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 Carol and Dick Stewart are full-time RVers from California and have been on the road for over 7 years in a 40 foot Fortravel Unihome. They are very good friends and you probably recognize ther names because we have included articles from them in our old newsletter and in our book, Movin' On. They are spending the summer of 2001 touring Alaska for the second time. 
 Time to leave Alaska, but we're not sure----
maybe we'll stay a while more
By Carol & Dick Stewart

We're at the border-----of Alaska, Yukon and British Columbia.  We have the brakes on---Beluga feels her fuel cooling----drinking water out of the tank is oh, so cold----Beluga [the name they gave their motorhome] is harder to start in the morning-----so we'll stay another day, but Beluga, the dear ol' horse knows----it's time to move South; she wants to go.  Even Soapy, the car, has a permanent mosquito on her windshield (she thinks it's a northern car tattoo of a dragonfly) that matches all the other Alaskan cars, but she will want it replaced when she hits the prissy South. 

But how do ya know it's time to go? 

  • Is it that the slop boots all grimy with mud and the forever rocks are starting to feel right and we don't even know where are sandals have gone? 
  • That we need haircuts and we're not sure why--no one else seems to have had one in a llllooooonnnnggggg time? 
  •  that sunrise and sunset are more convenient at 7:30 and 7:30? 
  •  that our hats must be tightened everyday to keep them on in the newly constant fall-like wind? 
  • We yearn for 50 Amps power, running water (many campgrounds charge extra for water, none have sewers included because they don't have them and dumping when available is extra, it's a given that showers are $2, and laundry is $2 to wash and the dryers have worse odds than Las Vegas? 
  • The fire weed is blooming at the top now and some are throwing cotton; is that a bit of yellow on the bushes, and the leaves twinkle in the window differently than a week ago? 
  • That the brochures all look the same, and we've been there, and all the souvenir shops are scanty on inventory, and look! Here's one that's having a sale?  What's this the end of the season?  It's only the middle of August! 
  • That the skies are clearer during the day and so the nights are colder? 
  • That the RV parks are putting up barrels across their entrances and no one is home? 
  • That the end of the road is now only for those who stay the winter--they who can't wait for snow and hunting season and snow machines? 
Maybe all of these are only suggestion signs, but we're sure it's time to leave when: We wonder if we could winterize the motor home and tough it out. 
  • live in the darkness, real darkness and tough it out. 
  • stay warm and dry in our slop boots and Palm Springs vests and tough it out.  (Those other, heavier jackets, in the stores, look cozy enough. 
  • do without golf and the pools and tough it out. 
  • stay to see the streams & lakes freeze and tough it out. 
  • grow even more hair, look like a sourdough and tough it out. 
  • get a jjjjooooooobbb and tough it out!!!!! 
That did it: NO WAY!!!! 
               NO CAN DO!!!!!!! 

So kicking and screaming with some tears of nostalgia at the Yukon Visitors Center film on the glories of the North, we turn Beluga south, and she runs well; she kicks up her heels in the gravel "all climate" road; Carol agrees to drive more to make better time, and the sun comes out earlier in the morning and stays up later at night and the thought of sandals sounds good. Look!  A fellow over there has on SHORTS!! 

Who's he kidding?  It isn't that warm yet, but I bet we can find it!  It's only August 25; we haven't missed the whole summer, just most of it!  It's not far back to the lower 48, only one or two thousand miles.  Heck, we could be there in time for their fall, at the regular time, about October.  The Alaskans love their fall; it lasts about one week. 

We cccccoooouuuuuullllllllddddd come baaaaccccckkkkk!!!  And, it's only two or three thousand miles to return this Great Land!!  There won't be tens of caravans next year; they all came this year! 

There will be new chuck holes in the roads, and the new roads will have settled into their new frost heaves.  And from all the new hunting restrictions, we should see even more moose, bear, elk and caribou.  We'll know so much more then; how to dress in so many layers we forget where we 
started; we'll know not to ask for decaffeinated coffee; we'll know to bring our own beef, pork and chicken to supplement salmon and halibut.  We'll know "salad" on a menu means pasta and romaine (the only really fresh lettuce) lasts in the frig for just a day or three.  We'll know that the favorable 
exchange rate means nothing because there are so many added taxes, and besides many of the gee gaws in the stores say "made in Taiwan." You have to be careful up here. 

But we will return; we didn't see it all----yet.  We missed a second look at Valdez, and some hot springs, and eating even more halibut, and yesterday, we passed up a cinnamon roll road house we must try next time. 

We're now in Atlin, BC, and it's back a dirt road 60 miles, and we can tell, a person has to be a 3 or 4 time returner before being greeted by the hosts. Why, the folks we met in June don't even remember us, but they will the next time, oh, yeah!!! 

And we NEED a blue fish cooler to be a local; we would buy one now, but the stores are wiped out!  There's not an empty blue cooler for miles; it's easier to buy a house than a blue cooler. 

Well, folks thanks for sharing our nostalgic moments: we are eager to travel south.  We would like a hug from you that doesn't ask us where we are from? Ohhhh, how do you get your mail?  Bet you come up here because of the good exchange rate? And so do you fish? kayak? Have a boat?  Ohhhh. 

We're eager for an enchilada, not even a great one, just an enchilada, some sandal time, a little warm, (70 would be nice), some fresh salad and berries and an apricot. We even think about margaritas now and then, more now than then. 

But we mostly miss you all.  And hugs and parties and movies and collecting bread for the food line and maybe I'll try bingo-----nah!!!! 

Thanks for listening; what did people do before flash mail?  It's been OUR life line; we feel connected in it's own way.  Dawn is here; comes later now, so I get more wordy, time to make coffee and go find those warm springs we hear about.  A seaplane took off over the motor home just a few minutes ago and the pick up trucks are heading out to the fishing holes, and it's time to 
explore this little Switzerland town (that must be a good word picture for it because it is filled with Germans, both residents and visitors---who speaks English here?  I will need a class in German before we come back). 

So we're on our way, joyfully and a little tearfully, but definitely on our way back.  If this epistle is too long for you, dig it out after YOU return from the NORTH, you will love it all too.