Back in the Lower 48!

My last post had us parked in Whitehorse at the Walmart, along with a bunch of other RVers.  We watched some TV and got some sleep.   Since there wasn’t a lot of sun, Bill ran the gennie for awhile before we took off in the morning.  

It was an easy drive to Watson Lake.  Road conditions were better and we made good time.  We arrived at the familiar gravel lot where we stayed with Linda & Steven on the way up by about 4:30pm – not too bad at all.  We thought we might go check out the Visitor Center but it was closed, as was the Northern Lights Center.  So – after a short walk through Sign Post Forest (found our friend PoPo’s sign!), I worked on my blog and Bill took a walk to check gas prices since GasBuddy wasn’t registering any recent updates.  We made dinner of left over beef stew and settled in for a mini Merlin marathon.  

At some point, I think while waiting for the stew to get hot, Bill said he thought he would like to make a sign.  He remembered that he had a long skinny piece of cedar we could use.  Ok – let’s make a sign!  

We were up by 7:30am and Bill went out to start the gennie.  Between the lack of sun and us being so far north, we aren’t making a lot of solar.  

He found the piece of wood fairly easily and I wrote (lightly) with a pen what we decided to put on it.  He then took the sharpie and wrote over it – making it permanent.  He then got the ladder and screws and the cordless drill and went to hang the sign.  

So – we have left our mark in the World Famous Sign Post Forest!  Joining (literally) thousands of others leaving evidence of their passing through!  

We headed out toward Fort Nelson – it was going to be a long day!

We weren’t far outside town when we had our first wildlife sighting!  Bison!  

As we got nearer to our planned lunch stop at Muncho Lake (one of our fav places!) we spotted some caribou!

We started seeing snow shortly after lunch.  At first it was just on the closer mountains (you see on further away distant mountains all summer), but soon was getting closer to the road.  It sure was pretty!  Then we saw a second herd of caribou!   

Just a little while later – around the Summit Lake area – a grizzly was moosying along the side of the road!  He/she even posed for me!

We did run into some snow showers at the highest elevation, causing me a bit of worry.  Bill slowed down and we had no issues at all.  He assured me if it started to stick to the road and/or he felt like it was getting slippery at all, he would find a place to pull over, but we had been watching the weather and we knew we would drive right back out – which we did.  While the snow did make me nervous, it sure was pretty to see!  First time we’ve seen it since winter 2014!  

That same section of road was where we had some of the best animal sightings on the way up and this trip didn’t disappoint either!

In Fort Nelson, the first order of business was to use their free community dump/water station. Next up – fuel!  As we pulled into the station and up to the pump – the little alarm sounded we were low on fuel – perfect timing!  (We had been monitoring and have the 10 gallons of “peace of mind” in the back of the truck!).  The gas attendant told us about parking across the street in the parking lot – truckers do it all the time!  Ok – where to park – box checked!  

In the morning after running the gennie for awhile, we were on our way to the next stop – Dawson Creek – the beginning – or end for us going out – of the Alaska Highway.  I was hoping it would be a better weather day – silly me!

We found our way to the Whitehorse Walmart easily and got parked.  We got Callie inside and got the heat on and headed in for a few things and to stretch our legs!  Too cold to walk around outside!  Last time we were here we stayed 2 nights – this time we will only be here one.  We still have a minimum of 3 more nights before getting to Montana, could be as many as 5.  Not sure yet!  

Here a couple of cute pics of Callie to make you smile!

Ok – just one more – couldn’t narrow it down to 2!

When we left Dawson Creek – we were heading for new territory!  We had come up through British Columbia from WA State, but are leaving through Alberta and Montana.  We had originally hoped to head down the Icefields Parkway (through the Canadian Rockies) but ultimately decided a quick exit was a better idea.  Considering how much snow we’ve already seen – I think that’s the best plan.  

Thankfully our drive to Whitecourt, Alberta Walmart was a piece of cake compared to the 2 previous days.  Sun shining and fairly flat – no massive mountain climbs or descents!  There were some bumps, but again, nothing compared to the previous days.   Lots and lots of farm land, a complete switch from the snow capped mountains we had gotten used to and love to see!  

This is what we woke to:

In case it’s hard to tell – it is only frost not snow – it had gotten down to 23 degrees!  Maybe we should have had the Heartland “Yeti” package added!

Our drive to Edmonton was a short one.  We had decided – ok mostly I had decided – to stay at a real FHU CG!  We were parked and set up by noon!  Ah!  I had originally wanted to stay 2 night, then one or two in the Calgary area before crossing back into the good ‘ole US of A.  The weather, however will not quit so instead we will be one night here and one night near Calgary.  

