6/30/10

Fairbanks

We are just outside Fairbanks. We only drove 200 miles today. It's nice to travel at a relaxed pace. We stopped at North Pole, AK and Dori got to visit with Santa. We picked up a few souvenirs and went and got our site set up. We took the kids out to McDs for dinner and picked up groceries at Safeway. They had a section at the front of the store with souvenirs which were very reasonable so we bought several. We are going to check Safeway in Anchorage for more momentos of Alaska. We've got full hook-ups tonight and have done a few loads of laundry. We also cleaned the RV which took all of 15 mins. This RV park has WiFi, but with so many people online throughout the park, it is slow.Tomorrow we plan on checking out a few places in Fairbanks before heading to Denali National Park. We won't have any services the next few days, so updates will come via my phone. I know we are behind on photo & video uploads. Hopefully we will find a strong connection soon and get things uploaded.

Diana in AK
-Sent from my Palm Pre

6/29/10

Arctic Adventures & Arrival in Alaska

This post is rated AAAA!

Yesterday was our BIG Arctic Circle (AC) adventure. We set an alarm so we could get on the road because we knew it was a 12 hr round trip. We started up the Dempster Hwy at 8:15am. This was not the best day to ride up the road (highway is not really a good term for it...think Ice Road Truckers) as it was raining. Unfortunately we missed out on many of the incredible views due to the clouds. But we persevered and made it. It was 252 miles up the road to the AC. There was a stretch about 75-100 miles long that was thick mud and quite slippery. We saw a car off the side of the road which looked like it rolled. We were glad to have 4 Wheel Drive on this section. We made it to the top and turned back about 3:30. We rented a gas can that needed to be returned by 9pm and we never thought we'd make it. It was after 4pm when we left Eagle Plains after getting some gas. That was 229 miles up and still on the far side of the bad section of the road. But we were very fortunate that it stopped raining and the clouds had lifted. We thought we wouldn't get back down until after 10pm. We flew down the highway and made it back to return the gas can at 8:45. So about 6.5 hrs to get up and under 5 hours to get back down. We only made 1 quick stop on the way down. The Jeep is caked with mud. You can see in the video we posted yesterday. (scroll down)

Anyway WE WERE INSIDE THE ARCTIC CIRCLE! We even did a GeoCache up there! w00t! It was COLD up there!! I wore a Teletubbies beach town around my head to stay warm!By the time we got back to the RV everyone was SICK of being in the Jeep and all wanted to do our own thing. We decided that we would not be in any hurry to get up at all. I had been sleeping poorly (even with a sleep mask on), so I took an Advil PM and slept for 9.5 hrs. Best sleep of the trip!

We took our time this morning and got packed up to head down the ferry line. There is a ferry crossing the Yukon River. We were going to do it with the Jeep hitched up, but we ended up unhitching and sending Jake over with the Jeep ahead of the RV. (Cars go in a different line) He was able to take lots of pics of the RV going over on the ferry. Those pics are on our other camera and will need to be uploaded another time. (We have 3 cameras, a video camera, and my phone which does both pics & videos with us and we still need to get them organized. Not to mention 2 different laptops to organize on! AND we never know what the internet connection is going to be. Right now we are using the WiFi in the main building at the RV park!)We continued on the day with Eric driving the RV and me in the Jeep. The Top of the World Highway is SOOO beautiful (I today's views made up for the missed views yesterday!) it is very rough...especially the US side. The border crossing (Poker Creek) is at the high point of highway. We got a very cool stamp in our passport and then went down about a 1/2 mile to the Welcome to Alaska sign!WE ARE IN ALASKA!!! We continued on the road down through Chicken, AK where we a little boy and his dog befriended Dori & Parker and chatted with his family a little bit. We got some funny pics in Chicken! The road was MUCH improved from Chicken down the the Alaska Hwy. For anyone reading this who is going to drive the Top of the World~ unhitch your tow vehicle and drive separately! I was able to go ahead of Eric and let him know of upcoming holes, curves, and vehicles via the CB radio.

We are know in Tok, AK. It's like Tokyo (with out the yo!) We are staying at a great RV park (Tundra). Tomorrow we only have 200 miles to get to Fairbanks, which we will take at a leisurely pace. We hope to stop and see Santa along the way!

Before I sign off, I want to show one of the incredible views we had today! We truly felt like we were on top of the world!!

