Not all bad having a beer at 11:30 pm. , in total sunlight . Went to bed before midnight , it was still light out . I had Caribou sausage and eggs for breakfast , nice treat , won’t get that at Turtle Bay , not yet ” work on it Bart ” . Met 2 guys who deliver motor homes and campers , they were at the same hotel , I spoke with them over coffee . Possible new line for me , pick up and deliver service . The road up here is much worse that before , they mark the bad spots with flags , just a stake with orange ribbon , some times a sign . 2 Moose , a bear then a though it was a dog , no it was a fox , cool as shit . Not a small red fox , this was a thick haired blonde fox , maybe 20-25 lbs. . At the edge of the road , did not blink as I passed bye . With out music , you will fall asleep at the wheel , trust me . I need my old XM radio back , they don’t work up here , I looked it up before I left . I went to Dawson City , instead of going the southern route . I want to see the show here in town , plus go thru ” Chicken Alaska ” , yeah its tourist shit , but what the hell . I’ve been to worse !! Gas here in Dawson City is $ 1.59 , $ 6.30 a gallon , how much to Alaska ??????? The show at ” Diamond Tooth Gerrties ” was OK . Old school can can dancing , worth the $ 10 , what the hell . ” The Drunken Goat & Billie Goat ” were OK , not much to write about , sorry it was a let down . Down in Whitehorse , the ” Yukon Brewery has the saying , Its Worth Freezing For ” . I’ll drink it in the summer thank you , They had a good shirt , ” Chemicals and Additives are good for my toilet , not my beer ” but for $ 30 , I just copied the saying . Shit I payed $ 14.75 for a 6 pack , that was at the brewery . Anyway I’m 1 1/2 days to Anchorage from here , then who knows whats up next .
I should never mention gas prices , my fill up in Fort Nelson was , $ 1.45 a litter , $ 5.75 if you do the math .I heard last night at dinner , somewhere up the road , in the middle of nowhere , they get $ 1.95 , because they can !! The rest of the day was better , 1/2 hour out of town ,I saw a moose with a calf , crossing the road in front of me . I had just passed a flashing sign ,” bison on road , next 98 km. be carefull driving ” . After that was a black bear , moose , black bear with 3 cubs , more moose , deer and then the bison . Later I saw 2 brown bear , 5 bison together , then 2 bison literately on the road , walking down the other lane . In 60 miles I saw more wildlife , than the rest of the trip so far . I stopped for a bison burger , in Coal River , the lady said they get as big as 2500 lbs. Mostly 2 lane road up here , not a lot of traffic either . Stopped at Watson Lake for 10 min., this the original home of the sign posts , 1941 some guy put up a sign , pointing to his hometown and the mileage . There are over 70,000 sings now , I didn’t have a La Buena Vida sticker with me !! Tonight I’m in Teslin , Yukon , last night I saw a truck parked at the super 8 , a loaded down 4 door pick up , with new Maryland tags . I left a card on the drivers window , I have no idea where they are going , I would guess Alaska . So here I sit , drinking a $ 12 6pack of Molson . In the morning I’m off to Dawson City , another gold mining town with a long history . With places called , ” The drunken goat “, ” Billy goat pub ” and ” Diamond Tooth Gerties Saloon ” , you can’t go wrong . Then a short drive ( Ha Ha Ha ) into Alaska , I will be on ” The top of the world Highway ” . Tonight the sun ” sets ” at 11:09 pm. , it will still be light well after midnight , bright and early 4:45 am , get out the sunscreen .
