2011 Camping Plans

May 16th, 2011

Check out camping 2011

Labrador Map

March 29th, 2010

Road completed

We have decided to leave MA and go up thru NH into Quebec.  We will visit Quebec City and then head NE along the St Lawrence until the road heads more north and then to Labrador City.  From there we will cross Labrador to Happy Valley-Goose Bay.  After visiting there, we will head down the new road and eventually to the ferry to Newfoundland.   After a long visit to many areas of Newfoundland, we will take the ferry south and visit PEI and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. 

Originally we were thinking about doing a counterclockwise loop, but this makes more sense for us.  If we run out of time, we can  go back to the lower provinces more easily than going back to Labrador.

To follow along, we will go back to putting the blog into catagories by provinces - or states.

Fishing

February 22nd, 2010

Fishing in Alaska really  got me thinking about fishing again.   Thirty years ago in the Adirondacks, I used to fly fish for trout, but I dislocated my shoulder several times playing basketball, and fly fishing aggravated it.   I stopped fly fishing and did spin fishing and when we moved to the coast, did quite a bit of salt water fishing, everything from flounder to stripers and blues and even deep water cod.

I caught some reds on streamer flies fished from a spinning rod during a run on the Kenai.  A fly rod would have worked better - even for the combat fishing.   I also watched a guy take a bunch of trout on a fly rod on another part of the river.

This fall, I noticed an ad for a lesson on fly fishing at the Bass Pro shop in Foxboro (MA) and went up.  It was the first time I tried out a graphite fly rod - a 5 weight.    It didn’t bother my shoulder at all and I can still cast.    They also had some fly tying lessons and I took a couple.   Now I  am tying flies and have a 5 wt rod that is ready for spring.      I am thinking about trying out one of the bigger Switch Rods.

Switch rods were developed from the big Spey rods that are used on big rivers like the Spey  in Scotland, they are 2 handed 15 ft. rods.  Switch rods can be switched from one handed to two handed and are more like 11 ft. long.  Most are fished two handed and they are very handy for anyone with shoulder problems, or people that want to cast farther with less effort.    The right hand is more like a pivot point and the left hand can do the major work.    I would like a 7 or an 8 weight - something heavy  enough  for bigger rivers and possibly  light salt water.  They would cast bass bugs and big streamers - they are also great for nymphing with indicator flies.

Our plan of going to Newfoundland and then driving across Labrador will certainly include some fishing.  In labrador, it should be possible to find some waters that aren’t fished much - especially along the new road.

Home

August 2nd, 2009

Got home August first -  17, 931 miles, 7500 photos,  3 months, and unlimited memories.   More miles than we expected, but many parks have lots of roads to drive around.    The lawn was overgrown - to the top of the riding mower in places     - but am whittling it down.

Lawn (?)

Lawn (?)

The beehives all survived - all 3 look good  - not much honey in two, but a lot of bees. Some nice frames of honey in the other.  Sweet pepperbush is coming in  - hope they stock up.

Effie woke up when we pulled in the driveway  - went straight to her bed by the computer for a while when we came in the house. 

  The apple trees were not pollinated because of the weather - cold and rainy when the blossoms were out and a very localized frost in early June. Trees are growing good, but  hardly any apples this year. 

 Plugged things in and turned them on and things seemed to work well.   Uncovered the solar panels and the system worked fine  - no charge for showers here.

We planted buckwheat in the garden before leaving  - green manure when we till it in.  Seems funny to have no garden.  Hops are growing  - have to pick some soon and make beer.      The neighbor says we have a big doe hanging around  - they named it Jane Doe.   We also saw some wild turkeys.  

Nice to spend few days without driving - washed the van - looks good clean.   Took a few days to empty it out.       Starting to think about a few changes for the next big trip.

 

more later

Campers

July 30th, 2009

 

We have seen all kinds of campers, some with small mountaineering tents, some with motorcycle tent trailers, vans, pickup campers, 5th wheels, and huge motor homes with toads,

We are prejudiced toward the Sprinter and Sprinter based vans, because of the compactness and fuel mileage, but two others really caught our eyes.

 

One is the Westvalia poptops based on the Volkswagen camper. They are far more common on the West Coast than in New England. They are on the small side for us, but they are cool.

 

The other is the Airstream Trailers. We were parked next to a new small one in Chaco, very nice. Tonight we are next to about a 30 footer - an “Airstream Classic”. Would love to see the inside of it - but the people aren’t here. We will have to look for an Airstream gathering and check out some of the classics.

Airstream

Airstream

 

WiFi

July 25th, 2009

We have camped at a lot of places where they don’t have any sort of hookups - sometime just an outhouse and perhaps a water source. We have also camped at places where they have hookups – usually we choose just the electric. Usually those places have water, flush toilets, a shower – (a lot of times the shower is extra – but that is ok).

The most frustrating thing we have found are the places that advertise wifi - and then don’t even come close to having adequate service. Have been in places that have it if you sit in the laundry room - or in certain sites - but not others. Or - “it usually works good” (but not right now) – or “gee – a lot of people must be using it” (duh – with 200 sites – you might expect that several people might be using it).

We had reasonable wifi service in Chicken, Alaska - they have to generate their own electricity there, but have a big satellite dish.