Tok, AK

6/28/10

Arctic Circle

This post has been updated to include a few videos we took. We have another Arctic Circle video to add but we need to get it off the video camera first.

6/27/10

Dawson City, YT

Just a quick update tonight.

We drove 347 miles from Whitehorse to Dawson City today. Dawson City is gold mining territory. Eric took Parker out panning this evening, but they didn't find any. We met some RV bloggers, Linda & Bob from Because We Can II. It was fun to chat with them! I also met Rae who works here at Bonanza Gold. She was kind enough to save a spot for us with just an email contact. Since the internet is on the slow side we will have to wait a few days to upload pics and video. Tomorrow we are venturing into the Arctic Circle via the Dempster Hwy. Should be a very interesting, but long day!

6/26/10

Still Sunny! (10 p.m.)

Natural Hot Springs & Sign Posts

I wrote this entry up this morning because I was so too tired last night. I took the boys up to the Hot Springs before bedtime and it was so relaxing that I just about passed out when I hit the bed.

After Eric got the Jeep bumper fixed we topped off with fuel before heading out of town. When Eric went to hitch up the Jeep the DC (plug into the cigarette lighter) end for the axillary brake broke apart. He tried piecing it back together, but it wasn’t working. Then we remembered the inverter had a DC plug. Eric cut the wires and spliced the inverter plug to the brake system. It worked and we were on our way. Glad we had electrical tape packed!

We had a beautiful drive to Laird. The views were amazing and we started seeing wildlife. We saw black bears, moose, a stone sheep, and LOTS of bison. We traveled alongside Mucho Lake which is absolutely gorgeous. The water was turquoise and the reflections were breathtaking. I hope the pics I took show the beauty of it all.Overall the drive was good. The road was in great shape and the rain was light. A very enjoyable drive.We arrived at Laird Hot Springs, set up, grabbed a snack and headed to the pools. It was a nice walk along a wooden platform walkway over a marshy area. The springs didn’t smell too bad at all. There was a ‘kids’ area that was about 2.5 feet deep and not too hot. It got cooler as you headed down stream. Everyone really enjoyed it. We saw a moose in the distance on the way back to the campsite.When we first arrived at Laird, Eric checked the jeep and noticed that the bumper was starting to pull away in a different area. One of the bolts was pulling through the bracket. (His vlog entry for today explains it better!) He figured if he could get some big washers and the right tool that he might be able to secure it. After we are dinner I went in search of firewood and stopped at the RV park across the street to say hi to Robert & Nancy (Wandering Woolfolks), whose blog I had been following long. I felt really bad that I woke Nancy up (she went to bed early) but was able to talk with Robert a little bit and explained our issue with the Jeep. He went down to the group and asked if anyone had any washers. One of the guys brought me a few washers, I borrowed (the wrong) tool from Robert, and then headed back to our site. It took a lot of muscle, but Eric was able to get the bolt off, hammer the ripped part down, and attached the washers on the outside. YEA! I was so thankful for the helpful people in that caravan group. It seems like all the bloggers I meet in person are super nice, and Robert & Nancy were no exception to that.

We made a fire, enjoyed some s’mores, and then the boys and I headed to the hot springs. We decided to try the beta pool further down. It’s a deep pool that felt refreshing to swim around. It was quite hot, so we headed to the main pool area before heading back to the RV. I thought I was going to have trouble falling asleep since it was so light at 10:30, but with going in the hot springs I was jello by the time I hit the bed. We slept til about 7:30 and then popped up and got on the road by 8:30.Today’s drive has been pretty good roads so far. Nice wide shoulders and not much traffic. We drove a few hours and stopped at Watson Lake, which is just inside the Yukon Territory. Outside the visitor’s center is this cool area called the Signpost Forest. There are huge wooden poles scattered about with signed from ALL over the world on them. We grabbed a shim of firewood and a sharpie and wrote our names & town on it and hung it on one of the poles at the highest point in the forest. We really enjoyed reading signs. People were quite creative on what they hung up. There were lots of license plates, city & street signs, and a variety of stuff that people put their names on. We figured there had to be a Geocache there, so we went back to the RV, jumped onto an open connection, and found one. The coordinates were way off so we didn’t find it, but it was fun trying. We will definitely do a cache or 2 when we go up to the Arctic Circle in a few days.We are now on our way to Whitehorse, which I think it the largest city in the Yukon. We will actually pass quite close to Skagway, AK today but we don’t plan on going there. We will check how the tow is doing. Eric said it was in good shape when we stopped in Watson Lake. We are hitting more rough spost now, but Eric is taking those really slow. We are starting to see mountain peaks with snow in the distance. We’ve only seen bison so far today, but we hope to see more.

