Eight weeks on the road

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
341
Niagara Region, ON
Day 36:

(As reported by my wife)

Got up 8:30am, breakfast, cleaned up, packed up the trailer hoping for an early start. When hooking it up to the van the tongue jack stopped working. Lifted up the tongue with the tire change jack and removed the toungue jack completely so we could hit the road.
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Finally left at 11:30am, heading back down to Whitehorse. Passed through the same construction as on the way up - it was close to Dawson so at least we got it over with at the start of the day's drive.
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The kids thought the large equipment was neat.
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Would not want to get into an accident with them.
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After the construction it was just the usual pot holes and frost heaves. Arrived at relative's in Whitehorse 7:30pm.

Distance travelled: 524 km
Fuel economy: 11.0 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 43.885 l @ $1.979 /l = $86.85
Solar harvested: 560 Wh
 
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TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
341
Niagara Region, ON
Day 37:

I got up at 3am to catch my flight out of Hamilton airport.
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Could see the mountains in the distance when landing in Calgary.
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Landed in Whitehorse around noon local time.
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The flights were easier. I think partly because of the smaller airports (Hamilton vs Toronto, Calgary vs Vancouver) and partly because it was a more direct route (less time in the air).

My wife and kids met me at the airport. Back to relative's place in Whitehorse for lunch. After lunch installed the new tongue jack that my wife had already picked up in the morning.
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Different design, allows the use of a drill (with 3/4" socket). The build quality seems so-so, will see how it lasts. The old one failed when the cast nut on the inside cracked - maybe from striking the ground when driving through the construction up near Dawson.

Spent the rest of the day catching up on things around Whitehorse. Supper, bed.

I will try and update the Solar data shortly now that I am back.

Distance travelled: 196 km
Fuel economy: 10.9 l/100km
Fuel purchased: ---
Solar harvested: 190 Wh
 
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TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
341
Niagara Region, ON
Day 38:

Got up 9am, breakfast, cleanup. Rotated the tires on the van, filled the washer fluid, and got caught up on a few other maintenance items.

After lunch headed off to visit the SS Klondike, one of the old steamships that used to work the Yukon river.
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Unfortunately Parks Canada was doing renovations so could not go aboard but they had a very interesting short film about the old steamboats.

Then into downtown Whitehorse for some exploring and shopping. Picked up a new engine air filter for the van after all the dusty driving. Supper at a local restaurant. Grocery shopping, laundry, bed.

Sorry, didn't take too many pictures today as most of it was just routine general stuff.

Distance travelled: 22 km
Fuel economy: 9.2 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 38.363 l @ $1.859 /l = $71.32
Solar harvested: 220 Wh
 
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TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
341
Niagara Region, ON
Day 39:

Woke up 8am, breakfast, cleaned up. Doing a day trip to Skagway Alaska so left the trailer up. On the road by 10am, heading down Hwy 2. Stopped in Carcross (abbreviated from Cariboo Crossing) 11ish. There is a neat desert there that the kids had fun running around in (until their footwear got filled with sand).
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There was an old steamboat there as well, but unfortunately it burned in the early 90s.
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There used to be a narrow gauge railway that ran all the way from Skagway to Whitehorse (White Pass & Yukon Route), and it still runs from Skagway to Carcross. Occasionally there is some talk of rebuilding the Carcross-Whitehorse section. It passes over an old timber bridge in Carcross.
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After eating our lunch we drive the last hour to Skagway, passing through BC on the way. Part of the landscape looks very alien.
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It is a long hill down into Skagway and there are many truck runoff ramps.
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You can see the narrow gauge WP&YR tracks on the other side of the valley (fjord?) a lot of the time.
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Skagway is very touristy, and heavily caters to the cruise ships that visit town. There were two in when we were there, and tons of people milling about the endless quantity of gift shops. The WP&YR railway runs some tourist trains which seem popular.
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Explored town, grabbed an early dinner at the Northern Lights Pizzeria (recommended) before hiking out to Yakutania Point. From that side of the river we could see where a landslide had blocked access to one of the docks.
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We got a nice view of the fjord from the point, including some sea otters and one of the cruises ships leaving.
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Back to relative's place in Whitehorse by 8:30pm, snack, and caught up on emails (and these posts) before bed. Northern lights were putting on a nice show.
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This was with my wife's phone, I took some with the Canon M5 but have not had a chance to get them off the camera yet.

