Sunday, 17 February 2013

New Blog site

For those of you that followed my trip to the Alaskan Arctic Circle in my little Lotus Elise in 2012, and for any new followers who might happen upon this blog later, I want to let you know that I am off on another adventure, and amd starting a new blog. So if you want to follow me, you can !

I am going back to Alaska in early 2014 (yes, It was so good I can't stay away !!), but this time in a vehicle that should let me get to more remote places, on worse roads, and in worse weather, than I could achieve in my little convertible Lotus with 90 mm of ground clearance !!  I then intend to go down through Central and South America........................!!  To this end I am selling my Lotus after 15 years of loving her, and have now purchased a 4WD Toyota Landcruiser Troopcarrier ("Troopie") with a pop top so I can sleep in it, cook in it, go on just about any road surface however wet, slippery or rough, and hopefully get spare parts for it anywhere !!  So I am preparing that to ship to Seattle in about February 2014, ready to push up the Marine Highway (just for a change) up to Alaska in early May 2014.

If you are interested to read further, I am currently writing a new blog which details all about my Troopie, how I am preparing for the trip, and any side trips I might do around Australia in the next 12 months.  Appropriately it is called "Watching and Waiting" (Good Moody Blues track !!) because I am sitting here Watching and Waiting for 2014 to get here !!

And for those of you who want to follow my 2014 trip in the Americas (and maybe elsewhere after that ?!), I have started a separate blog called "I'm going on an adventure", the address of which is   
I will not put any further entries into this blog until I set off in 2014, but you can bookmark it now so you don't lose me !!

Foototes - 1) Before anyone mentions it, Yes, I KNOW there is an "e" missing off the end of the last words in these two blog addresses - I couldn't have the address with an "e" on the end as it was already taken, so I had to go without the "e" !!!!
2) For those of you who are Hobbit followers, you will know that as Bilbo sets off at the beginning of the movie, not knowing what fun (and trials and tribulations) await him, he shouts gleefully to his friends "I can't stop, I'm Going on an Adventure".   I thought it epitimised what I am doing - I am setting off, not quite knowing what awaits me, some good, some bad, (hopefully no Orcs or giant spiders !!), but knowing that it is just something that I HAVE to do !  So that is where the name came from !!

Anyway, this post now ends this blog, this chapter of my life, and I move on to the next chapter, as I plan for 2014.   I would love you to join me on the other sites !

Monday, 23 July 2012

My Whole Trip in Summary

115 days on the road.  15,334 miles.   468.6 US Gals of petrol at a cost of $2268.58.   An average of 33.19 mpg (US Gals) or 39.8 mpg (Imp Gals).  57 nights in a tent at a cost of $1266.72,  and 19 nights in motels at a cost of $1547.95, and the rest were in people's homes.  I only have a total of $1591.85 listed for meals and food, but I know quite a lot of cash transactions didn't get written down so I would think it would be closer to $2500 for food. Also $2399.92 on Equipment, which was mostly camping gear and clothes, but also included the cost of the tear-offs for the windscreen. On top of that were car preparation costs, (which, like the equipment, I still have so don't really count unless something is worn out), and shipping costs, which are still not finalised but will be about $6000 all up..

So that is a summary of my costs !!!   As for a sumary of the trip, that will be a bit harder, because trying to condense a 4 month trip into a couple of pages is almost impossible as just too much would get left out. I have done a selection of photos and include a map of where the photos were taken to try to give an overall visual of the entire route - You can judge for yourselves if that has worked, but it sure took a lot of time to do !! For the written section I am going to try bullet points, and see if that works,  but first I want to state quite categorically that every single one of the people I have met along the way are the REAL high points of my trip.  I met so many of you, and although I mention a few, there were many more - You know who you were, and I apologise if I haven't mentioned you by name, even if I only met you for 5 minutes in a gas station somewhere and we had a chat, or you saw my blog address on the car while I was driving on the freeway and you contacted me.   But please believe me it was YOU that made the trip so memorable, so THANK YOU.  Anyway, here goes with the written part :-

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Blind Bay BC to Anacortes WA. The final leg !

For a change I had no tent to pack up, and Debra cooked me a lovely breakfast so I had a very leisurely morning compared to my normal early start !  After I had the car ready and we had taken some photos on their verandah of the lovely view of Shuswap Lake,  I set off at about 9.30. After a brief hiccup where Tom Tom took me the wrong way onto the freeway due to some new roads in the area, we set off on what was to be the last driving day of my long trip, returning to my Sister Janet’s house in Anacortes.  And the day looked promising weatherwise, so I had decided to go back down through the full length of the Okanagan Valley because I had been told that the southern part was really beautiful, so I wanted to see it for myself, and then I was going to cross the US border and then go through the North Cascades National Park that is supposed to be one of the most scenic drives in the area.   I had planned to drive into Anacortes on this road back in March when I arrived from Montana, but due to the heavy snow this winter, the road was still closed then.  So it was too good an opportunity to miss doing it now.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Radium Hot Springs to Blind Bay BC

Woke up early at 5.30 am and it was still not raining !! So got up and got packed up while everything was still pretty dry, as I knew I had a lot of miles to cover today, and all of it was going to be on twisty B type roads – No freeways to help !  The campsite was on top of quite a high hill, and was in sunshine when I left, so the roof was off.   But 5 minutes later at the bottom of the hill, Radium township was in thick fog !!  Never mind, went out of town past a solar powered flashing Big Horn Sheep danger warning sign (never seen one flashing before – Must be lots on the road?)  It was just one of those beautiful mornings for driving, - cool, but not cold, and the sun trying to break through the fog and low cloud, but no hint of any rain.  So we bombed along down Hwy 93 just enjoying the morning.

