Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

Karen and Al caught up to us in Whitehorse, after getting their 5th wheel repaired. They had no issues, despite all the bumps, potholes and frost heaves. Whitehorse is the last big city before arriving in Alaska, and there are plenty of things to see and do in the town. If coming through this area, you should definitely plan on spending a few days here.

While driving around downtown, there was a tall statute outside a hotel that caught my eye, so Dan was instructed to turn around and pull into the parking lot.

And then I found a fuzzier version of the RCMP the next day.

We did a quick exterior tour of the SS Klondike Riverboat, which was built in Whitehorse. It was used to carry silver-lead ore through the narrow, winding rivers. It is currently undergoing renovations. Hopefully it will reopen later this year, and maybe we will consider stopping at it when we come back through in August.

The riverboat paddle wheel was covered up by a tarp for repairs.

Lumel Glass Blowing Studios was another stop on our tour of Whitehorse. A young man was busy making a glass for a local real estate agent. She gives them out as gifts to clients. It took about 15 minutes to make the glass, and then it “cools” in a 500 degree oven for 9 – 12 hours. He did a nice job explaining the process as he was making it. He has been doing this for 15 years. They keep the doors open as much as possible, as it gets close to 100 degrees inside the building.

Heating up the glass
Blowing the glass

He was using various tools to shape/form the glass. Notice the woman behind him, heating up some glass in another oven.

The woman is adding what will become the base of the glass to the other piece.

I was surprised by how involved this process is. They have a lot of beautiful glass work on display, and they do many custom orders.

I did post a video of him making the glass on Instagram. For those not on IG, you can watch it here. If there’s no sound, you can “unmute” it on the bottom right corner of the video.

We also toured two museums, and I will do a separate post on those.

Quote of the Day: “Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.” – John W. Gardner

Current Status Updates

Today is Monday, June 13, 2022, and I’m going to give a current update on our travels. We are driving today from Teslin, Yukon to Whitehorse, Yukon where we will be for 4 nights, before making our final 387 mile stretch into Alaska. If all goes according to plan, we will cross the border for our summer stay in Alaska on Saturday, June 18th.

BUT NOT EVERYTHING GOES ACCORDING TO PLANS…

On Wednesday, June 1, Dan and I, along with our friends Karen and Al, arrived at Pink Mountain, British Columbia, for a quick one night stay. Unfortunately, Al and Karen noticed a serious issue with their Grand Design Solitude 5th wheel. There was a crack along the bottom on the front of their 5th wheel. And when they were hitched up, the crack expanded, indicating they may have broken a weld somewhere on the frame. This crack was not there the day before, so it happened while driving between Dawson Creek and Pink Mountain.

To make a long story short, Al made dozens of calls to try and find someone that could look at and repair their RV. He contacted many places in Fort Nelson, which was our next stop, but had no success. He was able to find a place in Fort St John, about 100 miles East of our location that would look at it, but getting it there safely was another issue. They have Good Sam Roadside Assistance (we use Coach-Net) and had a very positive experience with Good Sam in locating a towing company that could safely do the job of moving their RV. This is why having an RV specific roadside assistance program is an absolute must if you own an RV.

This is a sight you don’t want to see when RV’ing. Al had to drive the truck/5th wheel on to the flat bed. It’s the only way to get the 5th wheel on to the flatbed. Their dog Cody was not allowed to ride in the tow truck, and had to stay in their truck for the 100 mile drive.

Karen and Al wanted us to continue on our journey, so we said our goodbyes, and we have been traveling on our own since June 2nd when we departed Pink Mountain. I’m posting this now, because I’m happy to report that Karen and Al found a place that was not only willing to do the repair, but made it a priority and worked all day, every day on it for 5 days straight.

Here are some photos, from Karen and Al, of the damage. The weld broke on both sides, and the repair shop had to remove the damaged beam and replace it with a new one. The repair shop had to remove the skin and doors off the front panel of the RV. The circled area is where one of the two cracks occurred.

Here is a close-up of the damaged beam.

