Lonnie and Sue - Traveling North America

2009 Canada Return - Travels to Destruction Bay, Whitehorse, Iskut, Stewart, Smithers, and Saskatoon

*** Included with Stewart is a side trip to Hyder, AK ***


 My campground rating system is on a scale of 5/5 with the first number being the levelness of the site and the second being the appearance.  A 3/3 would be an average site.


 I have left the prices in for comparison and to give a general idea of what to expect.  Depending on when you read this, factor in inflation.


You can read it through or select specific locations below .

 Travel Log - September 2 to September 30, 2009        [Tab 2009 Canada Return]


09-02-2009     Wed     Day 141      Trip Meter:   238.3 

Weather:  Sunny and beautiful.  High of 71. 

Fueled Coach:   At Three Bears in Tok, AK.  $3.769.  Price was $3.669 when we arrived last night. 

Driving Directions:   Took AK 2 east.  At the border it became YT 1.   

AK 2 was a good road – 90 miles of it from Tok to the border.  I estimate 80% as good, and 20% as excellent.  There were no noticeable breaks in the road surface. 

YT 1 is a different story.  There were a lot of frost heaves.  Most of them were flagged.  They was anywhere from a single heave to consecutive heaves running in sections of 3 to 4 miles.  I estimate the section of road we travelled today, approximately 150 miles, to be 25% poor to fair with 75% good.  Now this rating is for the motorhome only.  Cars could travel 99% of the road at the speed limit.  However, for the motorhome there were a lot of sections where I had to slow to 30 mph or less.   

It was a very pretty ride but sections were very stressful.    

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 9:40 AM.  Fueled the motorhome and back on the road at 9:50 AM.  Between Tok and the border Sue saw a small black bear run across the road. 

We cleared customs as Beaver Creek.  It is 20 miles inside the border.  We set in line 40 minutes (30 minutes without moving) but it took less than one minute to clear when we finally got to the window.

It was a very pretty ride but sections were very stressful.    

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 9:40 AM.  Fueled the motorhome and back on the road at 9:50 AM.   

Between Tok and the border Sue saw a small black bear run across the road. 

We cleared customs as Beaver Creek.  It is 20 miles inside the border.  We set in line 40 minutes (30 minutes without moving) but it took less than one minute to clear when we finally got to the window. 

I took some scenic pictures of the mountain across from Pick Handle Lake. 

  • Campsite:   Congdon Creek, MP 1071.5, Destruction Bay, YT - 1 nights - site 24 - gravel pad - pull thru – NO services, picnic table, fire ring, grill – Yukon Government Campground  - Cost $12.00 per - Rating 4/4 - Got setup at 5:40. 

The campground sets on Kluane Lake, the largest lake in Yukon.  It is over 20 miles long and appears to be from a half to a mile wide. 

The pull-thru sites and the campground roads are really tight.  We were just able to manage.  Not sure a 45’ unit could use this section of the campground.  However, there are other sections that would not be a problem for a longer unit. 

Update on the lake – we drove along 20 miles of it on the 2nd and 11 more miles on the 3rd.  During the 31 miles we saw the width go from a ½ mile to over 2 miles.  According to the Milepost it has 154 acres of surface water.  That means we saw very little of this lake.  Note - the drive was in the motorhome going in and leaving, not in the pickup.

Our campsite at Congdon Creek, MP 1071.5, Destruction Bay, YT.  It was a pull through site.

 The campground furnishes firewood so we had a fire and set out and read. 

Did not unhook the pickup.  

09-03-2009     Thur     Day 142      Trip Meter:   174.3 

Weather:  Cloudy all morning with rain all afternoon.  High of 52. 

Fueled Coach:   At Pioneer RV Park, Whitehorse, YT.  $0.965=$3.105 

Driving Directions:   Continued east on YT 1. 

Overall the road between Destruction Bay and Whitehorse has been in good condition.  There were maybe a dozen places where I had to slow down to 35 mph, i.e. single frost heaves to sections of heaves less that a quarter mile long.  All of them were flagged.  There were some larger heaves but did not present a problem at the speed limit.  About 16 miles west of Whitehorse there was a 3 mile section under construction.  The road bed was level and ready for the wearing surface and did not present a problem – just had to slow down. 

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 9:30 AM. 

We stopped at the end of Kluane Lake and took pictures.  We have been seeing new snow on the top of numerous mountains since leaving Palmer.