Banff to Radium Hot Springs, via Calgary

So spent the night in about the only room left in Canmore, just outside Calgary.  Can’t believe it was so busy – but apparently it is where the US Nordic skiing and biathlon teams live and train, so is not the sleepy little village I imagined !!
It was very overcast so kept the roof on, and decided to go into Calgary for a look, since I was so close, and then went out to High River (40 minutes S of Calgary) where I had been told there was a rodeo and chuck wagon racing on – The Calgary Stampede is not just a one off even but one of a series, and the round before the Stampede (which is on from 6-15th July) was at High River. 

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Jasper to Banff

Woke up really early this morning for some reason, and was completely packed up and showered by 7.30 am.  It was dry but overcast, and I decided to head south to see Lake Louise and then on down to Banff as, although we had been there 35 years ago, the weather was so bad that we essentially saw nothing.  If I remember correctly Damien was 1, so that dates it !!!    Anyway, got going with the roof off and fingers crossed, but not 15 miles into it, the rain started, so I stopped and put the roof up.  And from then on it was regular showers and low cloud all day, although the drive down through the Columbia Icefield was pretty stunning.   Would love to see it on a fine day !

Jasper NP

Day off driving today, as it has been non stop for over a week. Despite threats of rain, the day dawned nice and sunny, so the first thing I did was confirm a second night in the camp site.  They really aren’t too full till net month, so this was not a problem.  I then went into town and had a cooked breakfast for a change – A yummy Mexican omelette !  This café is about the only wifi place in town (unless you’re in a hotel, as no Starucks or McDonalds here !) so was also able to post my blog which I had written last night.  Then back to the campsite to change for a hike somewhere, to stretch my legs after sitting in the car so much.
On the way back, have a couple of birthdays coming up in the family so had to find cards, and a post office for stamps, and then, annoyingly, had to go back to wifi café to log back on to get an address that was in email that required me to be logged on to get it !!   Anyway, by the time all this was done, it was 1 o’clock !!  So I then was able to set off on my hike.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Dawson Creek BC to Jasper AB

Well I might have woken up early, (with the dawn at 5.30 am) but I certainy didn’t leave the camp site very early !  The morning was one long precession of people to chat to, and they varied from a Frenchman cycling though America who has been on the road or 5 years, to a guy from Arkansas towing a Honda Gold Wing trike to Alaska because that is the only US state he hasn’t ridden it in, to a blow up doll strapped on the back of a bike !!  And hen I did finally get away, it was a beautiful sunny day, and the drive just got…..better  the closer we got to Jasper.   Except for one torrential downpour !!!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Fort Nelson to Dawson Creek BC

Well, today has certainly been different !   Enjoyable, but very different, from start to finish !!  First of all, I was doing my blog last night in the laundry (as usual – Hey, its warm, has light, has power, and you can shut the door against skeeters !!)  Finally finished at about 11.30 pm, went outsid – And couldn’t see a thing !!!!   It was dark !! Completely took me by surprise because I have just become used to it being light all night !   I won’t say I quite needed a torch, but I also didn’t need to pull my beanie down over my eyes to keep the light out when I went to sleep either !   So that was a big wake up call that I really am heading south !! 

And then this morning, woke up at 5.30 amd was going to get on the internet to check out weather and email, and the internet was down !!!   Again !!!  So much for getting up early to get it all done !  So I started to pack up, and then met Ken from Alabama who was camped net to me and was on a bike headed to Alaska, and shortly after that I met Juneal and Linda from Minnesota, and before you knew it, one thing led to another, and it was 10.30 in the morning and I was still there !!!   As I say, a very different day, but great fun nevertheless !

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Watson Lake YT to Fort Nelson BC

Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow.  Yup, that was a 5 wow day, up there with the Whitehorse to Skagway and the Haines to Haines Junction mountains drives.  After all the rain last night, I got up at 5.30 when I heard a break in the rain and packed up everything while I could. Then I had breakfast, and after that, everything just kind of got ……….better !!  The shower facilities were really good, the laundry was warm and dry to sit in and wok on my blog, the internet worked (well, as good as any recently) which made skype possible, and then the sun came out !!  I drove out of the campsite at about 9 am, still with the roof on, and hadn’t even got into 4th gear on the road when I saw my first bear for the day, climbing a bank just beside the road.  Yes, it was all looking promising after such a miserable night last night.  I drove the 12 miles into Watson Lake to fill up with gas, and while there took the roof off, and also managed to get a really good jam filled donut from the bakery attached to the gas station.  Better every minute. Even managed to get some cash out of an ATM with only a $2 charge, which was also good !  So off down the road to Fort Nelson – a 350 mile drive on a road that I had never driven before.