Tuesday, October 14, 2014

On the Road Home

Back to Beaumont means a three week road trip with no time for blogging. Fireweed has gone to cotton. There is termination dust on the Alaska Range. And moose hunting season has opened. We stopped at the Buffalo Drive In for ice cream and met a hunter returning with his supply of meat for winter. I didn't like moose's eyes, but the bags of meat were a welcome sight to Alaskans. Joseph is eating a cone. Alaska boasts the largest per capita consumption of ice cream in the U.S.
Three nights we were blessed to see an Aurora. The temp was in the low 30s. There was no moon and the stars were brilliant. Notice the big dipper. The silky, gauzy bands of green, touched with pink, rippled across the sky.
The morning before we left the camp, the temp was 22 degrees and there was a scattering of sleet.
 My favorite trail exploded with color as the high bush cranberries and fireweed leaves turned deep red. Yellow aspen brightened the trail through paper birch and spruce.
Closing up camp involves draining water lines, cleaning and securing cabins and preparing the building and grounds for freezing weather and snow. Leaving the camp, we drove to Tok to the Mission Resource and Training Center.
I've sent many pictures of MRTC but this one shows part of the massive stacks of firewood necessary for winter. Mission teams through out the summer cut 14 cords of wood and split it for the wood stoves. The logs were not pre-cut but arrived in 40 foot lengths, that's full sized trees with the branches cut off. Thank you!! chainsaw operators.

Leaving Tok we traveled through the Yukon, making stops in Whitehorse and magnificent rest areas. Our mandatory stop in Watson Lake allowed me to add 2014 to my sign in the Sigh Post Forest. As of last September there are over 79,000 signs here now. Some posted by travelers from as far away as Russia and China.

The Martins are stopped by a Bison Jam.  These big fellas know they have the right-a-way and will walk right along side the vehicle. Sassie's barking didn't faze the big bull who strolled along the passenger side window.

Our route south from Watson Lake took us a different direction through Chetwynd, British Columbia.
 In 1992 the city decided to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the building of the AlCan Highway and commissioned the chainsaw carving of the bears. Interest in chainsaw art grew. In 2005, Chetwynd hosted it's first annual chainsaw carving competition. Today carvers come from as far away as Japan and Wales. The town boasts over 120 huge log sculptures through out the town.
This Canadian alligator is twice my height! Look out Texas 'gaters.

The Native American and Grizzly are life-sized and intricately carved. An eagle with spread wings is on the bear's back

One of the loveliest carvings is a bench with the wings and bodies of two eagles. A reference to Isaiah 40:31 is carved in the back of the seat. Lynne is perched  on an eagle's back.
Leaving Canada, we stopped in Bellingham, Washington, where the Martin's continued south. I had a complete brake job done on the rear of the RV. Gravel, silt, and sand had ground the disks down. (other terms, I didn't understand). The brake shop got me back on the  road a day later.
 I crossed the Rockies in Washington, Idaho, and into Montana, and on to Yellowstone.

To my disappointment the campground near the north entrance was full and due to resurfacing, and closed roads it would have taken several hours to creep to the southern campground which was filling fast. I snapped this photo of an Elk at the Northern entrance. He's in front of the little town of Gardner.
Through Billings the rain turned colder and gusty. Reaching Casper, Wyoming Walmart, I discover a low tire and headed to a tire shop. The valve stem of and inside dual had sheared off and was flat. The outside dual had been taking the pressure and was beginning to  separate. Again the Lord protected me by getting me off the road and into a shop without a major blow-out.
Leaving Casper, I spent the night at a Harvest Host fruit farm. this was a pick-it-yourself farm with a huge field of pumpkins, fruit trees and grapes. I arrived to late in the evening to pick, but enjoyed a quiet evening boon docking.
From Wyoming south through Kansas, Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle, the summer heat "welcomed" me. I missed the Alaskan weather!
A cool front followed me into Beaumont, but soon Texas weather returned: hot and humid. I'm glad to be home, and look forward to another mission trip in the future.