Beautiful colors yesterday and today.  The Aspens are bright yellow and orange.  The ground cover is a combination of yellows, reds, greens, and browns.  Beautiful to see but not easy to get a picture of to represent the colors we see.

  • Campsite:   Pioneer RV Park, Whitehorse, YT - overnight - site 66 - gravel pad - pull thru - 30 amp, water, sewer, picnic table, WiFi (FREE), cable (FREE) - Good Sam Park - Cost $26.46 per night - Saved $2.94 - Rating 5/2 - Got setup at 3:20 PM.

Did not unhook the pickup. 

09-04-2009     Fri     Day 143      Trip Meter:   255.6   

Weather:  Foggy and cloudy in the morning with alternating clouds and sun in the afternoon.  Rain in the evening.  High of 62.

Fueled Coach:   At Junction 37 Services, MP 626.2 Alcan Hwy, YT.  $1.079=$3.471.

Driving Directions:   Continued east on YT 1.  The road was all good today – traveled it at the speed limit.

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 9:10 AM. 

Not much color in the trees today.  Most of the trees today are Spruce and the few Aspens have just started to change and are a dull color.  We drove past a lot of lakes and rivers today and right along the shore of many of them.

  • Campsite:   Junction 37 Services Campground, MP 626.2, Alaska Hwy - overnight - site 3 - gravel pad – long pull thru - 30 amp, water, sewer, picnic table - Commercial Campground - no discounts - Cost $26.25 per night - Rating 4/3 - Got setup at 2:10 PM.  Lots of trees.  

Did not unhook the pickup 

09-05-2009     Sat     Day 144      Trip Meter:   197.3

Weather:  Mostly cloudy with spots of sun.  High of 67.

Driving Directions:   Took YT 37 south.  Crossed into BC in 2 miles and the hwy became BC 37, aka Cassier Hwy.

Construction from MP 4.4 to MP 15.0.  Roadway is ready for resurfacing and resurfacing had just started at MP 15.0.

Construction from MP 121.3 to MP 138.0.  Actually construction has been completed and the new surface is down.  There is loose gravel on the road and the only work being done was the removal of the loose gravel.  The new road was dusty.  

Construction from MP 177.9 to MP 182.0.  The roadway is in real good condition and is ready to be resurfaced.  

The overall roads condition today was fair to good.  The majority of it is narrow with no shoulders.  The speed limit is 50 mph.  I could have traveled all of it at 50 but kept it down to 40 to 45 on the narrow sections.

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 10:15 AM.  The scenery north of Gnat Summit was rather dull – just a road from point A to point B.  However, south of Gnat Summit was great.  The road dropped down into a large scenic valley then scenic views all the way to the campground. 

  • Campsite:   Mountain Shadow RV Park & Campground, Iskut, BC, MP AH 197.6 - overnight - site 5 - gravel pad – long pull thru - 30 amp, water, picnic table, WiFi (FREE) - Commercial Campground - no discounts - Cost $32.50 per night - Rating 4/5 - Got setup at 3:45.  This is the prettiest campground we have been in this year. 

Have not unhooked the pickup since Tok so started it and let it run for 30 minutes. 

Did not unhook the pickup 


09-06-2009     Sun     Day 145      Trip Meter:   195.1

Weather:  Partly cloudy in the morning with plenty of sunshine in the afternoon.  High of 56. 

Driving Directions:   Continued south on BC 37.  At Meziadin Junction took BC 37A to Stewart. 

Good to excellent road all the way to Meziadin Junction - twenty-five miles of it new this year.  All narrow with no shoulders. 

BC 37A was a very good road – narrow with no shoulders.  The overall width of the opening through Bear Pass ran from about 300 feet to as narrow as 75 feet.   

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 10:10 AM. 

Saw 1 small black bear.  It was running along side the roads but turned up into the brush when we got even with it.  

Another scenic drive today.  There were a lot of hanging glaciers on the road into Stewart and about 2 dozen waterfalls.  

  • Campsite:   Bear River RV Park, Stewart, BC - 3 nights - site 16A - gravel pad - back-in - 30 amp, water, sewer, picnic table, WiFi (FREE), cable (FREE with 18 channels) - Good Sam Park - Cost $24.15 per night - Saved $6.20 - Rating 3/4 - Got setup at 2:55 PM.  Nice campground.  Would be a good place to spend a week.

Drove around Stewart, BC.

