Posts Tagged ‘Fifth-wheel living’

Nothing Stays the Same

Bean Creek Overlook

Greetings from Alaska! Yes, we are still living in Alaska as mostly full-time RV’ers. We have spent the past three winters in Cooper Landing and enjoyed every minute from the snow and cold to even the four hours of daylight. On the left is a photo of the overlook near where we live. Everyday the ‘picture’ changes making this place a phenomenal photo op.

The first winter we were here four months when our granddaughter was born; our fifth-wheel was in Las Vegas. The past two winters we asked if we could ‘store’ our fifth-wheel at the Princess RV Park of the Kenai Princess Lodge and we were blessed with a ‘yes.’ Our rental ‘suite’ and trailer were about 100 yards from each other so we could keep an eye on it or retrieve things we needed from it. We rented a small 2-bedroom ‘suite’ from locals for the dark days and colds nights while our trailer waited for us to return.

We did not head south to the Lower 48 with our Grand Design Solitude for several reasons: the pandemic and our refusal to take part in medical tyranny, enjoying winters without tourists, our continually growing grandchildren, and we just didn’t want to do the Alcan again with the possibility of destroying a second trailer. We believe that Grand Design is a better company than Primetime, but ‘better safe than sorry’ as the saying goes.

Summers of 2020 and 2021 we continued camp hosting at Cooper Creek Campground. Even with the ‘plandemic’ we had campers –– mostly Alaskan –– and continued to meet new people while former campers, who could, returned to fish and stay with us. To say we loved the experience as hosts would be an understatement. We enjoyed the people we met, we appreciated Alaska Recreational Management (ARM) who we worked for, and we embraced being outside all summer. We loved the Kenai River and its turquoise color, Cooper Creek and its returning salmon, our outdoor office surroundings, the smells, the flowers, the birds, the moose, the beauty … everything.

Mount Cecil in Spring

The summer of 2021, however, brought some changes to the campground which also brought a new perspective to our sweet, little job. When we arrived at the campground, there were downed trees everywhere –– not downed from the weather, but from the forest service and the maintenance man who worked for the concessionaire. Sadly, no one cleans up their messes, especially the forest service. We did a little clean-up since the trees blocked the road and fell on tables, but we soon decided removing major tree debris was not part of our job description. Those who came to clean it up just made huge piles of slash that technically could be burned, but not for another year. We knew that our crazy campers who have no sense about fires would bring us a summer full of grief. We were not mistaken. Many campers tried to burn the slash, the tree trunks, and the leaves to no avail. We were always having to haul slash piles from campsites because the wood never burned, and the mess that was left didn’t meet our standards of a campsite for new campers.

One other small issue, though flattering to a degree, was that we were pretty much ignored by those we worked for. We knew that we ran our campground efficiently and that they didn’t need to check on us or worry about us. For that we were, and are, appreciative. It was ‘our’ campground and we were allowed to run it the way we wanted. However, twice a week someone was to pick up the envelopes and money that we collected. Sometimes it was almost two weeks until someone came. At times we had a lot of money in our possession. This concerned us because we have no police protection from either the forest service or the local town. Anyone could come and demand that cash and we would have no recourse.

We also had another issue that made us rethink the value of the job vs. our personal health. My husband and I tried to move a table –– the tables are immense and extremely heavy. Yes, people move those tables which makes it difficult for other campers to use the site or the table is placed right next to the fire pit which is dangerous. My husband ended up with a hernia. It was covered through workman’s comp which was an incredible blessing, and we were told to ask for young men from another campground to come and help us in the future. I had also fallen a couple of times –– mostly my own stupidity –– once because the maintenance man didn’t clean up after himself and I did his job. We just didn’t want to continue hurting ourselves. It takes longer to feel better when you’re older!

We are great camp hosts and learned that many people actually came to the campground because of the reviews we received! I worked with every camper to get the site they wanted or needed, and I always filled my no-show sites by calling reservations to confirm campsites. To have an open site brought joy to everyone who drove through and suddenly found themselves a place to set up their tent. We gave out bear spray to guests that had none, and we gave out marshmallow sticks so campers wouldn’t cut down trees. We helped big rigs back-in and pull-out, jumped vehicles, ran shuttles, and offered space for those who had issues with leaving –– lost keys in the river fishing. I had a Naturalist board and a children’s hike sheet for learning about the plants, berries, and animals in the campground. We truly were more than camp hosts –– we were recreational advisors, too.

