Page 2 of Tellico Travel Blog Posts

North America » United States » Alaska » Skagway July 7th 2018

Tom and I discussed when to take the long trip to Canada and Alaska and when to take another long trip to Asia. Some of our considerations had to do with our 2004 truck and camper – if we left it too long, they’d be unreliable for a wilderness trip. So, knowing that we would want to go to Alaska again, we sold the truck and camper, deciding to wait a few years before buying another camper. We planned a journey to Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, but then started to look at Miss Maggie (her official name is Magnificent Magnolias, believe it or not). She’s 10 and – Tom’s concern – might not be able to jump up into a camper for many more years. Bingo – Alaska and a new camper. For ... read more
Maggie's Road House
Resource Contention
Maggie Loves Children!

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Fort Nelson June 28th 2018

(PLEASE NOTE: We're not really in Fort Nelson, but it's the nearest town.) We arrived in Dawson Creek, the town at Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway on 22 June. I don’t know how much y’all know about the highway, but it’s an interesting place and interesting concept. MUCH OF THE INFO BELOW CAME FROM WIKIPEDIA: In the early 1900s, the US government tried to convince the Canadian government to build a road that would connect the lower 48 with Alaska. Canada wasn’t interested in building a road for the US. In the 1930s, with Japan on the rise, the US asked again, but Canada worried that allowing the highway would prevent them from maintaining neutrality in their relationship with Japan. However, the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor changed priorities, and in February 1942, construction ... read more
Midsummer's Eve
Midsummer's Eve
Wildfire Impacts

North America » Canada » Alberta » Edmonton June 19th 2018

OK, kids – go get a map of Canada. When we completed our drive along the north shore of Lake Superior and left Thunder Bay in western Ontario, we traveled west (mostly) on the Trans-Canada Highway, leaving the eastern and relatively populated region and headed into the prairies. Canada is the second largest country in the world, a little larger than the US, even including Alaska, though much smaller than Russia. However, there are few people living in “the frozen north” (Nunavit and the NW Territory) and even in the southern provinces, the population is spread very thin. I did my Google homework: Manitoba has 250,116 square miles with 1.272 million people. That’s 6 people per square mile. Tennessee has 42,143 square miles and 6.716 million people or 153 people per square mile. I’d always thought ... read more
Ontario Forest
Grain Elevator

North America » Canada » Ontario » Thunder Bay June 12th 2018

Leaving Tennessee, we spent several days in Elkhart, Indiana, getting the Cruiser all ready for our long trip. We had the oil changed, had it washed and waxed, and had it weighed (an interesting process that gave us the separate weight of all four corners of the camper. After the calculations were complete, we learned that we’re about 1000 pounds under the maximum weight for our E450’s axles and that we have things pretty well balanced. While we were at Phoenix Cruiser, Tom and Doug, one of the craftsmen, took the Cruiser for a drive, looking for one of those mystery rattles you always have. Doug noticed a vibration in the drive shaft at about 40 miles per hour and told Dave Ponsler (Production Manager, I think) that the driveshaft needed to be re-balanced. Dave sent ... read more
Our Hero
Maggie on the Road
Sault Ste Marie

North America » United States » Tennessee » Knoxville May 24th 2018

Right now, we have so many plans that our plans have plans. We have packing lists, checklists, and to do lists. (And you already know that we’re pathologically organized.) But having a plan – or plans – when you’re going away for five months is critical. So – how do you go about planning a trip like this – and why? Here are some considerations. · The basics. What do you really want to see or do? Question 1: what do you want to do? Question 2: where will you do it? Question 3: when? And Question 4: what do you need to do to make it happen? For example, the salmon spawning (i.e. fishing) season is short and changes with the type of salmon, the tide, the moon, and the year. If you want to ... read more
Compact Living
Maggie's House
Alternate Transportation

