May 31 - The fun started a day early. If you really want the gory details, you can read all about it.
June 1 - We left Kirksville, Missouri at 9:15 in the morning loaded down with a tent, sleeping bags, a new spare tire, and a month's worth of groceries. We stop for lunch in Pella, Iowa, and arrive at the farm in South Dakota in time for supper.
June 2 - After repacking the overloaded car, we stop in Freeman so that Cheryl can shop at her favorite Etc. Shoppe and visit Aunt Francis who was in the hospital. We head west on Highway 44 to Rapid City and spend the night at the Rod and Gun Campground in the Black Hills.
June 3 - This was one of our longest days
on the road, mostly just trying to make time. We stopped for lunch
at Little Big Horn where the Lakota kicked Custer's butt, and then made
it to Three Forks, Montana for night. Three Forks is the headwaters
of the Missouri River, but it was one of the ugliest campgrounds we stayed
at the entire trip.
June 4 - We got up early and headed for Glacier National Park. After driving the Highway to the Sun through the park, we camped at the Many Glaciers campground. Glacier was nice, but things were only to to get more beautiful as we headed north.
June 5 - We crossed into Canada and after changing greenbacks for Loonies and Toonies we headed for Vulcan, Alberta where Cheryl was a guest on the bridge of the Enterprise.
then continued on to Banff National Park where we spent an evening strolling
along the shores of Lake Louise.
6 - The next morning we drove north to Jasper National Park along the
Icelands Parkway which is a truly beautiful drive. We spotted a bear,
a moose, and walked around on the Athabasca Glacier, part of the huge Columbia
June 7 - In the morning on our way out of Jasper we saw six elk grazing alongside the road and a mountain goat.
By early afternoon we had made it to Dawson Creek, British Columbia, the beginning of the World Famous Alaska Highway. Since the day was still young and Dawson Creek is the type of place where you pick up supplies and then split we, well, split.
8 - Along the Alaska Highway we were to see a surprising amount of
wildlife, including this bear. We passed Fort Nelson and spent the
night at some wonderful sulfur hot springs.
June 9 - The Alaska Highway follows along the BC-Yukon border crossing back and forth about seven times before finally crossing into the Yukon for the last time. In ways the Yukon was our favorite part of the trip--beautiful, friendly, and lots of wildlife.
The signpost forest with tens of thousands of
signs in located in Watson Lake, Yukon Territory. Cheryl found this
one of her hometown (Lansing, Illinois).
June 10 - We continued up the highway to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. From there we took the Klondike Highway north, leaving the course of the original Alaska Highway for several days. We spent our long northern summer evenings in beautiful Yukon campgrounds charting out what we would do the next day. A fox visited us in this campground.
June 11 - We arrived in Dawson City, Yukon Territory, site of the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush. We put the car on a ferry to cross the Yukon River (since there is no bridge) and continued on the Top of the World Highway to Alaska. From there we took the Taylor highway north to Eagle located on the shores of the Yukon River. The Taylor highway wasn't in that great of a condition and the following week after a hard rain the road was washed out.
12 - Two things will forever mark June 12 in our minds: 1) Beautiful
downtown Chicken, Alaska (allegedly so named because none of the founding
fathers could spell "ptarmigan"), population 25 plus one grumpy old man;
2) completing the Alaska Highway at Delta Junction. We then continued
on up to Fairbanks where we spent the night.
June 13 - We spent the morning getting a 15,000 mile checkup for the car at the Toyota dealership in Fairbanks, Alaska. After having them service and wash the car, we started on the dusty and muddy Dalton Highway (also known as the "haul road") which parallels the Alaska Oil Pipeline and leads north to the North Slope oil fields by the Arctic Ocean. We got a flat tire, thereby making good use of the full-sized spare that we picked up on May 31.
Tired but elated, we finally made it to the Arctic Circle where we spent the night. The mosquitos were thick and it was hot, made even worse by the midnight sun which beat down relentlessly on our tent. We have a certificate to prove our accomplishment.
June 14 - We had a long drive back to Fairbanks where we picked up a new spare tire and prepared ourselves for Denali.
15 - The first of three days at Denali National Park where we would
see an incredible variety of wildlife but never a clear view of Mt. McKinley,
the "great one." We camped at the Teklanika River Campground.
June 16 - We took an 11-hour round-trip bus ride to Wonder Lake in the heart of the park. Along the way we saw a variety of animals including a caribou herd, a fox, and a fleeting glimpse of a wolf (which is very rare).
A definite highlight of the day and indeed the entire trip
was when a grizzly sow took two of her cubs across the road right by the
June 17 - We went on a ranger discovery hike sloshing through the trail-less tundra wilderness which is Denali. It is hard hiking on the tundra, and we decided next time we'd maybe try to find a place with trails.
June 18 - After all that excitement, we
drove through Anchorage and down to Seward where it rained on our tent.
June 19 - We took a boat tour to Kenai
Fjords National Park where we watched the calving tidewater Holgate glacier.
On the way we saw sea lions, puffins, and a breaching whale.
20 - We got on the Alaska Highway at Tok and retraced back into Canada
the part of the highway that we had missed previously by taking the northern
detour to Dawson City on the Klondike Highway. The Alaska/Yukon border
is marked by a chopped down swat of forest. Since the U.S. and Canadian
immigration posts are removed by several clicks from the actual border
we took advantage of the situation to make repeated Entries without Inspection
into the United States (the same "criminal" offense which leads to the
deportation of your friendly neighborhood Latin American refugee).
June 21 - We once again left Canada and entered back into Alaska to board the Alaska Marine Highway System Ferry in Skagway for a trip through the Inside Passage. Upon arrival we found that due to a fire on the M/V Columbia our boat had been taken off of the Juneau-Prince Rupert route to run the Skagway-Bellingham route. This meant a delay in Skagway; had we known about this earlier we would have much rather spent more time further north. The day and a half delay also meant that we would not have time to come back through Seattle as originally planned.
June 22 - We loaded the car on the ferry at Skagway and enjoyed a relaxing trip down the Inside Passageway to Juneau.
June 23 - In Juneau we visited the Mendenhall glacier.
June 24 - Finally we got back on the ferry to take us from Juneau to Prince Rupert, British Columbia. We spent the night on the ferry, so we set up our tent on the ship's deck.
June 25 - We arrived in Prince Rupert (crossing
back in Canada). Since we were now a 1.5 days behind schedule we
made tracks for Prince George.
June 26 - We passed by Mt. Robinson entering back into Jasper and Banff National Parks, once again camping at Lake Louise. We paid a visit to Moraine Lake before retiring for the evening.
June 27 - We made our sixth and final international border crossing from B.C. into Montana. The U.S. border official was unnecessarily rude and made us wish we could stay in Canada where people are nice. It was the only time our car was searched. Jerk!
June 28 - After a long day on the road we made it back to the Black Hills for evening. Some idiot in the campground left food out thereby attracting a bear. Cheryl spent the night in the car and we left early in the morning for the farm.
June 29 - We spent the evening on the farm reviewing the two-and-a-half hours of video tape I shot during our trip.
June 30 - After one last day on the road and 9342.9 miles later we made it back to Kirksville and Koosa.