Distance travelled: 362 km
Fuel economy: 8.1 l/100km
Fuel purchased: ---
Solar harvested: 140 Wh
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
341
Niagara Region, ON
Day 40:

Approximately ⅔ done the trip.

Had no mobile service (internet) for the last three days so I'll try and catch up a bit in the next day or two.

Woke up 8am, breakfast, cleanup, pack up the trailer. Checked the torque on the van wheels after rotating them (see day 38). On the road by 11am, heading down the Alaska Hwy.

Stopped for lunch at Squaga Lake TC. Beautiful campground.
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Lots of scenic driving.
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Stopped and at Rancheria Falls for a quick hike.
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The falls were neat to see but the boardwalk that was constructed out to them was impressive as well. The Yukon generally does a great job at building and maintaining infrastructure at campgrounds and rest stops.

Shortly after passing the Cassiar Hwy junction (which is the route we came up 2~3 weeks ago) we arrived at Watson Lake TC around 5pm. Supper, cleanup, and early to bed so not sure if the Northern lights were doing their thing again.

Distance travelled: 447 km
Fuel economy: 11.5 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 33.154 l @ $1.829 /l = $60.64
Solar harvested: 610 Wh
 
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TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
341
Niagara Region, ON
Day 41:

Got up 8am, breakfast, cleanup, pack up the trailer. Headed into the town of Watson Lake itself for gas and to visit the Visitor's centre. There is a forest of signposts there that was started in 1942. The last time I was there in 1989 there were 6,000 signs. The people at the visitor's centre said they expected over 100,000 sign when they count at the end of this year.
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I got my days mixed up and originally written that yesterday (day 40) was our last day in the Yukon but really it was today. The kids thought it was neat that the highway keeps crossing back and forth between the Yukon and British Columbia. We finally had to say goodbye to the Yukon as we continued down the Alaska Hwy.

A little farther we reached a spot where the highway had been completely washed out in the spring snow melt. A single lane bypass had been built using part of the original (old) highway. It confused Google Maps.
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Once back on the highway we started to see some bison.
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Arrived at Liard Hot Springs and had lunch before going for a dip. Great place, well kept. I expected it to be busier but there was hardly anyone there.
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They have a campground with an electric fence to keep wildlife (bears) out but we hit the road after our swim.

Lots of sheep on the road as well. Had to be careful driving as you don't know what is around the next corner or over the next hill.
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Drove past Muncho Lake which looked beautiful, there are two campgrounds there that I'd like to check out in the future.
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There were many drainage channels built at the base of the mountains, presumably to help prevent the road from washing out.
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After a lot of uphill driving arrived at Summit Lake campground in Stone Mountain Provincial park around 5:30pm. Supper, kids went exploring while we cleaned up, bed.

Ended up buying gas twice, as many of the fuel stations along this part of the highway are now permanently closed and we wanted to start the next day with a full tank.

