This year as we head to Alaska for our second year of campground hosting, a few things are very different. First, we are more seasoned with our fifth-wheel and truck. Though we travel with the ‘big boys’, we are generally more comfortable in and around cities, fueling stations, and rest areas. We know the height of our trailer, watch for the low clearance bridges and have a plan for fueling stations that have low coverings. We have more experience setting up and taking down when we stop at a campground. We have RADIOS that have saved our marriage. We have exterior routines with the slides, the water, the electric, the sewer, the hitch and the electronic stabilizers that is almost rote. Inside I have figured out how to use pillows to protect whatever needs protecting and bungee cords hold all cabinet doors together so my Ninja doesn’t Ninja it’s way all over the trailer. The inside of the trailer has also been ‘improved’ to withstand the bumps and bruises it endures over rough roads in preparation for the frost heaves. No more cayenne pepper exploding in the pantry! This year is beginning with a more peaceful and prepared state of mind.
We began our journey from Cheyenne, Wyoming after the trial that acquitted the man who slashed our tires in Quesnel, British Columbia last year. It was a beautiful and sunny day for travel and we made it to Sheridan, Wyoming almost to the border of Montana. We had been experiencing freezing temperatures and 68 felt like summer! We stayed in Peter D’s RV park again – a nice, but simple park that is easily accessible from the interstate. We love his motto: Peter D’s RV park has Nutritional Value – if you don’t stay here, Pete doesn’t eat!
From Sheridan we took the interstate to Billings and then followed smaller highways to Great Falls, Montana. It was another sunny and warm day for traveling through the beautiful foothills and cowboy country of Montana. The wind picked up at the end of the day and caused us to stop a little sooner than we really wanted. We are staying in Dick’s RV park (again). What’s with these guys and the creative names of their RV parks? To get to the entrance of this park is a very low clearance ancient railroad track bridge. Last year, we didn’t think we would make it under with our 13’5″ clearance. This year we noticed it’s 14′ and we stopped right under the bridge to see how much clearance we really had! It’s nice to be able to relax again as the past few days my head has been hurting after the tree injury. My husband does all the ‘hard work’ of driving, but sitting shotgun can also be long, tedious and tiring.
We always stop mid-day, generally after 4 hours of driving, for lunch. We pull over wherever we find a rest stop, open the slides and make lunch. It’s nice to have everything so handy, including a bathroom. My brother calls it a $50,000 toilet! Hey, when you have to go, you have to go and sometimes there’s nothing for hundreds of miles – on the Alcan at least.
One of our frustrations is Verizon and cell service. It’s extraordinary that as we travel on major highways that we have spotty service. Aren’t cell phones for emergencies when you are ‘nowhere?’ Okay, we love to use ours to plan our trip as we travel and look up historical facts about places we pass.
Today, for example, we drove through the Crow Reservation where Custer National Monument is located. It was interesting to read about the Crow nation and see a billboard advertising the Crow language and keeping it alive. We also followed the Nez Pearce trail created by the tribe as an escape route when the US wanted to round them up and put them on a reservation. We are now by the Missouri River where Lewis and Clark traveled so many moons ago.
Tomorrow our adventure continues as we cross the border into Canada. After last year’s events in British Columbia, we are staying in Alberta as long as possible until we reach Dawson Creek where the Alcan Highway begins. We are planning a LONG day and hope that the border crossing will go as easily and quickly as last year. If not, I’ll be sharing the adventure of a challenging border crossing!
Then, it’s on toward Calgary, Alberta and Grand Prairie where we celebrated Tashlich last fall in a huge puddle by our trailer. We have been following some RVers coming down from North Pole, AK on the Alcan. It appears that there will be more snow than we encountered last year. Hopefully the snow will bring some different perspectives and photo ops to this year’s journey.
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