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CuriousTires

Full-Timing RV Family with 2 Pups and a 2 Year Old – Traveling Coast to Coast

Journal Entry: Day 53

I happened to find this old post in my journal and thought it would be a fun one to share.  Written August 26th 2016.
We did it.  We’re on the road headed south, finally!   It was a sad moment while driving away from the Knik River Recreation Area.  Realizing that we are leaving our home and the only home I really have known made me shed a tear or two.  We celebrated Ryder’s 2nd Birthday at Knik River with some of our closest people and off we went.  Making it to our favorite spot near Healy and Denali Alaska.  Since we love the rain and wind so much 🙂 (we have been chasing the rainy weather all month) we decided to stay two nights and explore Denali Park again.
We had the pleasure of persuading our mom to tag along with us through our journeys until we make it to Portland.  That’s her stop.
Our stay in Fairbanks lasted three nights, taking in the sites one last time before we headed out.  Visiting the Quilt shops for my mom, Pioneer Park, the Knotty Shop, Harding Lake, and visiting our brother.  We even got to see natures beauty at its finest, The Northern Lights.  Staying up till about 12:30am, it finally was dark enough to see if we could actually see them.  I thought I had spotted them in the RV so mom and I hopped into the car and off 25 miles out of town we ventured.

Mother Nature sure put on a magnificent show for us.  Dancing across the sky, showing green, purple and pink. It was a beauty.

Thursday August 25, 2016 we made it all most all the way to Tok, Alaska.  We ended up staying 13 miles south of Tok at Moon Lake State Recreation site.  It was a campground with 17 spots on a lake shore.  I guess it’s a good spot to see Loons, but we had no such luck.  Dogs loved it there because we had the place to ourselves.  When they were out they would romp through the long grass and then you would hear, kur-splah as they ran out of land and ended up in the lake:)
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All of Us standing on both sides of the Alaska, US & Canadian International Border.

We crossed over the Canada border this afternoon.  Sun was shining along with it raining at the same time.  It seems to be flowing us, or perhaps we are following it.  Beautiful country.  Very marshy like with short and thin spruces trees covering the land and ponds sporadically placed.  I am very disappointed with the wildlife viewing on our trip so far.  No bears.  No Moose.  Only Geese, Swans, Sand Hill Cranes, Squirrels and many, many Ravens.  I wanna see a bear!  Hopefully soon we will run into one.  Tonight we found a nice free pullout next to a little creek.  It’s quiet and peaceful.  A nice spot to spend our first night in Canada and tomorrow onward we will travel.  These curioustires wanna get to Haines Junction and perhaps Skagway.

P.S the very next day we saw a Black Bear cross the street in front of us and watched us slowly drive by.

Lost in Adventure

This family of five have been busy in the last 2 months, especially for living a lifestyle where we have nowhere to be and really no deadlines.  We have been visiting with family that are normally half way across the country from our home base of Alaska.  Time well spent.  We attended the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico.

My son and I visited our 1st Pumpkin Patch in Kansas.

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Spent Halloween with a bunch of our cousins.

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Took a side trip to Mexico for another cousins wedding.

Spent Thanksgiving with family and plan to spend Christmas with more family. Our Curioustires will hit the road after Christmas, off somewhere else to explore and to celebrate the start of hand exciting New Year.

We wanted to wish everyone Happy Holidays wherever you may call home, we wish you the best.

Rearrange Life

Our lives have officially been Rearranged.  It has been a while since we have posted something only because our lives have been crazy.  We have made it all the way to San Antonio, Texas and have the miles on Bussy to prove it.  It feels like we have driven to the moon and back with all the different landscapes and terrain we have traveled through.  Everyday has been a new and exciting adventure.

We landed in Texas to stay with our parents so that we can attend our cousins wedding.  We will be here about a month, which will be different than our normal moving every few days.  It will give us a great opportunity to fix the jack that is still broken, fix the new leaky toilet and to go through all of our stuff to get rid of the unneeded things that traveled with us all 4500 miles from home.

We have gone above our 70 deg weather we were chasing, a few times.  Like now in Texas and in New Mexico both sitting about 90 deg.  I love the heat, but we have discovered that 90 is way to hot for me, not that I should be complaining because it is sitting the single digits at home is Alaska.  Burrr!

We have now been in our RV for 16 and 1/2 weeks, 116 nights.  7 and 1/2 week of witch we have been in the states and we have only had to pay for about 5 spots.  I would say we have keep our rent to under $100 for the last 2 months…I think that is Awesome 🙂  There are a lot more free places to stay than you would think.

These curioustires now are living a life that is always rearranged and we are embracing it!

