Heading for Alaska; just for the adventure!

North America » United States » Alaska September 22nd 2009

I like statistics, so let's start with these: Number of days traveling: 28 Number of days that I had the top down on the Miata: 28 (even the three mostly-rainy days on my trip had periods when I was able to put the top down) Miles driven: 6260 (10,075 kilometers) Total trip miles including ferry travel: 6740 (10,847 kilometers) Total hours driving: about 145 (based on average speed of 45 MPH) Amount of gas used on trip: about 250 gallons (946 liters) Number of times I stopped for gas: about 45 (metric units = 45) Number of times I stopped at a rest area (or peed in the bushes): probably 100+ Number of cell phones lost at a rest area: 1 Number of Lipton Diet Green Tea bottles consumed: 60 Coldest temperature on trip: 4 below ... read more

North America » United States » Washington September 21st 2009

Today is the day; one more day of driving and we'll be home, and the weather is perfect (mid-70's to mid-80's in the afternoon and sunny all day). Left Ellensburg and immediately headed for my first detour through the Yakima Canyon, a beautiful winding road that's a great alternative to the freeway for heading down towards the city of Yakima. Stopped in Goldendale, WA and visited one of the wind farms that are popping up everywhere in this region. In the past few years they've added hundreds of these units in the Columbia River Gorge. While wind energy is a great resource, the wind farms have been creating a considerable challenge for the Bonneville Power Administration in a couple of ways. First, BPA needs to run power lines to these new sites from their existing power ... read more
familiar site (Mt. Hood)
and Mt. Adams
and it's a perfectly clear day for viewing!

North America » United States » Washington September 20th 2009

The morning clouds disappeared quickly and the rest of the day was perfectly sunny with temps in the mid 70’s; another great Miata day! (hit 6000 miles on the Miata today!) I crossed the border back into Washington around noon with no problems. In six border crossings on this trip I’ve observed that there is not a standard set of questions that they ask; they always seem to be “winging it”. Sometimes they ask if I’m carrying any alcohol, tobacco or firearms (but he didn’t ask today). Today’s questioning from the customs agent went something like this: Agent: Where do you live? (Ridgefield, WA) Agent: Where have you been traveling? (Canada and Alaska) Agent: You drove “this” to Alaska and back? (yes) Agent: And drove on their roads? (yes) Agent: How long have you been traveling? ... read more
using old tires to fence cattle
my last lunch in Canada
crossing the border one more time

North America » Canada » British Columbia September 19th 2009

Even though today was primarily a travel day (360 miles) I still managed to make several scenic stops and even had a couple of mini-adventures. It was raining when I left Quesnel (Miata top up) but it quit after about an hour (Miata top down for the rest of the day). It was mostly sunny all day with high temps in the mid-70’s; perfect convertible weather! I even had to change into my shorts this afternoon; something I haven’t done in about three weeks. When I reached Prince George yesterday, I turned south on Highway 97 to Quesnel and I continued south on 97 out of Quesnel this morning. This is the same highway that becomes U.S. 97 and travels through central Washington and Oregon and down into California. Just as in Washington and Oregon, Highway ... read more
near the Fraser River Canyon
you've been parked here HOW long?
it's getting warmer and drier

North America » Canada » British Columbia September 18th 2009

First of all, I'd like to thank those of you who have left comments on this blog or sent me emails. Your comments have provided a great personal connection for me and the feeling that my experience is being shared and enjoyed by others. I've averaged 25-30 "views" per day of my blog, so I'm delighted to be able to share this with all of you! There are features on this TravelBlog web site that I haven't even discovered yet, but I did just learn where to go to see all of the comments that have been posted. If you "cut-and-paste" the following address into your browser, you should be able to see all of the comments for my blog: http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/soytnly/Comments/page-1.html The comments make more sense if they're read from bottom-to-top. As I was driving today, ... read more
OK, so I was getting tired of peanut butter and crackers for lunch!
signs of civilization
brownies taste better by a beautiful lake!

