A Fat Old Lady Takes a Road Trip
Alaska to New York and back
June-July 2008

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 On to Road Trip 3


It's CANADA DAY! I don't know what that is exactly, but it's terrific fun. Just like 4th of July in the USA, with parades, barbecues, and activities in the town park. We caught the parade as it came up 2nd Avenue and turned into Shipyard Park. The wonderful bagpipers were the highlight for me; the single pony at the end was most thrilling for Jascha. It was all a joy to watch, participants and spectators. Everyone was having such a good time. Wind, rain, and clouds couldn't dampen the high spirits.






The Canada Day Parade in Whitehorse, Yukon:

Anticipation in the street-- I can see them!
The bagpipers are at the lead -/- the master -/- a youthful piper
Flag Bearers -/- Royal Canadian Police
Old cars on parade -/- Young women in tiaras
A VW distributed flags -/- Leading to exuberance -/- Flags a-flappin' everywhere
Clowns ran through the crowd with candy
Here comes the horse! -/- This is my best side
People watching from the hillside -/- We were in the street



I thought that Canada Day was going to be my last whole day here in Whitehorse, and it seemed a lovely way to say goodbye. No such luck. Dodge in Red Deer, Alberta sent the WRONG PART. Tomorrow will be the soonest they can get the RIGHT PART here. And that's only if someone in Red Deer actually makes an effort to LOOK at the numbers to see if it's right. Your guess is as good as mine if there's someone, anyone, capable of doing that. I've been stranded in Whitehorse a week now, and it will still be another day or two before I can make my escape. Starting to lose patience... . Not that it does any good.

It's hot today, the first clear, dry, windless day since we arrived. I keep Jascha with me and find shade for him whenever I can, but poor sweet Angel is stuck in the van. Windows are open and it's shaded for part of the day.

Got nothin' better to do than take pictures...

Yukon has the same Arctic Ground Squirrels as Alaska
Here's my cute pose -/- What big teeth I have

I think Southeast Alaska has chipmunks, but I've never seen one as far north as Anchorage
Cute little fella -/- Ready for my closeup

Part of the Canadian Tire building and area


You'll never believe this. The correct part was put on a plane--supposedly the correct part, but I can't say for sure yet-- it never arrived. It's lost. Waylaid somewhere. No idea when, or if, it will arrive. I could have had someone bring the part down from Anchorage, put it in, and been on my way days ago. At this point, I don't know what to do. If it takes much longer, I'll have to just turn back. I certainly don't want to risk any further problems while in Canada. And Canada is a huge country. It's a long, long way before I can reach American roads ...

A couple more birds from the Yukon River Trail

A little Spotted Sandpiper
and a Savannah Sparrow


I hope you all have a great get-together! Wish I could be there.


FREE AT LAST! The missing part was found and installed. Everything seems to be working fine, and I've decided to try to continue on with my road trip. I'm in Watson Lake at the moment, for a shower (1st real shower in 9 days!), laundry, and WiFi. I'll be pushing on in a bit. Weather's cool, windy, cloudy, variable... good traveling conditions. In this area of the Alaska Highway, the road crosses the British Columbia - Yukon border several times, back and forth. I've also crossed over the continental divide. I don't know the elevation here, but it must be pretty high because the campground I'm sitting in for the moment is covered with little tundra flowers.

Just a few scenes from today: 

Stopped briefly at one of the Teslin Lake pulloffs
An interesting looking mountain along the way
This is along the Continental Divide area
Little TwinFlowers, in Watson Lake, BC


I'd have to call today perfect traveling weather. It rained all day, sometimes light, sometimes a downpour. Nothing better to do than sit in a nice comfy van and mosey on down the road. Even Jascha didn't want to go out. We got about 400 miles, to Fort St. John, BC, not far from Dawson Creek, mile 0 of the Alaska Highway. We saw bear, buffalo, deer, free range horses, a red fox with an arctic ground squirrel in its mouth, and lots of rodents and birds, in spite of the inclement conditions. Some of the animals looked pretty miserable though. Tonight I'm in a motel, mainly for the WiFi. It allows dogs, and the kitty is happier in the van.

Soggy scenery and animals from British Columbia:

One very damp and very buggy black bear
The buffalo didn't look very happy either
The whole area would have been beautiful, I think, if I could have seen anything
Muncho Lake is usually a stunning aqua-blue color; today it's gray
This tiny brown-gray bird was a delightful singer
A pink lousewort in Stone Mountain Park
Yellow Dryas flowers in the Park
Stone Mountain, in a fog

July 7 & 8

About 400 mi. from Ft. St. John, BC to Drayton Valley, Alberta on Monday, and it will be another 400+ today. So far I've gotten to Fort McLoed and asked permission to use a motel's WiFi. Sunny and windy most of the time, not too hot. Roads were good and van is running fine. Crossed another time zone yesterday so I keep losing hours. I'll gain 'em back heading the other way later on. The prairie stretches out forever, much of it planted with mustard. Lots of cattle and horses to keep Jascha entertained. Some llamas too. I'm trying to drop straight south, into the US as quickly as possible. Gas is much more expensive in Canada. I should be near the border later tonight. I stayed at a Walmart last night; haven't stopped for the night yet today (7/8).

