Tom and I are a retired couple who live in Tennessee USA and love to travel, especially in Asia. Since 2008, we've spent chunks of time in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam (this is our third trip), Laos, China (twice) , India, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and Japan (this is our second trip). We're in our late 60s and travel on our own, carrying 25-30 pound backpacks rather than suitcases, plus small daypacks. We like to stay most of the time in small 2-star hotels, guesthouses, monasteries, etc., punctuated by short (2-3 night) stays in 4-5 star hotels to clean up and decompress. Our goals on these trips are to meet people, make friends, and LEARN. We don't spend much time at tourist sites, we travel on trains and buses, and we eat local food as much as possible. We do a lot of wandering around and rely on our iPhone translation, GPS, and map programs to get us into and out of trouble.

This year (2018), Tom, Maggie, and I are heading north for an extended trip through Canada and Alaska. We'll leave at the end of May and hope to be home by Halloween.

North America » United States » Indiana September 14th 2018

This is probably my last post for this trip, as we're heading to Knoxville, trying to beat Florence. We've had a wonderful time, even though we had to cut some major chunks out of our trip. We had plans to tent-camp from Whitehorse to Tuktoyaktuk (check Google), about 500 miles each way. After looking at the weather forecasts, we decided that driving 100 miles on mud and gravel and tent camping in 20-40 degree temps and rain would not be fun. Then, wildfires and smoke helped us decide that driving through British Columbia to the coasts of Washington and Oregon was probably not a good idea. I've included a picture of my planning and cancellation pages -- it got pretty complex. We hope to be home in the next few days!... read more
Changing Plans

North America » United States » Indiana » Elkhart September 11th 2018

Since we’re now on the final leg of our trip, I can muse on the road part of this road trip. At one point, Tom said, “This would be a great trip except for the roads.” Sometimes they were good, sometimes terrible, sometimes they didn’t exist at all. Sometimes drivers were good, sometimes terrible, and – sometimes – we were all alone, which was lovely. We had plenty of time to talk as we drove, and grouped the challenges of this road trip into groups: · Road conditions: once you get off the US interstate highways, you’re on two-lane roads. The trans-Canada highway is not a limited access highway. Chip-and-tar surfaces are common, as is a type of dirt and gravel that dries into concrete in your wheelwells. Road construction is crammed into the few warm ... read more
The Highway
Typical Campsite
Typical Lodging

Tom and I are driving home through the prairie states of Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. We drove west through Canada’s prairie provinces: Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. I told him today that though I love some of the things about the eastern US (I lived in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Tennessee), I’m a child of the prairies, having lived in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, and love to be where I can look across the wide spaces, see the whole sky, and breathe with the help of the constant wind. Middle America is not just “flyover” country to me. We’ve spent the last couple of days at Custer State Park in South Dakota. If you’ve never been there, it’s time to go. Tourist attractions range from watching real cowboys round up real buffalo (bison ... read more
Tatanka at Rest
On the move
Herding Buffalo

North America » United States » Montana » Lewistown September 1st 2018

We left Denali and drove north to Fairbanks, hoping for clear skies so we could see the northern lights. Not – clouds and rain again. I doubt we’ll do this long drive again, but given enough time and resources, I’d like to fly up here in the winter, as Fairbanks is one of the best places to see the aurora borealis. I have a very short bucket list, but seeing them is on it. About Fairbanks: we talked to a waitress who said, “It’s not the 40 below temps; it’s the darkness. We only get 3-4 hours of light each day.” Fairbanks was as far north as we got on this trip, after we eliminated the Dempster Highway from our plan. (Oh, by the way, we checked the weather during the two weeks we were going ... read more
Montana-Big Sky
Northern Montana Landscape
Lots of Hay!

