On The Road…Part 1 The Alcan Highway



His & Hers Alaska: Ready to Hit the Road!

It’s been a while since you’ve heard from us here on the blog.  We’ve been busy driving like mad to make it from Alaska to the East Coast of the Lower 48 in less than 24 days.   If you’ve missed out on the news so far, we have embarked on a six month road trip around the U.S. for the winter!  Luckily we’ve been capturing the days by making LOTS of YouTube Videos!!

Everyone asks how we came to take this trip.  It’s pretty simple, we’ve talked about it for years.  We have always wanted to spend time exploring our beautiful country and since moving to Alaska, we would be able to have the added bonuses of wintering in warmer climates and visiting family and friends we don’t see as often as we would like along the way!  We really started getting serious about making the trip happen this past winter and spring.  Every year, we’ve talked about it, but THIS YEAR, things started to look like the stars might align and we would really be able make it happen.  As the year progressed and each piece of the puzzle fell into place, we allowed ourselves to get more and more excited.  In the summertime, we started to mention to our families that we MIGHT be headed south for the winter, but we kept very realistic expectations that if any one piece of the puzzle fell away, the trip would have to wait.  Having the chance to meet the many RV bloggers who came to Alaska this summer, only served to fuel the fire that drove this trip, as we very much wanted to experience what our fellow bloggers shared with us about the full time RV lifestyle.  In the final weeks of August, the last three major factors fell into place and we realized, we could do it!  The North American Road Trip would happen!

We left our home in Seward in the trusted hands of friends on September 20th, went to Anchorage for five days of business and then took off for the great beyond on Friday afternoon.

The Unofficial Start

We knew we were cutting it close in terms of weather by waiting so late into September to leave, but we were hoping we’d get out of the state without incident.  We didn’t!  In the video below, we share the experience of getting stuck on the side of a mountain in the Alaska Range on the Tok Cutoff, our first night on the road.

Day 1: Stuck in a Snowstorm

 

At first it seemed like this was a terrible start to our trip, but as it turned out, we realized the universe had put us right where we were meant to be.  We made a new friend and shared our humble abode with him, when the weather prevented him from moving down the road, despite there being no room at the nearby inn (literally).  We were also in the right place at the right time to visit with someone on a very important occasion.  If we had gone on to where we had planned to spend the night, we would’ve been without phone service and would’ve missed that opportunity.  The details are probably less important to you, than the fact that we realized for the first of many times, just as the universe had lined up the stars to make this trip happen, that same greater power would make sure we were right where we were supposed to be at the exact moment we needed to be there.  It’s humbling and empowering at the same time to have that realization when taking a trip like this and we’ve frequently been reminded that it’s really not by accident that we decided to take this journey.

We survived the night! Everything always looks better in the light of day.
We survived the night! Everything always looks better in the light of day.

The weather cleared the next morning and we were on our way again with blue skies and hearts full of hope.  Thankfully, the remainder of our drive down the AlCan was uneventful, precarious at times, but nonetheless without incident.

Day 2: The Morning After and the Northwest Territory

 

Day Three was lovely!  We saw wildlife, had the chance to check out the Sign Post Forest in Watson Lake and leave our mark.  The best part of the day came at the end though, when we rewarded our tired bodies for surviving the many hours on the road with a nighttime soak in Liard Hot Springs.

Day 3:  Bear, Bison and a Bath

 

You’ll love day four.  The Canadian Conservation Officers boarded our rig to ensure we were not transporting poached/illegal fish or wild game meat.  At the end of the day, we had planned to have Chinese food for dinner at a restaurant Ben ate at with his dad when they drove our truck up back in 2008, but we never found the place.  So we ate at a food truck instead.  You’ll love the accents and friendly nature of these chefs.

Day 4: COPS and Taco in a Bag

 

We took the obligatory photo at the Alcan Sign in Dawson City.  A little tired, but no worse for the wear, we pressed further down the road that night.

We survived the infamous Alcan Highway!
We survived the infamous Alcan Highway!