6/25/10

In this video I have the date completely wrong. I say 25th of July! I twas recorded on the 25th of June, lol I have lost track of days.

Jeep Ready!

Eric just got back with the Jeep. It was 2 hours of labor and some bolts and parts and it was $243. 2 other RVers pulled into the welding shop with TOAD problems. They all hit the same big frost heave and it caused some damage. Ours was pretty minor compared to the other vehicles. Eric had noticed the one side starting to pull away but he didn't think it was a problem. It was really pulled out last night...so that one big frost heave must have done the damage. That shop said they are making lots of money off that bump! We are going to REALLY slow down now.

Off to get road ready. No services tonight at the Laird Provincial Park. Probably have internet again on Saturday night.

6/24/10

Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson

We started out with a lazy morning. We woke too early but just laid in bed for a while. We took showers and Eric made eggs for breakfast before we headed to town for some more pics. We visited the museum and original milepost 0.We didn't end up pulling out of the RV park until after 11...got on the road by 11:30. While I slept well last night it just wasn't long enough. I was tired all day long. The drive from Dawson Creek to Ft. Nelson was tougher than we thought it would be. The 283 miles took just over 7 hours. Eric was pretty stressed out by the rain. I think the main problem is we are running short on sleep. Hopefully we get a full night's tonight. Tomorrow we have a 4 hr drive to Laird Hot Springs.

We had our first meal out tonight. A&W cause it is fast and we were hungry. I planned meals well and have plenty of ingredients, but we encountered a problem today. We stopped for lunch and the kids & Eric got out to look around and play. I stayed in and prepared lunch. I thought I would prep dinner too, so I decided to make BBQ pork. The inverter I used the other day (which we've had for 13+ years) stopped working, so I plugged the crock pot into the inverter installed in the rig. As I was preparing the pork I thought it had an odor, but I wasn't sure. When I had Eric smell it when he came I noticed that the inverter was off. I knew it worked when I turned it on, so I thought that maybe the engine had to be running. After trying that it still didn't work. We realized that the inverter was blown, figured it was the $1 garage sale crock pot, and just threw the whole thing away (pork roast and all) into the nearest trash. I can imagine some animal having a feast tonight. We were just too tired to prepare a meal...the kids didn't mind!

Tomorrow Eric is going to get up and drive the Jeep over to a welding shop to get some work done. The front passenger side bumper has been starting to pull out from the vehicle and got worst today. He wants to get it secure before we head down the road. I hope he's able to get it fixed quickly and we can get to Laird in time to prepare lunch and then take a soak. We hope to meet up with Robert & Nancy, whose blog I've been following. They got some good pics from the drive today.

Look what I did today!!Don't get too excited~ it was just to the front of the campground!!!

FYI~ We have other videos besides the ones we are posting on the blog. Just click our Vlog link under the header to take you to our YouTube Channel.

Eric from Ft. Nelson

Mile 0

We've actually gone 2350 miles in 5 days and made it to the start (mile 0) of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek, BC. Days 2-5 were ALL 12.5-13 hr days, but that is going to change today. We are way further than we thought we'd be so we are slowing it down. The kids have done GREAT and neither Eric nor I have had many meltdowns, but we were sooo tired when we pulled in at 10pm last night. Yesterday we traveled 514 miles in about 13 hours. Lots of hills so many times we were going 25-35 MPH. We thought we would have hit mountains by now, but it's continued to be hilly.

We stayed up pretty late last night. We're in another time zone now so it's actually 2 hours behind IL. Whatever time we actually arrived and went to sleep...I still only got about 6.5 hrs. But like the night before they were solid. I think I could have slept longer but Eric was awake...and when you are in such close quarters little sounds and movements wake you. We are trying to stay as quiet as possible so the kids keep sleeping. They too were up too late.

