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Entries about r-pods

Aug 3 to Aug 6 - Fairbanks - Denali - Kenai

Luck, Denali, More_Denali

sunny 20 °C

Aug 3, 4

Our sewer line fixed, we were still committed to staying two extra nights in Fairbanks, and it was rainy and cloudy, and generally not very nice weather. We did lots of little things to keep ourselves busy, but we were really anxious to be back on the road. Sometimes, the gods are with you, and such was the case with us.

Aug 5

Saturday morning, and we are ready to move on, heading south to Denali, the biggest mountain on North America. 2/3rds of the time it is completely, or partially obscured by cloud. To find a perfectly clear day is really rare. If we had come this way on Aug 3, or Aug 4, we would have seen nothing. Nothing!

But, our day is glorious, full sunshine, not a cloud to be seen. 45 minutes out of Fairbanks we get our fist glimpse of Denali. We stop 7 times to take pictures on the way south, each time a different angle, and more is revealed.


If our sewer line on TaJ had not been knocked off on the run from Chicken to Tok we would have passed by here 2 days, and seen nothing. In 2006 Jenny and I spent 7 days on the Denali Highway, and only saw glimpses of the mountain. Sometimes it is really good to have been unavoidably detained.

We stopped and picked some blueberries near Cantwell for tomorrow's breakfast...there is a 20 mile section of road that has blueberries on either side of the road and there were many groups of pickers.

We stopped at a roadside campground, called, Denali View North. 20 sites, no services, except pit toilets. The views are amazing. We had supper and settled in for the night. There was a Dutch couple and their two kids just down from us and we shared travel stories. Really nice family...traveling for 6 weeks in Alaska.

We tried to get in a bit of a hike:


Otherwise, it was just looking over the views of the mountains:



A couple of big European Travel Trucks stopped for the view as well:



Early in the morning another shot of Denali, just lit up from the early morning sun.


TaJ in our camping spot:


Aug 6

Onward, once again early on the road, destination Soldotna, on the Kenai ( pronounced Keen-Eye) Peninsula, the Salmon fishing capital of North America.

We stopped at Denali Viewpoint South for another view of the mountain. Magnificent.



This cartoon sums up the frustration with seeing Denali:


We churned on south, skirting Anchorage, where we spent 6 lovely days back in 2006 and felt no need to revisit, and on to the Kenai, where we had never been before.

Now, here is where things started to get strange. Since leaving home on June 1 we have seen just 21 R-Pods in 66 days of travel. Today, in the 200 miles from Anchorage to Soldotna, we saw 14. We heard from several people that r-pods are just about the bees-knees in trailers up here in the 49th state.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 21:32 Archived in USA Tagged denali r-pods Comments (1)

June 5, 6, 7 and part of 8 - Algonquin to Chutes Prov Park

Black tank flush, black flies, Lake of Two Rivers campground assessment, better driving conditions.

sunny 20 °C

R-pod Sightings: 1 older model white one in Sudbury, and a 2016 green model 179 at Chutes Provincial Park.

June 5:

After completing our last blog entry we spend an hour and a half in the Visitor Centre displays, which show the history and ecology of Algonquin Park. There is a 15 minute movie which fills in more of the history. A very interesting park. Algonquin is ideally suited for backpackers and canoe enthusiasts. Many longish hiking trails, up to 88 kilometers and lots of river and lake paddling adventures are available here.

There are several good campgrounds and they are packed in the summer. Bugs are really a problem this time of year though, and with the cold, wet weather we were inundated with black flies. Jenny seems to tolerate them well, but I do not. Hopefully my immunity will build with exposure, but until then, I am suffering a bit.

Later in the afternoon the clouds parted ever so briefly and we managed to get in an hour long walk along the Spruce Bog boardwark, about 1.5 kilometers, with many interpretive signs. Like bogs everywhere it has bog flowers and insect eating plants. The first picture is of a Labrador Tea and the second is, an unnamed, but pretty bog flower:



We returned to the R-pod to read. Outdoor opportunities would have been nice, but the weather, and the bugs were unpleasant enough to keep us indoors the rest of the day., We like reading so that filled the time.

