Arctic Adventure Day #7

Or goal was to be out of bed by 7a this morning, but we forgot to set an alarm, so it was more like 7:30 or so. We took quick shower, and then we were off to the Icefields Parkway.

We saw lots of glaciers!

And waterfalls too!

At the Columbia Icefields, we stopped at the chalet to see if we could book a ride out onto the glacier, but they were sold out until 4p and it wasn’t even noon yet. Need to plan in advance next time.

We did learn that the “snow dome” that makes up these glaciers eventually runs off into the Pacific (Columbia River), Arctic (Mackenzie River), and Atlantic (Saskatchewan River) Oceans.

More snow pictures.

Once we arrived in Jasper, we started heading east to our campground. On this short stretch of road, we saw elk, Rocky mountain sheep, and bighorn sheep. Kim took pictures with her phone, but apparently the app I used to transfer files requires a data connection… Back to the drawing board I guess.

We got checked into our campsite and we were not going to put out the awning, but then it started to rain… That is why the car is in kind of a funky spot.

We bought a fire permit, which gets you all the wet wood you could possibly burn during your stay.

Cooked some brats over the fire.

They finished just in time for the rain to start again, so we ate dinner under our awning.

Sunrise and sunset are going the wrong way! I guess we are not heading north faster than the days are getting shorter. That should change real soon!


Arctic Adventure Day #6

We spent an extra day in Lake Louise today, the weather was kind of crappy and we needed to get some laundry done. The concierge sent us down to the Lake Louise Inn (which is where I stayed last year) – apparently they allow the public to access their laundry room.

After hanging around doing laundry for a couple of hours, we are lunch at the inn before heading over to the village.

Our first stop was at the visitor center. Since we extended our stay by a day, we needed to add an extra day on to our park pass.

There were several touristy shops bear the visitor center, and we found more friends for Tundra.

We also made a quick stop at the grocery store for some dinner makings at our next campsite and some ice. We’ve found that having 1 block and 1 bag of crushed ice to work well. In fact, we are still on our original block of ice.

We were dogged by rain all afternoon, but it did stop long enough for us to get a walk in. Here is another view of the lake and glacier.

This is the back patio area of the resort with the mountain in the background.

And a photo of the resort itself.

No sunrise/sunset photo tonight… It is basically the same as yesterday.

Arctic Adventure Day #5

Most of the time I’m writing these at the end of the day, and I’m tired so I don’t do too much editing or reviewing of my posts. The pictures come straight off my cameras, and I’m working on mobile devices so I don’t get a great look at them, which is why they are sometimes blurry. When we arrived at the hotel today, I got a good look at one of my recent posts, and several of the photos were too warm. I checked my camera settings, and sure enough I had the white balance set to cloudy instead of auto… Should be better from now on.

Back to the adventure! We didn’t go very far today… Only drove for a couple of hours. Or first stop was to buy a park pass for our stay.

We stopped in the town of Banff to do a lunch and walk around. Or hotel check-in at Lake Louise was not until 4p, so we had some time to kill.

When we finally got to Lake Louise, we were still a bit early and had to kill some time. We walked around outside for a bit, until it started to rain. There was a wedding that was about to begin, hopefully they delayed until the shower was over… We didn’t stick around to watch.

Or room is kinda small but it is nice…I anticipate that it will be the nicest room on the trip.

It also has a pretty nice view.

We also decided to stay an extra night here. So I bumped on the internet and rearranged it camping reservation for our next stop. We are going to get in some laundry and a canoe ride now. Now we need to figure out how to extend our park pass for a day.

While I was on the internet, I figured out how to transfer files from Kim’s iPhone to my Android tablet. Here is a picture of the Rocky mountain sheep (and Kim’s finger) from the other day.

We had a short wait to get into the restaurant for dinner, so we bummed around the shops and found a place that makes clothes out of muskox hair. It was extremely soft and supposed to be very durable… And very expensive. They also had some polar bear friends for Tundra… She wasn’t with us, so we took a picture.

Not much change in sunrise/sunset, which isn’t surprising since we didn’t move very far.

Arctic Adventure Day #4

Heading north! We left Lakeside today and finally started heading north – we have quite a bit of that to do still. It took us about 90 minutes to get to the border crossing where we had a fairly short wait with only a couple of cars in front of us.

After the border, we were on highway 93 heading north until we intersected with highway 3 and started heading east, which is going the wrong way! At highway 22 we started heading north to Longview, and then west on 541. We spent the day zig zagging through the northern Rockies! Don’t forget that you can follow along live at

Along the way we saw a sign for the world’s largest truck, but it was unclear where to stop, so we ended up driving past it. I got a quick picture with my phone as we went by… Didn’t seem too huge to me.

Once we were on 541, we started to see lots of sheep on the road. Kim got some photos of Rocky Mountain Sheep, but we can’t get the photos off her iPhone without an internet connection. I’ll do a bit of research when I get internet tonight… I’ve got a nice solution with my Android devices using WiFi direct.

I did get a picture of some bighorn sheep with my phone. I was trying to get more, but Kim yelled at me for taking a picture and driving at the same time (technically I was stopped).