My friend, Tracy, had blogged about stopping at Glowing Embers CG and visiting West Edmonton Mall.  I haven’t been to a mall in – I’m not fully sure – over a year – too long!  West Esmonton Malls claim to fame is its North Americas largest mall.  Couldn’t pass that by could I?  What kind of woman could do that?  Not this one! 

It did not disappoint! 

I took these first 2 pics b/c this company “Garage Clothes” did a photo shoot right on Kenai Lake on Jan’s (Gary’s neighbor) property.  While we were there!  Our co-workers Beagle was in some of the pics!  The background in the photo is Kenai Lake – how cool is that?  

This mall has an indoor amusement park, an ice skating rink, a water park and so many places to eat I lost count.  There’s a HUGE food court with those “quick food” type places and also BRBN St with pub style, sports bar and comedy club type places.  Best mall ever! Oh! And a sea lion show!  I’m not a huge fan of captive wild animal shows – but when we went by – the audience full of kids with their parents were loving it!

Our last stop in the mall was dinner at Sherlock Holmes Pub in the BRBN St section.  It’s a local Edmonton eatery that has pub fare.  Was very yummy!  

Look what we saw as we exited the mall!

And back at the CG – wise decision to only stay one night!  

We enjoyed a leisurely morning, baked ziti is ready for the oven, black tank got rinsed, and there was no rushing around. We were hitched and leaving out around 1pm.  Our destination: Calgary.  3 1/2 hours – not too bad!

Unfortunately we hit some bumper to bumper traffic.  Took 45 mins to go 5 miles – this is why:

Our boondock site for the night was the driveway of a loyal blog followers and fellow RV Dreamers, Helen & Pat.  When they learned we would be going through their area – they generously extended an invitation to us, which we gratefully accepted.  We love meeting up with future full-timers.  

Helen & Pat have a beautiful home!  We enjoyed Happy Hour and dinner and talked way into the night!  We also met their daughter and son-in-law-to-be, Charlotte & Alex and their dog, a German Shepherd pup, Luna.  

We woke in the morning to a new dusting of snow. 

We chatted again while having our morning coffee – tea for Helen & Pat.  Check out this great view from their dining room

 Too soon it was time to lift our jacks and bid them farewell – til we meet again!  Thank you Helen & Pat for opening your home and hearts to us!  

This was a BIG day!  Crossing back into the lower 48!  Good ‘ole USA!  While we still have a lot of miles in front of us – it is a huge milestone!  We crossed into British Columbia, leaving the lower 48, on May 4 – over 5 months ago!  

last pic in Alberta, Canada

Thankfully the crossing went well – no glitches – for a total of 8!  I do feel the need to mention that the Border Patrol Customs Agent was pretty grumpy!  “Are you SURE you don’t have any fire arms?”  He also wanted to know about my produce – romaine lettuce, carrots and radishes.  No fruit – oops – strawberries!  

first pic in Montana!

I will get this posted and pick up next time leaving the Sam’s Club here in Great Falls, MT

I’ll leave you with this cool pic of a swam of some type of small birds.  Chat soon!

21 thoughts on “Back in the Lower 48!

    1. Thanks! It was a beautiful drive – snow wasn’t sticking at all! We did have a short time of “snow fog” (not sure if that’s the right term) but it passed fairly quickly.

  1. Sooooo happy you are “home” safe and sound! You did good boondocking on your way back, and how nice to have friends take you in on a cold, snowy night. Stay safe and happy travels! We heart you guys!

  2. Your blog was amazing! Hard for me to imagine my being that brave! Stay safe and welcome back!

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed your post. Drive safe you guys. Good meeting you this summer!

  4. Kelly, love, love the pictures. Especially the bear picture and the pictures of Callie. They did make me smile. I want to go to that mall. That place looks amazing. I think the pictures of the snow are beautiful but glad that is not me. LOL. It was 45 here in Maryland this morning and I am freezing. Safe travels.

    1. Thanks Chris! I love taking of Callie – she is so cute! Very photogenic kitty! Maybe I should get her a FB page – she could be the next Grumpy Cat! Ha! The mall was awesome! We walked the whole thing! It’s 42 where we are now and it feels like a heat wave! The snow is beautiful but hate it on the roads!

  5. I think the amusement park in the mall idea started with the Mall of America in MN. The mall in Edmonton is newer and bigger, it is like a competition! People in cold climates like to build big! The Mall of America was built just after we moved to MN and I had 3 little boys at the time. It was great in the cold winter months, especially LegoLand! We lived about 40 minutes south of the MoA. And if you like to walk a lot you can do laps.

    Glad you made it OK! I think We will leave AK in early September next fall!


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