They had to remove the old beam, and put in a new beam.

It was a very extensive repair, but they are back on the road, and putting on a lot of miles to catch back up with us. Hopefully by Tuesday they will arrive in Whitehorse and we will be back traveling together.

Once we knew things would be repaired, we decided to stay in Teslin for a few days, to give them time to catch up. The campground here is nice, right on the water. And it has good wi-fi, so I have been able to get caught up on writing some blog posts. I have several ready to go in the next few days.

We have a nice view of the water from our spot. This campground fills up every night, and empties every morning. We have enjoyed watching the RV’s arrive and depart. There has been one issue that has come up during our stay.

You can see the lake off in the distance. Since we have arrived, it has rained and rained. The lake has risen, and has started to flood this campground. We are fine, but are happy to be leaving. Our lake view site is becoming a lake front site.

All of the white posts along the bushes in the photo below are the electrical posts for the waterfront sites.

They moved the picnic tables from those sites, but if the rain continues, they may need to move them again.

According to the weather forecast, the rain should stop by Wednesday. Hopefully the water will quickly recede and not cause any further issues for this campground.

Quote of the Day: “Every problem is a gift. Without them we wouldn’t grow” – Tony Robbins

Don’t Take Life For Granted

A few weeks ago my brother-in-law John, suffered a stroke. He is only 67 years young. Fortunately, my sister LuAnn realized his behavior was very erratic, and called 911. They live in the Dallas area, which has many excellent hospitals. The paramedics recognized his symptoms, and took him to Baylor University Hospital, a certified stroke facility. My sister was very impressed by how quickly the hospital staff treated him. When a stroke is suspected, timing is critical.

By clicking this LINK, you can learn more about the signs of a stroke. Please take a moment to do so, as you can help save a life. Remember to think F.A.S.T.

John is at home, and going through daily outpatient rehabilitation. It has been a slow process, and his long-term prognosis is not fully known at this time. My sister is remaining positive and just trying to take things one day at a time. If you are a praying person, I know they would appreciate keeping them in your prayers.

And if that isn’t enough for my sister to deal with, she is also trying to teach her daughter Alicia how to drive!

It has been a while since I have seen John, LuAnn and Alicia, so I do not have a recent picture. The one below is from a breast cancer walk that I participated in down in Dallas in October 2009 with John, LuAnn and Alicia. That little girl just to my sisters left in the pink head scarf is Alicia, now all grown up! (Watch out Dallas, she has a learners permit!) My sister has beaten cancer, so I know she has the strength to get through this.

 

Alicia, LuAnn and John

Two Sundays ago I learned from my sister Margie that her brother-in-law, David (a/k/a Lumpy), had suffered a heart attack. He is only 58, and is recovering after having a stent put in his artery . Please keep him and his family in your prayers as well.

 

And here is the link for recognizing symptoms of a heart attack.

Hearing things like these give me a lot of mixed emotions. I have debated writing about this for a while now, but it keeps gnawing at me, so I decided to post a blog. Normally I like to keep personal matters to myself. I feel very blessed that we have been able to fulfill our dreams and live the RV lifestyle. The number one reason we are out here doing this, is because life is not guaranteed. After working in a hospital, and seeing how quickly life can change, I just wanted to get out and live life. If I die tomorrow, I can die happy.

But, I just wish we were more mobile, so we could go and help out when needed. I would love to be able to drive down to Dallas and help my sister out. We would also be able to attend more events with family and friends, such as weddings, graduations, funerals, class reunions, baptisms, etc., which we have been missing.

I don’t have any regrets about what we are doing, and I certainly don’t want to go back to a stationary life living in a house full of stuff. I just need to start looking into other sources of income that we can do on the road. I need to find a ‘work from the RV’ job, so we can be more mobile.

I have been spending a lot more time pondering the value of life. Fortunately, cleaning cabins doesn’t require a lot of thought, so I just quietly scrub the toilets while I think about things. I am thankful that we do not have television out here in Moran, Wyoming. There is just too much ‘noise’ going on in the world right now. We spend too much time worrying about things beyond our control. Too much time on social media. Sometimes we forget what is really important in our lives.

