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Larry – I thought it was time that we close this out by telling everyone that we made it home safely after one hell of a journey!  We saw so many things and stuff that will stay with us for a life time!  I would encourage everyone that has not yet experienced Alaska, DO SO!!   You will not be disappointed!

From our last post we left Idaho, we went down to Salt Lake City for a night and toured the city in an afternoon and saw about everything we wanted to see.  Then we headed east at about 80 mph since the speed limit was 75.  We got home last Friday afternoon.  Thanks to cousins, Jerry, Linda and Jenny, our house was nice and clean!!!  Brent had been mowing the yard, but Cindy’s flower beds and garden was over grown with weeds so that will keep her busy for several weeks!  I spent about 2 days in mowing the yard and around all the buildings so we could see them again.  Plus, we went to see Scott’s new bar and he immediately gave me several projects on it which will take weeks to get done!  He is hoping to open the bar in September sometime and he has a lot do do!

Anyway, after getting all of our pictures uploaded (which you can see by clicking on the pictures to the left here), we will be signing off now till our next adventure.  We appreciate you following along and all the comments that you provided.  Oh, one last thing, the final score me 14 and Cindy 11!!!  I also kicked her ass at cards too!  Safe travels to everyone!

Larry- Well, Cindy says it is my turn to post something and she keeps threatening me with some wool underwear.  So out of self defense, here it is without Cindy’s humor and wit.  We left Forks, Washington and headed down the coast to a little town named Quinault ( and I mean little, it makes Montrose look like New York City.)  Anyway, we did a tour of the last water falls in Olympic Park, Washington.  They were a little disappointing but we did walk through a lodge on the Quinault Lake.  It was a very beautiful  two story log structure and was built it 1926 in 2 months and 9 days, unbelievable.

Lake Quinault Lodge

Lake Quinault Lodge

Then we were headed for a beach on the Oregon coast.  Well, after we got into cell phone range, we started calling RV parks.  Apparently, everyone on the west coast was going to the beach because no one had any vacancies anywhere on the coast.  So Cindy was mad at me again and I thought, oh shit here comes the wool underwear!  Apparently, we needed to make reservations several weeks in advance.  Anyway we ended up in a suburb of Portland for the night.  Then we went to Troutdale and spent another night and drove out along the old Columbia River Route 30.  We saw a couple of water falls and beautiful scenery but couldn’t get into several of the other waterfalls because everyone that didn’t go to the beach was out there!!  So we went back to the RV and went out early on Sunday morning and saw probably the most impressive waterfall of the trip – Multnomah Falls. DSCF3174From there we started east, and spent one more night in Rufus, Oregon.  Then, we drove on to a small town south east of Boise, Idaho.  The drive along the Columbia river was beautiful and then after that we drove to mostly desert and volcano rocks.  The only green stuff we saw was irrigated.  Anyway, we are making our way on to Salt Lake City today and looking around there for a little bit.  After that, we are going to head in a home direction.  We gave up visiting Yellow Stone because of the crowds.  I spoke to my cousin who told me that his brother and sister in law was just up there and they couldn’t get in to many of the parking spots because of the crowds.  Besides that, both Cindy and I are both on vacation overload.  I know many of you will not understand that, but after 2 and a half months of seeing incredible scenery, one starts to say, OK that is nice.  Anyway, we will be home sometime after we stop and see stuff along the way.

CINDY:  Yep – we are full up of touristy things.  Winding home the long way – Larry is very content in not knowing where we are going.  I just tell him to “turn here” and he does.

So – for a kinda wrap up.  We’ve seen some unbelievable and gorgeous things, but they were very, very far apart!  The highways through Alaska and Yukon are not the scary things many people indicate, but there are some big ass bumps that will wake you up.  The word “highway” is actually misleading – they’re just roads (not always paved) with amenities few and far between – and the majority of the few vehicles you see (outside of the towns) are obvious tourists towing or driving their rv’s.