09-07-2009     Mon     Day 146

Weather:   Rain and fog all day.  High of 54.

Days Activities:   Left home at noon and drove out to the Fish Creek Wildlife Viewing Area in the Tongass National Forest, about 3 miles north of Hyder, AK.  We walked out onto the viewing area but there were no bears out.  Was told there had been 2 wolves out this morning and there had been a couple of bears out but nothing in the past 2 hours.  We did see some good sized salmon in the creek – would estimate some at around 15 pounds.  This is a fee area but I used my Golden Age Passport and we saved $10.00.

Continued out the forest road toward the Salmon Glacier.  The glacier is in BC.  

On the way out I stopped and took some pictures of some abandoned equipment at the site of the Riverside Mine.  The mine produced copper and silver and ceased operation in 1961.  Also took a couple of pictures of the scenery across the river – what the miners would have seen when coming out of the mine.

We saw a bear with 2 cubs.  We got some pictures.

Our campsite at Mountain Shadow RV Park & Campground, Iskut, BC, MP AH 197.6.  This is the prettiest campground we have been in this year.





Our campsite at Bear River RV Park, Stewart, BC

We took pictures of the glacier from several overlooks.  The overlook at the summit was fogged in.  We had our lunch there, read, and I took a nap.  After over an hour the fog had not lifted so we returned to Stewart.   

We stopped at the local video store/ice cream shop/Sears Catalog store.  Watched TV while we ate our ice cream.  They also have a full size pool table.   

09-08-2009     Tue     Day 147      

Weather:  Rain and fog all day.  High of 55. 

Days Activities:   We went into Stewart for breakfast – each has a 3 egg omelet with shrimp and crab.  The omelet was stuffed full of shrimp. 

We went to the post office in Hyder and picked up our mail.  In town we saw a black bear coming down the stairs of a house.  It ran out behind the house before we could get a picture. 

Then we drove back out to the Fish Creek Wildlife Viewing Area but still no bears so we didn’t stay.  On the way back in we did see 3 eagles along the river. 

Another miserable day so we stayed in all afternoon. 

Drove pickup 97.9 miles . 

09-09-2009     Wed     Day 148      Trip Meter:   209.0    

Weather:  Light rain all night and this morning.  Rained off and on all during the drive today.   Sunny the rest of the afternoon after we got parked.  High of 62. 

Fueled Coach:   At Petro Canada in Stewart, AK.  $1.059=$3.407.  This is all of the money we got in Saskatoon at a multiplier of 0.8499975.  The next fuel purchase will have a multiplier of 0.90638. 

Driving Directions:   Took BC 37A back out ton the junction and took BC 37 south.  At the junction of TC 16 took it east. 

The remainder of BC 37 was good to excellent but with no shoulders.  TC 16 from the junction to Smithers was good to very good with narrow shoulders – not wide enough to pull off the roadway.

Days Activities:   We drove back out to the bear viewing area but still no bears.  However, one bear ran across the road in front of us about a quarter mile from the parking lot.  There was a light sprinkle all of the time.

We took picture of Salmon Glacier River outside of Hyder and of the harbour area in Stewart.

Departed campground at 11:00 AM.  Had to drive 1½ miles back into town for fuel.  The Petro station is on the corner with the only traffic light in town – a single blinking red light.  Departed Stewart at 11:20 AM.

About 25 miles out of Stewart we stopped and took pictures of Bear Glacier.  There is a lake at the foot of the glacier that feeds Bear River.  The lake is very murky but the river is quite clear.  In addition to Bear Glacier the river is feed by numerous waterfalls between the lake and its exit at Stewart.  We could see several miles of the river through Bear Pass and it was flowing very rapidly with continuous rapids.

As mentioned there was a light rain this morning.  It stopped long enough for me to break camp.  Started again about 11:30 AM and rained for 2 hours while we were driving.  Stopped and was partially cloudy for 1½ hours then started raining again.  It stopped as we were entering Smithers and the sun was out the rest of the afternoon. 

  • Campsite:   Riverside Municipal RV Park, Smithers, BC - 2 nights - site 18 - gravel pad - back-in - 30 amp, water, sewer, picnic table, fire ring w/grill – City Park - Cost $22.00 per night - Rating 5/5 - Got setup at 4:25 PM.  Free firewood. 

The campground sets on the Bulkley River.  We stayed here in 2005.  The gate is locked at 11:00 PM and opens at 7:00 AM. 

