Dream Trip To Yukon and Alaska By Road, To Anywhere Else By Any Means At All

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Sept 3 - North of Yellowstone -- (Dream Travel Trip Anywhere; Yukon-Alaska Road Trip)

Alaska and Back: Did The Guides Work? > What Actually Happened > ...Coming Home FROM The Arctic

Sept 3, 2006...
...North of Yellowstone

September 3, 2006

Hi everyone!

I have three days of tales to tell, but it’s late here on Sunday night (in Big Sky, Montana, north of Yellowstone), and I won’t do these days any justice.

In brief, the ferry disgorged me and a hundred others Friday morning in Bellingham.

I decided to travel north one hour or so back into Canada to see Vancouver – well worth the detour, as it is a friendly, attractive city so beautifully situated on the Pacific (actually Vancouver Island is, but big deal!) that comes across as especially nice when it’s 75 degrees and bright sunny – which it was.

I got to see its old neighborhoods, Chinatown, and Stanley Island – a park archipelago just west of downtown.

The park is full of ponds, pacific shore, redwoods, even a few sequoias, and a wonderful perimeter drive. Worth 2.5 Brody “Oh My’s”!

I spent the night back in Washington State, inland, after driving two remarkably beautiful country roads – Highway 9 South from Canada, and Highway 20 which cuts through the Northern part of the Cascades.

My lodging was in Concrete, WA, in a small town complete with its own small forest fire, and a former cement factory. I thought I had seen all the beautiful - jaw dropping beautiful – scenery, but folks, Highway 20 is clearly one of the top 10 in the US.

Saturday, I continued east on Highway 20 – I can’t find the words to describe the drama of the mountains as well as the roads that pass through them. I’ll have to let the pictures hint at what there is to see.

Along the way, I met – on a cliffside road – Greta and Al Oosterhof from a local town along the road.

Their van – with brand new powerboat attached on a new trailer - had rolled off the mountainside after they had stopped to check a driveline problem.

Al had put it into park but failed to pull the handbrake. And the van had almost rolled over Greta.

Both were incredibly calm and gracious in explaining to EACH of many passersby who asked what happened – and they recommended where I should stop to have lunch – Blackbirds in Twisp, Washington.

Check out the van – kinda what we all worry about driving on guardrail-less mountainside roads, right? – and also check out Al’s T-shirt!

After a night further along in Kellogg Idaho, itself the base for a local ski resort, I continued east into Montana today and to the Gallatin Mountain range, which runs north south from Bozeman to the northern tip of Yellowstone in Wyoming.

Turning south to drive along the Gallatin River which splits the range the way Rock Creek splits Washington vertically, I passed through some of the most magnificent scenery that the US has to offer - the Gallatin Gateway to North Yellowstone.

This time, though, I was not surprised: I had driven the road south-to-north a few years ago, so this was a cherished revisiting.

The surprise of the day – perhaps of the whole trip – was what happened when I stopped along the way to snap a picture of a tiny valley, a nearby small log home, and an old red barn there in the distance.

As the road is narrow, I had to pull into the driveway of the log home to stop and take a picture.

Walking along a path in the grass was Jan Slingsby, 80 years old if not more, who invited me up to the log home to meet husband Bill, and Sammy, the ole’ family dog.

There Bill was, at the top of the driveway, setting up the sprinkler, but as soon as he saw me, he came over and invited me to sit down and have a beer. Sammy hung close.

Sept 1, in Vancouver & Cascades; click arrow below to start

To see pictures, click LARGE arrow BELOW the map-3rd icon from left. For BIGGER images, click white circle (1st icon). For more info, see menu: Begin Here/User's Guide

The route ... click below to start the slide show ...

Sept 2-3, from the Cascades to Gallatin Gateway, Montana

The route ... from Concrete City to Kellogg, Idaho ... click below to start the slide show ...

Thus it was that over two hours of conversation much as if we had been friends all our lives, I learned so much about life in this beautiful place...

... the seductive summers

... and the tough, tough winters,

... with Jan and Bill such gracious hosts that all of the wonderful things I have seen paled before the kindness of these people.

Dinner tonight? Folks, you missed one of the best: a buffalo filet steak at the Corral, a bar/inn/café/restaurant/pub watering hole midway between somewhere and beyond, not too far from my Comfort Inn, and full of local folk for their Sunday night dinner.

They filled the place with friendly chatter – the kind of atmosphere the ersatz pub chain restaurants want you to believe you’ll find but which can only be found where the people are real. And so they are. Three Oh My’s! That’s a top score.

Hope you’re not bored to death by these emails. I’ll be back in DC by Thursday or Friday.

Once I see my favorite places in Yellowstone and drive US 212 skirting the Montana / Wyoming border Northeast of Yellowstone (another of America’s top ten highways), it’s straight through to DC – with one stop just to sleep.

Oh, and I washed the car. I sort of remembered that it was black in color, not brown, but it’s nice to see that I’m right.

For those of you who know that I’m mildly obsessive about keeping the inside of the car clean, I’ll take a picture of what the REAL truth is and send it along tomorrow or Tuesday – wherever the next internet is.

I’ve attached 12 photos-please let me know if you don’t receive all of them…



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