Distance travelled: 389 km
Fuel economy: 12.2 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 53.181 l @ $1.899 /l = $100.99
Fuel purchased: 38.957 l @ $2.199 /l = $85.67
Solar harvested: 900 Wh
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
341
Niagara Region, ON
Day 42:

Woke up at 8am due to a helicopter that flew low over the campground, breakfast, cleanup, and packed up the trailer.
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Departed Stone Mountain PP at 9:30am, but didn't get far before having to stop and wait for a pilot car due to construction.
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There was a lot of roadwork going on, it took us over two hours to drive the ~100km before our turn off at Hwy 77.
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We arrived at Beaver Lake Rec Site around noon, picked one of the six sites (all empty) and unhitched the trailer, ate a quick snack, and continued North on Hwy 77. Fantastic road, one of the best we had driven on for a long time. About 140kms up we crossed into the Northwest Territories.
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Lots of Bison. At first they were cute but then they got annoying because they were all over the road.
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Another 40km or so and we reached Fort Liard. The highway North of the border was partially unpaved, and was under a fair bit of construction (luckily no pilot cars) but fine for the Odyssey - we could have even brought the trailer. Some ice cream before exploring the town and then heading back South (avoiding the Bison) to the campsite at Beaver Lake Rec Site. The campground was well kept, no facilities except for a couple of pit toilets but that was all we needed. One other couple came in later (and left early) but essentially it was like having the place to ourselves.

A lot of the campgrounds up here do not have water, or do not have potable water if they have water, so we have been carrying our 20 litre water jug full with us. We find we can always fill it somewhere in towns that we pass through (visitors centres usually have a spot to fill, or can at least point you in the right direction).

Stuck our NWT sticker on, completing the stickers for this year. Not sure if it really counts, as we did not actually pull the trailer into the NWT, nor did we sleep there, but considering we have been to the NWT before (and slept there) the kids decided we should put it on.
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Set up the trailer, dinner, clean up, bed.

Good fuel economy as we were not pulling the trailer for a lot of the day.

Distance travelled: 469 km
Fuel economy: 9.1 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 34.340 l @ $1.823 /l = $62.42
Solar harvested: 640 Wh
 
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Patrick w

Active Member
Aug 13, 2021
586
Day 41:

Got up 8am, breakfast, cleanup, pack up the trailer. Headed into the town of Watson Lake itself for gas and to visit the Visitor's centre. There is a forest of signposts there that was started in 1942. The last time I was there in 1989 there were 6,000 signs. The people at the visitor's centre said they expected over 100,000 sign when they count at the end of this year.
View attachment 86831

I got my days mixed up and originally written that yesterday (day 40) was our last day in the Yukon but really it was today. The kids thought it was neat that the highway keeps crossing back and forth between the Yukon and British Columbia. We finally had to say goodbye to the Yukon as we continued down the Alaska Hwy.

A little farther we reached a spot where the highway had been completely washed out in the spring snow melt. A single lane bypass had been built using part of the original (old) highway. It confused Google Maps.
View attachment 86832

Once back on the highway we started to see some bison.
View attachment 86833

Arrived at Liard Hot Springs and had lunch before going for a dip. Great place, well kept. I expected it to be busier but there was hardly anyone there.
View attachment 86834
They have a campground with an electric fence to keep wildlife (bears) out but we hit the road after our swim.

Lots of sheep on the road as well. Had to be careful driving as you don't know what is around the next corner or over the next hill.
View attachment 86835

Drove past Muncho Lake which looked beautiful, there are two campgrounds there that I'd like to check out in the future.
View attachment 86836

There were many drainage channels built at the base of the mountains, presumably to help prevent the road from washing out.
View attachment 86837

After a lot of uphill driving arrived at Summit Lake campground in Stone Mountain Provincial park around 5:30pm. Supper, kids went exploring while we cleaned up, bed.

Ended up buying gas twice, as many of the fuel stations along this part of the highway are now permanently closed and we wanted to start the next day with a full tank.

Distance travelled: 389 km
Fuel economy: 12.2 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 53.181 l @ $1.899 /l = $100.99
Fuel purchased: 38.957 l @ $2.199 /l = $85.67
Solar harvested: 900 Wh
Am I doing my math wrongor is that about right? 20mpg?
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
341
Niagara Region, ON
Day 43:

Woke up at 8am, it had rained a bit in the early morning and the canvas was a bit wet so we used the furnace to speed up drying while we ate breakfast. Everyone was moving quickly due to the quantity (and ferociousness) of the mosquitos and we managed to get cleaned up, packed up, and on the road by 9am. Lots of wildlife out, saw two deer, a bear, and four sandhill cranes in the first 30 mins of driving.