Tom and I are now about 70 years old, and this summer are heading north for our second trip to Canada, Alaska, and the western “lower 48”. We’ve recently traded our trusty 2004 Lance truck camper and Dodge truck for a 28 foot Phoenix Cruiser motorhome, so prep work this time involves getting a new recreational vehicle (RV) set up and equipped. Tom does the techy stuff; I do the kitchen, bath and décor stuff. Maggie is purely decorative. It’s worked pretty well so far. Current plans call for us to drive to Canada through Michigan and travel west on the Trans-Canada Highway. We’ll be able to explore the northern coast of Lake Superior and visit Manitoba and Saskatchewan, which we haven’t visited yet, as well as Alberta. We’ll catch the Alaska Highway at its Dawson ... read more

Asia » Hong Kong » Kowloon April 18th 2017

After enduring/enjoying the coldest weather yet, we have finally found cherry blossoms: on Sado Island, almost the last stop on our journey. We first visited Nyuto Onsen, staying at Tsurunoya Onsen, a tiny, old collection of rustic buildings that reminded me of Camp Nakanawa, the place used for the Tennessee Scenic River Association’s Whitewater Rendezvous. One big difference was that the place has sulfur water hot springs and baths for everyone. Tom and I enjoyed a “private” bath, which has a tub plenty big enough for two people, but we could have used the outdoor baths, either for women and men separately or for both together. We decided that we’d visit the mixed-sex bath only after dark, but by the time it got dark, it was so cold that we weren’t going anywhere outdoors! We escaped ... read more
Tom in Search of Cherry Blossoms
Watch your head!
Checking Early Morning Emails

Asia » Japan » Akita » Yokote April 14th 2017

As we planned our trip, we worked with Inside Japan Tours ( on an itinerary that would follow the blooming of Japan’s famous cherry trees. We started in Tokyo and didn’t move to the very northern areas until early April. While in Japan, we read studies documenting the effects of global warming on the bloom: it’s occurring earlier each year. NOT THIS YEAR. This spring, storms and unseasonably cool temperatures followed us throughout our trip. We’ve been consistently 5-7 days ahead of the blossoms. “Oh, we are so sorry. They bloom next week …” However, this itinerary also sent us through some of the most beautiful parts of northern Japan, even though we saw more snow than flowers. We caught a few bravely flowering trees in Kyoto and Kanazawa, but most of the time, we saw ... read more
Yep -- it's over my head
Thatched roof in Shirakawa-go
Our Ryokan in Takayama

Asia » Japan » Fukushima April 13th 2017

Hotel lodging pros and cons: · They sometimes have coin laundries with washers and dryers. On the other hand, if they don’t and all your clothes are dirty, it might cost you $50-75 to get your laundry done. (And that’s if you only have things washed and folded, not pressed and no dry cleaning.) Anyone who travels with clothes that must be dry cleaned is nuts anyway. · They offer buffet breakfasts, where you can get just fruit and toast if you want. And their coffee is usually better. On the other hand, Japanese breakfasts are amazing! · Gives you the chance to go out and find your own food at local restaurants. On the other hand, Japanese dinners, often served in your tatami mat room, are amazing. About the ryokans: · In the US, some ... read more
Decorative Alcove in our Room
Ryokan Room and Alcove
Hiding the Bedding

Asia » Japan » Gifu » Takayama April 3rd 2017

We left Tokyo on the Shinkanzen (high-speed train), heading to the west coast over the mountains that extend the length of Honshu, the main island. Within 60 minutes of Tokyo, we were in the “Alps” and passing ski resorts, still in business. The west coast of Japan gets “lake effect” snow from the Sea of Japan and cold winds that blow from Korea. Before we started our trip, we’d sent a package of cool-weather clothes to our Tokyo hotel via DHL. (Another long story …) Kanazawa was our first western city, and it quickly became clear that cool-weather clothes were not going to do it. I bought a Chinese jacket with a bright plush lining, and Tom, after buying a vest in Tokyo, gave up and bought a Mont-Bell 800 pound fill jacket (with hood!) at ... read more
Bedroom at our Ryokan
Where the bed goes
Ryokan Breakfast

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