I have not posted since last Thursday, so this will be rather long as I try to catch up. We are now in MN where yesterday we picked up our new 19 foot 5th wheel Scamp travel trailer. After we picked it up we boon docked in the Wal-mart parking lot. We wanted to make sure everything was working properly before we start our journey back to MS. It's a good thing we did that because the gas water heater was burning so hot that it blackened the outside grate covering of the trailer. As soon as we noticed the problem we turned the heater off. This morning we went back to the Scamp factory and they said there was too much air in the mixture. They made an adjustment and hopefully it will be OK. They easily removed the blackening on the grate.
Summary from last Thursday to yesterday:
Thursday afternoon the drove our truck onto the ferry that would take us from Haines, AK to Prince Rupert, BC. The ferry holds about 88 vehicles depending upon size. There is also room for over 400 passengers. Our original plan was to sleep on the floor in one of the lounges. This is a common practice with many passengers. Once we looked around and saw how everything was arranged, we decided that we would not want to do that and we were lucky that there was one 2-person cabin left. The cabin had bunk beds and a restroom and the price was right.
This ferry ride was 36 hours and went through the beautiful inside passage. By taking the ferry, we cut off a significant amount of driving time and mileage. Since we no longer had our travel trailer in which to sleep, we also would have had to pay for motel rooms.
One of the highlights of the ride (for Hollie) came Friday morning when he was up and in the forward lounge early enough to see an estimated 70 whales, including humpback and orca, as well as dolphins. Also, the small towns where we stopped were absolutely beautiful. The amazing thing is that these places even exist because the only way you can get there is by boat or plane. But then, this is Alaska and it is just the way it is. There are very few miles of road in this very huge state.
We arrived in Prince Rupert at about 5:30 am and immediately started driving toward Backus, MN. We made about 450 miles the first day. Along the way we saw a couple of black bear and many lakes and rivers where people were camped and many were fishing. This past Monday was a holiday in many Canadian provinces and these people take their 3 day weekends seriously. The second day we also drove about 500-600 miles. We planned to do 400-600 miles each day and take 4 days to drive the distance of over 2000 miles. That did not work out. We had planned to stay the 3rd night in Minot, ND. We were unaware that there had been serious flooding in that area, with the displacement of many residents. That, coupled with an oil and gas exploration surge, meant that there were no rooms available.
I started calling various motel chains and found that the nearest reasonable rates were for motels in Fargo or Grand Forks. We decided to go for Fargo, which meant that we had to drive between 800-900 miles on Monday. The good news is that we were able to drive the remaining 100 plus miles yesterday and able to pick up our trailer a day early and save that night's motel bill.
We will probably say close to Backus another night---just in case we have any additional issues with the hot water heater or anything else. Then, we will probably head for Fayetteville, AR for a couple of days to visit my sister. We should be home in a week or so.
On the exercise front---neither Hollie nor I had done any running, walking or biking for 4 days so it felt good to get out and run. Right next to the Wal-mart where we boon docked was a hike/bike/cross country ski trail. I walked 1.25 miles and ran 5 miles. The temperature was somewhere between 70-80 degrees and since we had been exercising in Alaska in much lower (sometimes actually cold) temperatures, this was quite a shock. I am going to be in deep trouble when I get home where todays high is supposed to be 101.