Back in the Lower 48

Posting from Alaska turned out to be a bit of a challenge. I had thoughts of long drive days and up to the minute posts of all the wonderful sights along the way. The idea of what the trip would look like and the reality ended up having no real relationship to each other. The trip was beautiful but there were not many days that internet or sitting in front of a computer screen were possible. We were busy moving almost every day often with no service at all. The view was incredible but most often seen from the passenger seat with the occasional stop at a pullout for a quick shot of “I was here”.

I hope to rewind and post back all the wonderful things we did and saw while we were there, but for now I will just say that it was all worth it. The long driving days, the less than perfect roads, the super high prices and the days and days with no “real” electricity or showers. We enjoyed driving through Canada and being in Alaska and especially traveling with friends. We also had the joy of seeing our oldest son and his girlfriend for nine glorious days of the trip. It was all amazing and a time I will never forget. For today it feels great to be parked in a site for more than 24 hours and to have city water, electricity and all the comforts of home.

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Jasper National Park

Just north of Banff National Park is Jasper and our next stop on the road to Alaska. The campground we stayed in did not have hook ups so we were on limited electricity with scheduled generator time from 8:00 to 9:30 am and 5:00 to 7:00 pm plus our limited water, so time to be very skimpy with cleaning. The site was beautiful surrounded by birch trees with a little path to our traveling companion’s site too.
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The town of Jasper is just a short drive from the campground with a bit slower pace and less crowds which made it very enjoyable for relaxing at the library with free internet and easy parking places for shopping and restaurants. We enjoyed several more hikes here. I think the hiking could be a full time job here and you would still miss some of these beautiful trails.
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Beautiful, Bustling Banff

Our first real stop on this journey to Alaska we stayed at Tunnel Mountain II in Canada’s first National park, Banff. The campground was gorgeous with views and full hookups. Loads of activities around the campground too. Our sight was lovely and we enjoyed a 5K hike that circles the campground.20140803-170018.jpg

In the town there was so much activity that it was difficult to find a parking place. The streets and buildings resembled a Swiss ski village with adorable little shops. We enjoyed the local brewery and a wonderful ice cream shop called Cows with possibly the beat ice cream in the world. Or so the sign said.

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The visitor center was extremely helpful and the girl who sold me my can of bear spray was entertainment in her own right.

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We hiked Lake Louise, which was unexplainably beautiful even in the rain and mud. And on our way back to the campground we took the old 1A Parkway and spotted bear just past the huge traffic jam. The cars piled up being a sure sign there is a bear within view.

20140803-171222.jpgBanff was a beautiful stay. We enjoyed finally being in one place for more than just a day and I think we all fell in love with hiking especially on the trails next to waterfalls like Johnston Canyon.

Watson Lake’s Signpost Forest

Along the Alaska Highway are many beautiful stops. One town called Watson Lake (the lake there is actually Wye Lake) has a very funky tradition of allowing travelers to post a sign there. It is larger than I imagined and with enough time you could probably find a sign from just about every place. The Mosquitos were out in forces so we didn’t linger as long, but well worth the stop over even for a quick sighting.

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Where to stay, Chicago

We spent the Fourth of July holiday in Chicago. A super fun and very busy place to be for the summer in general and the Fourth of July is no exception. Next time you are heading to Chicago and looking for a great place to park your house, and you don’t mind boon-docking, look up McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard. We had a blast staying there. It is really close to everything. We felt very safe inside the gated and guarded parking lot and even enjoyed a fun Zombie Run around the place for exercise. My mother, sister and the four of us all stayed here and even set up chairs in the parking lot to watch the trains go by. This place is right across from the lake and easy access to all things Chicago. On the day my sister left we watched her train whiz by and waved at her for a funny family memory. While we were in Chicago, some very good friends we met in Bahrain happened to be in the area during the same weekend and stopped in for a visit and to see our new home. It was just an all around thumbs up kinda stay. My Mom and sister even gave me the much sought after approval to my lifestyle by saying they can see now why we love this way of life. Our stay here included shows, museums and a local neighborhood Rib Fest. The McCormick Place Truck Marshaling Yard is a parking lot, so no frills, but for location and price it more than makes up the difference.


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Our home has been redone, finally.

I am super happy with the results of our remodeled home. My sister helped out with the choices and after much sewing and painting we have a very nice and comfy home on wheels. The pictures really don’t do it justice, but here are some closeups of my favorite things we did. If you want to see the comparisons head over to the Our Tiny Home tab where you can see the before and after shots. The bedroom has a tiny projector that flips up out of the way under the cornice and then flips down and gives us a huge screen to watch while we lay in bed. I found a great ottoman that the lid flips to be a seat or foot rest, then a coffee table too. I have a place to clip recent photos in my bedroom that reminds me life is good. And finally I have canvases all over the RV that are attached with velcro so that I can have works in progress the whole time we are on the road. I couldn’t be happier with the results. Now it’s time to head to Alaska.

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