Nice to Be Back!
~Saturday, October 1, 2022~
Day 839 (Travel Day)
Day 103 (the final day of our Alaska Trip 😢)
Well, we tried!! With Canada being our last opportunity to see the Aurora Borealis, it never quite panned out for us. We just never seemed to hit it right either because of cloud cover, too much light from the moon, or our current situation of being too far south. Our app shows it would have been ideal had we been a little further north. Better luck next time. And there will be a next time!
Our experience of a lifetime in Alaska, the land of the Midnight Sun, has certainly left an indelible mark on us; one that allowed us to experience such a vast untamed, unspoiled wilderness, exceptional ruggedness, distinctive culture and a unique history. For the most part, everything we set out to do, we did. All the hours of planning on the front end paid off in a big way, leaving us very few places we would choose not to see again. That’s just how great it all was. Yes, the roads were hard on Billie Jean and Hank, and yes, we hit a few obstacles, but nothing bad enough to sway our decision in returning again one day. There’s simply nothing else like it. And having such a concentrated amount of time made it that much more appealing. Experiencing 2 seasons (Summer and Fall) and record breaking rainfall, we toured 35 cities, drove 6,518 miles, all in 103 days of road trippin’ it in the Last Frontier.
But is something telling us not to leave just yet? Once again, we discovered a tire issue on the trailer with significantly less pressure in it. Even before Whistler, something was up with that same tire, but nothing worthy of repair. But since we’ve spent a chunk of time in Whistler, the pressure was noticeably different. If all the other tires are keeping their pressure and one changes that much, there’s usually a reason. Jeff suggested it might have something to do with the TPMS sensor not being screwed on properly. Even though that could be the culprit, I always feel compelled to visually check the tire. Sure enough I found a small silver head of a nail flush with the tire tread, easy to miss. No wonder it was a slow leak as the nail was pretty small and it was in there pretty snug. Because it was a slow leak and a low mileage day (around 175), we settled on just giving the tire an adequate amount of air and waiting until our next destination to handle the repair. It turned out to be the right call.
We were supposed to be out of the campground by 10:30 a.m., 30 minutes earlier than their regular check-out time since they had much to do on their final day of the season. Yep, it looked like we were closing the place down which felt a bit strange. Can’t say that’s ever happened before at any campground. They were very understanding about our delay, where we finally exited around 10:45 (not too bad). But we’ve come to the conclusion that checking the tires the morning of a departure is not the ideal scenario. If we check them the day/night before, at least we have time to remedy the problem rather than holding up a campground closure or a new arrival getting into our spot. Yes, it took 2-½ years to figure that one out. 🤪
With no option to dump at our campground, we were able to find a $10 dump station in nearby Pemberton; one of the few dump stations we’ve found to be coin operated.….Canadian coin that is. While Jeff got things set up, I walked over to an adjacent gas station that happened to have an ATM. My hope was after my $20 withdrawal that the clerk would be able to exchange it for at least $10 worth of coins. After a friendly, “no” , I was forced to come up with another plan until a very nice older gentleman overheard my dilemma, and offered me $10 worth of change from his car console. Woo hoo! I thanked him repeatedly for his kind deed, saving us another errand. He certainly made my day with his gesture and a smile to boot!
As we got out of Whistler, heading for the US border, traveling along the Sea to Sky Highway was just lovely,
particularly the small seaside village of Lions Bay. Howe Sound is surrounded by the majestic Coastal Mountains in this area, so the scenery was quite beautiful, reminding me a little of Homer, Alaska.
It was so surreal seeing the U.S. border again. Our wait wasn’t too terribly long, but noticed a number of drivers being pulled aside for car inspections. Anticipating we’d be one of them, especially with a travel trailer, our entrance actually went without a hitch. Either Jeff’s gray Santa beard gave us carte blanche or we had a really easy going border patrol agent, or a combination of the two. In any case it was pretty painless. Immediately, the smoke and haze were noticeable from the state being plagued by wildfires; a definite change from our clean, pure air all summer long.
By mid afternoon we arrived at our Harvest Host location, Eagle Haven Winery in Sedro Woolley, WA. They were hosting a Fall festival and were quite busy. Set between 2 groves of apple trees, was the perfect wide, level spot for our trailer and 2 others. Of course, the numbers continued to increase as the day went on. While we were setting up, a very nice young couple from Washington state came over to introduce themselves. Traveling in their Eurovan, they were trying out Harvest Host for the first time on a weekend getaway, and were intrigued with our travels and our own experiences of using HH. Of course, we had nothing but great things to say about the service. Wishing them well, we returned to our set up duties so we could get over to the festival.
What a great location for Sadie to run around and for us, a restful, peaceful setting once the festival was over.
Making our way over to the fun event, starving, we stopped at the Captain’s Cod Company food truck for a little sustenance. Evidently, this company prides itself on catching 100% sustainable Bering Sea Cod, where their fishermen travel Alaska’s waters to catch their fish by line and hook only (no net fishing), which is frozen immediately and flown out the very next day to the various food truck locations. It’s more expensive for the customer, but we love supporting these kinds of businesses to support more sustainable practices. It must have been a sign since our dinner came from the very place we spent our whole summer. The CodKing Sandwich with a side of perfect fries was to die for. And what better way to pair a cod sandwich than with a bottle of vino from your Harvest Host?
Checking out the wine selection in their barn style tasting room, I met Tina, the owner who let me sample their 2016 offering of Syrah. It was delicious. Before we got too deep in conversation, I wanted to see if it would be o.k. to extend our stay because of our tire issue and the fact that there were no tire shops open on Sunday. Not a problem, just don’t go around advertising it. It was a pleasure talking to her about the winery and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome since they took over a year ago. The orchard started as a hobby by Tom Perkins in 1968. By 1985, the farm had grown to 41 acres of pear and apple orchards, leading to the winery aspect in 2000 and a tasting room reconstructed from an old barn. Since 2004, it has brought locals and tourists alike, together with their near weekly community events held on the property. Sadly in January of 2019, Jim Bill, son of founder Tom Perkins, and a major contributor to the farm’s success, passed away. Since the new owner’s purchased it a year ago, every decision is made with the consideration of what Jim would have wanted, to carry on his legacy. And so we enjoyed our lovely evening under the stars with a bottle of Syrah, delicious cod sandwiches and the easy listening live music of voice and guitar….a great way to end the day.