 

You might guess by the title of Day Five’s video that the road we chose left a bit to be desired.  The day was off to a great start, we enjoyed beautiful farmland scenery in the morning hours, had lunch with our good buddies from JenEric Ramblings in Williams Lake, BC and then took off again hoping to clear the U.S. border by nightfall.  Hoping, was the keyword in that last sentence…we made the mistake of believing the Milepost map and decided to take what turned out to be a steep, curvy highway across the mountains.  45 miles turned into over two hours of driving.  We did witness an amazing sunset as well as the rising of a huge beautiful moon, but let’s just say, I became intimately familiar with first gear and left new finger indentations on our steering wheel.  We finally found the big eight lane highway that we had hoped to reach and Ben started saying, “wouldn’t it be nice to find a Wal-Mart to park in overnight?”  Well, we did in Merritt, BC and without much more thought, we exited the highway, parked the rig and went to bed.  The border would have to wait another day…

Day 5: Sure, let’s take that road

 

Ben made his way back into the driver’s seat the next morning.  As the day progressed, we were actually grateful we had decided to stop the night before.  We drove through Peachland, BC that morning, which proved to be a breathtakingly beautiful region, one we would have missed if we’d driven through in the dark.  We’d LOVE to stop here in the future for a time, as they had vineyards and wineries, fruit stands on every turn, two shimmering and inviting lakes and adventure sports all around.  We resisted a great deal of temptation as we drove through this area, we were about to cross the border into the U.S. and didn’t know what fruits and vegetables they would allow us to bring as the list fluctuates regularly.  We are of the mind that it is sacrilege to pass up wine tasting, but I had developed a migraine and Ben was behind the wheel, so neither of us really needed to partake of such liquid delights.  Finally, we wanted to stop and play!  We had been driving for DAYS and everyone in the RV (dogs included) were anxious to get out and stretch the legs.  We pushed on though and crossed the border around 11am.  They took our tomatoes and bell peppers, asked a few questions and sent us on our way.  What a great feeling, we had made it!  We drove the last few of hours from Osoyoos to Spokane, found another Wal-Mart, ran a few errands, had dinner with friends and went to bed.  Tomorrow, we would play, today we needed a good rest.

Day 6: Back in the USA

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed this leg of our trip, it gets even better when we start stopping at fun places and doing cool stuff, so stay tuned.  Be sure to subscribe to our blog and YouTube Channel and follow us on our social media outlets to keep up with us on our North American Road Trip!

R~

Fishing, Food, & Friends! Independence Weekend in Seward, Alaska + Video

In our hometown of Seward, Alaska Independence Day is a big event, over 30,000 people come down for the famous Mount Marathon Race and festivities.  Usually we try to leave town or hunker down at the house, so we don’t have to fight the crowds.

This weekend was going to be different.  We were going fishing with old friends on Friday the 3rd and new friends were coming into town for the weekend to share the experiences of Seward on Independence Day.

A beautiful sunrise on Resurrection Bay.
A beautiful sunrise on Resurrection Bay.

Catching fish with friends is nothing new, but we had a truly great day on the Swelltime.  Rebecca and I were fishing with Jim (who owns the Swelltime), his son, and our friend Joanna.  We headed out bright and early at 6am to catch silver salmon and halibut.  In Seward, the silvers start showing up the first week of July, so we were confident a few could be found on July 3rd.  Our first stop was Cheval Narrows, there were a few fish on the sonar, but none were biting so we moved over to Pony Cove.  Pony Cove and Cheval Narrows are on the outskirts of Resurrection Bay and some of the first stops for silvers as they return from spending a couple of years at sea.

One of the last drifts yielded a surprise for Rebecca, she finally caught her first king salmon!  Through the years of fishing with me on the rivers, Rebecca has hooked four kings and only landed one, the one that was landed had to be released because it was foul hooked (not hooked in the mouth and illegal to retain in freshwater).  Today was her lucky day, she caught a nice little king that was swimming with the silvers.

She has been waiting a long time to kiss a King!
She has been waiting a long time to kiss a King!

By the time the tide switched we had caught 11 silvers, so we decide to head out for halibut.  Today’s halibut spot consisted of Jim and I looking at the chart plotter and picking an area that looked fishy.  We didn’t feel like driving for hours so our chosen spot was only 15 minutes away.  Upon reaching our mark, we motored around while scanning the sonar for the structure and telltale signs of where to find halibut.

Within 10 minutes of fishing we brought up our first halibut.  There were a few really strong hits, but most of the fish were in the “chicken” class of fish.  We grade our halibut with names referencing their size; starting out as ping-pong paddles, to chickens, then come the turkeys, hogs, and barn doors.

Generally speaking we like to eat halibut under 5o pounds.  There are a few reasons; they are younger fish which tastes better, larger fish have a higher potential for mercury, and almost all halibut above 50 pounds are females which makes them the breeders.  I used to be a charter captain and I completely understand the thrill of bringing in a huge halibut.  Nowadays we get a bigger thrill in releasing the big ones, the following weekend Jim fished Montague Island and released a halibut over 200 lbs..

