From Alaska, random thoughts about the road trip (It’s over!)

This is our baby (1997-2008). Dale has wanted to go to Denali National Park for as long as I can remember, and  he even suggested that we name our puppy after the mountain.  We thought about our Denali lots and lots during this trip!

I’m posting this a few days after leaving Denali National Park, where we tent-camped for ten days.  I have so much to share about Denali.  It’s one of the most special places on the planet.  People from all over the world visit and then keep coming back, again and again.

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Will you see wildlife on the Alaska Highway?

Traveling the Alaska Highway (Alcan), part two


This is one of three posts about our drive on the Alaska Highway.

The weather forecast for our time on the Alcan showed nothing but rain.  For days, it was supposed to rain.  We were going to miss some of the stunning scenic views that make the Alcan legendary, all because of rain.

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The Alaska Highway (a.k.a., Alcan), part one: Facts and tips

How easy is it to do the Alcan? How long does it take to complete the drive? What are the accommodations like along the way? Your basic Alcan questions, answered.


This is one of three posts about our drive on the Alaska Highway.

From August 30 through September 3, 2016, we drove the Alaska Highway, colloquially known as the Alcan.  It’s been on our bucket list for a very long time, and we finally made it happen this year.  This is the first of several posts about various aspects of this fantastic trip.

But first, what is the Alcan?

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Jasper National Park, Canada

Vista from Old Fort Loop Trail, Jasper

This is one of three posts about Canada’s spectacular national parks.

After Banff, our next stop on the road trip was neighboring Jasper National Park, another Canadian beauty.  Jasper is the largest of the Rocky Mountain National Parks, covering more than 4200 square miles.  We only spent two nights in Jasper, but we made the most of it.

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Banff National Park, Canada: There are (almost) no words

Fourth stop on the Alaska road trip


This is one of three posts about some of Canada’s spectacular national parks.

There are no words to adequately describe Banff National Park, and as a writer, it’s really, really frustrating when my vocabulary comes up so short.

I guess if I had to choose an appropriate adjective, it would be ridiculous; what with its UNESCO World Heritage Designation and pristine ecosystem and dense evergreen forests and towering mountains, and oh yeah, its immense glaciers, Banff is just plain ridiculous.

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Waterton Lake National Park and our first bear encounter!

Alaska road trip, stop three

The International Boundary line–Canada, here we come!

This is one of three posts about some of Canada’s spectacular national parks.

After leaving Glacier, we crossed the border into Canada and headed for Waterton Lakes National Park, in Alberta.  The two parks are actually a single entity, called Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, established in 1932 by members of the Rotary International organizations in Alberta and Montana.  Both parks have been designated as Biosphere Reserves, and the Peace Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  (Note: each park has its own administration and entrance fees and you have to go through customs when crossing the border).

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Glacier National Park

Second stop on our Alaska road trip



Glacier National Park, in northeastern Montana, isn’t just a jewel, it’s an entire crown.

It’s part of the “Crown of the Continent,” 28,000 square miles of wild, rugged Rocky Mountain terrain encompassing the corners of Alberta, British Columbia, and Montana.  Its sister park, Waterton Lakes National Park, sits just across the border in Canada.  In addition to these two national parks, the Crown of the Continent has several national forests and Indian Reservations and numerous Montana state and Canadian provincial parks.

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Alaska road trip: Random thoughts about bears

We started the second leg of our road trip on August 20.

Destination: Denali National Park in Alaska, where we plan to camp for ten days.  Along the way, we’ll make stops in Montana’s Glacier National Park as well as three Canadian national parks, Waterton Lake, Banff, and Jasper.  Then we’ll hop on the Alaska-Canada Highway (also known as the Alcan), which is about 1400 miles and runs from Dawson Creek, Canada, to Delta Junction, Alaska.  We have about two weeks to cover this ground and reach Denali to claim our campsite.

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What’s it like to camp full-time?

One month in: Random thoughts about the camping life


“So… can I return to using porta-potties and baby wipes after two weeks’ of indoor plumbing?”

“Will we be OK with going back to an air mattress again?”

These were questions that we’d been bracing ourselves for.

I mean, I hog the sheets and Dale tends to take up more than half the bed, issues that become more pronounced when you’re sleeping on an air mattress more appropriate for a large child than two adults.

But we’d adapted, you know?  We were sleeping well, and I’ve mostly gotten over my squeamishness about using public bathrooms.   We’d made some good progress.

But, after four weeks of camping, we’ve now moved indoors for side trips to Las Vegas, Idaho, Portland, and Seattle.  These were planned stops and we knew this time was coming, but we had to wonder–would our return to the civilized world for two weeks thwart our desire to go back to the nomadic life?

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“Enjoy being smelly!” My niece asks questions about the camping life

Lacey and I, in Madrid last year
“I read the blog post yesterday; loved it!   I have two very important questions related to that…”

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