We left Carstairs, AB and traveled north towards Edmonton. When we stopped at a rest area about an hour or so later, there was a little restaurant. Eric saw the Poutine sign and HAD to get some. He and the kids devoured it while I talked to a couple from IL. They were parked near us at the campground in Carstairs but we never crossed paths there. The kids got a little chance to run around too.
We went around Edmonton via a SW bypass. We stopped in Spruce Grove at a Rotary park (lots of Rotary and Lions parks up here), made lunch, ran into Walmart, and got some cash at a bank. We don't want to pay 3% fees on credit card purchases so we are just using cash in Canada. I did get an ATM fee with the first withdrawl at a C-store, but there were NO fees at TD Canada Trust yesterday.We stopped into the visitors center (also LOTS of those up here) and she told us the distances to Grande Prairie and Dawson Creek. It was around 2, so we knew that our original goal of Fox Creek would be lazy...so we set our sites on Grande Prairie. We did stop for some frozen treats around 5pm as we needed a little break and we didn't want the kids napping any longer. We also knew it would be 6:30 before we got to Grande Prairie so we needed a little snack to tie us over.We gassed up in Grande Prairie ($3.56/gal) and then went across the street to the WM parking lot to prep dinner. It was chili dogs, so I opted for tomato & cheese on tortillas. I had picked up some YUMMY cherries and a HUGE tomato at a road side stand, which was a nice alternative. I checked with some people camped out in the parking lot and they said 1.5 hrs to Dawson Creek, so we decided to push it. We hit some big hills (both up and down) and Eric smoked a crane on one. LOL!! We are usually the slowest vehicle.

When we got to the Mile 0 traffic circle and didn't see anyone around, I told Eric to pull into the lot to get the shot of the rig at the start of the Mile 0 sign. There are actually 2 Mile 0 signs (about a block apart), but we got the one you see on so many photos. We've heard that there is often a line to get your photo there, so we thought it was a good time to stop. A local woman drove up and took several photos for us.The campground was sold-out when we arrived but he had some no-shows so we got a spot. We were very thankful cause we didn't want to go looking for other spots or return to Walmart on the other end of town. There is one big caravan group camped here til Friday and a few people from some other caravans. I might email ahead this morning and see if I can get a reservation for tonight.

Plan for today? We haven't discussed it yet, but I think we will return to our original plan and head up to Ft. Nelson, which is 200-some miles. That would mean we have less than 200 miles on Friday to get to Laird Hot Springs. I would use a hot spring soak RIGHT now! We are in a back in space and have the Jeep unhooked, so we will probably load up in a little while and go to the other mile marker for pics and hit the visitor center for info. Maybe see what else there is in town.

As always, we don't know when we will have internet again. We've done all our updates and have loaded video to You Tube and photos to photobucket. See the Trip Pics and Vlog links below the header to see those. We are not posting all pics & video entries here on the blog.

Comparison

When I (Eric) was about 6 or 7 years old, we went to Florida from Illinois. On the way back we stopped in Lafayette, Indiana where my brothers were born. This being in mid 70's with no seat belt laws, we just folded down the rear seat and the 3 of us laid on some sleeping bags.

We had to get ice for the cooler frequently, we traveled "cash only" or with traveler's checks. If the station wagon had AC I don't remember ever using it.

Good times!

6/22/10

Loonie or Toonie?

Day Four

I woke up earlier than I had hoped this morning, but I did get a much better night’s sleep than I had been getting. I figured it was about 6:30, but it was before 6. I tried to go back to sleep and be quiet, but Eric heard me and woke up around 6. That gave us some time to check email and chat before we got the kids up. After the stressful few days it was nice to have some time to relax. It was in the mid-50s out and it almost felt chilly. After we packed up and did dishes we filled with propane at the local wholesale ranchers supply. They were very helpful and it was only $2/gal. Then we headed west on Hwy 2. There were lots of hills and we were steadily climbing, so there was some slow going. We have to get used to that as we are heading west and into the mountains. We got gas and I was able to take the kids to a park nearby for a few minutes. We had the darkest looking rain cloud heading our way, but it never rained on us.We’ve seen patches of rain across the plains all afternoon, but we haven’t gotten more than enough rain to smear the bugs on the window. We jumped onto I-15 North and headed about 35 miles north to Canada. The wait reported online was less than 10 min wait and I’d say it took us about 9.5 mins to get through. Lots of questions about where we are from, where we are employed, where we are going and why. They ran our passports through and we were free to go. I tried to get a post on the blog and Facebook before going over the border, but my phone registered roaming (Canada) a good mile before the border station. I think the post went through to the blog but not FB. We were stressed from going through the border and forgetting to ask for a stamp, so we missed the photo op at the ‘Welcome to Alberta’ sign. No Fair~ we needed to force the kids to take a pic in from the sign and yell at them to smile just as our parents did when we were on family vacations as kids. LOL!

