before leaving Denali we had coffee with marvellous  Zuccini. Manna immediately asked for the recipe.  A Campground found at Talkeetna, rainy. Thursday dry again, we found a campsite in Portage Valley.

 

Friday to Whittier via the railway tunnel As the place was uninteresting, we left soon and found a camping place at the banks of Resurrection Bay at Seward, Marathon Campground. Here is Fish the magic word: Salmon, Halibut, 2 meters long and a weight of 40 kgs! At 11 at night Kees and Ton saw a Bald Eagle at 20 m on the beach.

 

Saturday morning we took a ship from the harbour of Seward. It was very nice weather to sail to the Cook Inlet. At the Holgate Glacier we saw large lumps of ice fall splashing into the sea. Fantastic to see how the humpback whales play, even jump out of the sea. And we saw orca’s, puffins, sea otters, sea lion, robs, mountain goats with their young and black bears. We had a good lunch of salmon and prime rib.

 

Sunday we drove to the Exit Glacier, after that to a campground with showers at the City of Kenai, campground Beluga Lookout Lodge & RV Park, where I’m writing this text in the sun, while below me the gulls are screaming, the bald eagles are looking for food, the robs are swimming and far away we see snowy mountains at the horizon. Really a wonderful country side this Kenai Peninsula in Alaska’s south.

 

From Baltimore we now drove 20700 km.

 
From Kamloops to White Horse PDF Print E-mail

From Kamloops to White Horse, Canada

 

May 14th to May 23rd, 2006

 

Sunday morning May 14th we left the KOA-campground at Revelstoke for Kamloops. There we visited Max and Karin; the latter is a cousin of Kees. They live at a ranch out of town. As it was nice and warm weather we could talk at the porch. Max tried to activate the SIM card of our cell phone, which we bought at Revelstoke; as it was stated that this would be a very simple procedure. Monday morning no message from Rogers, an AT&T company. Max then did the process by phone. He had to use his own credit card for the  Pay-as-you-go plan as our cards were not accepted as foreign cards. Finally we got a phone number and an access code. But when we tried to contact Holland, we were denied the connection. Max phoned Rogers again for an explanation, and after some time it appeared that Rogers, as the only Canadian company with cards to phone foreign countries, has no contract with Holland and Switzerland. And that was the only reason we bought the card! Of course we were assured that we could phone with Sweden, Germany, France, the U.K., Russia, Japan, China, etc., etc. But a Long Distance Card would probably help. So Max, Ton and Kees went off to a telephone shop at Kamloops. To make a long story short, two shops later we were told sorry, but no money back, no other cards available for Holland and Switzerland, and yes with an additional card from My Asia we should be able to connect. And yes, we could be phoned from Holland and Switzerland as we are living in the communications era….At the end of the day we probable would have been better off with our own phones with the Dutch SIM-card, although we can’t be reached from Holland for 9 eurocents per connection on a Dutch registered extension. Moreover it appears that the practical use of cell phones is limited in sparsely populated areas at here.

 

Kees and Ton helped Max the rest of the day with the irrigation of his hay land. In the evening we had an excellent dinner at Max and Karin’s.

 

Tuesday May 16th we went to Vancouver and found a cabin at a campground near the border with the USA. Hot day, some 30 degrees C.  Wednesday we reorganized the car and prepared Mary’s luggage. The campground had a Wifi-connection, so we could sent our website material and receive mails. Also we went shopping at Langley, see our guestbook.

 

Wednesday up to Vancouver Downtown. The Congress Center is an architectural beauty. We took Mary to the airport to fly home and we all said goodbye. Manna, Kees and Ton went up north and found a nice campground in the Provincial Park Porteau Cove. Friday we went north on the Hwy 99 to Wistler. At night we camped in the Provincial Park Marble Canyon. Nice weather, but we needed a camp fire. During the night it started raining, so we had wet chairs in the morning as we are not accustomed anymore to rainy weather after weeks of sunshine.

 

Saturday to Houston (BC), where the sun took over again and we could dry our chairs at the campfire. This campsite, Camping Shady Rest is by far the cleanest and best site we had up to now, with private shower and restroom. Sunday morning it even appeared that the campground has an own designed waste water purification plant. To overcome the oxygen shortage there were 2 windmills installed compressing air to oxygenate the waste water by a diffuser. Via Route 16 we drove to Smithers for shopping. At JCT 16/37 we drove forward on Hwy 37. We camped at the Provincial Park at the banks of Kinaskan Lake.  The nights already get shorter by now. At  Dease Lake on the Cassiar Highway we shopped. When Kees phoned Mary we heard the Hans, brother of Manna and Mary was hospitalized. After calling Els, Manna and Mary’s other sister, we heard that he is to be operated next Monday. We can’t change things...

 

This Monday, Victoria Day in Canada, we observed a lot of game on our way: a grizzly bear, a black bear, moose, two kinds of grouse, a bald eagle at its nest, Barrow’s golden eye duck, caribou, big horn sheep, Oregon Junco, Robin. The city of Cassiar, a ghost town, worth a visit according to the guides, could not be reached. Near Watson Lake we crossed the border of BC and Yukon and went west on the Alaska Hwy, and at km 1130 we took a camping. This Monday it was sometimes raining. Many lakes, and there are lots of lakes in Canada, are still partly frozen.

 

Tuesday morning after only 2 hours driving we arrived in White Horse (Yukon), where we took a site at campground Hi Country, with wifi connection, in order to write today the text for our website.

 

From Baltimore, Maryland, USA, until now we made some 16.600 km. 
 
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