After fishing our fingers off, we headed north again through Anchorage and up the Parks Highway toward Denali National Park and the mountain that was called “Mount McKinley” for over a hundred years. In 2015, the US government changed the formal name back to the original name, Denali, meaning “the great one”. And it is great – the summit of Denali is not only the highest point in North America, over 20,000 feet, but the mountain itself is taller than Mt. Everest, which sits on a base of other mountains. We stopped overnight in the town of Talkeetna, a kitschy little place overrun by tourists. Cruise ship passengers arrive by the busload to ride the Alaska Railroad and try to catch a glimpse of Denali. It’s a tourist train in the summer, but throughout the year, ... read more
One of hundreds of glaciers

North America » United States » Alaska » Kenai August 17th 2018

It’s August 13, and we’re “boondocking” at Denali National Park. Outside, the wind has dropped to a breeze from the 70+ mph gusts we had yesterday, but it’s in the mid-fifties and it’s COLD out there. “Boondocking” means that we’re camping without “conveniences” – we’re not linked to water, electricity, or sewer – but modern times are with us. We can carry 45 gallons of fresh water and have two waste tanks: a gray tank for kitchen, sink and shower water, and a black tank for toilet waste. We have a generator (fueled by the truck’s gas tank) and two solar panels for electricity. A propane furnace heats us fast, the refrigerator and stovetop run on propane, and, if we run the generator, I can even bake in the convection oven. We have no cell phone ... read more
King for a Day Campground
The Beautiful Klutina River
King Salmon

North America » United States » Alaska » Homer August 5th 2018

We're in Homer, Alaska, one of my favorite places in the world. You drive down to the end of the Kenai Peninsula, down to the end of the spit, and are surrounded by water and snow covered mountains, THREE of which are active volcanoes. Everywhere you look are water, rock, and snow. After days and days of cold drizzle, we had beautiful weather for a flight in a float plane from Homer to Katmai National Park. Our flight took us to Brooks Falls, where we spent four hours walking along trails where grizzly (brown) bears live. There are no fences and few protections for people, but the park has never had a serious incident. There are walkways, a bridge and two viewing platforms, so that you can be close to the bears. As the ranger told ... read more
Float Plane
Salmon Waiting
Salmon at the Falls

North America » United States » Alaska » Copper Center July 25th 2018

As we’ve been traveling in Alaska, we’ve learned that this place is full of natural wonders. I could post fifty pictures and you’d all be going “Yeah, yeah …” by the end, but that’s because we drive or float or fly and see the most beautiful views, and then turn and see a view that’s even better. This is a place of fire (volcanoes), ice (glaciers), rock (the mountains) and water (the beautiful rivers. You could travel for a lifetime and not see more than a fraction of the land’s desolate beauty. We went fishing for king salmon on the Klutina River last week, driving almost three hours on a rutted dirt road to a cloudy aqua-colored river. It’s a deceptively simple whitewater trip with waves and holes that would be class 2-3 in the southeast ... read more
Mud Volcano
Minor Summit

North America » United States » Alaska » Copper Center July 24th 2018

Last week, I turned xx (not 70 yet), and Tom arranged for us to take a fishing charter on the Klutina River. Unknown to us, this was a 12-hour, 20-mile float and fish trip on a beautiful blue river on a day with temps in the low 70s and blue skies. (We’ve had quite a bit of rain lately.) We’re camping at “King for a Day” Campground near Glennallen AK. It’s a fishing campground, with spaces for tents, trailers and RVs. We had asked for site # 31, the same riverside place we were lucky enough to get in 2007, and learned that it’s kinda site #31.5 now, as they had high water this spring. I wouldn’t trust little kids in this spot! King also runs fishing charters, and Tom says they’re the best he has ... read more
Klutina River Put-in
Beautiful Whitewater
Melting Permafrost

North America » United States » Alaska » Copper Center July 17th 2018

Do you remember that very old joke that puts the word “henway” into a sentence and then lets the victim ask, “What’s a henway?” The answer: a hen weighs about two and a half pounds. Sorry … Please go to your atlas again and look at southeastern Alaska. This area, including the panhandle, is made up of as much water as land. (Did you know that you can’t drive to Juneau, the state capital?) Everything from groceries (once a week barge from Seattle) to people move on the on the water. If your atlas shows you the roads, you’ll see that most of Alaska’s roads are in the southeastern quarter, but the towns on the coast are relatively isolated, due to the long fjords that pierce the mainland. We traveled from Skagway to Haines by ferry, ... read more
The Eagle Preserve on the Chilkat River
Bald Eagles on the Chilkat River
Skagway from the White Pass and Yukon Railway

Tot: 0.161s; Tpl: 0.007s; cc: 11; qc: 91; dbt: 0.0884s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.3mb