The title of this post refers to the direction we are traveling and the fact that the gas pedal is to the floor or all the way “down”….. as we are on a mission.
We have decided to depart Alaska early this fall as my 94 year mom has been having health issues. She lives in Southern California and we want to help with her recovery.
And so again begins our annual trek south to the lower 48. After spending a fabulous summer at Base Camp (read the last post “A Base Camp Summer” for more details) we look forward to visiting family and friends and feed our hunger to explore new places.
Instead of our normal “slowly wandering the backroads” pace we will head due south at a more moderate clip. This post will cover Alaska and the Canadian part of this journey.
On our way out of Alaska we make a quick stop at Sam (my brother) and his wife Chris’s home in Kenny Lake where we relax, drink wine and reminisce.
Denise’s brother Gary and old friend Judy stop by for a visit. It was great to see everyone again.
Sam and Chris’s daughter Robben stopped by with exciting news of a new job and becoming head coach of the Kenny Lake volleyball team! We wish her the best in all her endeavors.
Before we cross the Canadian border we stop in Tok Junction at the home of our good friends and avid Bernese Mt. dogs owners Kay Lynn and David. They treat us to a fabulous lunch and a quick dog romp. always fun, Thank You!!
Its early Oct and the drive south down the Alcan is easy, winter has yet to take hold in the north country. We have had an exceptionally warm beautiful fall.
As usual the big dogs enjoy romping at every stop along the Alcan hwy.
The Alaskan Hwy is in great condition and for the first time in living memory we find no sections of gravel anywhere, it has finally all been chipped sealed, yahoo!
As usual we turn south onto the Cassier Hwy and fully enjoy its remote route through the wilderness and its distinct lack of traffic, it is also in excellent condition.
Once in cell range we call home and learn mom is slowing improving so we slow our pace just a little.
Upon reaching Prince George we decide to travel the Yellowhead Hwy 16 down through the Rockies towards the Okanagan Valley, Canada’s summer and winter playground.
Our route will take us through McBride, Kamloops and Kelowna in the Okanagan valley.
We pass through one of our favorite Railroad town’s, McBride BC. We stop for lunch at the Beanery II Bistro located within the historic McBride train station.
I have always been captivated by the Canadian railroads. The uncertainty and precariousness of building a railroad through such magnificent and tough mountain terrain in the 1800’s is an amazing feat. It must have been a real adventure and I wish I could have been there to witness it.
The temperature steadly becomes warmer and eventually our long johns come off. We free camp on the shores of Monte lake where the dogs enjoyed wading in the clear, cool water. Fall colors are everywhere.
The Okanagan Valley is certainly one of the most scenic agricultural areas in Canada. We eat lunch on the outdoor deck of the Volcanic Hills Estate Winery enjoying their prime rib burgers while sampling some of their best reds.
At the southern end of the Okanagan Valley near Osoyoos we marvel at the all the fresh produce stands and buy freshly picked apples. We stock up on a few excellent Canadian wines and head for the Washington border.
To be honest since visiting here for the first time in the early 70’s Denise and I have always considered the Okanagan area as one the places where we could live later in life.
Now that we are retired the Okanagan continues to call to us especially as the western states become more crowded and our government become more confusing…..time will tell.
The weather forecast for the direct route through California’s central valley and into SoCal is not pleasant a one. It will be in the upper 90’s.
At those temps we must be very careful that the pups don’t overheat, after all the hottest temps they experienced at base camp this summer were only in the high 70’s.
Once in Washington and Oregon our plan is to stick to the major hwys and head for Powell Butte Oregon and Fort Motsko.
We hope to spend a couple nights with Mark and Phyllis and let the hot weather settle a little down south.
Enjoy our latest video “Southbound & Down” capturing some of the highlights of our southbound journey so far.
Keep you posted…..