The same park attendant in 2005 is still here.  We talked a bit about the park.  Today is the first rain they have had in about 9 weeks.  The fire ban was just lifted this morning.  He said the past winter was so warm that the river froze 12 feet.  That was because it thawed in the day and refroze at night – very unusual.  As a result when the ice started breaking it created a huge ice jam down river.  There were ice chunks lining the river bank larger than the motorhome.  The river flooded and there was 2 feet of water in the campground.  He said the large ice chunks created a dam along the campground and kept the smaller chunks out.  Otherwise he felt the campground would have been wiped out. 

09-10-2009     Thur     Day 149      

Weather:  Partly cloudy.  High of 63. 

Days Activities:   We took a driving tour this afternoon.  It was the same one we took in 2005.  Stopped at Moricetown Canyon and Falls.  It is a fishing area restricted to native Indians.  Took pictures of several people fishing with long handle nets.  Talked to a local that was on his way home.  He had caught 18 salmon today.  

While we were talking to him a tree floated down the river and got caught up in the rocks at the rapids.  He got real excided and started calling for everyone with a camera to take pictures.  He said that he had lived there 50 years and that was the first time one had ever gotten caught up like that.  We took a lot of pictures. 

We talked to another fisherman there.  He had about 20 salmon weighing from 12 to 15 pounds.  He was offering them for sale for $10.00 each.  Sure would have liked to have had some but no room in the freezer. 

We stopped at the fish hatchery.  Had an interesting discussion with one of the employees about the salmon.   They release about 150,000 each year. 

Stopped at Two Falls Recreation Site.  It was a quarter mile hike to the viewing platform and I estimate a 300 foot climb.  Over half the climb was at 20 to 25 degrees. 

We had a fire and grilled steaks. 

Drove pickup 75.0 miles.

09-11-2009     Fri     Day 150      Trip Meter:   365.0

Fueled Coach:   At Prince George, BC.  $0.939=$3.221.

Fueled Pickup:   At Husky’s in McBride, BC.  $1.089=$3.736.

Driving Directions:   Continued east on TC 16.

The road was good all day.

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 9:50 AM.  It sprinkled a little right after we left but it didn’t last long.  Sunshine most of the day.

Our campsite at Riverside Municipal RV Park, Smithers, BC
Moricetown Canyon and Falls outside of Smithers, BC.  It is a fishing area restricted to native Indians and they are allowed to use nets for subsistence fishing.

We stopped for lunch at Fraser Lake and as we were leaving I drove the motorhome into the corner of a building and broke the windshield.  I taped it up on the inside and we decided to try to get to Saskatoon for a new one. 

Fraser Lake is 97 miles west of Prince George.  We had planned on stopping in Prince George for 2 days but decided to drive extra miles today, Sat, and Sun so we will be in Saskatoon on Monday morning.  Because the windshield has been weakened I have decided to drive a maximum of 45 mph all the way.  Estimate mileage to be around 880 miles from point of accident. 

  • Campsite:   Beaverview RV Park & Campground, McBride, BC - overnight - site 5 - grass pad - pull thru - 30 amp, water, picnic table, WiFi (FREE) - Commercial Campground - no discounts.  Cost $26.25 per night - Rating 4/4 - Got setup at 7:25 PM.  

Drove pickup 4.1 miles . 

09-12-2009     Sat     Day 151      Trip Meter:   395.1

Fueled Coach:   At Flying J in Edmonton, AB.  $0.753=$2.583. 

Driving Directions:   Continued east on TC 16.  The remaining section in BC was in really good condition.  As soon as we crossed over into Alberta it got really rough for about 5 miles then smoothed out.  Rest areas and pull outs were plentiful yesterday and today in both BC and AB. 

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 7:50 AM.  We stopped about 30 miles out of the campground and taped the outside of the windshield.

  • Campsite:   Vegreville Municipal Campground, Vegreville, AB - overnight - site 10 - grass pad - back-in - 30 amp, picnic table, WiFi (FREE), - Municipal Campground - Cost $19.00 per night - Saved $2.00 on Senior rate - Rating 5/4 - Got setup at 7:30 PM. 

Drove pickup 6.0 miles. 

09-13-2009     Sun     Day 152      Trip Meter:   268.6 

Fueled Coach:   At Husky’s in Saskatoon.  $.0821=$2.817. 

