May 15, 2014 was the start of our adventures in retirement, traveling the
United States and Canada.
Onaway State Park near Roger City, MI...was our first stop and the first time we slept in
our Aliner camper. We crossed the Mackinac Bridge on May 19 and started across
Highway 2 on our way west to Montana, but we made the first of many plan changes.
The Porcupine Mountain State Recreation at Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula was
a couple day side trip and really worth it.
Wisconsin & Minnesota
Passed through Wisconsin on Highway 2 into Minnesota to camp near the headwaters
of the Mississippi River located at Lake Itasca Stae Park, our campground was
Hungry Man Lake National Forest Campground. Stayed for five nights.
Teddy Roosevelt National Park - North Entrance, Badlands of North Dakota. Watched
a herd of Bison cross the road in front of our truck. Explored the strange rocks.
Stayed for three nights.
Next camp, Flathead Lake State Park south of Kalispell and Glacier National Park.
June 6 is when we dropped the Aliner off in Kalispell for three months of storage
and started our summer of tent camping, with our first night at Glacier National Park.
Whitefish Lake State Park was next, taking us north along the west side of Glacier to
reach the Canadian border at Roosville on June 10.
British Columbia & Alberta, Canada
Passed east through BC and entered Alberta to head north toward Alaska.
Stayed at Moonshine Lake Provincial Park in Alberta on our way toward Banff.
Entered Banff National Park to cross the Icefields Parkway camping about
half-way through the Parkway at 6900 ft. elevation and then continuing through
Jasper National Park westward. We hiked the Bow Summit Trail in the snow and
visited Lake Louise and had lunch in the town of Jasper.
Yukon Territory, Canada
By June 19 we were at Whitehorse Hi Country RV Park on our way to Dawson City
in Yukon. In Dawson City we take a ferry across the Yukon River and take the Top Of
The World Highway which leads to one of the only two overland Can-AK crossings.
Eagle BLM Campground in Eagle, Alaska is our first campsite in our two month
travels in the frontier state of Alaska. To get there from the Top of the World Hwy.
you take the Taylor Hwy. to Eagle which still remains the #1 scenic drive so far.
June 21 the day of the summer solstice is the day we crossed the Can-AK border.
During the rest of June, tenting around Alaska our route after Eagle continues through
Chicken to Fairbanks and North Pole; up the Dalton Hwy. past the Arctic Circle
to Galbreth and three nights camping at Coldfoot Station 65 miles north of the Circle.
Alaska - continued
Back to Fairbanks, down the Richardson Hwy. to Paxton
Explore the Denali Hwy. Drive thru Wrangle-St.Ellis Mtn. to Kennecott Mine
down the Edgerton Hwy. Then back south on the Richardson to Valdez.
Now north on the Richardson taking us to the Glenn Hwy. to Palmer-Wasilla,
( 45 miles north of Anchorage). After five nights there we head north on the
Parks Hwy. through the Denali National Park area. Next Nenana RV Park. in Nenana
our #1 favorite park. This took us within fifty miles south of Fairbanks and we had
time to explore even more of the the many things to do there.
Now back down the Parks Hwy. to Talneekna for the Hurricane Turn train ride tour.
Continuing south on Parks Hwy. takes us back to Palmer and to the end of July.
Alaska - continued
Are you remembering that Alaska has only a few main roads that connect the towns.
Not counting the places that are fly-in only, we didn't get to see those; we hit all
the main roads, usually more than once.
Anchorage Airport on August 3 for a two week stay and we packed lots of sight-seeing
in. Alaska Canoe and Campground in Sterling was a great central location for the five
of us. We saw Turnagain Arm, Sea Life Rescue and Research in Seward, Homer Spit;
museums in Ninilchik, Hope, and Soldatna; hiked the Exit Glacier and Fuller Lakes
Trail; went rafting on the Kenai River; saw Prince William Sound; and on their
last day, toured the Alaskan Wildlife Rescue Center.
After they fly home, we head north and east to leave Alaska through Tok to the
Canadian border. We stay in Palmer again at the Matanuska River Campground,
take the Glenn Hwy. to Nebesna Road, the north entrance to Wrangle-St.Ellis
National Park stay one night and follow the Tok Cut-Off to the border.
August 21 is the day we crossed the Alaskan-Canadian border.