Finding our campsite was a little exciting. The GPS (and we thought the signage) took us to a parking lot by the lake. At first, we thought I had booked a walk in tent site…I don’t think they would have appreciated is putting the Jeep in 4wd low and “walking” it to the site. We got out and consulted a map they had posted, and it turned out we were in the day use area and had to go a little further down the lake.

You gotta like to see a sign like this when you pull into the campground! Originally, we did not bring any bear spray with us because we didn’t have a good way to store it in the car… The trading post here had a nice container that will keep it cool in the car, protect it from damage, and hopefully contain any leaks. So we bought one (and some bear spray to put inside it)

Or campsite was nice. Located next to a stream and very private.

We went for a walk. They have a nice paved hiking/biking trail that goes through the park. There was a cool little bridge that crossed the creek.

Once we got down to the lake, there were some pretty spectacular views.

For dinner, we roasted pork chops over the campfire.

And the finishing sunrise/sunset photo…I forgot I had this screen on my watch and I like it a bit better because it has the twilight hours as well.

Arctic Adventure Day #3

Happy 4th of July! We got showers this morning! Ok, we only camped for one night before hitting a hotel, but having a shower in the morning is always nice.

We had kind of a lazy morning today. Ate leftover pizza for breakfast in our room and walked across the street to hang out with relatives before heading off to lunch.

Whenever we visit Montana, we always look forward to hitting The Staggering Ox for some awesome sandwiches. However when we arrived today, it was closed!

We tried across the way at HuHot Mongolian Grill. It was a pretty cool place… You filled up bowls with your meat and veggies.

Then handed them over to the cooks, who fried them up right in front of you.

Once your food is done, they plate it for you and you take it back to your table to eat.

After lunch and a quick trip to the store, we hung out by the lake for a bit. Kim’s Aunt and Uncle stopped by on the party barge… We didn’t go for a ride, but I grabbed a quick 360 photo.

Here is a 360 photo from the end of the dock.

Even Tundra the polar bear was getting in on the lake action.

After the lake, we went over to the RV park for dinner with the relatives. Say around the food and hung out for a couple of hours before the fireworks got going. Then it was back to the hotel room and bed… We have a fairly long day tomorrow.

I forgot to post sunrise/sunset from yesterday, so here it is today.

Arctic Adventure Day #2

Not much to talk about today…I should have taken pictures of our bacon and egg breakfast. It was a little cool in the tent last night – our double sleeping bag had a summer side and a winter side and we were set up for summer. The outside air temperature was in the low 50s, see we will be using the winter side from now on!

It rained most of the time during the drive, so we didn’t stop much – once for a Diet Coke in the morning, and another time to grab a quick sandwich for lunch. This was the exact same route that I did last year, and didn’t have much to say then either –

I did take a picture of Tundra looking over the Clark Fork River at lunch.

As you can see looking at the water, it is starting to rain again.

To get the full effect, here is a 10 second video during drive today.

Once we arrived at Flathead Lake, we quickly checked into our hotel room and ran off to a pizza dinner with the family. Afterwards, we stopped at Walmart to pick up a few supplies, visited Kim’s sister for a little bit, then it was off to bed.

Weather on the 4th is supposed to be much better! Hopefully the rain is done.

Arctic Adventure Day #1

We are on the road! The trip started out with a bit of a hiccup – I fat fingered something on my GPS and it reset the driving profile. It took me a few minutes to fix it… Fortunately I didn’t lose any of my route data.

Day #1 was pretty unexciting for us. Most of the drive covered areas we’ve been through many times. The weather was kind of mixed… Sprinkles here and there and some gusty winds to add excitement to the driving.

We stopped for lunch at the Blue Lake rest area, just South of Sun Lakes State Park. This whole area is very rugged.

A few miles down the road, we made another stop at the Dry Falls Visitor Center. It wasn’t real big, but it was very nice. There were displays that discussed how the coulees in the area were formed, as well as a lot of history about how the catastrophic flood theory came to be accepted. It also had a great view of Dry Falls.

From there, we motored on to one of the ferries crossing the Columbia. We did not time things well, and just missed the ferry, so we had to wait a bit for it to return. I did take a picture of Tundra the polar bear enjoying the ride once we made it on.

When I rode my motorcycle to the Arctic circle a few years ago, I took a picture of my GPS with the sunrise and sunset of the current location every night. I figure I’ll do the same this time… Hopefully we’ll make it to the point with no sunrise our sunset – hopefully Garmin tested this case.

We are camping at the Gifford Campground on Lake Roosevelt for the night. We spoke with the campground hosts to buy some firewood, but apparently they are not allowed to sell things at national forest campgrounds. Fortunately, they were kind and gave us a couple of logs from their stash.

That’s about it for today. No internet here, so this probably won’t get posted until later in the day tomorrow.

Starting a new adventure!

This time up is an epic Arctic adventure. We’ve put a tent on up of our Jeep, and the goal is to take the new road up to Tuktoyaktuk, NWT and camp on the shore of the Arctic ocean…. Maybe even take a quick swim :).

