Tag Archives: Alaska

September 16, 2015 Hyder, Alaska

Searching For Salmon

Searching For Salmon

A Couple Days at Fish Creek

I arrived at Fish Creek just after first light this morning and was shocked at the number of people already there. The parking lots were all but full and there must have been forty or more folks braving the cool, drizzly weather. The word of yesterday’s visit  to the area by a mother grizzly and her two cubs, a visit that I missed, must gotten out quickly. But by nine AM, with no bears showing up, everyone left and I had the place to myself, no bears plus rainy weather sent all the sensible people home.

As usual, just click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Searching For Salmon

Searching For Salmon

But finally, the same bear I had seen here before came wading into the scene and I was rewarded for my patience.

The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away

He began chasing salmon as soon as he arrived, mostly with no luck.

In Hot Pursuit

In Hot Pursuit

In Hot Pursuit

In Hot Pursuit

Upstream, downstream, going after one fish, but suddenly distracted by another, changing directions, didn’t really seem to have a very good game plan for actually catching a live fish.

In Hot Pursuit

In Hot Pursuit

In Hot Pursuit

In Hot Pursuit

End of the Chase

End of the Chase

But finally he managed to corral one and tore into his first catch of the day.

End of the Chase

End of the Chase

The Catch

The Catch

He seemed kind of proud of this catch!

Leaving the Area

Leaving the Area

After half an hour of mostly coming up empty in his pursuit of live salmon, he moved downstream …

Dead Ones Are Easier to Catch

Dead Ones Are Easier to Catch

… and discovered this rather large, deceased chum salmon. Guess he figured out that a dead salmon is easier to catch than those live ones.

Salmon Feast

Salmon Feast

He hauled it out of the water and worked on devouring the whole thing over the next ten minutes or so.

Heading Downstream

Heading Downstream

Then he headed downstream and out of sight.

Camera Shy Bruiser

Camera Shy Bruiser

I waited around for another two or three hours in the rain, hoping for some more action, but, except for this huge bear that briefly stuck his head out of the bushes, then rapidly disappeared, my wet wait was in vain, and I packed it in around two o’clock and headed back to Meziadin Campground to begin getting ready to depart tomorrow morning.

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Sept 9, 2015

Salmon Glacier, Stewart, B.C.

Salmon Glacier, Stewart, B.C.

Sorry for the lack of recent posts

I have been without internet access since leaving Dawson City in the Yukon and thus, have been unable to post. It’s been a long, but somewhat interesting road from Dawson City to Glacier National Park in Montana, from where I am posting this on Sunday morning, the 20th of September. Will try to get some posts done before leaving here. The image above is from my 4 day visit to Hyder, Alaska, a visit that also resulted in…….

Fish Creek Grizzly

Fish Creek Grizzly

… some grizzly shots !

Bear with me, please, I’ll get caught up this week, I hope.

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August 15, 2015 Boundary Spur Road, Alaska

View From Top of the World Highway

View From Top of the World Highway

Finally Rescued (No Thanks to Good Sam’s Roadside Assistance)

I awoke to gorgeous blue skies with huge brilliant cumulus clouds this morning. What a day! Actually, what a day to do Top of the World photography, not waste my time trying to get Good Sam’s Roadside Assistance to help me with my flat tire, here, out in the middle of nowhere.

But, once again I headed up to the Border Station, and resumed my post on their phone.

My first call was to check back in with Galen, to see if he had found me some help and to let him know I had not found any in Chicken. Naturally, there was no way that GSRA could connect me to Galen, just could not be done. So, once again, I start all over with Amanda. This time I tell them to please contact Williards in Tok, since I had been told yesterday that they are the people to talk to. Amanda says that she has located some notes on my calls from yesterday, says they still haven’t found anyone to agree to make the service call. Says she will contact Williards and asks me for my call back number. Once again, I describe my phone situation. She seems to understand and tells me to call back in fifteen minutes and she should have something by then.

I make the call fifteen minutes later and get, drumroll please, Moses. Moses can’t possibly connect me to Amanda and has quite an attitude when I explain how frustrating this is getting for me. Says this is my problem, they HAVE to have a call back number. I give up and tell him I will call again and hope I get Amanda by chance.