Lovely Harding Lake State Recreation Area

It is Beautiful here.  The ground is covered with moss.  The pine trees are short, thin and skinny and the ground is squishy.  We loved this place so much we stayed a whole week, even though we had to pay to stay.  3 out of the 6 nights we had the whole campground to ourselves, except for the neighbors way off in the distance, the camphosts.  The best kinda camping…in my mind, is when you have no neighbors.  They were great, friendly and we got in a few daily chats when we ran into them around the park.

Mushrooms were growing everywhere.  We have seen many different types and the campground information board says that you can harvest them around here.  If you are a mushroom lover this is a good place to visit.  Signs also say you can gather wood in and  around the campground that is already down for firewood.  It is everywhere.  In the first parking lot of the boat launch there were piles of it just beyond the gravel.

We went on a few bike rides and checked out some dirt roads only to find plots of land that had been cleared.  By cleared I mean lots of trees uprooted laying in piles.  We threw a few sticks for the dogs and let Ryder splash in some puddles.  It was early in the morning when we went so he still had his Batman PJ’s on and while running through a huge puddle he slipped and fell.  uHe filled his boots up and manage to drench is pants, diaper, socks and the bottom half of his top.  After stripping him down his dad though he would show him that he can put his bear feet in the puddles too.  So, he went running, slipped and landed right on his butt with a splash.  Therefore what he had on that was dry was now wet and his diaper went from wet to muddy.  By then it was time to go home.

Another eventful night Matt, Ryder and Blue went for a ride on the main street.  On their way home a huge black dog, which Matt thought was a black bear came running out of the woods and started chasing them.  Blue took off running which caused the leash to get tangled in the bike handlebars causing Matt and Ryder to fall:(  I realized that something was wrong when I saw Blue come barreling around the corner of the campground road up to the RV door and there was no site of Matt and Ryder.  I waited for a few seconds and knew something had to of happened if Blue wasn’t with them, so I hopped in the car and found them walking the bike at the entrance of the campground.  Ryder had road rash on his face with some swelling and Matt was frantic about Ryders face.  I guess they had walked the entire length of the road which meant Blue can home from a mile and a half away.  Such a good dog sometimes!  When inspecting Ryders face more closely back in the RV,he at one point acted like he was going to pass out.  Off the ER we went, 40 miles away in Fairbanks.  Like newer parents and this being his first traumatic accident we wanted to make sure he was ok.   Like a champ he was good to go with some road rash on his forehead, nose and chin.  The doctor said he might get a couple black eyes in the near future so not to worry.  Within a week he looks like normal and the poor guy will tell you the whole story too.  In his words, ” Bike…Blue…DOG…Ouchy” and points to his head.

There are squirrels everywhere.  It was fun to watch them squeal and chase each other over the squishy ground and up around in the trees.  Even saw a flying squirrel.  I had no idea that we had them up in Alaska, but they are apparently abundant in Interior Alaska.

The lake does have a boat launch for $5.  The information board says there are fish in there, Rainbow Trout, Graeling, Salmon and Northern Pike.  You are not allowed to fish from the bank because Northern Pike like the shallow water and their off limits.  You can’t take them out of the water and you are very likely to catch them off the bank.  Something about the reproduction of the species is falling so their just off limits.  We don’t have a boat and can’t get to where the fish are, so I guess no fishing for me:(

The campground was great.  We HIGHLY recommend it if your in the area. 20160801_203106 It was very clean.  Campsites gave you more room between sites then you normally find.  There are 2 loops, the 1st one I suggest for big rigs only because there are a few trees with low branches when entering the 2nd loop.  There are spaces with 2 spots next to each other for groups in both loops.  The 2nd loop is really nice – you just see lime green everywhere with spots of color from the mushrooms.  The sites aren’t as spaced out but the atmosphere is out of this world, which is where you’ll think you are.  There is a dump there, picnic areas near the lake, a volleyball court, a big group fire pit, a large grassy area good for pets and a field for group camping.

Harding Lake we had fun and tears but these curioustires are moving on down the road, South towards Anchorage.  Janet here we come.

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CuriousTires Headed North

After our free 2 week stay near Denali, Alaska we decided it was time to move on.  Northbound we were headed.  Before we left Matt got the brakes hooked up right, so that the car was braking along with the RV making the drive through the mountains up near Fairbanks not as bad as I thought they were gonna be.  We were definitely slow, but we made it, and what’s the rush?  We’re not in a hurry!20160728_185306

We wanted to stay kind of close to town and decided to stay at Chena Pump Wayside…which was right in the middle of town.  Other than the road traffic driving down the street behind you the campground was nice, clean, and quiet.  They did a nice job at keeping you parked in the woods and making you feel like you’re not in the middle of town.

 The campground has a dumping station and water free for paying campers.    We really didn’t want to pay the $20 with no hook-ups, but the convenience of being in town to get our shopping and laundry done was worth it.  We even got to visit with our brother and some good friends.  Also got an estimate done on the car for repair from when the RV hit us out near Healy.  