Glaciers – if you want to see them you better go soon.  National Parks – so damn crowded you can hardly get in to them.  We won’t try them again unless it’s early or late in the season – after all those damn kids are back in school.  Larry – he makes it sound like I get mad at him when we can’t get into rv parks.  The truth is that the 2 places that went horribly wrong were the ones he was asked to make arrangements for WEEKS ahead of time.  Worlds Largest Spruce Tree – saw several.  Who measures these things? DSCF3066

Largest Spruce Tree - Lake Quinault

Largest Spruce Tree – Lake Quinault

Larry loves his new hat.DSCF3069  The score is L13-C11 – and we will definitely post again if that score changes.  Problem is we seem to be agreeing on a lot more crap than we usually do!

CINDY:  Spent last night in Forks, Washington.  Didn’t look like much, but seems a lot of the Twilight vampire series was based on locations in this town – so everything has the name “Twilight” in it.  Did the Hoh Rain Forest and was kinda disappointed.  It looked like all the other gorgeous forests we’ve walked through.  I thought “rain forest” meant it would look a lot different, plus the worlds largest Sitka spruce tree had blown down 7 months earlier.  Was gonna spend today stopping at all the beaches on the way down the coast, stopping first at Ruby beach.  Sun was shining when we first got there, DSCF2990and less than 5 minutes later it looked like this.  DSCF3001Timing is everything.  Popped onto several other beaches (you can drive on these) and they were all just as fogged in – but drive off the beach and the day was totally clear.  Pretty cool – even though it kinda ruined our beach day.  DSCF3005

Since Vancouver Island I have been a little peeved at Larry, and rather than fight I have decided to knit him a hat.  Passive-aggressive crafting.  He pisses me off again I’ll knit him a pair of pants.  DSCF2920

CINDY:  We’re leaving sleepy little Port Angeles tomorrow and heading on around the west side of the Washington coast.  Olympic National Park is kinda hard to visit.  It is basically the entire NW peninsula of Washington.  The only way to see the interior of this immense park is to hike your ass in – which we obviously have no inclination or ability to do.  So we’re just slowly working our way around the perimeter, taking day trips into paved areas and walking trails to waterfalls (cause I think they’re pretty).

Sol Duc Waterfall

Sol Duc Waterfall

Some of the steepest trails WOULD have made us stop and suck eggs, but those little old ladies with walkers passing us were a big incentive to suck it up and keep going.

The trails and the forests  are gorgeous, but photos do no justice to the size of these trees.  Heading to the Hoh Rain Forest area tomorrow and will work our way down the park’s beaches on the west coast.

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Madison Creek Falls

Madison Creek Fall

Marymere

Marymere

CINDY:  Left Seattle and drove to the northwestern city of Port Angeles, Washington stopping for Bing and Ranier cherries at stands all along the road.  Life is good (until you eat too many cherries – then life is uncomfortable).  We are camped here for the week and are making daily short trips.  Every road north here ends at a rocky beach with views across Strait Juan de Fuca to Vancouver Island. DSCF2527 We’ve seen more elk here than anywhere we’ve been – huge herds. Don’t see stuff like this along the road at home. DSCF2536 We drove out to Cape Flattery – the furthest NW point in the lower 48 – and started hiking the supposedly short trail to the point.  It wasn’t that short – and dropped pretty steeply, making one wonder about the big freaking hill on the way back.  But the view at the end was worth it.  You’re on tall stone cliffs with the ocean pounding through the sea caves – some you could feel under your feet.  So, if you’re ever in the neighborhood –    DSCF2608DSCF2582

Also took the ferry over to Vancouver Island for 2 days – the city of Victoria was gorgeous.  I just can’t bring myself to talk about the rest of the trip.

The stinking score is L12-C10.  I have made some ill-advised bets (advised only by myself).DSCF2612DSCF2589

LARRY – After seeing great scenery we headed down to Helena.  I first saw this town some 26 years ago and fell in love with it.  I was worried that Cindy would say what the hell?  But as it turned out, she really liked it as well.  There was an old part of town that was part of the old mining days and it was very interesting.  Plus the capital was very nice and some beautiful old houses and one hell of a cathedral.  Oh we did have a pretty good steak dinner which we haven’t had one of for about 2 months.DSCF2376 DSCF2395 The Capital

We then drove over 300 miles the next day.  Being able to drive 70 miles an hour sure makes it easier to drive that distance as opposed to 40-60 miles per hour in Alaska and Canada.  Anyway, we ended up a in little town in the middle of no where, Sprague, Washington.  This town had one motel with some rv parking in the back, one grocery store and one bar.  Oh, it also had an old truck museum, well actually, there was a block or two full of old trucks.  Cindy really liked it, but I thought it looked like an old junk yard.

