“From Sea To Shining Sea”! There’s a reason this line of the song is so true. We just loved so many things about the Oregon coast. So many breathtaking vistas and hikes. And so many… More
We hadn’t even made it to the infamous west coast of Washington but found the scenery and towns in Washington to be everything everyone had built them up to be and more. After leaving Idaho we were making a fast ride over the mountains of Washington to get to the coast as fast as we could.
But we slowed down in the little town of Winthrop. Winthrop is this little town that would have never been somewhere we or anyone else would choose to visit, especially after most of it’s industry died off. But through the vision of one man they transformed the town into a “build it and they will come” destination… a modern day cowboy town… sort of anyway.
Our stay included spending two nights at the Pine Near RV park… no not Pioneer RV park… Pine Near. The owner told his 3-year old that the was going to be Pioneer to go with the cowboy old west theme. But to a 3-year-old Pioneer sounded like Pine Near. With a smile and a visible confession of love the park became Pine Near. Pretty cool huh? You’d think an owner like that would be nice wouldn’t you. You’d be right. We got the last full hookup site, which was nice since the temps were pretty hot. We used their laundry facility to wash our sheets and bedding and we explored the little town a few times.
We guess the town kind of lives up to it’s design. We found several really great outdoor shops, a really cool glass-blowing shop, ice cream and an old general store that was cool. All in all a great place to stop and rest and prepare for the final drive over the mountains to the coast.
But the drive over the mountains of Sherman’s Pass and the Northern Cascades… well, let’s just say it was hard to keep your eyes on the road. BEAUTIFUL!!!! As Lynn always says, there’s beauty everywhere and we feel so lucky that we get to experience it and share it with you.
You can watch this stop and the drive to and from there in our video:
We finally made it through Canada and crossed over into the lower 48 with good intentions on turning left towards our NC home. But instead, we turned right…
That’s right… we turned RIGHT! Instead of heading back to NC we decided we were just too close to the west coast to miss out on seeing for ourselves just how beautiful the coast of Washington and Oregon really are. But first, we had to drive though and check out the beautiful state of Idaho. Who knew Idaho was so beautiful? We did not know Idaho was such a beautiful outdoor paradise but man this was one pristine and beautiful part of our country. So for those of you not wanting our Alaska journey to end, guess what??? It will not. There will be another month of traveling to the most beautiful places and we’ll do our best to show you just how each of these epic places made us feel.
To see how beautiful this Idaho paradise was just watch the video:
Have you noticed the huge crowds at national parks in the US and Canada? Have you noticed the absurd number of tour buses? We have. We purposely planned our trip back through Canada from Alaska to arrive at Jasper and Banff after Labor Day, thinking the crowds would be smaller and we could better enjoy the parks.
Was that the case? NOPE! As we arrived at Jasper we had no problem finding a parking place in town and had some hope that the crowds would be smaller. But when we went to Maligne Canyon we realized that were completely wrong. Crowds! Crowds! Crowds! Owen felt much like the Grinch and his yelling of “Noise, noise, noise…”.
But that was not the worst of it. We then headed out to Athabasca Falls, hoping to beat the crowds by arriving at 8:00am. When we parked there were very few cars in the parking lot an only 3 buses and 1 tour van. But by the time we made it to the first vista the tour buses started arriving… and kept arriving. To the point that it was impossible to really enjoy this beautiful spot. The crowds became unmanageable in a hurry and to make it worse those 100 folks dropped off by each tour bus were literally running to each vista, snapping a selfie and then running to the next spot, many times making us worry about being knocked down steps or over benches. By the time we called Uncle and returned to our van there were more than a dozen big tour buses parked in the parking area with another 8-10 lined up on the road to get in and dump their tourists into the crowds.
Our experience has been similar at many US National Parks as well, but Banff and Jasper in Canada have to be the worst for this fly in, take a tour bus to a national park kind of issue. Will it ever get better? We doubt it. Money talks and each of those 100s of tour buses pays money and taxes for the privilege to shuttle these millions of tourists to these pristine spots. But, we sure wish it was different some how. Maybe limits on the number of buses? Maybe limits on the number of bus tourists? Our experiences have taught us that money talks and nothing will be done other than maybe expanding the width of roads and creating additional parking for buses. That’s a shame really because we are not sure these natural wonders can live on with so many visitors coming. Granted we were one of those visitors and are just as guilty of wearing away at the trails as any of the tour bus tourists. And many will say the buses are better for the environment with less vehicles on the road. That may be true if every one of those that flew in to see these wonders still came… but they would not because that convenience of being shuttled to and from these places is the big draw.
So are we whining? A little. Sorry. We just couldn’t help visualizing the Grinch shaking his head at all these buses and yelling “CROWDS, CROWDS, CROWDS!”. We have always preferred the off the beaten path, less popular spots to enjoy nature and after our experience in Jasper and Banff we’ve decided that state parks and remote areas fit our lifestyle better than the stress of these over-crowded places. We’ll still go to those… but you can bet at least one of us will complain about it.
