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This year we stopped at Palmetto State Park for one night as we journeyed on to Falcon State Park where we were officially beginning our winter snowbirding experience. But we have fond memories of our stay there last year when we met up with some of our Wisconsin friends. Since I did not publish the blog last year, I will include both experiences simultaneously.
After leaving the guy who repaired our trailer brakes, we had an uneventful drive and got to Palmetto State Park before dark. We got set up, and then Opa took the truck to fuel up and get some great BBQ from the Luling City Market to fuel us up too. We did a walk after dinner on the trails and headed out the next morning to Falcon State Park.
We had a little time before our rv park reservation near our daughter’s house, so we met friends at Palmetto State Park near San Antonio.
Driving into the trailer campground is like driving into another world or at least another totally different environment. Dwarf palmetto plants surround the swamps in the park which makes you think that you are in a tropical climate. The palmettos are huge and beautiful and at times dwarfing you. It was fun to walk the trail and photograph the nature there.
After a wonderful family Christmas, it was time to pack up and head south again to run away from the cold and snowy tundra. We watched for a good weather opening and took off. We want to officially begin our trip at Falcon State Park near the southwestern border of Texas where the US meets Mexico across the Rio Grande River. We seem to have a good plan now. Our first stop is at Double J campground in Chatham, Illinois. It’s right off the freeway with pull through sites, heated water lines, and nice clean bathrooms. It’s still cold there. Our second stop was Delta Ridge RV park in Forrest City, Arkansas. The RV park is conveniently located right off the freeway near Walmart and a lot of stores. It offers full hook ups and roomy pull through sites but there are no bathroom or shower facilities there. You need to have your own. An overnight stop and continue on.
We had a late start south this winter. We spent the holidays at home and then took care of some medical appointments. A weather window opened up right after our appointments so we packed very quickly (forgot so many things). Finally got ourselves in order and left on January 6th.
I think I got a little homesick after having been south for four months for the winter, then arriving home for only one month, and then leaving for our Alaska adventure for another four months. So getting back home, of course, meant lots of maintenance, cleaning and projects.
And there was something else. Our dog loved traveling with us. All the new smells, new places, and people fussing over how handsome he was. And he was! But at home, he was definitely in HIS kingdom. He was able to go outside off leash and check out our large yard, chase bunnies and squirrels, and relax. He also protected us from any service workers and deliveries that came to the house. He loved being near us. He loved the spaciousness and freedom of his home. It was a good place for him to be.
But after two months at home, sadly, it was time to say good bye to each other. We found him in the kitchen one morning, unable to move except for his head. We rushed him to the emergency animal hospital but things were not looking good. He was nearly 14 and had mobility, vision, and hearing problems for some time. But this complication did not look fixable. We had to let him go. It was so very difficult to say good bye. But I know that we gave him the most wonderful life a dog could ever have. I mill miss him dearly! He was my constant companion for 6 1/2 years, sometimes wonderful, other times a challenge, but always my protector and friend. I believe that my rescue dog rescued me!
We were able to have two wonderful holidays with the family at our house. And that gave me great pleasure. And then it became time to run from the crazy Wisconsin winters. And plan more traveling. And in my heart, I can’t wait to have another beautiful dog to spoil in the future. Although, I know that another dog will never ever really be able to replace Coda.
We spent 4 months in a Winnebago View class C motorhome driving from Wisconsin to Fairbanks, Alaska and back with our 80+ lb. dog, and 16 lb. cat. We specifically bought this motorhome to ensure easier travel and yet be roomy enough and comfortable for our large senior dog. He was very unsure in the beginning, but we kept making little changes to make him comfortable and he was so happy to be with us.
Meziadin Lake Provincial Park was our last stop on the Cassier Highway. We headed south about 100 miles to the highway’s end, where it intersects the Yellowhead Highway. (We had been on the Yellowhead Highway from Jasper to Prince George at the beginning of our trip, but that was well east of where we were now.) Our choice was to head east toward home, or head west about 150 miles to the end of the road in Prince Rupert. And the Prince Rupert area was pretty much the only reason to head west. It would be a 300 mile side-trip, since the only land route toward home would be back the way we came.
We left the beautiful Kinaskin Lake Provincial Park campground in hopes to find bears in Hyder, AK. Stewart, BC is a forty mile side-trip off the Cassier Hwy, and the tiny town of Hyder, Alaska is just across the border. There is not even US customs at the border, although there is Canadian customs when you return to Stewart.
There are two ways to get to Skagway from Haines. You either drive back into Canada, along the Alaska Highway for a while, and then back into Alaska (350 miles of driving), or just take a 45 minute ferry ride. The choice was easy for us. We would save both time and money by taking the ferry. And so with heavy hearts, we left the Chilkoot River and the beautiful bears, and headed for the ferry that was to take us to Skagway.
We were instructed to be at the ferry terminal and register about 2 hours before departure time. So we got there and got into our line (there were several).
After the ferry arrived and emptied out all of its passengers and cars, it was time to start reloading the ferry.
We left our campground on the water and headed a few miles away to find a campsite at the Chilkoot Lake State Recreation Site. We found a couple that looked like they might be preparing to leave and asked them if they were. Turns out they were planning to switch to a beautiful site across the road that was on the water, just as soon as it became vacant, so we played musical campsites and occupied their old site as soon as they moved.
Despite not being on the water, our campsite was nice. It was close to the campground entrance, which made our walk down to the weir shorter. The price was also not bad for an Alaska state campground at $15/night. (Some of the SRAs were as high as $25/night for dry camping in campgrounds that were not as nice as this one.)
We had started making our plans for Haines while we were still in Tok and had internet. We knew there would be no internet for the next several days. We thought 3 nights in Haines would be enough and then take the ferry to Skagway instead of driving back into Canada and crossing back into Alaska again. So we started making reservations for a campground, ferry ride to Skagway, and while we were at it, the famous White Pass Summit excursion in Skagway.
There were two campgrounds in town and we chose the smaller one along the waterfront. Who doesn’t love a waterfront view? We needed electric and water and a place to do laundry. This place would work. They only had 2 nights available with hook ups for our stay, but we could dry camp in the front area for the last night if we wanted. We had booked the two nights with services and would figure out the last night later.