The chicken bite continued nice and steady, we kept some and released some as we approached our limit.  We tried holding out for larger fish, but they never showed.  With one fish to go our friend Joanna got a world-class backlash,  we tried to pick it out and ended up having to cut it apart.  Once it was resolved (30 minutes later), we all had a good laugh.

On our way back to the barn (the nickname for the harbor) we swung by Pony Cove to see if the salmon were hitting better in the afternoon, and they were not.  There were still the same five boats fishing there and nobody was catching.

We returned to the dock with a respectable load of fish.  Once all the salmon and halibut were filleted we each walked away with about 16 pounds of meat, not too shabby.


Earlier in the day some new friends came into Seward for the holiday weekend.  There are over a dozen full-time RV bloggers in Alaska for the summer and it’s been great getting to meet all of them.  The week before we shared a meal with Spencer and Rachel from Where in the World RV.  This weekend Jason and Kristin from Snowmads were taking up residence in our driveway while Chris and Cherie of Technomadia (who are traveling nomadically while their bus gets a full makeover) were staying in our guest room before catching a cruise ship south to Vancouver.

We saved some freshly caught salmon and halibut for a special dinner.  The Apollo Restaurant in downtown has a “Catch of the Day” special, you supply the fish and they supply the rest.  At $18 per person this is the best deal in town, especially since a burger and fries will cost your about the same.  They start you off with a salad and bread sticks, then come the panko crusted deep-fried salmon and halibut, the main course is grilled salmon and halibut served with a tarragon sauce and pasta or potatoes.  I dare you to leave room for dessert after this feast.  Another new friend met us for dinner as well, Chris Travels is in Seward for the summer working and making his YouTube videos.

The feast begins with appetizers!  Photo Courtesy of Technomadia
The feast begins with appetizers! Photo Courtesy of Technomadia

After dinner we had a surprise in store for our guests, watching fireworks from deck of the Swelltime!  In Seward, the fireworks show starts at midnight on the 3rd, and yes there is enough darkness at midnight to get the full effect.  We all had a great time and dare I say we might do this again.


The following morning as the mountain runners were preparing to race up Mount Marathon, we slept in and had a late breakfast of fresh eggs and caribou sausage.  It is great sharing our Alaskan wild game with friends.

Eating Alaskan wild game is one of the many healthy benefits to living up here.
Eating Alaskan wild game is one of the many healthy benefits to living up here.

After breakfast we headed into town to watch the start of the Men’s race.  Mount Marathon has an elevation of 3022 feet and the strongest competitors make it to the top and back down in less than 50 minutes.  In my opinion, just climbing the mountain is an accomplishment.

The start of the Men's Race.
The start of the Men’s Race.
Extreme mountain runner Kilian Jornet from Spain was the victor and set a new race record of 41:48.
Extreme mountain runner Kilian Jornet from Spain was the victor and set a new race record of 41:48.

The following morning we had one final treat in store for our out-of-town guests, the most amazing crepes this side of the Atlantic!

Our good friends Yvon and Janet own the Bed and Breakfast Le Barn Appetit.
Our good friends Yvon and Janet own the Bed and Breakfast Le Barn Appetit.

We were very thankful to share the weekend with our new friends.  If everything goes as planned we might meet up again this winter.  Stay tuned for more details on our upcoming adventure!

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48 Hours in Anchorage, an RV’ers Itinerary.

The long days and thousands of miles driving the RV have paid off, you survived the Alaska Highway and reached Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage.  It’s a rewarding and relieving feeling arriving in Anchorage, aside from a sense of accomplishment you will also find yourself taking advantage of it’s many resources.  You can find everything from parts and service for your RV to a seven pound chocolate cake at Costco.

Cabela's Boondocking

Anchorage is a regular city that holds on to it’s frontier roots.  Still to this day, people come from hundreds of miles around to restock on supplies! [Read more…]

Alaskans on Vacation! 2015 Travel Vlog 2 [Pamplona – San Sebastian]

We hope you enjoyed the first video from our 2015 Travel Vlog.

Castillo de Olite
A castle off in the distance deserves and unscheduled stop when road tripping!

Our vacation in Stain continues, the day starts in Zaragoza and we hit the road to San Sebastian.  Along the way we explore a castle in Olite and have lunch in Pamplona.

[Read more…]

Our Top 5: Casual Dining in Anchorage, Alaska

Today we’re focusing on casual dining in Anchorage, Alaska.  These are places to get a great meal at a good price without dressing up.  Our palate is rather unconventional, we seek out real foods with bold flavors.

Unless it’s out of desperation you won’t find us eating typical fast food.  It’s difficult to put this list into any order because the flavor profile of our favorites is so broad.

[Read more…]