If you want to see for yourself watch the video:
Goodbye Alaska… for now! Salmon Glacier Was The Icing On Our Alaska Adventure Cake! As we are heading back to the lower 48 we get one more magnificent glimpse at Alaska in Hyder. And Salmon Glacier turned out to be one of the most stunning, magnificent sites we’ve ever seen… even if we did see it through tears in our eyes!
As we continue our trek back to the lower 48 from our trip of a lifetime in Alaska we get to explore the beauty all along the Cassiar Highway. We think you’ll agree that we saved the best for last! Glaciers are something we haven’t really seen that much until our trip to Alaska. We’d heard from friends that Salmon Glacier was the most stunning to see from land and all we can say is WOW! Salmon Glacier was an experience we will never, ever, never forget. Top that off with the salmon at Bear Creek and getting to watch a big black bear standing up to eat leaves right in the town of Hyder. Hard to top that experience for sure!
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE:
BEAUTIFUL SCENERY AND WILDLIFE IN THIS ONE AS WE SHOW YOU ONE OF OUR FAVORITE BOONDOCKING SPOTS EVER
OK… we know we’re spoiled. Alaska has been the best and even though we’re traveling down the Cassiar Highway it’s easy to think the best is behind us. But it was not. It’s like every night something special happens as we travel along this awesome highway. So what did we experience this time:
✅ The most awesome boondocking spot right on a beautiful lake
✅ Beautiful mountains and fall colors around every turn
✅ A Black Bear and her 3 cubs (watch her nod her head at us like she’s saying “How ‘ya doing?”
✅ And…. Bear Glacier
As we end this leg of the journey we find ourselves in Stewart, BC. Thanks for being part of the journey… lots more to come for sure so keep coming back, OK?
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE:
There are lots of roads to travel on while visiting Alaska where the driving part of the trip is almost as impressive the destination itself. A few of these roads come to mind. First of all the Alaska Highway. We took this road all the way to Dawson City and it did not disappoint. In fact even though we saw a ton of wildlife while recently traveling down the Cassiar Stewart Highway, we saw many many times more wildlife while on the Alaska Highway. Why? Maybe because it was spring… who knows… but man we saw everything under the sun… all the bucket list wildlife you dream of when making this epic trip to Alaska.
Then there’s the Dalton Highway. We did that one too. Probably wouldn’t do it again but for a one time is enough trip I guess it’s a good one. The thing about the Dalton is it’s huge challenge it presents. Only a few gas stations. Total isolation and remoteness. And the road is just crap!!! Potholes would be one thing… there are millions of those… but couple that with the trucks passing every 10-15 minutes throwing rocks at your windshield (even though they don’t mean to). Then there’s the draw of making it past the Artic Circle all the way to the Artic Ocean. To be honest, it’s not as big a deal as it sounds like. Once you pass Adigun Pass it becomes what is known as the Northern Slope which is geography speak for flat, flat, flat barren land. So you see… one time was enough.
Then there’s the McCarthy Highway out to McCarthy. Awesome! It leads out to one of the most unique towns in Alaska and takes you across one of the highest, oldest, scariest bridges in the world. Even though it is a washboard infested road we’d do this one again for sure.
So the point of this BLOG? We had heard great things about the Stewart Cassiar Highway (better know as simply the Cassiar Highway)… so we knew it was going to be a memorable part of our journey. What we didn’t expect was the sheer beauty of this small one and one-half lane road that many travel to and from Alaska on. The views… WOW! The seclusion… yep! Awesome boondocking spots along the way too. And tons and tons of wildlife. In fact on one day of the trip we counted 10 black bears while driving! And this little road takes you to a few places that you can’t get to without it… the little town of Stewart, which provides a good resting spot for the real reason for the ride down this road… Hyder, Alaska and Salmon Glacier.
Want to see for yourself? You should you know! But until you can go and see this for yourself take a gander at what we saw in our latest video:
SO MUCH WILDLIFE! SO MUCH BEAUTY! SUCH GOOD FRIENDS! LOVING OUR TRAVATO VAN LIFE!
It was bound to happen. We had to point the Winnebago Travato van towards the lower 48 from Alaska. But little did we know that the journey/adventure home would be one of the best parts of this epic trip. Our first stop was Whitehorse, Yukon, a place we literally just spent the night in the Walmart parking lot on the way to Alaska but this time… this time we spent 4 nights there and loved every minute of it. Some of the highlights include:
🔴 4 nights of boondocking at Long Lake…WOW!
🔴 An EPIC hike at Miles Canyon!
🔴 Wildlife galore… including a coyote, many red fox and crazy river-crossing ducks
🔴 Fun days getting to know our now dear friends, Jim and Rhonda
🔴 A Top-10 meal at Klondike Salmon and Rib
🔴 Owen gets a haircut in the woods
🔴 And Maggie got to chase squirrels until she couldn’t do it anymore.
All in all it was OUR KIND OF WEEK in our van! Stay part of the journey by commenting below, giving us a THUMBS-UP if you like this one and if you haven’t already done so, please consider SUBSCRIBING by clicking: http://youtube.com/c/VANTREKKINGlifestyle?sub_confirmation=1
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE: