Off to Alaska ..... Western Trip 2007

Off to Alaska .....Western Trip 2007

On The Way Out


Trip Pictures:
The Drive Out

Ferry North


Ferry South

Pacific Northwest




Corrales NM

Littleton, CO


          Tuesday, May 22 After making the terrarium delivery to Jon and Toni in Great Falls VA, and staying for a hearty breakfast, and a pleasant visit with them, I left at 9AM heading west on I-70
          It's 9PM, and I'm West of Indianapolis Indiana on Route I-70 exit 59 at a TA Truck Stop. I've covered just over 600 miles today A good days journey.
          Wednesday May 23, left at 7AM heading west on I-70

Arrived in St Louis MO, mid morning,
and headed for the Gateway Arch
mc350.jpg - 16.95 K
Oops! Wrong Arch!
arch350.jpg - 21.95 K This is the Gateway Arch


41 years ago, in 1966, I had come through here on Route 66 (There were no Interstate Highways yet) moving with my family to California. The Arch was completed, but had not yet been open to the public.

top-1.jpg - 32.47 K view-1.jpg - 48.47 K

view-2.jpg - 31.74 K view-3.jpg - 71.88 K

view-5.jpg - 67.26 K

I left St Louis around lunch time and headed for Kansas City

8PM I'm in a TA Truck Stop in Council Bluffs Iowa, having covered over 650 miles today.


Thursday May 24.... Took off from Council Bluffs Iowa 6:30 Am, and am now writing this from somewhere in South Dakota.. Will write more when I can, but my main focus is to make it to Bellingham WA in time to catch the ferry!

trans-1.jpg - 52.83 K

Oh Oh!

Thursday May 24....
          I'm in Jamestown North Dakota at 6PM, sitting in a transmission shop parking lot, because my transmission is acting up. It is shifting irregularly, sometimes fine, and sometimes not at all. I was able to speak with the owner just before he closed, and there is some indication that it could be just a restriction in the fluid system, which would be a relatively easy and inexpensive fix. However, we won't know until tomorrow when they look at it. In the meantime, it's going to be a chilly night (in the 30s) both for me and the plants I am transporting.

Wish me Luck!     Please!

          Friday May 25.... 9AM Sitting in the waiting room while they are pulling the van into the shop, hoping for good news.

I've walked across the street to the Jamestown College, and have access to the Wi-Fi here.
Oh Drat.... The transmission needs more work then we thought. Rather then try some half measures, and risk getting stuck somewhere else down the road, we are going for a complete rebuild. The folks here are really nice, and going to work hard to get it done ASAP, (overnight) so, hopefully, I can get back on the road tomorrow. Pretty thoughtful considering this is a holiday weekend.

In the meantime.....

          At the end of each day, in order to prepare a place to sleep, I have to rearrange the contents of the van to roll out my sleeping gear, and at that piont it begins to look like a cave with just enough room for me. The space is no bigger then a refrigerator box and looks much like a cave. What's the difference between me and a homeless person? My "Box" has wheels.

Tonight, while the van is in the shop, the owner has given me permission to pitch my tent on his property. ..... CHANGED MY MIND! I'm at a Super 8 Motel, (Sure beats "The Cave") and the mechanic that drove me here thinks they will have the van done tonight, so I can get a fresh start in the morning.... With a good transmission.

Great service.... At 5:30 this evening (Friday) they delivered my van, I'll be on the road first thing tomorrow....... Ron

cave-1.jpg - 56.01 K
"The Cave"

6AM Saturday May 26th, 6:30 AM..... Taking off now from Jamestown, ND, will write when I can.

sn.jpg - 34.53 K
v-1.jpg - 40.90 K
mt-1.jpg - 33.73 K
          When I left Jamestown, it was drearry, raining and cold. The rain let up just before I reached Bismarck, replaced by traces of snow on the hillsides. The clouds parted as I drove further west in North Dakota, the sun came out and it was a beautiful day. I made great time, spending the night in Spokane Washington..... 3 states, 1017 miloes, and two time zones away. Thanks to open roads, little traffic, a 75 MPH speed limit, and the two time zone changes, I pulled into the truckstop at 9:30 PM Saturday May 26 Their time.           I had a good nights rest, am having breakfast now, but, though I paid for the connection, can't seem to make an internet connection so I'll have to post this info later. .... Ron
sn.jpg - 34.53 K
v-1.jpg - 40.90 K

          The drive from Spokane to Seattle was pleasant, passing through flat farmland that appeared to be growing sod, and then seeing the Cascade Mountains looming in the distance. That perspective is lost as I drove on the highway through the mountains pass. Coming down the other side demonstrated how the clouds hit the mountains, and dump the moisture creating a lush green environment. I drove into downtown, hoping to find the Festival I had applied for and wasn't accepted. It got dark, and started raining heavily, so I gave up, found the entrance to I-5 North, and headed for Bellingham. The weather broke, and when I got there, found a rather large festival going on. It's called "Ski to Sea". a series of races that start in the mountains with cross country and doiwnhill skiing, The race then becomes a bicycle race to the coast where some sort of boat races are held.
          I'm in a Wal Mart parking lot, surrounded by half a dozen campers (The Fancy Kind), and this will be home for a couple nights until I leave for Alaska on Tuesday.

fair-1.jpg - 81.76 K           maggie.jpg - 70.69 K
View from the coffee shop where I am writing from, and my waitress Maggie
Maggie was born in Alaska, went to school in Montana, and is now here in Washington

ship-1.jpg - 64.45 K

ferry-1.jpg - 106.66 K
The Alaskan Ferry Terminal..... Other ferries also leave from this location.

          I'm in an upstairs coffee shop in Fairhaven WA... a part of Bellingham, close to the Alaskan Ferry terminal. The ferry is just a couple miles away. It leaves tomorrow afternoon. I will go back to Wal Mart tonight as the security people there allow it and keep an eye on the campers. Meanwhile, I have a few errands to do.... shopping, laundry, re-packing, and organizing the van so that the terrariums and plants will get some (But not too much) light while I;m gone.

Go on to the Ferry Page for the conrinuation of the trip. I doubt that I will be able to have internet access on the ship, so my next entries will hopefully be Thursday from Ketchikan AK.