This post is going to be a quick description of our route. We will be using an inReach to track our location – you can follow along at I’ve preloaded our route on spotwalla (the link) and you can go there to drill into the route in detail. I’ve included some screenshots so you don’t have to jump back and forth.

Section 1: Reservations

This first section I am calling Reservations because it is happening during the first week of July and we made lots of reservations due to Canada Day and 4th of July… We figure it might be tough to get campsites or hotel rooms.

We’ll start off at our house and take the two Columbia River ferries to a campground in Eastern Washington. From there we’ll head over to Flathead Lake to hang out with relatives for the 4th. Then it will be north to Banff and Jasper.

Section 2: Head North!

At this point all of our reservations will be done… So, we’ll see how long we stick to our plan. From Jasper, we’ll head up to Dawson Creek (milepost 0 of the Alaska highway) and jump on the Alaska highway. We’ll follow until Watson Lake and turn onto the Campbell highway. At the end of the Campbell highway, we’ll head north on the Klondike loop toward the Dempster where we’ll head to Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk and the Arctic ocean (maybe the swimming should be skinny dipping).

Section 3: Time to go see the bears.

Once we’ve camped on the Arctic ocean, we’ll head back down the Dempster to Dawson City. From there, jump on the ferry across the Yukon River and on the Top of the World Highway to Alaska. Eventually that will intersect with the Alaska highway where we’ll head back to Watson Lake. At Watson Lake it will be time to head south on the Cassier highway down to Stewart/Hyder where we hope to see a couple of cool glaciers and watch the bears.

Section 4: Heading Home

We will do some fairly long days heading home from Stewart. We’ll drive through Prince George and then South through the Frasier River valley and on to home.

Full Route

I really only expect this plan to stay in tact through our reservations, after that we’ll play it by ear. The Dempster can get pretty nasty when it gets wet, so we may have to wait for a break in the weather, which will add time to our trip our make up shorten up the end of the drive.

Hopefully I’ll be writing from a campsite tomorrow!

Glacier – Banff – Jasper Day #6

Well, this is going to be a fairly short entry today. We rounded the corner toward home, but still saw some pretty cool stuff.

We almost rode past the Mount Robson visitor center, but the timing worked out with our normal rest break interval, and I also happened to peek over my shoulder as we approached (and saw the mountain, which was pretty cool).

I didn’t know anything about this place until we rode through. The visitor center has some nice exhibits, you need to go downstairs to see them (I didn’t think it was marked very well).

A picture of the old man from the visitor center parking lot.

Mount Robson with the peak obscured by clouds.

Need to color correct these next two when I get home. The grizzly bear exhibit was set up so you could look down it’s throat.

Apparently grizzly bears like coffee. I don’t think my aluminum panniers would have a chance.

I didn’t get any pictures, but they had a bunch of the local gamefish mounted as well. Another exhibit explained how the Rocky Mountains were formed.

As we headed further south, we started to get in the smoke again. Just enough to obscure the views. We stopped for lunch in Blue River at the helicopter lodge. At this point we decided we were making good time and booked a hotel room in Merritt, which is about 45 miles south of Kamloops.

The stretch between Kamloops and Merritt was a little bit hairy. We had strong cross winds and I was getting pushed around a bit. There were a couple of instances where I had to slow way down. It definitely pushed me a bit out of my comfort zone – I had the death grip going…

The hotel we picked is brand new… So new that the room still smells like fresh paint. Tomorrow, we’ll eat or complementary breakfast before blasting home. We are close enough that we should be home by lunch and miss the afternoon traffic.

Glacier – Banff – Jasper Day #5

Man was our room hot last night! It got to the point that my dad had to go find the ice machine to keep his medicine cool. Didn’t have too much trouble sleeping though.

We got a bit of a late start today. We slept in late and had a sit down breakfast at the hotel restaurant. By the time we got our bikes loaded and were on our way, it was 11a. The plan for today was to ride the Icefields Parkway, which isn’t terribly long, and we had camping reservations near Jasper, so leaving late was not a big deal.

Our first stop was to see Lake Louise. It was a zoo and the parking was crazy! Fortunately, motorcycles get front row parking. 🙂

Most of the water up there is a cool blue color.

After that, it was time to hit the Icefields Parkway. Banff had most of the mountains and ice.

This is Bow Glacier and Bow Glacier falls.

Look, another glacier.

The old man taking some scenery pictures.

Even the rivers were blue.

Cool mountain… Didn’t even get off the bike to take this one.

Once you cross into Jasper National Park, you come to Columbia Icefield.

To give a sense of scale, those dots on the left side of the glacier are big tour buses.

And that was just about it for glacier. The rest of the ride north was through forested land with rigged mountains on either side, although it was not as impressive as the ride through Banff National Park.

We stopped at Sunwapta Falls Lodge for a late lunch… So late, that we should dinner.

We pulled into our campsite around 5p. The campground is huge, and the sites don’t have a lot of privacy. It does have nice bathrooms with running water.

Tomorrow we head toward home! Our goal is to get to Kamloops tomorrow and stay in a hotel so we can get an early start Thursday and beat the afternoon traffic.