We took a day to go and venture out to find our next home, which took us south of Fairbanks.  1st was Chena Lakes Recreational Area, which has camping, swimming and fishing. ABC There are 2 campgrounds with 80 sites ranging from $12-$20.  The swimming area even has a beach…Alaskan style.  2nd was Salcha River State Recreation site, which ended up being a large gravel circle with tons of parking for the boat launch.  There is a camp host, however it makes no sense to have someone host a campground with no campsites!  Moving down the road we went to our 3rd place, Harding lake.  Found a winner!  The forest ground was covered with lime green moss, mushrooms everywhere and crazy flying squirrels.h

The worst thing we picked up in or around Fairbanks was a screw in our tire…the same new tire we had replaced a month ago, while out venturing to find a new home.  How frustrating!  If I only knew it would cost a tire per new home site…I might not have made the decision to go full-time.  The screw was in the side wall just beyond the tread so this time the car place wouldn’t just replace 1 they wanted to replace all 4 because it is an all wheel drive car, Blah! 

To sum it up, after visiting, shopping and 4 new tires, we are now staying in Harding Lake Campground.  It is just 40 miles south of Fairbanks on the Richardson Highway and we might stay for a day or two or seven, who knows!!12

Boondocking Near Denali National Park

Time to leave the awesome BLM spot we found outside of Healy, Alaska.  We stayed our full 14 nights and loved it.  Best thing about it was it was free.  We even got to spend my Birthday there.   Blueberries, moose and the rain were our friends during our stay.  We were only about 5 mins away from Denali Village and the Park was just right up the road.  There is plenty of shopping to do in the village and tons to do within Denali National Park.  There are bus rides you can take deep into the park, but you are able to drive your own veichle in to mile 12, where you will be greeted by a Park Ranger who will prompt you to turn around.  At this same spot there is a parking lot next to a river with bathrooms and a couple of hiking trails to wonder down.  There are also many visitor centers to checkout and a dog sled demonstration, all but the dog place has its own parking.

Lots of excitement went on during our stay too.

One night Blue our younger dog just started growing real low in the back bedroom when Ryder was already asleep.  When investigating what was going on, I realized that I had left the back window open and she had heard 3 moose chopping away at the bushes around us.  Once I got the window shut and the dog to calm down enough to not bark (cause she KNEW something was outside and she needed to see what) I got to watch two cows and a bull moose wonder around our RV just eating and listening to what was going on around them.
Woke up another night to Ki barking at a bull right outside the front window.  It’s the best way to wake up in the middle of the night…to a dog barking his head off (using the manly…you better be afraid of me bark and not the normal high pitch girly one), all you can think is there is either a bear or monster outside 🙂  Moose are such beautiful creatures.  Except for that one morning when we woke up, Matt took the dogs out for their morning ritual while making a business call and Ki takes off after a moose he saw.  Before any of us knew it the moose had chased Ki back to the RV.  She was so close I could have probably reached my hand out the passenger window and petted her snout.  Blue was just barking and Matt was just yelling for both of the dogs to come…Then…she focused on something and just bolted ..at that very moment Matt jumped in the RV and both dogs chased her in and across the meadow behind us.  Close call.  I felt bad for the moose, she was justing eating some morning breakfast and these two short things just come at her.  I was very glad that they were all ok.  I think the whole time we were there we saw 13 moose that came around the RV and another 3 in Denali park.
cDrove down Stampede Rd.  Windy and flat.  Once up top, a trail will lead you to the trailhead leading to Bus 149.  Google it if you don’t know.
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Randomly driving through Healy we decided to turn onto Healy Spur Rd and we discovered some crazy rock formations with beautiful colors coming from lines that ran parallel with ground that had been exposed in the hills. The road ended for us at the Usibelli Coal Mine.  We went across this big bridge and up a huge hill ran into some construction machinery and decided that was it was time to turn around.  There are a few gates with signs, but the gate were all open so we just drove through.
There was a dump station in Healy we used.  If you can bare the drive down the potholey hill, they charge $5, behind the Miners Market, they also have camping, laundry and showers.
Advise: Drive down the street you would normally pass right up.  There is likely unlocked treasures.  You never know what lies down them, until you know.

Stuff You’re Not Told When You Buy A RV

We will always be fixing things on the rig…or at least that’s what it is feeling like so far.  This was a used RV when we bought it. Five years old and the generator had more hours than the engine did.  Someone told me that they wanted to hear about the hard parts of our RV trip along with the good.  She said, “It can’t always be living with rainbows and butterflies.”  I knew that there would be problems but I didn’t think they would pile up so fast.  We have fixed the radio, water leaks, water pump not turning on, stairs not retracting, towels racks falling out of the thin wall, blown fuses, trailer harness wiring and the tow car being dead when we had to unhook so we could turn around (that was a fun one!)