Fifteen minutes late I call and get yet another woman who cheerfully tells me she will attempt to connect me to Amanda. Amanda then answers but I’m guessing this might not be the same Amanda who was previously trying to help me. Referring to her notes on me, I am told by this Amanda that I CANCELLED my service call yesterday at 3:30 PM. Obviously, this comes as a bit of a surprise to me as that is when I told Galen ( remember him, about six different operators ago ) to please continue looking for help and I would call him back today. As this Amanda’s attitude continued going hostile, I figured I may as well just give up.

In one last act of desperation I called again and got Heather. After starting again with her, I finally asked to please speak with a supervisor as I was beginning to realize I had reached my wit’s end.

A supervisor came on the line, no name given, told me they have done everything humanly possible to get someone to respond to my situation but NO ONE within a one hundred and fifty mile radius would agree to do so and she suggested that I call 911. Call 911…. this is an emergency! I told her I just couldn’t do that, that 911 was for a severe life threatening emergency, not just a case of a pathetically incompetent roadside assistance company not being able to do their job for which they have already accepted payment.

If You Want Something Done, You Just Have to Do It Yourself!

Ten minutes after getting off the line with Good Sam Roadside Assistance, I got the number for Willard’s in Tok from the helpful woman manning the Border Station. I called and arranged for a service call in all of about three minutes, said they would be there in about three hours! The woman at Willards mentioned that she had been contacted by Good Sams Roadside Assistance, actually wasted over an hour on hold with them, and had been awaiting a confirmation call from them, a call that never came, she said. And GSRA told me how NO ONE within a hundred and fifty miles had agreed to come out here, in other words, they just flat lied to me!

A $1700 Tire Change

A $1700 Tire Change

About four hours later an elderly man in a beat all to Hell F-250 pickup arrived on scene. I assumed from our later conversations that this was Williard, who told me he was seventy-eight years old, about as old as the truck looked but still not as old as the compresssor that was mounted on what was left of the bed of the ancient F-150. He got right down to business, slowly, needless to say. I did get a bit of a kick out of talking with this true Alaskan, and although certainly not the quickest tire change ever performed, he did seem to know exacty what he was doing. So, two hours later, and $1748 poorer, I was once agin ready to hit the road.

View From Top of the World Highway

View From Top of the World Highway

Another wonderful Top of the World images from just short of the Border Station.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

I made it through customs without incident, just asked a few routine questions about the dogs and food, guns, and alcohol, then simply showed him my passport and was waved through into Canada.

Canadian Side of the Border and More Caribou!

Caribou

Caribou

Not two miles past the Border Station, I saw a small band of caribou bulls grazing towards the road. Fortuitously, there just happened to be a large pulloff just at that spot, so I hopped ot, ran back to the Prius for my tripod and set up my camera with the long lens…

Caribou

Caribou

Caribou

Caribou

Caribou

Caribou

Caribou

Caribou

Caribou

Caribou

and got some nice shots…

Caribou

Caribou

…before they finally crossed the road and headed downhill.

So nice to be back on the road!

Down to Dawson City

Down to Dawson City

Down to Dawson City

Down to Dawson City

I decided to try and make it about half the way down the Top of the World Highway tonight before using a roadside pulloff for my overnight boondocking campsite and found a pleasant spot around KMM 65. After reading all the warnings about this highway, I was pleasantly surprised to find it a very well maintained, wide gravel road, absolutely no reason to dread travelling it whatsoever.

Not five minutes after setting up I saw the unmistakeable profile of Island Girl’s tow vehicle approaching me ( Brenda and Hector carry two kayaks atop their car ). They had stopped where I was stranded back on the Boundary Spur Road yesterday when they saw my rig as they passed by on their way to Dawson City. Not knowing that I had made it back on the road ( no phone or internet up here ) they were heading back up the Top of the World Highway on a 70 mile, one way no less, rescue trip with their small 150 PSI compressor and some slime in case my flat were just the result of a slow leak, which, it turns out, it most probably was ( a defective valve extender was the cause of my problem )! It is very comforting to realize just how nice some of the folks you meet along the way can be! Thanks again guys!

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August 14, 2015 Boundary Spur Road, Alaska

Birth of a Rainbow

Birth of a Rainbow

An Eventful Morning

I was having my morning coffee, relaxing in my recliner around 5:30 this morning …

Caribou at campsite

Early Morning Visitors

when I saw a small band of caribou pop up out of the brush on the perimeter of my pulloff campsite and head towards my motorhome.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Bull Caribou Just Passing Through

Bull Caribou Just Passing Through

I jumped up and grabbed the camera and shot a couple shots through the windshield as they skirted by and headed to cross the highway.