We stopped in the parking lot of the MacLeod visitor center to eat dinner. Eric made some YUMMY grilled cheese sandwiches. There was no play area, so the kids were mostly inside. They love to wrestle and goof around on our bed in back. No yelling tonight…we stopped a little earlier and the kids were a little more helpful. Jake, Dori, & I walked across the parking lot get cash out of the ATM. We were a little freaked out at first by the CDN dollars. Why is money from other countries so interesting??

Our goal is to make it to the north side of Calgary as we don’t want to hit any traffic in the morning. Right now we are about 30 miles south of Calgary. We had hoped to stop by 8:30 (12 hr day), but it’s looking more like 9pm. The sun is to our left, so Eric feels like he can keep going. I’ll finish this post later.

We made it to Carstairs, which means we drove 539 miles. It was a 12.5 hour day. Eric said he could go further, but it was time to stop. The kids needed some time to run around and Eric and I got a 30+ min walk in. We made a vlog entry on our walk which is pretty funny. We hope to upload both tomorrow when we have some WiFi.

Pic taken at 10:30pm

No pull through? No problem!


We just make one!

Next Stop CANADA!!

Signing off. We will post again when we find some free WiFi.

Diana
- Sent from my Palm Pre

6/21/10

Longest Day of the Year

Eric is on his laptop posting next to me, but I am doing the recap of the day. We are settled in at an RV park in Glasgow, MT. We traveled 13 hrs covering about 620 miles. Eric is like the Energizer Bunny~ he keeps driving and driving and driving. Ultimately the sun in our eyes did us in and we made it to our (original) goal for the day...making up the time we lost yesterday. It's nearly midnight CST and we are not in MST. I am guessing we won't be up and off too early tomorrow. We are going to head west on Hwy 2 for about 5 hours and then we turn north into Canada at I-15.

We are still getting everything figured out with life as 5 in an RV. We stopped in a tiny town somewhere north of Glendive, MT and Eric turned on the generator so we could put dinner together. I was able to pull it together fairly quickly, but not before I lost it and totally snapped at everyone. I was at the point where I was feeling weak and I needed to eat right away! I hurt some feelings, but was able to pull it together and relax after dinner. I've been feeling a lot of anxiety, but driving on the state highway was less stressful to me. I had trouble falling asleep last night and then thunderstorms came through around 5am, so I am short on sleep. Hopefully tomorrow is smooth sailing through the border and the driving conditions aren't too bad. Not sure what we will get in the way of internet connections while in Canada, but we will try our best to keep the blog update.

Goodnight from MT!

Storms in Montana

Driving though Montana, we saw some storms near Wolf Point. Here is the tail end of the storms, we cut behind it and saw a lot of the aftermath. Hail that covered the ground like snow (sorry no pic of that) and lots of standing water / flooding.

Roosevelt National Park / Painted Canyon

In North Dakota we were looking for a rest area. One was listed with a scenic overview. We decided to stop there, and what a pleasant surprise! It was part of the Roosevelt National Park / Painted canyon. The stop was longer than we planned, but very nice!

Vlog 1

This is the first of several vlog (video blog) entries we will do on the trip. I'll try to remember to turn my phone next time.

Diana
- Sent from my Palm Pre

6/20/10

Travel in The Twin citites

Dear Minneapolis, St. Paul, MN. You may keep your construction zones. We spent an additional hour and a half trans versing your fair cities. I must say, I do not care for your construction on 94 and 694. I can not imagine those freeways during rush hour.

On a brighter note, we made it as far as Ashby MN. The weather is fantastic and even now at 9:21 p.m. there is plenty of light to sit outside beside the camp playground watching the kids burn off energy and updating the blog via the free wi-fi.

Here you can see the view from our camp site.

6/19/10

Underway

See you on the flip side!

Diana

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Leaving Today

WOW...a year in the planning has come down to today. Still got some loading to do and an errand or 2, but we plan on taking off within 4 hours or so. The dog thinks he is going with us, but he gets to stay home with Andy. He promised to take him to the dog park a lot, so he should be OK. Today is really just a trial run as we are just going down the road to visit some relatives. That will give us time to get propane, check the brakes, make sure the bikes are secure, etc. We will start packing on the miles tomorrow.

6/17/10

6/16/10

Busy, busy, busy!