Stopped for gas in Fort Nelson where the highway turns South.
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Stopped again at a rest area for lunch.
Arrived at Beatton PP around 2:30pm. Wife and kids got caught up on things at the campsite while I ran in to town (Fort St John) for groceries, ice, gas, and propane. Got a car wash as well since the van was covered in so much dirt and dust you couldn't look at it without getting dirty.

Supper, cleanup, campfire, bed. We were surprised that even by driving a little bit South we needed flashlights to get ready for bed, I think it was the first time we used them in a month.

Fairly average fuel economy. Still figuring out what makes the biggest difference but speed, wind, and elevation gain seem to be the biggest factors. Following a larger vehicle will often help, especially in a headwind. Sometimes driving faster seems to actually result in better fuel economy, but other factors may be at play.

The van has a nine speed ZF 9HP transmission transaxle with four under drive gears (1-4), one direct drive gear (5), and four overdrive gears (6-9) - as long as we stay in the overdrive gears fuel economy does not seem to suffer. We try and keep rpm when hill climbing at or below 3k, although the Honda engines do like to spin.

Distance travelled: 466 km
Fuel economy: 11.1 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 46.037 l @ $1.899 /l = $87.42
Solar harvested: 530 Wh
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
341
Niagara Region, ON
Day 44:

Woke up at 8am, breakfast, cleaned up, packed up. Were hoping to get on the road by 9:30am but when I was installing the 20lb propane tank back in its bracket after filling it yesterday (see day 43) I heard the hose leaking at the fitting where it screws into the regulator tee. A quick test with soapy water confirmed it was the hose itself and could not be fixed by tightening up the fitting(s).

Left the campground and stopped in Fort St John again looking for a replacement hose. After trying a half-dozen different places (all helpful, just didn't carry propane lines or no stock) finally found something that would work at Hose Headquarters (recommended). Not an exact replacement, needed a bushing and a coupling as well but it came out to a very reasonable price, much cheaper than I expected to pay at an RV repair shop. Plus as much free yellow (gas rated) PTFE tape as I needed.

Finally on the road at 11:30am (which would have consequences later), after grabbing some TimBits as a celebratory snack. The terrain changed from being mountainous to rolling hills with farmland.
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Stopped for lunch near Kiskatinaw PP along a section of the old Alaska highway with an old curved wooden bridge.
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It was closed to vehicles due to erosion of the river bank(s). It may or may not have been closed to pedestrians (signage did not specify) so we walked across it and hiked down to the river on the far side and explored a bit.
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Very impressive structure, built in 1942 with local timber.
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Continued driving after lunch, following Hwy 97 West through Chetwynd (which seemed wrong, as home is East) and then South. Chetwynd has lots of really neat chainsaw carvings around town (https://www.gochetwynd.com/visitors/chainsaw-carvings/).
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We arrived at Crooked River PP ~5:30pm, only to find it was full. Being a Friday, we had planned to arrive considerably earlier but between finding a replacement propane hose and our exploring at the bridge we didn't. We decided to push onwards and ended up staying at an RV park just outside of Prince George. It was nice enough, but close to the highway so a bit loud at night. But we got some laundry done. And hot showers.

Picked up some takeout Indian food (one of the kids favourite) on the way to the RV park since it was ~7pm by that time. Setup, ate supper, bed.

That was our first time getting skunked this trip. We have most of the popular campgrounds booked, and many of the weekend ones, but try to leave the others open to allow for some flexibility.