We made a lot of new acquaintances, and a few good friends –– friends that we continue to see year round. One of our campers moose hunts and asked us to help process the moose for meat! Another couple has a Montana fifth-wheel the size of ours. We would love to camp with them around Alaska. And, that is when we began to realize that as much as we loved our job, we could never leave and enjoy the state of Alaska when it was summer. We could never hike when we wanted to because we were always tied to the campground. Of course, if we were lesser camp hosts, we could leave; but we would return to whackadoodles involved in shenanigans so we stayed attached to Site 1 at Cooper Creek Campground for five years –– a memorable and rewarding five years.

When September 15, 2021 arrived, we packed our trailer and headed for Seward, Alaska not knowing that the drive around the loop would be our last with our ‘home.’ We enjoy camping by the bay and spent a week watching seals and boats. We decompressed from the daily chores of hosting and slept in! After a week, we headed north to Kesugi Ken State Park near Denali. We needed a new adventure. We camped in the cold, hiked in autumn weather, and had a beautiful view of Denali. Too soon we had to leave and return to Cooper Landing because everything shuts down for the winter.

In Cooper Landing, we stayed at the Princess RV Park until we could move into our ‘suite.’ Some dear friends from Texas came up for my husband to officiate their wedding at the campground by the river. It was a beautiful autumn day spent celebrating with people we met at Cooper Creek Campground opening fishing weekend the first year we hosted. We visited them in Texas, and now they were married in Alaska.

Mount Cecil in Winter

Through the winter, we did a lot of soul-searching about what we really wanted from our life in Alaska. We are now residents and we even bought a cheap ‘beater with a heater’ Subaru. We desired to be part of the community, something that was difficult living at the campground with never-ending duties.

We also knew that because of the millions of dead trees due to beetle kill that more trees were going to be cut down and left to the crazies in the campground. With fire danger being high the past two years, due to lack of rain, we didn’t want to be responsible for campers who were negligent and started a forest fire. We were right about the trees. One campground didn’t open due to the danger of falling trees; another had so many trees removed that every site has a view of Kenai Lake. The river side of our campground didn’t hire a tree contractor and there are trees and brush everywhere –– again the work of the US Forest Service, your tax dollars not at work. I actually wrote them a letter last year about their lack of care for the forest; I got a sham reply. This year the head dude retired. The woman taking his place is much more ‘aware’ of reality in the forest when it comes to tree management and forest fires.

For the past five years, my husband had to haul water three times a week and pump it into our tanks. We also had to haul our sewer in a ‘honey wagon’ twice a month, dumping it in the manhole of the pit toilet. This became tedious, and with my husband’s injury, there were times that I needed serious help. We paid for a septic company, but after the first visit, they made excuses for not coming. We needed that service; we wanted that service, and hoped that maybe we would get a raise or our employer would offer to pay for it. Wishful thinking. We did not have electricity even though there was an electric pole within 20 yards, and every year we were told that maybe next year we would get electric hook-up. We used solar, batteries, and a lot of gas for a generator. After five years, we needed a change. We began to pray for other options to make our life just a little easier.

One of our options was to buy a bed and breakfast, but the whole prospect never materialized because of the woman selling. A second option became available through my cleaning job at the post office. One of the clerks had decided to buy a house and leave the place he had been ‘camping’ for the past two years –– the Cooper Landing Community Center. We made a few calls and suddenly we were the new caretakers at the community center. The most difficult part of the decision was not calling our ARM manager, but letting regular campers, who appreciated the way I managed the campground, know that we would no longer be there.