We did make the acquaintance of fellow travellers, Dave and Diane, from Napanee and exchanged information to keep in touch as we travel. It is always great to meet others on the same sort of road we follow.

June 6:

We woke to the sound of a new day of rain. This was to be our last day at Lake of Two Rivers and we were hoping for a good solid 6-8 kilometer hike to walk off the travel days with little activity, but it was not to be. After a leisurely breakfast of bacon and eggs, which was cooked outdoors on our Coleman stove (it was cold enough to suppress the black flies) we headed off on a search for moose. We did see two, but they were far enough away that we could not get a picture.

We decided to head back into Huntsville, to gas up and look for something to seal our fresh water tank we would be able to use it on our next stop. Surely this time we found what we needed to close off the tank:


As we left the park for the drive to Huntsville the rain stopped. As we returned the rain began again, but not before we were able to get in a 2 kilometer hike to Ragged Falls.



We finished the day with a meal of corned beef hash and had a beer with Dave and Diane before beginning to close down our camp for departure.

It is now time for our Campground Review: Lake of Two Rivers, Algonquin Park

$54 a night including taxes. Called a premium site by Ontario Parks, even though it only has electricity on each site:

240 wooded, large sites with firepits. Firewood available for $8 a bundle. Beach on Lake of Two Rivers. Lots of canoe adventurers there on the weekend.

Centralized sewer dump is 3 kilometers to the east.

Washrooms and showers: Adequate, good water pressure on showers. We imagine the washrooms would be plugged with people in summer rush as they are not large, but with an almost empty park they were OK

Annoyingly, the staff closed the washrooms for cleaning between 8 and 9am, which seems like peak usage times to us.

Overall Impression: A good stop in a massive Provincial Park, but it is buggy in the early spring. Make a reservation if you want to stay here July/August.

June 7:

This sunrise was a sunny but cold one. That helped keep the bug activity down while we got the trailer hooked up and ready to depart. By the time we headed for the sewer dump it was warm enough to require a bug hat to complete the dump:


Even with the bug hat I got over 30 black fly bites in just 15-20 minutes. Itchy this morning.

Our drive to Chutes Provincial Park was about 5 hours. We managed to solve our poor mileage by upgrading to premium gas. The Honda Pilot seems to like the higher octane and rewarded us with about a 20% improvement in mileage, for around 19l/100 k to 15.5l/100 k. The car also did not have to work as hard climbing hills.

On the way through Sudbury we got a photo of TaJ with the Big Nickel, the symbol of Sudbury's great huge nickel mine.


Chutes is a place we have been to before, but we forgot one quirk of this place...the electricity plugs are in awkward spots, and many people use as much as 100 feet of wire to connect. We only have 30 feet with us so we had to wiggle into an awkward place in our site to allow us to reach the outlet. All worked out in the end.

We also got to fill our onboard water tank and so now, for the first time we have hot and cold running water in TaJ. Yay, and the system works great. We are at Chutes for three nights, giving us two full days of glorious sunshine to get out and do some hiking and walking.

As this is written it is June 8 and we are using the internet facilities of the Massey Library. Really nice small library.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 08:03 Archived in Canada Tagged r-pods mileaage water_tank siunshine Comments (1)

The adventures of Sully and the TaJ-ma-Haul begins

How we got to this point, where we are going.

May 12, 2017

A bit about us: Jenny and I are retired and live in rural Nova Scotia when we are not on the road. We are experienced travelers and understand that everything does not always run smooth when you travel with a trailer. This is our fifth blog. We do not bang away at 110 kph on expressways as we travel: most of our travel is on secondary roads, and we are not afraid of taking our chances up gravel roads as well.
While we enjoy full service R/V parks, just as often we will boondock, or camp with limited services.

We rarely visit large cities on our explorations...when we worked, we lived in big cities and they hold no particular excitement for us anymore. Places with dark skies where we can see the stars and hike in the wilds are more our cup of tea

We have spent the last 5 years traveling with a 1976 boler 13 foot trailer. We sold the boler in the spring of 2016, thinking we were done with trailer travel. By mid summer of 2016 we had decided that we needed to keep moving, with so much to see and do across North America, and driving with motel stays was just not doing it for us. On a relatively short trip south in June we spent over $3,500 on motels and rental suites.