North America » Canada » British Columbia » Smithers September 17th 2009

Today was primarily a travel day (375 miles) and I didn't take many photos or have any significant "adventures". The weather was cloudy all day but I did have some sun breaks periodically and was able to keep the top down on the Miata for most of the day (except for an hour of showers in the afternoon). Before leaving Dease Lake I had breakfast at the same restaurant where I had dinner last night. For dinner last night I listened to "Chicago's Greatest Hits" on the restaurant sound system and for breakfast this morning I listened to "Chicago's Greatest Hits". The restaurant has an interesting option for breakfast; you can pay your regular tab OR you have the option of flipping a coin and paying double or nothing (pay double if you lose the toss ... read more
along the Cassiar Highway
some local flavor
Bullwinkle, I hope that's not you!

North America » Canada » British Columbia September 16th 2009

CORRECTION TO YESTERDAY’S BLOG: I received a kind comment on the blog from a person who clearly knows his “fauna” better than I. The comment informs me that the five “moose” I described (and took a photo of) are actually “elk”. I have every reason to believe that he’s right because, when it comes to members of the “venison” family (and many other families), I don’t know what I’m talking about. Thank you for the clarification! It rained last night but had stopped by morning, so I hit the road with the top down (as usual). It was cool and cloudy all day so the top stayed down, but late in the afternoon things got interesting (more later). Before leaving Watson Lake I had to visit their Sign Post Forest. According to the official record: “The ... read more
more of the forest
LOTS of signs were stolen and ended up here
"bailed out"?

North America » Canada » Yukon » Watson Lake September 15th 2009

Journal date: September 15, 2009 (5:00 am). Awake after fitful night sleeping in primitive shelter. Need to move on and try to find food and drink on the trail ahead. It’s 4 below zero this morning (Celsius). Winter is coming on fast; need to keep moving further south. Still dark; need to navigate by the moon and stars. Constantly looking for signs of wildlife that might jump out of the darkness and harm me or my trusty steed. It’s treacherous in the Yukon Territory and a man can’t be too careful. UPDATE: Well, the sun finally came up, the Miata heater is working fine and I found a restaurant along the trail for breakfast. Everything is fine now. The weather today started out “dark”, followed by totally sunny (all morning) then partly cloudy, then mostly cloudy, ... read more
fresh snowfall in the mountains
can you find the five moose?
The Klondike ship in Whitehorse

North America » Canada » Yukon September 14th 2009

Today was my last day in Alaska and I think that the state was giving me a friendly warning this morning that it was time to leave. The temperature (according to my trusty digital thermometer in the Miata) was 35 degrees Fahrenheit (or, for you Canadians, that's 1.7 degrees Celsius!). Cold! However, the sun was shining and the skies were blue and I immediately put the top down on the Miata, bundled up and hit the road. It was nothing but blue skies and sun for the entire day (and it warmed up to 60 F). Everywhere I go, people are telling me how exceptionally nice the weather has been this September (and today may have been the best weather day of the entire trip!). Before leaving Delta Junction I drove three miles in the wrong ... read more
the Alaska pipeline river crossing
under the bridge
the end of the Alaska Highway

North America » United States » Alaska » Delta Junction September 13th 2009

I left Palmer this morning in a drizzly fog. For the first hour of driving I was tired and bored and all I could think about was the fact that I still had 3000 more miles of driving before I reached home. It was starting to feel a bit overwhelming. But then the fog lifted, it stopped raining, the sun came out, I put the top down on the Miata, the scenery was fantastic and all was right with the world! The rest of the day’s drive was excellent with partly to mostly sunny skies and only a few scattered showers late in the afternoon. I stopped to visit Matanuska Glacier mid-morning. I was able to get the car within about ¼ mile of the glacier and walked the rest of the way. Unlike Exit Glacier ... read more
Matanuska Glacier from a distance
one-lane bridge to glacier
the road to the glacier

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