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

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After a delightful visit in New York, it's time to head back home. We started out in the afternoon and only went as far as the western edge of the State, and across the border into Ontario, to see Niagara Falls. Jascha enjoyed all the attention as we walked along the parkway by the falls. While attempting to leave the congested area around the Falls, I became hopelessly lost. As it got dark, I pulled over into a little park, and will stay here for the night (unless i get kicked out.) Weather was hot and humid until evening, when a thunderstorm cooled things off nicely. Each of the thumbnails has a link to a bigger version, and also see the additional links below the thumbnails.




More pix of Niagara Falls Park, from the Canadian side:

View of the river and bridge by the American Falls
The rushing Niagara River, just before the Horseshoe Falls drop-off
There were gulls of various kinds all around; this one posed nicely
Some of the hundreds of people enjoying the view and the parkway
Another view of the river just before the falls, with a pink cloud


It took a couple hours this morning just to extricate myself from the Niagara Falls area labyrinth. I stopped and asked directions from four different local people, who sent me in different directions, but still couldn't find the bridge to the USA. Finally I asked a tourist from Sweden how to find the bridge and was given clear, correct information. I'm sure you will all be impressed to find out that I had no trouble finding my way through Cleveland this time. It was a hot day today, with some thunderstorms promised for later tonight. We went about 400 miles to just past the Indiana border. We're camped in Pokagon State Park for the night. I found WiFi in the restaurant at the park inn.


Today we went through Indiana and Illinois, and well into Minnesota, to Rochester. About 570 miles. Jascha and I are in a hotel, while Angel stays in the van. As you know, she doesn't want to be in a strange building. It's been hot and humid all day, and thundershowers have been predicted. (We never got them last night.)


Finished up Minnesota and am almost all the way through S. Dakota, about 550 miles. Early today we had a nice rainstorm. Although the radio stations were crackling with warnings about hail, wind, and tornadoes, all we got was lots of rain. Buckets and barrels. Traffic on I-90 slowed to 30 mph because windshield wipers couldn't keep up the the volume. After the storm, it was a bit cooler, with a little breeze. Stopped in Mitchell for a salad and got to see the "Corn Palace" (whatever that is.) Later on, the badlands were visible at a great distance. Stopped at a shady rest stop for the night. (Unfortunately, no WiFi or cellular signal.)

Mitchell's Corn Palace, and other notable sights:

Front view of the Corn Palace
Side view of the Palace
A closer view of one of the murals, made of corn cobs and husks
Some rock doves-- okay pigeons-- eating the Corn Palace
Two views of some kind of wild rabbit or hare (JackRabbit?): View 1 / View 2
Some kind of robin-sized yellow bird, seen at the same rest area as the rabbit
I didn't take the scenic route through the badlands, but got this distant view


Started out near Rapid City, S. Dakota this morning, so I decided to detour into Keystone to see Mt. Rushmore again. The guys up on the mountain hadn't changed at all since the last time I saw them. :-) From there, we got back on the interstate, went through Wyoming, and into Montana. Total 570 miles. The weather was perfect, not as hot as some previous days, so Jascha could really enjoy taking several walks. We've stopped for the night at a rest area not too far from Bozeman.

 Three views of Mount Rushmore:

Crowds flocking to the park, early in the morning
Me by the "no dogs" sign; (Jascha had to stay in the van)
Just the guys up on the mountain


Finished up Montana today and got to Claresholm, Alberta, about 550 mi. We're in a campground. I guess I was looking pretty dangerous at the border because I was sent into the building for further questioning and then my van was searched. Of course, Angel was frightened to be taken out of her nice comfy van and held in a waiting room, but Jascha was fine with it. The waiting room was nicely air conditioned, and it was 90+ outdoors today. Of course, no contraband was found and we were sent on our way.


A beautiful, cool day, with a nice refreshing rain in the morning. Our longest day yet, at 625 mi. Alberta is such a vast unchanging prairie, it gets tedious, so I was hoping to reach British Columbia, and that's what we did. We're camped for the night just across the BC border at the Swan Lake Provincial Park. Jascha enjoyed a long walk by the lake, and even Angel got to play outside at the campsite.

 Two scenes from the campground:

A reflection on one corner of Swan Lake
Some sort of aquatic flower covered one area near shore


British Columbia, in sharp contrast to Alberta, is a place of stunning, ever-changing scenery, much like Alaska. This is also where I've seen the most wildlife. Today there were Stone Sheep, caribou, moose, buffalo, and a fox. With all the twisty mountain roads we couldn't get as far as yesterday, but went a bit over 500 miles. Weather was cool and mostly overcast, very pleasant. We've stopped for the night at Laird Hot Springs Provincial Park.

Photos from 7/23 in British Columbia:

Early this morning we were back on the Alaska Highway, in Dawson Creek, BC
A scene with several of the Northern Rocky Mountains and a valley
A Stone Sheep ewe with her little lamb
The Stone Sheep ram was nearby
Muncho Lake late in the day


It started out cool this morning, and as we went further and further north, the temperature dropped lower. Tonight it is downright cold. There was some rain during the day but it's nice and dry now. Today we crossed the continental divide and moved into the Yukon (which is every bit as beautiful as BC.) Passing through Whitehorse, I didn't hear any suspicious noises from the van (wheeew!) so I just gassed up and got a salad, then hit the road again. We went 540 miles today, and are about 200 miles from the Alaskan border.


Cool temperatures and rain continued most of the day. During breaks in the fog and rain, I could see small impressions of the magnificent vistas, and then the weather would close in again. This is the worst stretch of roadway on the AK Hwy, with potholes, frost heaves, pavement breaks, etc. so slower speeds are advisable. We crossed the border without incident; the customs agent even gave the dog a treat. Stopped for WiFi in Tok, and went on in to Glennallen to visit Shana and Kurt. We went out for a meal and had a nice visit before I pushed on toward Anchorage. I've stopped for the night in a pulloff not very far from Glennallen. 430 miles for the day. Almost home...

 Pix from the Yukon today:

It was great to see this beautiful light colored Grizzly Bear early this morning
The low cloud ceiling hangs over this floral scene with Kluane River
A huge "garden" of Marsh Fleabane covered this small pond and stream
A closer view of the flowers


WE'RE BACK!! It was a terrific trip! I've put about 10,000 miles on the odometer. :-) Today was foggy, raining, gray... not so nice for photography, but good travelling conditions. By early afternoon we were back home and all the kitties reunited. Everyone seemed glad to see Angel and Jascha again. And I've had a little pack of cats following me around since our arrival. From what I hear, it's been cold and rainy most of the summer, so I picked a good year to leave town.

 On to June's hiking accounts  

  On to July's hiking accounts