We longed for the open road with less restrictions on our travel budget. So, we bought ourselves a whole new travel rig.

  • Our tow vehicle is a 2016 Honda Pilot, with a 5000 pound towing capacity. Essentially it is a basic model all wheel drive Pilot, with a factory tow package. We have named the Pilot Sully, after the airline pilot who landed his plane the Hudson River.
  • Our trailer is a 2017 Forest River R-pod model 179, a 20 foot home away from home. We ordered our for delivery in the spring of 2017. The trailer is named the TaJ-ma-Haul, or TaJ. The TaJ is short for our names, Tony and Jenny,


All winter long we planned the route. We leave June 1 for 6 months on the road. We expect to tow the R-pod for 21,000 kilometers, and put another 19,000 kilometers on the Pilot touring around places we visit. Our route takes us across Canada from our home in Nova Scotia.

Part one: On the way west we will visit 3 Canadian National Parks we haven't been to before: Puskawa on Lake Superior, Grasslands in southern Saskatchewan and Wood Buffalo, in the Northwest Territories.

Our ultimate destination on this leg is the Yukon and Alaska. If all goes according to plan, we should arrive in Dawson Creek, British Columbia on July 19 and start our trip up the Alaska Highway on July 22. We will be joined on this leg of the journey by Debra, an old buddy from Duncan, BC who tows a Trillium trailer.

Our loop trip through the Yukon and into Alaska will take 23 days, and about 900 kilometers of this portion will be on gravel roads, so that will be a test for our travel rig. We will cross into the US at the northernmost border crossing on the Top of the World Highway. Most of the campgrounds in both the Yukon and Alaska do not have services so we will be boondocking much of the time. We know there are full service R/V parks along the way, but we prefer the more rugged camping experiences when we have that opportunity.

Coming out of that portion of the trip, we will take the Cassiar Highway, from Watson Lake, down through Jade City, where an intrepid family mines Jade for the Chinese market. We make a side trip to Stewart,BC/Hyder, AK, the most remote border crossing between Canada/US.

We will end this portion of the trip in Prince Rupert, BC, where we will store the trailer and take a 3 day excursion to Haida Gwaii. We'll be staying in a guest house in Masset and will explore the culture and scenery of a wild island 300 kilometers off the western shore of British Columbia. Our travel friends from Texas, George and Karmen Reid, with their Airstream will meet us in Prince Rupert for this portion of the trip.

Part two: Beginning in late August we will head south through British Columbia and on into the United States. We plan to pick up several National Parks on the way: Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Death Valley, Joshua Tree as well as the south side of the Grand Canyon. By the end of September we should be in Arizona.

Part three: Through October we will begin heading east picking up two more National Parks: Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and Big Bend in Texas. We will be meeting up with George and Karmen in Mission TX and spending a bit of time at South Padre Island before heading on to New Orleans.

Part four: The long trip home, through the Florida panhandle and up the east coast of the US. As we get farther north, camping opportunities will become few and far between. We expect once we get past North Carolina in late November it will just be a 3-4 day run home to Nova Scotia.

We expect to visit 8 Canadian Provinces, and 2 Territories, as well as 22 US states. We will visit 13 National Parks in Canada and the US that we have not been to, plus several more will get a second visit. We will post ratings of campgrounds as we go as well as to assess the performance of our tow vehicle and the R-pod.

Summary: We took delivery of our Honda Pilot on December 1, 2016 and have spent the winter getting used to it. It is the largest vehicle either of us have ever driven on a regular basis.

We took delivery of our R-pod 179 on April 25 and spent three weeks looking over its features. However, until you actually put it to the test in a realistic camping situation, it is all just speculation on how things work.

Entry #2 of the blog will take us through the test weekend and our discoveries as well as the final preparations for our upcoming journey. If you bookmark the blog location on your computer you can check in on a regular basis for our reports from the road.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 04:31 Archived in Canada Tagged parks alaska national yukon r-pods Comments (1)

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