At the end of April 2022, we moved into our new spot with full hook-ups. It was an adventure as it seems everything is. The ground was soft, very soft and still watery. Our wheels sunk deep into the mire. We made a French drain and put boards on top hoping that the ground would dry quickly. We take up more room than others who have perched here so we had to cut down trees just to get into the space. There was a lot of clean up because the former care taker cut wood for a wood stove. Between the slash, dead branches, and saw dust, we had work to do. BUT, having water, electric, and sewer made the whole process worth every minute. We have a view of the Kenai River through the ‘dead’ beetle kill trees and a beautiful view of Mount Cecil.

Our ‘new’ job consists of being ‘present’ and keeping the center looking ‘nice’ by weed whacking, watering flowers, and closing the gate at night and opening it in the morning. We have to be aware of events at the center and make sure people are being respectful of the place. We are not responsible for cleaning up after events which is very nice, but we are responsible for everything outside.

This is a non-paying job which means we must find some work to do. My husband is working his toushy off for our winter landlords. They are stripping, sanding, and re-staining their huge house. On June 1, he began working two days a week for our daughter in her husband’s fishing office; I am hoping to start proofing legal transcripts. We have a lot more free time to do whatever we want including working however we want. We also have more time to do fun things with our grandchildren rather than being babysitters.

Our winter ‘suite’ will not be available this winter. The owners want to transform the place into their bedroom. Though it will be another adventure, we are able to stay in our trailer at the center for the winter. We will have electric and propane for heat, but they turn off the water (they also said they turn off the sewer, but no one does that). We will have to figure out how to fill our 80-gallon tank twice a week which will be a challenge no matter how we do it. We will have access to the inside of the center so we can run a hose, but at -20 that could be ‘fun.’ Still, we have the opportunity to remain in our ‘house’ and not unpack everything that could possibly freeze as we have for the past two winters. Moving in and out every six months is tedious. We will most definitely spend at least one month in the Lower 48 which will mean warmth, water, and family.

This is where I am now –– sitting in my trailer next to the very high Kenai River with a beautiful view of Mount Cecil that is striped white with snow. The yearly softball tournament has just ended. It was two weeks of hanging with the locals –– my husband even played for the Creakers (Creekers) old-folks team. This next week is VBS at the center and my grandson will be spending a night here so it’s easy access the next morning. There are weddings, sewing days, meetings, and sometimes nothing. Still, locals come by to run their dogs or drop off their recycling. The library is here so people stop there. I am only one mile from the post office so I try to walk there every day to check the mail.

However, I miss walking around the campground and getting miles and miles on my walking shoes. I miss seeing new faces every day from wherever in the world and I even miss cleaning pit toilets –– I have two here that are rarely used. It’s quieter here. I can sit by the river all day if I want; I can write if I want; I can nap if I need one. Life is slower, and when my son visited recently, we actually had time to spend with him. Tomorrow, camper friends will be here for opening fishing day and we’ll meet them for dinner. Other friends will be letting us know where they found a spot. And, our moose buddies will be here next week and need us to help them back their trailer into a site.

This is our life in Alaska. We live in our RV full-time again. We have utilities. We take care of the Cooper Landing Community Center. We have made local friends. We have made international friends. We snow machine, ice skate, and cross country ski in the winter –– my husband teaches ski lessons at Alyeska Resort so he can downhill ski for free. We have small jobs to keep us busy, but nothing that holds us down. This is what semi-retirement looks like, and I never imagined that I would be a resident in the Last Frontier. Every day I look around me and thank Yeshua that I am here for however long he wants me here –– because everything changes sometime and nothing lasts forever.

Remembering Life 2021

Remembering 5 Years of Cooper Creek Campers

©2022 Tentstake Ministries Publishing

Can you spell Ptarmigan?

The afternoon in Tok was warm and beautiful and everyone there said it was a great day to to go Chicken. As we drove, however, the rain clouds pushed the light fluffy clouds to somewhere else and we encountered rain. The drive is only 66 miles, but it was a windy and sometimes rough 66 miles. The view to the west would be exquisite on a clear day, but dark clouds hid most of the Alaska Range where Denali resides.