Canada, Washington, Idaho and Montana
We took a different route back to the states through Canada following the scenic
Cassair Highway and then the Yellowhead Highway, going through the Yukon
Territory, British Columbia and Alberta Providences staying at very nice Provincial
Campgrounds along the way and seeing lots of bears and wildlife.
August 27 we crossed from Canada into the state of Washington camping at
Darogo State Park. On the 29th we drove across Washington Idaho and into
Montana on Hwy. 2. We found a campsite at Swan Lake BLM Campground
south of Kalispell, Montana where our Aliner was in storage.
Two weeks at Swan Lake, MT organizing our camper and a super Hilacopter tour
of Glacier National Park. Then south to Idaho camping in the Bitterroot National
Forest at Lake Como NF Campground and had our first campfire since leaving home.
Traveling south on US93 next we camp at Joe T. Fellini BLM Campground in Mackay.
Fabulous back-counrty drives there. Next was Arco, Idaho where we stayed at
Craters of the Moon National Monument. Did great tours of the lava fields and caves.
Great Basin National Park in Baker, Nevada was our next two week stay. Leyman
Caves, Wheeler Peak, Bristlecone Pines, old mines and ancient ruins, and dark sky
programs: a really special park.
Almost a month in Utah in October, the golden leaves and the red rocks, beautiful.
Drove through Zion National Park ( camp was full ), camped and hiked five days
in Bryce National Park. Drove through Red Canyon National Monument and
Kodachrome Basin State Park, then camped near Capital Reef National Park,
at Sleepy Hollow RV Park in Caineville, exploring the area all around Reef.
On the 10th we move to South Cottonwood Rd, near Blanding, Utah
for our first real dispersed camping. Around Blanding there are many ancient ruins
to explore. We went to Mexican Hat, Bluff Fort, Natural Bridges and Hoovenweep
National Monuments and drove the Mogi Dugway. On 15th move to another dispersed
camp near Moab, Utah on Willow Creek Rd. Here we do Canyonland National Park.
October 20th we go to Farmington, NM to Mom&Pops RV Park for five days and visit
the Bolack Museum and the Aztec National Monument. 25th, we move southeast to
Cuba, NM and camp at Clear Creek NF Campground at 8200ft. elevation.
New Mexico - continued
Finding the high elevations to cold, we move down near the Jemez Pueblo at the
Vista Linda NF Campground on Scenic Highway 4, about 50 miles north of
Albuquerque. It was the perfect campsite and the people around this area are the best.
While there we saw Jemez Springs, Jemez Falls, Soda Dam, Battleship Rock, and the
Bandolier National Monument.
On Nov 11 we moved south to Oliver Lee Memorial State Park outside of Alamogordo,
New Mexico. Here we visited Sunspot Solar Observatory, White Sands National
Monument and hiked Dog Canyon.
This is also where we found out about the New Mexico Annual Campground Pass.
For a non-resident, it's $225.00 for 12 months and covers the $10.00 per day camping
fee for any of the 36 state parks. If you choose to use the electric sites, it's a $4.00 per
day additional fee. These are very nice parks with showers and flushing toilets and
they have very good ranger guided programs.
On the 25th we move to Rockhound State Park in Deming, at the foot of the Florida
Mountains. Very good hikes here at Rockhound and at Spring Canyon Recreation Area
a couple miles away. Deming has a 5-star Museum of History and a walking tour of
many original early 19th century buildings in town.
New Mexico - still continued
The next state park we moved to is west to Leasburg Dam in Radium Springs, NM on
Dec. 8. Here Ranger Alex leads a winter solstice program called Turning Back The Sun
with himself and guest speaker Bill, explaining the beliefs of their tribes in relation to
the sun and the stars. It was a very good day and we can't wait to come back next
year for more events at this park. A few other tours we did here was the Chili Pepper
Institute at NMSU and the NM Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces.
And that brings us to our last campground in 2014, Pancho Villa State Park in
Columbus. This is 25 miles south of Deming and 3 miles north of Palermos, Mexico.
El Paso, Texas is only 60 miles to the east. We have visited all these towns while here
and also enjoyed the great food at Irma's Kitchen in Columbus. Pancho Villa visitor
center also houses a very good museum on the history of the attack on this town in
1916 and the park and the town have many remains of the army buildings and
equipment from that time. Our departure from Pancho Villa will be tomorrow
morning on January 2 , heading to Arizona.