Driving Directions:   Continued east on TC 16.  Note - TC 16 was divide highway from Hinton, BC to Saskatoon.  From Edmonton you only go through two towns – through the middle of Lloydminister and the outskirts of North Battleford.  The hwy by-passes the other towns. 

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 9:05 AM.   

Saw a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Lloydminister, AB – the first one we have seen in Canada.  The AB/SK border runs through Lloydminister with the largest share of the business section being on the AB side – don’t know about the residential section.   

Bought propane in Lloydminister, AB. 

Note about the fuel mileage traveling at 45 mpg.  From Prince George to Saskatoon we covered 784 miles and averaged 9.32 mpg.  The last 200 miles was in West Texas type wind.

  • CampsiteGordon Howe Campsite, Saskatoon, SK - 16 nights - site # 136 - gravel pad – pull thru - 30 amp, water, picnic table, grill, WiFi (FREE).  Rating 5/5.  Cost $180.00 per week.  Got setup at 5:10 PM.  Do NOT have satellite – trees are in the way.  I also have the satellite service disconnected with turn on date of Oct 1. 

09-14-2009     Mon     Day 153        

Days Activities:   I called GMAC and filed a claim for the windshield.  Was informed they do not ship windshields or direct pay for installation in Canada – we would have to pay and get reimbursed.  Shannon Presley gave me the address to mail the paid invoice to for reimbursement. 

Gordon, campground host, made a few calls for me and we determined a new windshield would be about $2,300.00, shipping around $800.00, and installation around $700.00.  Don’t know how long it would take to get the windshield.  

I decide the best move would be to drive the motorhome to Minot, ND for installation.  GMAC will have a windshield shipped out of Elkhart.  I called GMAC back (actually talking to Duncan Systems Motorhomes, the company that handles GMAC glass claims) and advised we needed a shop in Minot to installed it.  They will locate a shop, make the appointment, arrange windshield shipment, and call me back.  I advised them we would be there on Sep 30 and Oct 1.

Got a call back from Tracy.  The claim has been approved and the windshield will be shipped tomorrow.  Her number is 1-800-551-9149, ext 2022.  Glass Doctor is located at 1122 S. Broadway, Minot, ND – 1-701-852-3741.  Appointment is for 8 AM Oct 1st.

Our campsite at Gordon Howe Campsite, Saskatoon, SK
No more entries for Saskatoon because we didn't do any sightseeing, just visiting with the children. 

Drove pickup 290.3 miles.

09-29-2009     Tue     Day 168      Trip Meter:   237.4

Driving Directions:   Took SK 11 south to Regina.  In Regina took Pasqua Street south.  It turned into Lewvan Avenue and we continued south on it (total of about 5 miles).  Had intended to intersect with TC 1 and take it 1 mile east to SK 6 south but there was a detour so jogged over to Albert St , aka SK 6 and took it south.  About 24 miles south of Regina SK 6 merged with SK 39 and we took 39 east to Weyburn.  Got off in town and drove to the campground.

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 8:30 AM.  Dumped both tanks –got 16 days out of the black water tank.  

Continued the trip at 45 mph.  The wind was out of the southeast all day so we had either a head wind or one at 45 degrees to the nose the entire trip today.  I estimate it was no less than 25 mph for some of the trip and in excess of 30 mph for most of it.  

  • Campsite:   River Park Campground, Weyburn, SK - overnight - site #13 - gravel pad - back-in - 30 amp, water, picnic table – City park - Cost $24.00 per night - Rating 5/3 - Got setup at 3:20 PM – Have a satellite signal but unable to contact DirecTV to get it turned back on.

Drove pickup 0 miles.

09-30-2009     Wed     Day 169      Trip Meter:   172.7

Fueled Coach:   At a Conoco at Minot, ND.  $2.699.

Driving Directions:   Continued on SK 39 east.  At the border the highway became US 52 east and we took it all the way to Minot, ND.  About 2 miles west of Minot turned north on 54th street to the campground.

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 9:25 AM.  

We arrived at US Customs at Portal, ND at 11:15 AM.  We sat in line for 55 minutes.  It only took less than a minute to clear the customs station.  Then we had to drive through a portable x-ray machine.  Then they pulled us over for a search by agricultural agents.  They checked our refrigerator for produce and fruit – the only thing we had was 2 tomatoes and a stalk of celery – got passed right through.  Total time to get back on the road was 1 hour and 5 minutes. 


This completes our 2009 trip through Canada, Alaska, and return through Canada.

 

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