Alaska Range out there somewhere-ish

Chicken is actually on a rough, northern route to Whitehorse over the Top of the World highway. Many of our campers come this way to Alaska in summer, however, the border crossing is closed until the end of May and closes at 8 p.m. Also, Top of the World Highway is very rough, not just somewhat rough and many people have breakdowns and flat tires. Hence, we will not ever go that way for all of those reasons, but since we left our trailer in Tok, we didn’t have worry about such issues.

Winding road … see it way, way out there?

Interesting facts about Chicken found hanging on a bar door!

Chicken is called Chicken because the original settlers, actually gold miners, couldn’t spell Ptarmigan. They wanted to call the town Ptarmigan, because the plentiful local birds filled many a pot in their camps. Ptarmigan were also called CHICKENS and that’s how the town got it’s name. (This is funny because our daughter lives on Ptarmigan so WE have to know how to spell it.)

They have a winter population of 15, summer between 30 and 50. They have no pay phones and no flush toilets. Outhouses are by the gift shop. They close in the winter along with the roads. There are no plows until April. Winter temperatures can be 85 below zero. Mail comes by plane every Tuesday and Thursday, weather permitting. Most of the citizens arrived by truck, some hitch-hiked and others came by plane. They self-entertain, there is no television. Children are home-schooled, cell phones only work before mile 32 and then only if the signal is right. Medical emergencies are medi-vacked to Fairbanks. They don’t have sales tax.

People still goldmine there. They use bull-dozers or suction dredge the river. Some dig holes or pound rocks. Gold-panning is an option as well.

They have black bears, grizzlies, moose, caribou, weasels, snowshoe hares, lynx, wolves and many more. They have lots of birds. Bears walk through the town. Moose are a common sight.

Arriving at Chicken, we were excited to see everything, but EVERYTHING was closed until May 15. And, everything in Chicken means three businesses. We meandered around taking pictures of what we could and then hopped in the truck to drive to the ‘downtown’ where there was a little airfield.

That’s when we encountered MOOSE – a momma and her baby. Our first moose EVER while traveling. Apparently, their facts are right. There were MOOSE! We had even seen a moose run across the road on our way into Chicken, but it was so far away that it could have been a figment of our imagination. Apparently, not according to the facts about Chicken! Now we were seeing real live moose up close and personal. Chicken was worth the trip just for the moose.

On our way back to Tok, we stopped to take pictures of the trees. Several years ago there was a fire that burnt millions of acres and the trees looked like something from a Dr. Seuss book – trunks with a tuft of dead branches on top. One of my pictures was photo-bombed – by a MOOSE!

Once back in Tok, we prepared ourselves for the next day’s journey on the Tok Cutoff and onto Anchorage and our penninsula ‘home.’

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Alaska or Bust

I believe I finally understand what that slogan means. I had always thought it was silly when I saw people with that written on their car windows in such modern times, but even in modern times, you can BUST on your way to Alaska.

Whitehorse, Yukon

Flat Leaves AGAIN!

Our slogan from when we left Watson Lake might have been Whitehorse or Bust! With flat leaf springs we could only hope to make it to the ‘big city’ or capital of the Yukon without any more springs flattening out. We first stopped at an RV repair place and the woman’s expression when she saw the one spring was: “It’s flat as a pancake, eh?” Eh? Yes. They couldn’t work with us so we called a tire place we used last year (Integra Tire) and they recommended “Tamarac Welding and Springs.” Note: I link places just in case you’re the one with the Alaska or Bust slogan and find yourself needing help.

It was difficult find this place as it was only a small quonset set back off the main road. They were very nice and told us we could park on their lot overnight and they would begin the job of replacing all four leaf springs in the morning. They were going to put 6-leaf springs on instead of the 5-leaf ones that just didn’t hold up. They had to fix U-bolts and nuts as well. What we have learned through this experience is multi-faceted. When you are looking for a trailer, fifth-wheel, whatever, the first thing to consider is the frame and the suspension. Dealers and manufacturers love that we look at floorplans and how nice the inside is, but if the rig can’t carry the weight of even an empty trailer, you will find yourself in the same mess that we did. And, we aren’t the only ones we are learning. Manufacturers also build rigs to the basic of all basic specifications. In other words, they build them CHEAP. The nuts they used on the U-bolts holding everything together are tiny – just like they staple things together inside the rig. Yes, they worry about weight, but a heavier bolt or a few more screws will not add that much more weight. The weight specifications are really ridiculous. We have a 42-foot fifth wheel with lots of storage space underneath and cabinets inside, yet the limitations are low when one considers what they will fill these areas with. So, shop and study before you buy. Do NOT ask dealers anything because they have no clue. I asked one dealer at an RV show about their 42-foot fifth wheel, a different manufacturer than ours, about the two axles and the possibility of the exterior cracking. He said ‘that is impossible.’ I walked away laughing because I knew he was either lying or was that ignorant of what driving these trailers on roads can actually do to the suspension, frames and even interiors.