So take some time and hug your loved ones. Give them a call, write a letter (yes, snail mail) and plan a get together. Just try to enjoy life! Don’t take it for granted.

Quote for the day: “I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine.” – Neal Armstrong

Just getting caught up

Wow, I didn’t realize it has been over a month since I last posted.  We have been in a ‘holding status’ down here in Florida.  About 6 weeks ago, Dan’s father stated his legs felt weak, and his mom took him to the local hospital, which then told him to go to the hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  As the day progressed, his weakness continued to worsen, and spread to his arms as well.  By the end of the day, he was essentially paralyzed, as he had no movement in his extremities.

He was admitted to the hospital, and several tests were run.  After a few days, he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and auto-immune disorder.  The doctors suspect this may have been a reaction to the flu vaccination that he received.  After 5 days of intravenous administration of high-dose immunoglobulin therapy, his nerves began to regenerate, which was a very painful experience for him.  He was transferred to the inpatient rehabilitation center at the hospital, and received 3 hours of daily physical and occupational therapy, and has slowly regained the use of his extremities.  Between the excellent therapists, and the fact that his dad is very competitive, he has made a remarkable recovery.  After 30 days of inpatient rehabilitation, he had progressed from no movement, to a wheelchair and finally to a walker.

He was discharged home, and continues making remarkable progress with outpatient therapy.  Currently he is using a cane, but has been walking small distances with no assistance.  The prognosis is for a full recovery!  Dan was able to fly back to Wisconsin and visit his dad in the hospital, and get some chores done around the house for his mom.  We had discussed winterizing the 5th wheel and returning back to Wisconsin, but they kept telling us to wait.  The reason we stay in Scottsmoor, Florida is to be close to the condo that they rent out in New Smyrna Beach.  They continued to be optimistic that they would return to Florida, and felt if we came back to Wisconsin, they would not get down to Florida. Time will tell if they will be able to make it down for a visit.  We will be here through March 27th.   One thing that helped out in his fathers recovery, is the fact he is very active, walking two miles every day prior to this illness.  The doctors stated his good health contributed to his quick recovery.  Taking care of our bodies now, can pay big dividends later.

2016-02-22

Lots of visitors

2--16-02-22 dad hospital

Mom, nephew Kyle, Dad and Dan

ODDS AND ENDS

We did manage a few visits to Walt Disney World, before our Florida resident pass that we bought last year expired.  In addition to the usual cast of characters roaming around, they are now heavily promoting Star Wars, with storm troopers roaming around the grounds.

 

In addition to meeting up with our friends Karen and Al at Disney, we were able to have a nice lunch with friends Forrest and Mary in Orlando, Dick and Cheryl in Cocoa  and watched the Super Bowl with Tom and Ellen. It’s always nice to be able to catch up with friends that you have not seen in months.   Unfortunately, I did not take any photos:(

Our neighbors in this RV park found a NuWave Pro Induction Oven at a rummage sale, and let me borrow it for a few days.  I know a few RV’ers who have these, and love them.  I was impressed by  the “as seen on TV” oven, and may consider purchasing one.  It did a great job with cookies.  It uses less electricity than the convection oven, and cooked them in about half the time.

DSC03572 (1)

 

 

DSC03574 (1)

The weather this year in Florida has been a bit cool, and the three month extended forecast is continued below average temperatures.  The Midwest forecast is for above average temperatures, so we may leave Florida and venture north after March 27th.  We will play things by ear, but we would like to get back to Wisconsin and spend some time with Dan’s parents, before our summer workcamping job.

Quote for the Day: “Looking after my health today gives me a better hope for tomorrow.” – Anne Wilson Schaef

 

 

 


					

Reflections of two years on the road

2 years ago I left my steady, stable job as a CT Technologist at a hospital and Dan left his 27 year teaching career for a complete unknown. Reflecting back, we continue to have no regrets about making the change. As much as we have experienced in the past 2 years, it seems as if we have only scratched the surface on what our great country has to offer.