Distance travelled: 493 km
Fuel economy: 11.1 l/100km
Fuel purchased: ---
Solar harvested: 650 Wh
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
341
Niagara Region, ON
Day 45:

Started raining early morning, got up 8am, breakfast, cleanup, and managed to pack up the trailer during a break in the rain so it was not too wet. On the road into Prince George by 9:30am. Stopped for groceries, gas, ice, and a few things from CanTire (WD-40 lubricant and a bolt to fix my camping chair).

Headed East on the Yellowhead Hwy (16) through the pouring rain - at least the trailer was getting a good rinse which it desperately needed. The rain stopped just as we pulled over at Ancient Forest PP for lunch and a hike among the old cedars.
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The rain started again as we got back to the van and continued East. Next stop was at McBride for a bathroom break. Once again the rain stopped shortly before we arrived.
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By this time we could see the Rockies again.
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We said our goodbyes to British Columbia as we drove over the Yellowhead Pass into Alberta. Shortly after we pulled into our site at Wapiti campground in Jasper. We lucked out and got a nice site that sort of backed on to the Athabasca River (sometimes it is hard to tell when you book online).
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Lubed up the trailer stabilizers and winch after they got cleaned off by driving in the rain. And most importantly, fixed my camping chair.

Supper, campfire, cleaned up, bed.

Not much solar due to the rain. Fuel economy not bad despite all the elevation gain.

Distance travelled: 401 km
Fuel economy: 11.3 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 61.273 l @ $1.819 /l = $111.46
Solar harvested: 270 Wh
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
341
Niagara Region, ON
Day 46:

It was windy at times during the night but no rain. Woke up at 8am, breakfast, cleanup and head into Jasper as we are staying for another night. We had booked a white water rafting trip for the morning so we met in the designated parking lot at 9am.

The rafting trip was great, some parts had some rapids but in others you just floated down the river and admired the scenery. We did the Maligne Rafting Athabasca Falls canyon run which has class 2 rapids. The kids, having prior experience, would have preferred class 3 but you had to be at least 12 years old to do those.
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After getting back to town from the rafting trip we ate our lunches and spent some time exploring the town. Jasper is another tourist place - there are some interesting things but you can only visit so many gift stores and walk past so many overpriced restaurants. Lots of old train stuff.
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Back to the campsite at 3pm to change and pack some snacks for our trip up the Jasper SkyTram. Caught a 4pm gondola to the upper station.
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Spot our white Odyssey (there are two, ours has black roof rails and cross bars).
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Great views from the top.
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Wapiti (far side of highway on right) and Whistlers campgrounds (near side on left). Athabasca River behind the campgrounds.
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Unfortunately the mountain pine beetle killed over 80% of the trees in the campgrounds. There used to be beautiful private sites, now it is like camping in a grass field. Don't move firewood.

Spot our trailer.
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I took my 100-400 up to take pictures, but forgot the EF-M adapter to use it on my M5 so these were shot with my 18-150.

Back to the campsite 7pm. Supper, cleaned up, got the kids to bed.

I took a picture up at Whistlers mountain from the campsite. Spot the upper SkyTram station.
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That is where I took the pictures looking down from.
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Distance travelled: 25 km
Fuel economy: 10.9 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 45.184 l @ $1.559 /l = $70.44
Solar harvested: 330 Wh
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
341
Niagara Region, ON
Day 47:

Got up at 9am after our busy day yesterday. Breakfast, cleaned up, packed up, on on the road by 10am, continuing East on the Yellowhead Hwy. It is amazing how quickly you get out of the mountains - within 45 mins we were back in rolling hills and farmland.
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Stopped at a Tim Hortons in Edson for lunch. Normally we make sandwiches either the night before or morning of, but didn't get around to it this morning due to our sleep-in. Edson is a nice place, there is a big park next to the Tim Hortons that the kids ran around in. A lot of towns along the rail line(s) have an old caboose set up as a display - I presume after the railways stopped using them they donated them to the towns.
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Arrived at Pembina River PP at 2pm. The attendant at the check-in booth recommended going river tubing so after we got the trailer set up at our campsite we drove ~8km upstream to Pembina River Tubing to rent some tubes. It was 3 hour float downstream, mostly flat water but a few sections with small rapids. A little more water would have been better as there were one or two sections where we had to get out and walk past a rocky section, but overall it was fun and a great way to see the scenery. It would probably be crazy busy on the weekend but was not bad on a Monday.
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The tubing run ends at the day use area of the Provincial Park, which was handy for us. There is a shuttle you can use to go retrieve your vehicle from the tubing company lot (and to take the tubes back).