So, May 7, 2019 we woke up early to be out of our trailer so they would work on our leaf springs. May 7 is also our anniversary – 35 years. We were married in a tiny church in a little place called Salina in Boulder County. We were surrounded by only a few friends and some family. I would never have dreamed on that day that I would ever celebrate my anniversary in the Yukon with a trailer parked in a parking lot.

We decided to be tourons in Whitehorse. We walked along the Yukon River, left rack cards for our son-in-law’s fishing company in the Visitor Center, had coffee at Java, a locals coffee shop, and ate lunch at the Burnt Toast Cafe. We returned to find our trailer finished and it was only 1:30 p.m. The owner talked with us a bit about the scale sheets we had and we learned even more about what went wrong with the leaf springs. Needless to say my husband is once again writing to the manufacturer because when we picked it up in Indiana, they neglected to tell us a lot.

With daylight lasting until about 10:30 p.m., we decided to hitch up and drive our regular 6-8 hours. The closer to the border of Alaska, the better. We were done BUSTING! The only bummer was that we really wanted to stop for coffee in Haines Junction at The Village Coffee Shop, but we had just had coffee. So, we pass through town knowing that it would be a long time until we could stop there again because of their ridiculous hours.

Haines Junction

Haines Junction is one of the most beautiful places in the universe – in my opinion. The mountains are majestic and breath-taking. From Haines Junction the Alcan goes through Kulane National Park.

This year the riverbed was so dry that we encountered a dust storm. Yes, a dust storm like we had on the Nebraska plains. We saw some sheep on the hillside and continued on through Destruction Bay and Burwash Landing. We knew that we were soon coming upon a very cool RV park that we had stayed at last fall and were ready to stop for the night. BUT, like everything else, it was closed until May 15. So, we kept on driving until Beaver Creek about 20 miles from the Alaska Border. Two years ago we stayed at this same park, but because the pantry was so poorly made, I spent hours cleaning up the mess from broken shelves. This time we just relaxed and enjoyed the evening by curling up on our respective sofas and reading books. It sure is nice not to have leaf spring worries!

ALASKA!

The next morning we crossed the border! Finally back in the U.S. We met a young woman at the border who took our photo though the sign is NOT the rustic last frontier-ish looking as it used to be. Blue and Yellow? She was heading north to Denali and Fairbanks. She had never heard of the Kenai and we told her she needed to go to Alaska’s playground. She took down lots of information and several days later we had a note at our trailer. She missed us on her way back from Homer!

Our goal for the day was Tok, Alaska. It was only a two-hour drive, but we wanted some time for a side trip to Chicken. We pulled into a wonderful RV Park – Tok Village – and were excited to learn that they not only had water flowing, but had opened their RV wash and we could wash the dirt and mud that had been accumulating since Fort Nelson.

After getting ourselves situated, we filled our truck with fuel and drove to our next adventure of Chicken, Alaska.

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Down, Flannel and a Shovel

As we started out from Dawson Creek, the sky varied between cloudy and sunny, but sun won out until about 101 miles up the Alcan at a place called ‘Won O Won.’  The flurries began to blow sideways until some rested, melted and made the pavement wet.  I began the day’s drive and when we arrived at the top of Pink Mountain, my husband requested a stop at Sasquatch Crossing.  He wanted lunch.  