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Yesterday, we drove on into Seattle and ended up in an RV resort that is also a open to the public with a beach on a lake.  So there was about 1700 people in her when we arrived.  It was very interesting trying to park a fifth wheel camper with kids everywhere and boats being put in and out of the lake.  Today, Cindy and I toured downtown Seattle and Cindy got to see the Pikes market where they throw the fish.  Later we went by a friend of mine, Korina and Chris, who took us out for dinner and we had a great time talking about a multitude of topics.I tried to talk Chris in running for office since he recently retired.  I think he might do it.  We need all the Democrats we can get!!!

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Cindy was wondering what you think this is??  She has an idea but I think she just has a nasty mind!

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DSCF2498And the score is Larry 11 – Cindy 10!

CINDY: Since crowded Banff, we have toured our way through Calgary (a week after the Stampede – seems if you don’t make reservations on the day of your birth you don’t get in during the rodeo) and then had to stop at Fort MacLean – there is an UNESCO sight right out of town called Bashed-In-Head Buffalo Jump.  How can you not drive by?  Also saw the NW Mounty Museum and horse show.  DSCF2166Larry has not been able to find any shady ladies lately, so now he is hitting on any woman who will stand still.  DSCF2158 Hit the U.S about 5 days ago at Montana and have had no better cell or wifi than we did in Canada or Alaska.  We are definitely still in the boonies, but had the first GOOD Mexican food in over two months in good ole BABB, MT.  Spent a day driving through Glacier Natl Park, and if you want to see their glaciers you better get there soon.  Still, though, an amazing drive along a narrow, cliff-hugging, sky-high road that made me squeak a little.  DSCF2265 DSCF2200 DSCF2270

SCORE L10-C10 (Only because I tried to identify an elk by the way they look on the highway warning signs. Did you know their antlers look different in the Spring?)

CINDY:  We’ve been out in the middle of, literally, nowhere.  We have driven on “highways” for hours without seeing more than 3 cars.  So we pull into Jasper and Banff National Parks on a weekend (cause we really didn’t know what day it was) and pulled into the most horrific traffic jam in a park ever.  Knew we were in trouble when we saw the line of cars on the exit ramp.  DSCF2088The most scenic roads were closed because of forest fires.  We had to drive 40 miles away from the parks to find a rv park.  But – the drive between the two parks through the ice fields was one of the most spectacular drives we’ve made.

Now, on to serious stuff.  All of Alaska and Canada has been a huge history lesson of struggle and pain, but the absolutely most horrific story has been the one I’ve been watching for almost 2 months.  Larry has been unable to get satellite tv.  Probably 75% of the places we’ve stayed couldn’t even pick up local television stations.  Tonight we are about 50 miles from the US border, and Larry is outside moving his satellite from place to place – just trying to pick up a signal (unsuccessfully).  Most unbelievably painful thing I’ve ever seen.  DSCF2138DSCF2142

LARRY –  Well, when you pay this damn much for a dish, a receiver and programming, you would think you could at least watch it!!!!  Someday, there will be a satellite signal that I can get, Someday!!!!

LARRY-  We made it to our last stop in Alaska which was very under whelming, at least the town of Hyder.  As we were told it is a boom or bust type of town and it is currently on the bust side.  However, we drove through it up into the mountains about 15 miles on a very rough dirt/gravel road and looked out onto an unbelievable sight of the Salmon Glacier.  It was coming down a mountain to a fork and divided going into two directions.  It was very cool to see and will be remembered for a very long time.  Stewart, Canada wasn’t much better, but at least it had a main street with several cafes and a grocery store and one gas station, and oh, it also had a glacier on top of the mountain overlooking it too.  So the scenery was pretty damn impressive!  The drive to Stewart was also beautiful and we did get to see another black bear and of all things, we saw a lynx.  It crossed the road in front of us and then stopped on the side of the road.  I pulled right up to it and looked directly into its eyes.  It was lying in the grass and stalking me!!  Finally, I guessed it figured we were too big to attack so it turned and ran up into the timber.  That is something you don’t see very often, and a park ranger said was extremely unusual.