Actually it hasn't been too bad. I've been keeping lists and revising them a lot. Usually I am a procrastinator and scramble near the end, but all our clothes are packed and in the RV. Being off work has really freed my time up (I am still busy, just not frazzled) and I am not stressing out. I am even going to take the time to play with the kiddos. The teen is camping with the youth group this week.

I am testing out posting via my phone. 

Diana

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

6/13/10

Less than a week!!!

We leave in less than a week!! Still so much to do. Today are doing some cleaning and organizing in the house and kind of ignoring the RV. We had an ice cream social last night and gave our friends tours of the RV. Many people commented on how nice it is. It was fun to show it off and we stayed dry under the awning.

I've made a few updates here at the blog. We figured out out path up to Canada and added it to our itinerary. We also included a few maps. I also signed up for a Flickr account which we will use to store photos for you all to see. We will just upload some of the favorites here to the blog.

I have some major lists started. I've got some color coded sheets on a clipboard instead of a lot of little notes here and there. I think we have a pretty good handle on most things, except for food. We need to come up with a list of about a dozen or so dinner ideas. Then I can go out and shop for what we need. We have limited space in the fridge/freezer, but I think we have enough space for all the non-perishable foods we need. We have a stove, microwave, crock pot, and small charcoal grill, but no oven or convection oven. I've been so busy wrapping up my clients and prepping to take off 7 weeks AND with other things that I haven't had time to think about food! I just need easy dinner ideas. Any suggestions are appreciated~ we are pretty simple and basic eaters. Ziploc makes these baggies that you can now suck the air out which are really cool. I already have some taco meat frozen and ready to take. I hope to make up more of that type of thing this week.

Big storm coming through...time to log off!

6/12/10

Do you know the way to San Jose Alaska?

The other day I was visiting some Alaska travel blogs and I noticed that Robert & Nancy had a few maps of their trip posted. One was of Alaska itself with the route they are traveling highlighted. I have done the same below with green showing the way and blue showing the way home.When I went to post the screenshot of the overview of the directions map I noticed that the route was different than we had mapped out. It seemed to me that there was a 500 mile difference between the 2 routes. I've been doing all kinds of comparisons at various online map sites and even inquired about the best route at an RV forum. The general consensus is that what you might save in mileage by going into Canada from North Dakota you lose in fuel costs. I am still trying to figure out which route we are going to take, but I have decided that we will not be traveling on I-90. We will take I-94 instead and then pick up Hwy 2 at some point. Still not exactly sure.

6/9/10

The Reason for the Trip!

San Diego, CA
June 9, 1990

6/8/10

Fixed the Toad

OK, so the internet is a great tool. I posted on some boards about my jeep not running and within 10 minutes it was diagnosed as "Crank Position Sensor". Apparently this is a common failure for the 4.0 Motor. I was able to find the part at O'Riley's here in town, even cheaper than the on-line sites, so that was nice.

When I meet the engineer who decided it was a good idea to put the sensor on the back side of the bell housing, near the body of the vehicle, I will have some stern words for them. After about 2 hours of trying different extensions and different sockets (a 15 inch extension with an 11mm Wobbly socket works) I was able to get it out and the new one back on.

The good news is that it fired right up, and now runs more smoothly than it ever has. I would post the picture that my wife took of me all greasy past my elbows, but I look kind of dorky in it so I will spare you all that visual.

6/7/10

What's in your wallet?

Yesterday we got the privilege of being in the car 7+ hours as we drove our son to camp. It seemed like it took forever because we made several stops (food & potty) and we are usually 'drive til the gas tank is empty' people. Our daughter asked how much longer, what time is it, can I go potty... over and over. Started to drive us crazy, but we realized that our trip to AK is going to be difficult if we get upset easily. Being in an RV will have advantages over a minivan, but we do have to make sure there are plenty of things to keep the kids occupied. (How about the scenery?)

We took advantage of the time in the car and made extensive shopping/to-do lists for the trip. We also spent quite a bit of time discussing what we need in case of breakdowns or emergencies. I think we will be well prepared. I've got lots of shopping to do. I signed us up for emergency roadside assistance too!! We are less than 2 weeks away!!!

We've had a break in the HOT/HUMID weather, so I took some things out to the RV today. I would have liked to get more done, but the teen had several friends come by and they've taken over the RV. I think our summer roommate (Andy) appreciates the loud music out in the RV rather than the room next to his. LOL! I appreciate being able to have the windows OPEN!