At Sasquatch Crossing, the blowing snow pelted us as we trudged through muddy puddles into the restaurant.  A few conversations with the folks there revealed that it continued to snow for the next 100 km (60 miles),  but the sun shone in Fort Nelson.  We hoped for this to be true. 

Sasquatch Menu

I had Sasquatch Vegetable Soup, but my husband opted for chicken – even though the menu said Sasquatch tastes like beef!  With warmth in our tummies, we ventured back out into the near whiteout conditions to continue our northern drive to Fort Nelson.   

We either followed the snow or it followed us because at one stop, it was requested that we please bring warmer weather from the south.  It had not been warmer in the south and the snow continued to blow across the road now sticking to the wide and mowed sides.    We looked for bears as we always do knowing they would stick out black if they weren’t littered with snowflakes.

When we arrived at Fort Nelson, it was brrrrrr cold and the sun stood high in the sky.  We decided to spend the night here because we had no idea what the road conditions would be like on Steamboat Hill to Summit Lake Pass.  Hauling 16,000 pounds of our home is not something we wanted to chance on possible black ice and sliding off a mountainside. 

Soon after we set up, the snow began in Fort Nelson. We watched some courageous bundled-up campers make several loops around the campground for exercise.  After a quick supper of tomato soup and grilled cheese, we decided to venture into the cold and walk off the many days of seat butt.  We pulled out our down coats, scarves, gloves and hats that were nicely packed away until next winter.  As we walked around the campground that began filling up with others who didn’t want to make the trip over the mountains, the temperatures dropped and the wind blew harder.  Once back in our trailer, we tucked ourselves into our bed now made with flannel sheets that had been packed away.  We read books until we fell asleep cozy and warm. 

Day One in Fort Nelson

We woke up to several centimeters of snow on the ground and sub-zero temperatures (in Celcius).  My husband located  our packed-away shovel and cleared off our steps and a little path to the truck.   Is it really May 3?  Is it really this cold?  He visited a few of the nearest campers with big rigs to learn they were all spending a second night at the Triple G Hideaway Campground in order to avoid the ice and snow in the mountains.   One of the couples, Jim and Carolyn will be camp hosting at Hope, Alaska at Porcupine National Forest Campground!  We met some co-workers for ARM.  (I have to admit that I followed them for a while on the Alcan.  They drove very slowly we and chalked it up to them being from Kansas.  Sorry, Bob and Stacy.   Eventually I was so tired of following them, I pulled over.  Several miles down the road they pulled over in the blizzard conditions, but then continued onto the same campground – really the only open campground around.   Yep, I feel stupid now.) 

I called several places on the road ahead – Northern Rockies Lodge in Mucho Lake, Toad River Lodge in Toad River and the Liard Hot Springs Lodge in Liard, but no one knew the road conditions over the passes!  This isn’t Colorado where there are always updates on the road conditions of the passes.  As we vacillated between staying or taking a chance by leaving,  I could hear my brother’s voice in my head, “You are full-time RV’ers, what’s your hurry?”  Well, we would like to get to Alaska before summer.  He reminded me in a text that we have until the summer solstice on June 19.  

I made pancakes and eggs doused in the last of the syrup given to us by some friends we made last year. Thank you, Brent and Sonya!   My husband went to the nearest place and filled our empty propane tank so we could run our furnace.  He then cleaned the ice and snow from the top of our slides.   He also dropped the warm window curtains I had made for Cherry Creek for the winter, but the bottom velcro had been removed when we sent the trailer to Indiana.  I spent a couple of hours working on  them with the minimal supplies I had so they would shut tightly against the windows.  Now, let the cold wind blow while I sit next to our little fireplace and type on my computer.  

We went to the office to pay for another night and met a couple who were tent camping their way to Fort Collins from Anchorage.  He is starting engineering school at CSU and she is a bio-engineer on the search for a job.  We told them we began our trek from Fort Collins and the weather will be gorgeous, summer-like.  They ordered some coffee and got back in their Jeep to head south for a new life.    