After a 45 min. stop for gas ,” my bank froze the debit card overnight ” , not sure if it was stolen or not . I told them to just watch my site , they had no sense of humor . Any way onward , northward to the semi frozen land , today was a lot like yesterday . The landscape changes between , flat open fields , then lake country and mountains . It was after Bear lake , before I saw my first bear , small black guy by the side of the road . I was checking out the ski area , still had snow at 3000 ft. plus , I saw this bear plain as day . He was maybe 10 ft. from the hi way , walking in the snow , he might be a year old , not sure . That was the first of 4 for the day , all on the left side of the road , about 6 deer , 2 wild horses and no moose yet . Around this area are lots of forest , oil and gas workers . When I passed thru the town of , Chetwynd I though it was the biggest , lumber mill I had ever seen . Close to 100 acres , of logs in piles so big , Paul Bunyan would think they were , stacks of firewood . I’m in Fort Nelson now , Not much here but , oil and gas workers . Almost everyone that works here , are outsides , the whole staff at Boston Pizza next door , are non Canadian , except the manager . The 2 waitress were Danish , the bartender German and I could have spoken to the kitchen staff , in Spanish or Mayan . I knew gas was going to be expensive , not bad at $ 5 – 5.25 per gallon , not good either , but beer is insane , I should have smuggled in 20 or more cases . $ 10-18 per 6 pack , the cheapest beer was 10.50 plus tax , anything good was $ 14-15 . I’m just glad I don’t smoke , a pack of cigarets is out of sight , now I see why everyone smokes BC bud . The sun went down below the horizon around 9:30, but you could still read the paper till 11pm. outside . At 5am. you could get a tan , it was so bright .
I started out the day from , Bellingham Wa. From I-5 took the scenic road toward , mt. Baker , that brings me to the border crossing , in the town of Sumas Wa. The Canadian girl in the booth , had been to Tulum before , she even knew where Akumal was . 3 min. with her and I was on the road again . I was on the Hi Way in no time , bright green fields all around , snow caped mts. on both sides . An hour later, I started thru the Mt. route , 2 lane road winding along the river . Steep slopes tree covered , topped with snow , maybe 2 hours later , I stopped for a look at , ” Hells Gate ” . This is a narrow passage on the river , maybe 40 ft. across , the water comes from 3 rivers upstream , just like a funnel it runs thru Hells Gate . They say the water is , 160 ft. deep as it passes thru there . There is a tram that runs down, to a platform over the river , you can hear the water from the road . 2 more hours up the road and it all changes , it starts to lose the greenery , replaced by rocky cliffs . By Cache Creek , it is more flat meadows and farms . Still no Bigfoot sightings , but he does live around here . The weather was perfect , I’m still wearing Sandals , temp. was 75-80 all day , bright sunshine , no wind . I made it to the town of , Quesnel BC .There was a car parked in the hotel , with Kentucky tags , I was wondering if they were related , to Bart Or Dider , who else could be following me ?? Small town that you can walk the streets at night , I chose dinner and beer .
Well I’m almost there , right now I’m in Bellingham Washington , this is where I was born , long time ago Ah ! I have some last minute things, to do before I go across , that is if Rocky & Bullwinkle let me in Ah ! I think its about 3 days, to go from bottom to top of BC Ah !, then thru Yukon and out towards Alaska Ah ! The sun didn’t set till , after 9pm. tonight, I still have a way to go north , I’m going to need a watch and eye patches . I will not have phone service till, I get back to Alaskan soil . I’m not going to set up, 3 days of Canadian service just for this trip . I will fill in the blanks, from the trip up to here . So far so good, about 4500 miles under my ass, boy do I feel it ! Good beer and good time in, Bend Oregon , 10 Barrel Brewing, so good !!!!! More about them later !
See Ya Redbeard
Day 1 May 16th Akumal to Cardenas
. Left Turtle Bay Bakery 7:30 am. with pastries to go , breakfast on the road . Down to Tulum , then out west thru , Coba & Villadolid to Merida . Got stopped at the state police checkpoint , license and registration , just checking if your legal . Then off south thru Campeche and lunch in Champoton , Pelicanos 2 is my favorite . Whole fried Snook , with salad , I love that place . Its right on the water , the Gulf of Mexico is calm and the breeze is good . After lunch its off to , Ciudad Del Carmen , I was driving down the coast , with the Gulf on my passenger side , nice view , it was 2 hours of smooth road .From Ciudad Del Carmen , the next 2 1/2 hours , is 2 lane road , when this area gets flooded , the road is just above the water line . I made it to Villahermosa , before sunset , so off to the next town ,only 1/2 an hour away , I got into Cardenas before 8pm. The hotel was new , right next to the gas station , Internet was slow , nothing new from Telmex .
12 hours and 560 miles , not bad for the first day .