Today I was reading at an online RV forum that most of the major credit card companies charge 3% on foreign transactions. We can try to pay cash for most things in Canada, but we might not have enough to cover 100 gallons of diesel at a time. A few people suggested another company that does not have any foreign transaction fees. Maybe we will like this and cancel our card that gets miles. We have WAY more miles than we can use right now anyway!

6/5/10

Toad Trouble

Today we decided to focus our attention on the impending trip and to get some things done with the RV. We decided to go through the RV and take notes on what needed fixing/adjusting and where we were going to store things. Nothing really needs fixed, but we decided to optimize spacing. We want to utilize the space under the dinette seats. There is a cabinet door that opens in the aisle, but that isn't the best way to access it. We drilled 2 holes in the top part and ran a shoelace through it, so that we can easily pull up the cushion and pull the string to lift the top of that storage area.I've also been bugging Eric to move the coffee maker and he's been reluctant. We exchanged a few words and then he cursed like a sailor for a few minutes, but he is pleased with the results. He moved the coffee maker over to the back edge and then moved the can opener that was in front of the paper towel roll (and right next to your head between the stove and sink) back next to the coffee maker. These moves really opened up the counter area, which felt so crowded.Then I requested that Eric put a few shelves into the big closets that flank the washer/dryer. He pointed out that we would need some hang up space, so we decided on 2 shelves in one of the closets. He was going to use some scrap wood we had, but I wanted a deeper piece so we decided to go to the hardware store. He wanted a new cordless drill for his bday too. On our way we dropped off the recycling and the Jeep just stopped running. (We left it on with the A/C running.) Eric figured it was just overheated, but we could not get it started. I was pleased by how many people offered to give us a jump, but we knew the battery was OK. Finally we pushed it to Napa what was just down the street. Us girls walked over to pick up something to eat and drink and Eric got the tester thingy from Napa. He also talked to his dad and our BIL who determined it was electrical. BIL ran over to our house to pick up our tow hitch and came up and towed us home. We were calm about the whole thing and very thankful that it happened TODAY and not while on some back road in AK. Eric is now reviewing electrical diagrams for the vehicle and hopes to figure out the trouble soon. I think this opened our eyes a little bit and we are going to do some extra planning/prep for emergency situations.

6/3/10

Oh My! It's JUNE!

I know this is my 2nd post in June, but I am starting to freak out about the trip a little bit. We are just 2 weeks and a few wake-ups away from leaving. Other than a trial run in the RV, we haven't been doing much lately to get ready. I think I need to just take a deep breath and take the laid-back approach. I plan on wrapping up my clients by next Friday which will give me a whole week to focus on getting packed and ready to go. We can make it work!!!

Time to make some lists!

6/1/10

Success!

Our first trip out in the RV was a success! Even though we were close to home we felt like we were on a mini-vacation and got to relax. The dog got us up early each day...much earlier than he gets up at home. I blame it on the brightness of the sun coming lighting up the rig. Good thing he's not going to Alaska...we'd not get enough sleep! Besides that we slept really well and working the RV was easy. The back bedroom is much warmer than the rest of the rig, but we will take some steps to try to circulate air more. It was HOT this weekend and our neighbor smoked, so we kept the windows closed and ran the air or fan most of the time.

We got caught with our awning out when a storm came roaring through. We just had some sprinkles so Eric started putting things under the rig and under the awning and all of a sudden the wind came up and we were in a torrential downpour. I ran out to help him and the awning was all arched up in the air from the wind. I am surprised we didn't lose it. It got stuck as we tried to roll it up and we were having a heck of a time with it. The campground owner ran over to help out. He helped save our neighbor's awning, but their new dining canopy didn't fair so well. We made a rookie mistake and will make sure we put up the awning when there are storms.

Packing up and heading home was very easy! It took way longer to unpack the RV then it did to pack it up at the site. It's going to be interesting on how we are going to fit everything we want to take into the RV, but I think it will work out.

Everything at home went well. Andy (summer roommate) got settled in and now feels comfortable with the house. Our teen came out camping 1 night cause there was WiFi! LOL! The shower house was quite nice, but I ended up showering at home. Eric & Parker did quick cold showers before bed in the rig one night.

Here are some pics from the weekend.

The kiddos loved the dock.

Popcorn popped over the fire!

Doggie on the dash!

Yummy...banana boat!

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