Alberta prairie scenes:

Prairie, with yellow flowers, near ValleyView
The flowers, closeup-- need ID
Sunset seen from the Drayton Valley Walmart parking lot
Skippers-- a type of small butterfly-- mating, near Red Deer, Alberta
Sunset the next evening, in Milk River, Alberta

 July 9 & 10

Crossed the border Wednesday morning into Montana, and drove 500 miles, almost all the way through that big state. Northern part was just like Alberta, but some more interesting features start cropping up around Helena. It was hot all day, reaching about 90ºF, but that's not a problem until we stop and get out. Cooled down nicely after the sun when down. I'm not used to losing the sun so early, as I drop further south. Thursday was another scorcher as I drove through Wyoming. It was a 3 state day, starting out in Montana, through Wyoming, and I'm camping tonight in Kadoka, S. Dakota. A little over 400. Jascha and Angel are coping well with the heat, drinking a lot and staying still and calm.

Wednesday, Montana Scenes:

Some mountains not far from Helena
The Missouri River w/ Rocky Mts. in the distance
A baby magpie posed while parents scolded nearby
A butterfly in some willows, near Billings

 Thursday, Wyoming Scenes:

Flat land and big sky
There were a lot of pink hills and rocks
Mixture of farmland and pink mesas
This distant bird yelled at me until I finally took its picture

July 11 & 12

Friday was a another hot one-- 96 was the temperature in Sioux City-- with hazy humidity and high winds. Can't spend much time going for walks with Jascha, so we drove over 500 miles, to the east side of Minnesota. In the evening, the radio started warning of severe thunder storms, so I pulled over in a rest area and watched clouds gather, as fireflies danced around us. The cat and dog played by the van and enjoyed the cooling conditions. The storm came in late, with heavy rain and the sky flashing, but the thunder stayed distant. Jascha and Angel watched the rain and lightning with no sign of concern. Saturday was considerably cooler, although still hot and muggy by our standards. Jascha was much more eager to get out the go for long walks whenever we found a nice rest area. The main goal for the day was getting around Chicago. It's always so congested and confusing. I dropped down to I-80 to be further away from the worst of it. Well, I'm past that bugaboo now, into Indiana, not far from South Bend.

A hot hazy day, overlooking the Missouri River, in South Dakota
A swallowtail butterfly, hanging on to some grass, in high wind


Looks like tomorrow will be the day. It seemed like I was so close, but I drove 500 miles today and didn't have another mile left in me. I got lost briefly in the Cleveland area, but I don't think that slowed me down much. Just too far away... I've stopped near Buffalo and found a hotel room for the night. Jascha is happy for the air conditioning. There's going to be a gathering tomorrow at one of my sisters' homes near Oswego, NY, and I'm hoping to join everyone sometime in the afternoon.


WE MADE IT!! I joined the gathering group around 1:30PM; not everyone had arrived yet. Everyone looked great, especially my Dad, who at 97 is healthy and active, looking much younger than his years. We had a nice potluck picnic at Betsy's home in SandyCreek. Kids (of all ages--including myself) rode on a long, scary zipline, a large Maypole ride, and a peddle boat which they have in their large wooded estate.


The plan was to get the oil changed and van checked over before the trip back. So Betsy suggested putting Angel in one of her many beautiful bedroom suites, so she wouldn't have to endure the heat in the van and noises in the garage. Angel, however, was not as impressed with the lovely accommodations. After taking the van to be serviced, we discovered that Angel had pushed out a screen and disappeared onto Betsy's 45 acre property (or places unknown). We hunted for hours to no avail. Several extended family members went to a scenic falls for a picnic, and although we had a good time, concern about the kitty cast a bit of a pall. We hoped that she would come back to the van, once it was back from the shop, but no luck. By supper time, only Betsy and I were left, so we went out for a meal, leaving the van doors open. Upon our return, we were disappointed to see she had not returned to the van. I continued to call her name, but was beginning to lose hope. Then Betsy announced, "There she is!" Angel was casually sauntering toward me as if everything was perfectly normal. She was very dirty, but otherwise none the worse for the experience.

Photos from NewYork (mostly family):

A monarch butterfly in the Rochester area
This handsome man is my 97-yr-old father, Ernie
All the immediate family members who were able to come
(L to R Joyce, Dad, me, Jim [in back], Betsy, and Ken)
Betsy and her granddaughter, Lauren
Dad working on a waterwheel that he built several years ago
Christopher and Lauren, 2 of Ernie's great-grandchildren, trying to help with the wheel
Dad lying on the floor to be closer to Jascha
A view from the picnic area trail on Tuesday


The trip back north...