Coffee Break

Late in the afternoon, we decided to venture out and go to Tim Hortons for something warm to drink.  We met two men, Steve and Alvin, who had worked in the oil and gas industry before it all disappeared into a Middle Eastern economy.  They were two very hilarious Canadian men and we chatted with them for a few hours about everything from hockey and Tim Horton to motorcycles to socialist politics to jokes about three-legged dogs and how how natives feel about snow to the great musicians of Canada.  Whenever we said we needed to leave, they would ask, “Where do you need to be?  What are you going to do?”  They were right.  So, we hung out.

The buzzing on my phone app from the missiles from Gaza attacking Israel haven’t stopped for hours – over 500 now.   One article in the Jerusalem Post quoted a Gazan leader, “The resistance from Gaza won’t stop until the occupation is over.”  When is Israel going to defend itself?

As we were walking out of Timmies, we decided to talk to a man whose truck was covered in ice about the conditions on the passes.  He told us it wasn’t bad though waiting until tomorrow would be better for a truck and trailer like ours.  He was heading to Las Vegas, helping his son move to Summerlin from Anchorage.  Okay, now it’s getting weird.  Our daughter lives in Fort Collins and our son just moved to Summerlin!  Apparently, we are supposed to be hanging out here in good ole’ Fort Nelson meeting people moving where our children live?

Day Two in Fort Nelson.

Though we had hoped the passes would be less icy and snowy, the mountain cams didn’t show better conditions.  Motorhomes and fifth-wheels that had come in the night before were iced over. Most said the roads were nearly impassable.  Our neighbors couldn’t even get their step down because it was frozen solid in an upright position.  They were using a hatchet to chip away at the ice! 

The Meaning of Adventure

While standing in the office waiting to pay for a second night, there were several other campers doing the same.  The word ‘adventure’ kept popping up in the conversations with one woman stating, “This life is always an adventure, eh?”   I decided to look up the word adventure: “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.”  I liked the word ‘hazardous’ in the definition.  Not. 

After a short walk around the campground to rid ourselves of some cabin fever, we decided to go to Tim Horton’s again.  We have been here long enough that we act like the Canadians – sitting in a coffee shop named after an ice hockey player, chatting with the locals and playing on the internet.  

After having a coffee, we had nothing better to do than to check out the local hardware store.  It had everything from toys to kitchen necessities to plumbing and electrical to yard decorations.  Not only did it kill some time, but I found a nice water bottle for taking with me in the truck.  I believe I already mentioned that we bought a Berkey water filter so we could be more ‘green’.  We were reusing the plastic water bottles, but it didn’t seem very hygienic so I bought a very nice stainless steel insulated bottle that actually fits in the drink holder!  Now I have a souvenir from my snow days in Fort Nelson!  

One of our day’s ‘adventures’ which wasn’t too hazardous was to explore the streets of Fort Nelson off of the main highway.  We drove to the airport and on our way there, several girls were walking along the road and started waving frantically.  We waved back and they cheered!  It must be exciting for them to see a truck from South Dakota? Or is life that boring here?   On the way back from the airport, we were blessed to see this little lady posing just for us by the side of the road.    

Speaking of water, we have also run out in our holding tank.  We didn’t expect to be here as long as we have been and though we try to conserve water, it doesn’t last forever.  We have three options.  The first is to close the trailer up and drive it about 50 yards to the laundry room and fill the tank with one of their hoses.  I don’t like that option because then we have to pack up and unpack.  It’s muddy and cold and is just tedious non-essential work.  The second is to fill the water bladder we use in Alaska to haul water when we boondock.  It’s a wonderful option except that it’s very cold outside and there would be no way to drain it so the little water remaining in it would freeze, crack the bladder and become useless in Alaska.  The third option is to fill a one-gallon jug with water for flushing the toilet and fill our 2-gallon jug for doing dishes.  That is the the option we chose.  Our Burkey has been filtering water consistently so we also have nearly 2 gallons of drinking water.

Now it’s evening and we’re doing little projects to help pass the time and get ready for our departure tomorrow.  The mountain cam has the road looking a little better and we expect warmer temperatures tomorrow.  The sun burst through the clouds a bit today so maybe … we’ll be on the road tomorrow heading toward Toad River, Muncho Lake and Liard.  If not, wait for Day 3 in Fort Nelson. 

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.