We have also had people with the arrogant attitude (many times some the ones in the big national parks without wifi) that people can get away from it for a few days – and commune with nature. That is fine for a day or two - but after being on the road for a few months, you want to have communication, and do some business – or even blog. I have heard some of them say that if you want to get online – just drive out of the park and use one of the services that are in the little towns outside the park borders. It is really great when you see these 5 mpg rigs driving out and back and sitting in the parking lots of the businesses there. I wonder if any of these “commune with nature” people have ever wondered if their policies end up with more pollution and more global warming. Gee – then they complain when the glaciers disappear. The Grand Canyon had a at least one cafeteria that you could walk to that had great service – so it is certainly possible.

 

Having a internet connection over a cell phone network is a good thing if your network covers where you are going, and having your own satellite connection is a good thing if you really need a connection for business - or just to avoid the parks than have no idea of how important wifi is to some people.

Walter Cronkite

July 25th, 2009

One of the good (and bad) parts about camping is the lack of news - radio stations don’t come in well in some of the places we have gone - and some of the national parks have chosen to stay in the early part of the last century by not offering internet.

 

I finally heard that Walter Cronkite died. I have watched him for many years on TV – tuning into him when JFK got shot – and thru wars and peace. I talked to him twice on sailing occasions. The first time was at the re-dedication of When and If - General Patton’s old schooner. We were on Martha’s Vineyard for the occasion and a bunch of us were standing around talking and he came over and joined us. After a while he excused himself and went up to do the dedication. His voice changed a little to his TV voice. He started off by saying that “Since I am the only one that was properly dressed for the occasion they asked me to say a few words” He then went on to say a lot about his friend General Patton, about how sad it was that he didn’t live long enough to sail the schooner very much. Walter said that “He would be happy looking down – or maybe up - to see the festivities.”

 

The other time was in Mystic Seaport. It is a long way up from the ocean to the seaport. My friend Mark was bringing his 50 ft. Alden schooner up to the Seaport when his engine died. Word got out to try to help him into the dock. We were standing there when Walter quietly joined us to help. Mark got pretty close under sail – he was running downwind. When he got close to the dock, he dropped the anchor and jibed so he was pointing back toward the ocean. He then pushed out the main on one side and the foresail on the other and backed down to the dock. We caught the lines and secured her. Walter said “nice” and walked away.

Campground Dogs and Effie

July 16th, 2009

Having Effie along is a lot of fun, a lot of people want to talk about her and pet her. There aren’t a lot of Newfoundland dogs that we have seen along the way – about 4 so far. Many people don’t know much about the breed – or even what breed she is. They kid about her being a bear. She is always great with the kids.

Sometimes she gets one of these new smells and gives me a “what is #@$& is that??” look. There are not a lot of elk, caribou, moose, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, buffalo or bear where we live.

 

Leashes are required at all campgrounds. A lot of campers have little dogs along with them - even though a lot of them have more space than we do. Some of the little dogs are OK, but many bark a lot when they see her. I guess they are scared or have a Napoleon complex. She generally ignores them and doesn’t bark back or even pay attention to them. She will recognize other Newfies, and sometimes she seems to think little black dogs are puppies, One of the little dogs was making of a lot of noise at Effie and his owner said to him “You don’t want any part of that”.

 

Saw a funny thing when I pulled in a roadhouse to get some coffee one morning, there was a great looking big husky type sled dog just walking around. There was a medium sized mixed breed in a car that was barking his brains out at the sled dog. Not sure what he was saying - Probably either “let me out so I can get at that dog” but may have been saying “don’t let that dog in the car – he could eat me”. Anyway, the husky never barked, gave him a disdainful look, pissed on the car and walked away.

 

Alaska

June 16th, 2009

 

6/15

We got to Alaska about noon – visited the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge. Lots of birds - saw a roosting Trumpeter Swan. Rain off and on - the first time on us since May 4 in Oklahoma City.

Went to Tok and the info center - decided to stay the night at the Sourdough Campground and head for Valdez in the morning. The salmon are running - a little early this year.

The Sourdough Campground has a contesst every night called a pancake toss  - they take this morning leftovers and give everyone two chances to toss it in a bucket  - for a free breakfast  - sourdough pancakes, biscuits and gravy, reindeer and pork sausage,  coffee, juice and friut  - all you can eat   - normally $12.  I watched several people throw it like a fresbee with  no luck, then someone folded one and came close.  I picked out two the same size and weight  - came close on the first one and then had the range and made the second one.  Can’t wait until tomorrow.

Will start posting Alaska stuff under Alaska subheading under Camping.

 

What’s next?

June 12th, 2009

We are on Meziadin Lake at a provincial campground  - the road ahead of us is closed due to a landslide.  It has been about 4 days and they said maybe tomorrow it will open at noon.  We are stuck on a beautiful lake that has trout  - although we haven’t caught one yet.   We are thinking of going to Stewart, BC and possibly Hyder, Alaska while we are waiting. 

It is roughly 500 miles to the Alaskan Highway near Watson Lake and another 500 miles thru the Yukon to Alaska. We could get there in 6 days without rushing - and can take longer.  We could get there in 3 days too  - but why?

The mosquitos are fierce - hordes of them  - we wear headnets a lot outside.  Other than that - it is about perfect.   We have to meet Chuck and Carol south of Anchorage on June 27th  - that is our schedule.  

Met a real interesting guy (Bob) from the  Faulkland Islands today - he has a small camper and comes up here camping every year or so.   he is heading up to Alaska too.  He was telling about good salmon fishing in Homer on the in coming tide.   Limitt out in an hour??

Just read a forum  - the Reds are running in the Russian river in Alaska  - maybe we should get there in3 days  - or not.