Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Be It Ever So Humble...

We're home!

After almost 11 weeks and 12,000 miles it was great to get home. And "home" it finally is. This is the first time we are really here "permanently." The other times we were here we were always in between events. Either we were running back and forth between here and Yardley or we were planning for our trek. But now we are here and it is home.

I am not sure about who of us is happiest to be here, but I suspect it is Ziggy. She was really good on the trip, but traveling was hard on her.She stood all the time we were traveling in the RV.

The trip back from Glacier was reminiscent of a horse running back to the barn. We left the park and started driving. Three days to drive 2800 miles. Stopping overnight at Wal*Mart and rest areas. Taking quick breaks for lunch -- sometimes at rest areas. We often traveled 12 hours a day or more. But it was time to get home.

By any standard it was the trip of a lifetime. Alaska was great! We loved Canada. Oh, yes -- we loved the lower 48 as well.

We have now RVed in 44 states plus 4 provinces in Canada. The five we have missed (I don't think we will be taking the RV to Hawaii.) are Louisiana, Nebraska, Michigan, Washington and Oregon. I suspect that the last two will be the next to go. We have been want to go to the Pacific Northwest (and Vancouver) for a long time. If we go back to Alaska next year we may hit them on the way up. (I suspect we will make sure we go through Nebraska as well. What the heck!)

But for now we are home. We are happy to be here. We had a great time. Now back to the real world.

Anybody want to buy a house in Yardley?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Goodbye, Farewell and Amen

The above title is from the final episode of M*A*S*H. It seemed fitting for the trek.

Welcome to Prince George, BC and the end of our trek. A city of 60,000 plus, Prince George has all a major city has to offer – including a pretty decent restaurant for our farewell dinner. There wasn’t much of a program so Judy and I put one together. I sang “So Long. It’s Been Good to Know Ya” (with 7 verses I had written about our trek) and Judy handed out “Award” certificates to all the trekkers. We got some gratuities -- nice thought, but we will be donating them to a charity (to be determined at a future date).

So, our trek (the working part, anyway) is over. We are glad to be heading home. While we have to admit the work wasn’t very hard, it was work. We were “on” 24/7 and were called upon to help out on many occasions.

Now we head back through Banff and Glacier National Parks and the home. I suspect the drive from Glacier home is going to be a dash to the finish. It is about 2800 miles and will probably take 7 days, although we may do it in less time because we are anxious to get back.

Did we have a good time? Emphatically YES! But I think that we both agree that the best length for a trip is 8-9 weeks. Not everyone agrees with us. Two of the guests left home on March 15 (that’s 5 months and counting). One of them left for a previous RV trip with no particular destination in mind and came home 8 months later!

It really isn’t any harder to take an 8 month trip than a 2 month trip (except you may need heavier clothes as well as summer stuff). But we have a new home to get back to (and an old one to sell – don’t ask!) and new and old friends to see, and the holidays coming up.

And we have to get ready for more traveling: an RV trip up north in October for a wedding and to see friends, and a trip to the Galapagos in November for Judy and Carol et. al.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


We knew we were in trouble when we saw the first sign for McDonald’s. We were back in civilization, and it was not a pretty sight.

Smithers, BC is a cute town. Our RV park was attached to a golf course. There were all kinds of services and food available. And it was one of the saddest days of my life.

We hadn’t realized just how much we had become accustomed to the wilderness and the beauty. And here we were back in civilization. And our trek was just about over. The good news is that I washed the RV (not that it needed it or anything) and removed about 9 weeks’ worth of bugs from the front.

Smithers is a small town by “civilized” standards, but it was enormous to us. Our trek was just about over.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


The next time someone talks about being in the middle of nowhere I intend to stop them. I HAVE been in the middle of nowhere. It is called Hyder, Alaska. Remember the TV show “Northern Exposure?” Picture a smaller town on the water (the Portand Canal – an arm of the Pacific). Dirt roads. No TV or radio. No police or medical care.

The town sits on the border with the bustling metropolis of Stewart, BC (population 600). To give you an idea of how remote Hyder is, they don’t even bother with US Customs coming into the town. There is no place to go from there, so why bother?

The main attraction to tourists is the Fish Creek Wildlife Viewing Area. I’m sure Judy will go into that in detail, so I won’t. Suffice it to say that it was really neat.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

To Trek or Not To Trek; That is the Question

For the first time we are retracing our route and heading back toward home. We are leaving Alaska (but not yet for the last time on this trek). Back into Canada where we had hit that god-awful stretch of road. All glory be to the Yukon Highway Department. In the month we had been gone they had totally repaired that stretch of road. The day we were dreading turned out to be no problem at all. The Alaska Highway is now like a long lost friend.

The Trekmaster, Glen, has decided that it is time for some training, so starting the day we left Whitehorse we take the lead. It is very different from being Tailgunners. We left at 6:00 in the morning, driving straight through to the next camp site. No stopping to smell the roses (at least we weren’t supposed to).

At the new site we would check in and assign the sites. Judy was adamant about making sure that the good sites were rotated among the group. As staff, of course, we got last pick. We (usually Judy) would then sit outside and wait for the group to come. After they got in we were free.

Trekmaster is not nearly as much fun as Tailgunner. It is almost a demotion. It is much more like a real job that goes on every day for 7 weeks. I don’t know how much the Trekmaster gets paid, but I doubt that it is enough to justify the extra responsibility and work.

The most common question to us is whether we want to be Trekmasters next year. That is a great question for which we do not as yet have a good answer. I can say this much, though. Judy and I LOVED Alaska. It is a place where we would like to spend a lot of time. I suspect that a look at the duties and responsibilities of Trekmaster vs. Tailgunner with fresh eyes might make the change from Tailgunner to Trekmaster more appealing.