Mt Rushmore from Hwy 244

Mt Rushmore from Hwy 244

Sometimes I feel we are traveling at a snail’s pace, especially when I read others blogs and they seem to be all over the country. But then I remind myself that we, hopefully, have so much time ahead of us to continue going at our own pace. Eventually we will “get there”. It truly is the journey, and not the destination, that is important.

The past two summers, working in gift stores in major tourist areas, I have encountered many people who learn of our lifestyle, and then say “but you are so young”. Sometimes I wonder if we should have kept on working, and saving more money, but that thought quickly passes! After 2 years on the road, we are able to do just fine with our work camping jobs. It certainly helps not having to pay a mortgage, gas, electric, water, sewer and property taxes. And we make sure to find jobs where we are paid for all hours worked, as well as having our site paid for.

I really enjoy living in a small space. I still have too many clothes and other things, so another trip to Goodwill is in order. If it has not been used in 2 years, it is time to let someone else have it collect dust in their house!

Our current location, West Yellowstone, has dozens of hotels/motels/cabins. Watching people load and unload their luggage makes me appreciate the fact we have everything we need with us at all times when we travel in our 5th wheel.

THINGS THAT I MISS

  • A “real” oven. After our first year, I have stopped using our propane oven. Even though it is very small in size, it takes about 30 minutes to heat up, and significantly longer to cook anything. A small batch of cookies takes about 30 minutes. It just became too frustrating to use. In the past year, I have been using our convection/microwave oven, with slightly better results. An electric home oven has 220 volt power, versus 110 volt power in a recreational vehicle. As such, it still takes longer to cook, but I can do a batch of cookies in about 20 minutes, with better results. And things brown better than in a propane oven. Some people use a stand-alone toaster oven for their baking, and have better results. If we ever purchase another RV, it would not have a propane oven.
  • DVR. We do not have satellite, and we certainly do not miss the big bill! We rely on over-the-air television, which can be hit or miss. We have discovered a lot of excellent shows on the PBS channels, which usually come in when nothing else does. But I do miss the ability to record television shows when we are working. We have thought about going “old school” and getting a VCR! (that’s a video cassette recorder for you young folks!)
  • Washer/dryer. We opted not to spend an additional $1100 for a stackable unit when we purchased our 5th wheel. Although we do not mind going to laundromats, we have several t-shirts that are now “tye-died” as a result of using public washers!
  • Unlimited and fast internet connections
  • Family and friends events.  We have missed some big events due to having to work in the summer.  But there were also times with our regular jobs that we could not make it to certain things.  We do try to get back to Wisconsin to visit with family and friends, so this does help.

REGRETS?

  • Zip, zero, nada!!!!

BEST PART OF OUR JOURNEY?

The people that we have met along the road, have been the number one benefit of this lifestyle. As an introverted person, this has truly been a blessing for me. It is very easy to live in a house and not get to know your neighbors. It is almost impossible to walk around a campground and not strike up conversations with others. Work camping is also a wonderful way to meet others, share experiences, and make life-long friends.

Cedar Key 1/14

Cedar Key 1/14

lunch with friends

lunch with friends

Tom, Jack, Ruth Ann, me, Dan and Ellen

Tom, Jack, Ruth Ann, me, Dan and Ellen

We have had some wonderful experiences.

snorkeling with manatees

snorkeling with manatees

Crazy Horse Memorial

Crazy Horse Memorial

Disney after Dark

Disney after Dark

And driven through some beautiful parts of the country!

no problem!

no problem!

Encountering wildlife.

Big Daddy

Big Daddy

And trying new experiences

a small waterfall behind us

a small waterfall behind us

Looking back through our photos over the past two years make us realize how much we have experienced. And we have only scratched the surface! Some of you have followed along on our journey from the beginning, and we thank you for that! Others have joined along the way. We are humbled that people follow along with us.

Quote for the  day:  “The less routine the more life.” – Amos Bronson Alcott