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Taken on the road into Steward

Taken on the road into Stewart

the toe of the Salmon Glacier on the way up to the top, probably 3-5 miles up.

the toe of the Salmon Glacier on the way up to the top, probably 3-5 miles up.

The top of Salmon Glacier.  This picture just not give justice to the sight of it.  The glacier is probably 13-15 miles up to the top.

The top of Salmon Glacier. This picture just do not give justice to the sight of it. The glacier is probably 13-15 miles up to the top.  And it is probably close to a half of mile down below where Cindy is standing.

Anyway, we are on the road again and made it to Jasper Park in Alberta Canada yesterday (Saturday July 11th).  Of course this is a major tourist stop and all the rv parks were full in the park so we drove through the top of it to the other side and was able to find the last spot in a RV park on the North East side of the park.  On the ride through the park, we saw a herd of elk that was laying on both sides of the highway with about a dozen cars pulled off looking at them.  A little further down the highway there was a sign with warning of wild life right before a bridge.  As I drove across it I had to hit my brakes as hard as I could from hitting about 10-12 big horn sheep that walked out onto the highway from the end of that bridge!  I guess they knew where to cross.  Anyway we had to stop traffic because they just walked down the middle of the road like it belonged to them.  Finally they worked their way off the road to the right and started licking the rocks, probably for the salt the use on the roads.  So the only thing that we haven’t seen yet is a grizzly bear.  (Although we did eat lunch yesterday at the Grinning Grizzly Pub!!!)

And I am sure Cindy will point out that she is ahead now on the betting, 10-9.  I thought we would have cell service at Hyder, damn it!!!

CINDY:  The scenery has been spectacular.  We keep saying “everywhere is like a freaking postcard”, and then it gets better.  Thought we might go “scenery blind” by now, but haven’t.  I do really miss Mexican food though.  Don’t every try Mexican restaurants in Canada or Alaska.  It’s just plain wrong.  On the plus side, though, we are now back in places that have NIGHTTIME!  We were really messed up to start with in Alaska.  Besides being three hours behind Missouri time, it never got dark – I never knew if it was beer:30 without consulting a clock.  Life is good.

CINDY:  Just can’t keep Larry away from the bars and scantily clad women anymore.  So I just leave him there and go walking.  Always know where to pick him up.  DSCF1739Anyhow, who knew you could drive to Skagway?  We were here years ago on a cruise but never saw the town because I picked (poorly) a rafting excursion.  What a cool, touristy, town!

I hadn’t been really excited about the history of the gold rush – but you can’t visit all these towns without putting it all together.  Skagway was the beginning of those poor idiot’s trip into a big mess.  We drove along one of the two main trails to the gold fields and think we had a much easier trip – plus the scenery was unbelievable.  DSCF1764 DSCF1709

Got TWO cemetery fixes – Skagway and the historic ghost town of Dyea.  Dyea was competing with Skagway to be the big gold rush town.  One April all the “stampeders” climping a really big mountain out of town were caught up in an avalanche.  Over 200 killed.  Walked through the old cemetery.  Bunch of kids a long way from home.  Town is now gone.  Larry will now no longer bet me.  Lobbed 4 “iffy” bets at him over last week.  He won’t bite.  C9-L9.DSCF1775DSCF1772LARRY:   Well, we probably need to start keeping score on who will take a bet and who won’t because I believe Cindy is also way up on the list of don’t want to bet as well!  And as far as leaving me in bars with beautiful young women, well that is more than OK with me!!!  But truth be told, Cindy has always been there with me, not that she doesn’t trust me, but she enjoys it more than I do!  And Ann, I didn’t realize that quaint was feminine or masculine, but if you and Cindy think it is, well I guess it is.  Or maybe you guys are just too masculine?

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