Caribou From Campsite

Caribou From Campsite

Caribou on the Boundary Spur Road

Caribou on the Boundary Spur Road

Caribou on the Boundary Spur Road

Caribou on the Boundary Spur Road

Unfortunately, I just wasn’t prepared for this intrusion and it took me a few precious seconds to find the camera and fire off some shots. But with not a whole lot of light to work with and my camera set to what I was doing last night, I didn’t get anything terribly good. Still, it was kind of a thrill to see them up close like this.

Disaster Strikes!

When I let the dogs out after my caribou run in, I noticed my pasenger side outside dually appered to be going flat. I have never had a flat on this motorhome and the Michelin tires are only two years old, so this was totally unexpected and could not possibly have happened at a worst place, seventy-five miles from Dawson City and a hundred miles from Tok. This was going to be expensive!

I drove nine miles to the Border Station and the two pleasant and very helpful women manning the station graciously allowed me to use the phone to call Good Sam Roadside Assistance, a service I have carried and paid for, but never had to use, for the past twenty two years.

Good Sam Roadside Assistance ??????

Twelve minutes into my first call, I was hung up on by an obviously flustered young woman who had no idea of what she was doing, trying to explain to me that I was not covered in Alaska, which, of course, is not true. My second call didn’t fare much better as this woman could not determine exactly where I was located despite my explaining very carefully exactly where this Border Station was. She claimed that Google Maps and everything else she was referring to in an attempt to locate me, did not show a Boundary Spur Road, the Border Station, nor any town in the Yukon called Dawson City. I found that a little hard to fathom. After thirty-six minutes with her, it became obvious that I was not getting anywhere. She never did figure out where I was. This was starting to get frustrating.

A third call fared little better although by now the Border Station folks gave me some GPS coordinates for our location and finally Good Sam Roadside Assistance had me located and after thirty minutes on the line with them, I was told they would make calls and try to get me some help.

Not having cell service up here greatly harmed my chances for help from this outfit, because after every call they wanted me to give them a call back number so they could contact me with further information on my rescue situation. But I was using a government satellite ( I assume ) phone and could’nt provide them with a callback number, instead having to tell them I would call back to them at a time they determined would be sufficient for them to make arrangements for my service call. This proved to make things make things very difficult, for when I called back, I just got the next available operator, not the one I was previously dealing with, and they explained to me that their operators do not have designated extentions and therefore can not be contacted by name when I called back. As a result, every time I called I basically had to start all over again, just incredibly frustrating, what a screwed up operation.

My fourth call lasted another fifty-two minutes with holds of fifteen and twenty minutes and ended with me finally all but giving up and telling this operator ( Galen ) that I was now going to just drive my car back to Chicken and see if I could find some help myself, and if not, that tomorrow I would drive to Dawson City and look there. At this time Good Sam Roadside Assistance was telling me that they could find no one who would agree to come up here on a flat tire service call. I told Galen to keep looking and I would check back in with him first thing tomorrow to see if they came up with anything or if I had found something on my trip back to Chicken.

So I hopped in the car and drove the forty-five miles back to Chicken …

Wrecked Motorhome

A Scary Sight

… passing this terrifying sight on the way. It is about five hundred feet straight down to the river where this rig overturned, saved only by some small aspens on the side of the road. I was told later that the lone woman and her dog were safe and not injured. If I can’t get a flat tire fixed up here, how is this poor person going to have this wreck salvaged?

Look Out For Caribou

Look Out For Caribou

Had to dodge this caribou that couldn’t make up it’s mind just which way it wanted to go to get out of my way.

In Chicken, I was told there was no one there that could possibly help and that my only hope was Williard’s in Tok.

View From the Top of the World

View From the Top of the World

View From the Top of the World

View From the Top of the World

On my way home I stopped and got a couple of threatening sky shots …

Interesting Rock

Interesting Rock

…and found this interesting rock in roadside quarry I stopped to check out.

So I am getting a little worried about just when and how I am going to be able to get back on the road again … and my faith in Good Sam’s Roadside Assistance has been completely shattered, I just don’t see them being competent enough to actually come to my rescue. Stay tuned!

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