Day 2 May 17th Cardenas to Matehuala
Started at 6:45 am. Out the door and on the road , from Cardenas to Agua Dulce is toll road , nice and smooth , making time . After going thru Agua Dulce ,I’m back on the toll road till Acayucan , got off the toll road for breakfast . 8:30 am. and my favorite chicken shack was open . I love this place , they must go thru 200 or more chickens a day . With a full belly , I’m good to go . Toll road for 3 hours or more , all 4 lanes , all the way to the end . Then its off to , the mountain road , still 4 lanes , but thru the clouds . The climb is about 3000-3500 feet , winding around Orizaba . Today it was socked in , almost no vision , I was doing 20 mph , 30 at best . When I hit the top , I was feeling better , back up to speed . The toll road continues, past the VW plant in Puebla , then off to the bypass around Mexico Shitty . Too cloudy to see the volcano , popocatepetl , it has been erupting lately , I’ve seen it on previous trips , always smoke coming out . I made it to Queretaro , long before I expected too , off the toll road then past Santa Maria Del Rio , another good area in the mountains , I’ve stayed there before . When I got to San Luis Potosi , it was 6 pm. another 2 hours on the road , I would make Matehuala . I made the Hotel Las Palmas before 8 pm. once again , just before sunset . Great hotel , lots of people stay there , nice restaurant .
13 hours on the road . Good nights sleep , well needed !
Day 3 Friday May 18th Matehuala to Austin Texas
8am. good belly full , ready for the road . Toll road from here to Saltillo , then on 2 lane thru hills and valleys .Some small towns along the way , mostly open road . Monclova is the next big town , thats where my buddy Ed man is from . From there I’m only 3 hours, from the border , I still have 1 more town to go thru , Sabinas is the last real town before , Piedras Negras , I gassed up in Sabinas , one last time in Mexico . Piedras Negras is my crossing point , the US side is Eagle Pass Texas . I’ve crossed the border so many times , I should know these guys by name . After a brief search of the truck , the customs people were satisfied , no drugs – people or animals . Next stop Austin Texas , 4 hours later , I’m done for the day . Awesome BBQ dinner , a couple beers and say good night . Safe on the US side without any problems , once again .
12 hours on the road . Another good day !!
2000 miles done in 3 days , 4500 to go !!!
Day 4 Austin Tx for the day , make that 2 days .
Saturday was oil change and switch phone service , AT& T has the best coverage in Alaska and out west as well .
Sunday is my day to chill and repack , I don’t need 5 prs. of shorts , I will need some long pants , long sleeve shirts and leave my Mexican stuff at Wreckie’s place .
Day 5 Austin to Roswell Nm.
I’ve been thru Austin many times , going west is easy to get out of town . Stay on 290 going to the hill country , I passed thru several small towns , The big one is Fredricksburg , Czech and German immigrants, settled this area in the 1800’s , along with farming they brought sausage and BBQ . Many Texans don’t even know , who brought this style with them , from the old country . After that its , 60-75 miles to boring ass I-10 , the speed limit is 80 mph. so you can get past everything out there . If you run off the road , you might hit a cactus , so what !! When I got to Ft. Stockton , the route north was under construction , oh well , off thru Carlsbad then Roswell . Lots of oil fracking going on out there , I must have passed 60 or more , oil drilling trucks , plus countless pickups on the road . I was amazed at the airport in Roswell , as I drove in , their were a dozen or more 747’s , DC-10 ‘s and other large aircraft on the ground . I first though aliens , had gotten them , and this was there warehouse , not this time . Then I drove around to the entrance , it was a repair shop and storage lot . American Airlines must have , 75 planes or more , just sitting on the ground , waiting to be sold or scrapped , most were MD- 80’s . Older less fuel efficient planes , with more flight time on them . Some planes were just brought in , then ripped up for parts . On to the Best Western , drinks and a whirlpool are next . Best way to finish the day !!
Day 6 Roswell to Green River Ut.
From Roswell I took 285 north to I-40 , jumped off at I-25 north , then out thru Cuba and the 4 corners , I’ve seen this area before , not much interest , The place I wanted to go thru so bad , was Moab Utah . Last trip down from Seattle , I was amazed with the number of hotels , restaurants and shops . Turns out this is, the entrance to Arches national park , summer time is their , big money season , hiking – biking and rafting . The cheapest night in a hotel , was $ 129 plus tax , for something that was 40 yr. old , and looked like it . I went 45 min. up the road , to Green River Utah , just off I-70 . The Motel 6 was 3 years old , free wi-fi and $ 49 with tax . The hotel next door , was on the river with a restaurant and view . Sold out , just my luck , but the food was good .