Back to the campsite, supper, campfire, bed.

Distance travelled: 284 km
Fuel economy: 10.4 l/100km
Fuel purchased: ---
Solar harvested: 470 Wh
 
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TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
341
Niagara Region, ON
Day 48:

Up at 8am, breakfast, cleaned up. Had to pop into a nearby gas station to get change (loonies - Canadian $1 coins) for the showers at Pembina PP (also got gas and ice). We try and shower or swim at least every other day but sometimes it is not possible. It is interesting how in some places you have to pay for different things and others are free - showers, firewood, WiFi, etc.

Finally on the road at 11am, still heading East on the Yellowhead Hwy. Arrived at the Edmonton Science Centre around noon, ate our lunches in the parking lot before heading in. Spent the afternoon exploring and doing activities with the kids before catching a 45 min IMAX documentary (Wings over Water).

Resumed our Eastward trek at 5pm, passing through rolling prairie pockmarked by wetlands.
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Arrived at Elk Island NP at 6pm, setup, supper, cleaned up. Not much time for anything else but to get ready for bed. No Elk around but lots of Bison. And a nice sunset.
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Nice beach as well, but blue-green algea in the water so no swimming.
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Set up the GoPro to do an overnight timelapse video before turning in.

Distance travelled: 177 km
Fuel economy: 11.1 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 33.233 l @ $1.549 /l = $51.15
Solar harvested: 260 Wh
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
341
Niagara Region, ON
Day 49:

Woke up at 8am, breakfast, cleanup. I screwed up the GoPro settings so the overnight timelapse video didn't work. Packed up the trailer and moved it to the day use area (beach) so we could go for a hike without worrying about the checkout time. Did a 4km semi-loop around part of Astotin Lake. The kids found some Parks Canada red chairs.
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And some raspberries.
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The beavers had been busy, one part of the trail was nearly completely blocked with downed trees.
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Finished our hike 11:30ish so had our picnic lunch on the beach before hitting the road. It was rush hour on the park access road.
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Lots of bison looking for their lunch as well.
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Stopped at the visitor's centre for sew-on patches before resuming our Eastward journey on the Yellowhead Hwy. Stopped in Lloydminster at 3pm (which is half in Alberta and half in Saskatchewan) to fill up on cheap Alberta gas. Passed over the Saskatchewan River around 4:30pm.
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Lots of flat roads and big open skies.
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Arrived Glenburn MC at 5pm. Setup the trailer, supper, cleanup, and a swim in the pond before putting the kids to bed. Conditions were ideal for Northern Lights so setup the GoPro again for an overnight timelapse. They did make an appearance, but fairly low on the horizon (understandable as we are a little farther South every day).
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Distance travelled: 417 km
Fuel economy: 10.4 l/100km
Fuel purchased: 44.530 l @ $1.399 /l = $63.30
Solar harvested: 810 Wh
 

TSQ

Active Member
Mar 28, 2021
341
Niagara Region, ON
Success with the GoPro!



Also caught some of the Perseids meteor shower, but the settings were optimized for the Northern Lights so they don't show up that well.

Tips for viewing:
- use the gear icon and select 1440p (or at least 1080p) quality
- fullscreen
- turn up your screen brightness if you can't see the stars

Spot the North (Pole) star! (The rest of the stars rotate around it)

We often shoot video as well, but do not normally post it as it is very resource heavy (time to edit, power for laptop to process, mobile data to upload, etc).
 




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