Loud hail storm in the mountains of New Mexico

On The High Road to Taos (highway 518 in New Mexico) Jack and I ran into a pretty powerful hail storm.  Even Jack felt the need to pull over at this point.  At the very beginning of the below video you can see a little bit of lightning and later the road was totally white, it looked like snow.  There are photos below it.

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Motor home goes off the road

Jack happened upon a motor home that got too close to the edge and got sucked into the soft shoulder on the Taylor Highway a few miles north of Chicken, Alaska.  In these photos Jack drives up to the gathering of vehicles with people who are there to get this problem taken care of.  The tow truck is there and they have already pulled the motor home so that it is perpendicular to the road so they can get it out.  The sad couple stands nearby; even if their insurance is paid up there was undoubtedly a loss of valuables and a sad ending to the trip they’ve planned for months.  Sadly, it’s not the first time it has happened and it won’t be the last. (Click on the first image and scroll to the right.)

Alaska Highway Dreams

If only we were on the road again

Driving the Alaska Highway

This is Kluane Lake, Yukon Territory, Canada, when we were coming back from our long 6 week trip to the states in 2012.  Memories!

(Best viewed if you click on one and scroll to the side.)

Road Trip: TripAdvisor Tips & The Terrace Motel

(The following post doesn’t have much to do with trucking but you can be rest assured that I will be going back to that topic in the near future.)

Jack and I stayed in about 25 different hotels and motels on our long road trip to the States and through Canada.  We perfected a routine about choosing and booking hotels that I want to share with you in case it will save you any time or grief in the future.

Each day I would make reservations for the next day’s hotel stay.  First, I would pull up the town we were going to stay in on www.tripadvisor.com.  (via smartphone or laptop)  I would find the hotel list for the city, then check the box “Pets Allowed” on the left hand side (and sometimes “Kitchenette”).  Of that new list I would choose one of the top rated hotels after reading a few reviews.  I skipped anything that indicated lots of noise or smells, and always read the “Terrible” reviews of a hotel I was going to pick (since that’s where someone is going to complain about bed bugs!).

The next part is important.  Instead of calling the 800 number that is provided on the TripAdvisor site I would put the name and address of the hotel into Google and bring up the direct phone number.  If you call the 800 number provided it will take you to a calling center that will try to place you in one of their hotels.  I fell for this several times.  Once, a woman insisted to me that a certain hotel was booked up (I had already seen that it had availability through the TripAdvisor site but I gave her the benefit of the doubt in case she had more up-to-date information than I did).  She then tried to convince me to stay at one or two different places.  Whether they were more expensive or not I don’t remember, but I figure now it was one of the hotels that paid them more money.  (The 800 number calling center must have a database of hotels that pay to be promoted.)   When I insisted these other hotels wouldn’t work for us, that I would have to talk to my husband and call back, she relented and said wait wait, let me check again on the one you originally called about.  And guess what, it mysteriously had a pet room open for the night we needed.

I feel bad for “tricking” the TripAdvisor website this way.  I really like TripAdvisor, in fact I relied on it greatly for this purpose.  But I want to make a reservation with a person at the hotel I’m going to stay at, not someone thousands of miles away from it.  I want to ask a question about parking or the stairs and have someone not just say yes yes it won’t be a problem, but to get a real answer from someone who works at the hotel and lives in the town I’m going to stay in.

On part of the return trip we were hauling a trailer so needed ample parking.  It got to be a bit of a hassle because then we needed a hotel that accepted pets AND had a big parking lot (which is not a choose-able option on TripAdvisor).  One hotel we called in Canada actually suggested a different hotel that had a bigger parking lot.  So it really helps to call the hotel directly, especially if you have special needs.

One good TripAdvisor find was the Terrace Motel in Munising, Michigan.  We met Larry, the owner, and snapped a few pictures of the place.

The Terrace Motel - Munising, Michigan

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The Terrace Motel - Munising, Michigan

Be sure to stay at the Terrace Motel if you are looking for a clean affordable place to stay and are passing through the upper peninsula of Michigan, or if you are wanting to explore the beautiful Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore which is nearby.  (To see photos of Pictured Rocks click here for a link to my bird blog.)

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By the way, thank you for each and every comment that is made.  I enjoy seeing them and even if I don’t answer each one, do know that I read each one to Jack!

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Back at Home in Alaska

Jack and I are at home enjoying normal life again.  We had a wonderful trip coming back, saw more wildlife and beautiful landscapes… gained hours but lost sunlight and warmth.   And now we’re settled in for the winter.

The thousands of photos I took on our trip down south will enable us to revel in our great times for days to come.  We’ll be sharing them with you over the next couple of months.

It was cloudy most of the way through Canada until the last day of our trip when we crossed over into Alaska.  Clear and cold!

Jack bought a trailer and plow in Minnesota.  The truck took a bit of a beating.

…a wonderful trip, but it’s good to see the Alaska Range again!

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Deadwood, South Dakota

Jack and I recommend a visit to Deadwood, South Dakota.  Especially if the sun is shining!

This statue is of Wild Bill Hickok, the most famous Old West character associated with Deadwood.

If we remember correctly from reading about the history of Deadwood, this creek at one time flooded the town and is now specially engineered to flow through and under the town.

This is Adams Museum, a beautiful building with 3 levels packed full of interesting items from Deadwood’s past.  Here are some highlights:

And here is another striking statue, this one of a Cowboy on a bucking horse.

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The signs on the main street of Deadwood are really fabulous!

We wish we could have spent time in each of these places.  But we have to say that the Deadwood Social Club Restaurant is terrific…they make their own blue cheese dressing and it is more than worth the walk up those stairs!

We happened upon a darn fine Wild Bill impersonator.

And then ran into a fan of Jack’s, Ed, running the parking garage.

Thanks Deadwood for showing us such a fun time!

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Truck Shots From The Road

Taking photos from the truck is tough, but possible, as we have discovered.

The back of this truck looked quite fabulous reflecting the sunset.

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Driving out of the sunset, surrounded by trucks.

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The trucker didn’t know that this piece of wood was near to falling off the rear of his truck.  It must have worked its way out of the load.  Jack tried to tell him on the radio but wasn’t able to find the right channel and soon we were passed him.

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This dump truck was losing it’s load, spraying gravel all over the road.   (The coffee cups look like they are floating but it’s just the reflection of them sitting on the dash.)

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Trucks pass under these wildlife corridors in Canada with plenty of room to spare.

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And Jack, enjoying the setting sun, driving south.

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