Day 7 Green River Ut. to Parma Id
Utah has a lot of mountains and Mormons , passing thru any subdivision , you are likely to see more that 1 church , sometimes 3-4 . The elevation gets higher , the temp. drops , sometimes you see snow . Not this time , but it was colder , I’m still wearing shorts and flip flops . The wind was blowing me backwards , when you step out , you know how cold it really is . By 5 pm. I was at Karl & Suzie’s house , just outside of Parma , Idaho . They still run the family farm , its been in Karl’s family for generations . This year they have Potatoes ,Onions and Wheat seed . Come September , I’ve got a job driving a truck , a field truck that is , never done it before !! How bad can I screw up , drive down the field ,stay next to a harvester , don’t try to race him for the barn . Anyway we had a blast , took off across the bridge , to Oregon , had dinner with Fred & Kathy , more of the Akumalic crowd . Great dinner at Bob’s Steakhouse and” Tavern or Saloon” ?? Karl & Suzie’s house is right, on the Snake river , ” You can see Oregon from their house ” plus lots of deer and critters . Suzie packed a to go basket , in case I got lost , or was about to starve to death . Venison peperoni sticks and salami , with crackers !! Karl is no skinny farmer either , never trust one of them !!
Day 8 Parma to Bend Oregon .
When I left Idaho , it was 63 and sunny , that was before noon time .The drive to Bend , winds thru a mountain pass , nice river next to the road . I have no idea what the speed limit was , when the first cop passed me , he did hit the brakes . Lucky for me , that’s all he did ,then right behind him was another Oregon state trooper . So far so good , I’ll stick to less than 65 mph. Before I even got to Bend , about 45 min. out , the temp. started dropping , then I saw snow flakes , oh well a couple flakes , then less then 10 mins. it was white outside , the sides were covered , then there was slush 2 in. thick on the road . Mind you I’m still wearing , sandals and a t-shirt , what an idiot !! 5 min. before Bend , 48 degrees and cloudy , what a time . In Bend I stopped at the Shell station , this one you have to Goggle , check out ….. The Balloon Guy Kent Couch . He fly’s from the gas station , to Idaho in a lawn chair with helium balloons , every year he does this , around the 4th of July , I’ll go by car thank you !! I met Tami, at the 10 Barrel Brewery in Bend Or , 541-585-1007 , they have some great handcrafted beer , I love a good IPA , the best was , Apocalypse . For food I had the Lamb Burger , feta cheese and cranberries mixed with ground Lamb . My waitress Kate , said the Pesto Potato salad was awesome , oh god was she right !! I almost licked the bowl , that was the best I’ve ever had , just the right mix ! ” Get on it Bart ” you know people up there , send somebody in !
Last Day in The US
From Bend , I went north to visit , my aunt Jean and her husband Terry . They have driven to Alaska by motor home , not to miss anything , I took notes . Damm good thing I did , they had the best spots to see , places to stay . Just out side of Tacoma Washington , I saw my uncle Leigh , he also lives in Mexico , during the winter , he and his wife Lynn have been traveling by car for 10 years or so . They have 3 dogs , which is hard to do by plane . It seems everyone in my family, just has to travel no matter who they are . Off to the hotel !!
As Willie Nelson said ” I’m on the road again ” , I should have this as my theme song . This trip is from Akumal Mexico , to Anchorage Alaska , starting May 16th 2012 . I’m driving a pick up back to Alaska for a client , Bill and Renee drove down 3 years ago . This has always been on my bucket list , just to go to Alaska , better yet drive there , best of all get paid for it . It should be about 2, weeks more or less , door to door , 6500 miles or 10,000 km. Summer is just starting, by the time I get there , still cool but nothing like where I am now . If all goes well , I will stay for the summer , work my way around the state . I’ll do my best to keep this updated , I’m going to wear out a camera . Please feel free, to pass this blog around , like prison money . Thanks Redbeard