~The radio was an easy fix – just a loose wire.

~After purchasing Bussy, Matt and my Dad woke up to a flooded floor.  Dad fixed that leak by just tightening all the fasteners under the sink.  Perhaps they rattled loose on the drive through Canada or a bad plumber did some handy work on it:)  We’re sure there is still a small leak somewhere, so we just don’t turn the water pump on unless we’re using it – at least until we can investigate more.

~We ran the water very low and once we refilled the tank the water pump didn’t turn on when the button was flipped.  Now when Matt went and dumped the RV the last few times he has noticed that the black tank has leaked a little into the cabinet that holds all that stuff.  This time the dumping process was no different except it had some back splash to go with it, yuk!  When he was done dumping both tanks he rinsed the cabinet out without knowing that there was a control box that went to the water pump. When we got back to the campsite and realized the water pump did not work he went to check on things and realized what had happened.  He took the box apart and used some hot air to dry things out and once it was all together again, like magic, it worked.

~Stairs needed to be oiled and a fuse needed to be replaced.  Too bad we cut like 3 wires, took apart the motor and manually ratchet strapped the stairs up for such a relatively easy fix.

~Towel rack is still not fixed 😦  We tried some 3M double sticky tape with no luck.  It’s still on the to be fixed list.

~We now know that we can’t run the TV and the A/C at the same time.  Matt had blown the inverter fuse when I was on my way back from Anchorage running errands.  After already being gone for an hour and a half I had to turn around and drive to the opposite side of Anchorage to get the fuse we needed, during rush hour.  Therefore, I bought two fuses!  Changed the fuse and we were back in business. Until, it blew later that night.   Ok, looking into the problem further, we found that it was not blown, the metal in the fuse holder was loose and not making a good connection with the fuse itself.  The fuse was still good and usable, yay!  We have also learned that we can’t run the Microwave and electric burners at the same time…because all the screens go red with dire warnings!!!

~We have noticed that the brakes in the CR-V have not been working while being pulled.  It’s not a huge deal as the CR-V is light enough that technically in most states it doesn’t need it, but being that we bought the system it would be nice if it worked!  When Matt was under the dash trying to replace a fuse, he found a bundle of wires that were labeled for the trailer harness – and the brake wires were not hooked up.  After a bit of running back and forth with an electrical multimeter, he finally figured out what was going on and feels confident that the next time we move Bussy they will work.

~While trying to find a spot close to Denali, Alaska, we pulled off on Otto Lake Rd.  In the Milepost it says there is a campground next to a lake.  We took the RV, pulling the CR-V,  down the street.  About a half mile up the road is a lake off to the left with some BBQ pits and picnic tables.  The further we drove down the road we were like…”where are we going to turn this beast around, the street keeps getting narrower the further we drive!!”  Matt thought he had enough room at one point, but we didn’t make it.  I hopped out and unhooked the car, ( which; have I told you how good I am at?!)  Turning the key to start the car and nothing happened…another problem to add to the list…Why the car died while being towed…Wheewww.  Matt barely got turned around and had to figure out how to get Bussy in a position that we could jump the car.  We have to leave the car in neutral with the key in the ignition while being towed.  The car was in park and I had lights on my dash when I turned the key, but I got the click – click – click noise:(  Once the jumping occurred, we were on the road again.

~Just last night parking in the middle of no where, at the end of a dirt road a small 25ft RV thought he could get around us and ended up backing up into the front our CR-V.  Never thought I had to worry about the car being hit. Frustrating!

Problems will occur, I am aware of that and I’m trying to look at all this in a positive way.  We’re learning about maintenance on our RV -even if it has bad timing.  Soon our rig will be like brand new … until some thing else has to be fixed!!

North Bound

Thursday was the day we decided to leave Knik River and head to Fairbanks, Alaska with a short stop off at Denali of course.  We didn’t get going until about 2pm and once everything was all packed up, jacks up, awning up, the steps refused to go up.  We messed with some fuses, the sensor on the door and messed with the motor that makes stairs go up and down.  Final outcome, was to take it the mother apart and manually hold them up with a ratchet strap to the motorhome frame.  Off we went.

Stopped in Wasilla and Northward we were headed, on the Parks Highway.  We only made it to about mile 130 and we decided to stop for the night.  wWe found a huge pullout off the highway and set ourselves up.  We had the whole pullout to ourselves with just the noise of the occaiconal drive by vehicle.  It was a nice pullout at least it had a good view and 4G Internet.r  eWe set up the BBQ, made some dinner and enjoyed the 80 deg evening.
I think every window we had was open and it didn’t start cooling down until after 11 pm after the sun set enough it wasn’t shinning through our front window.

Next day we lounged around for most of the day.  Did the some cleaning, Matt had a full day of work and Ryder got his fill of Mickey Mouse clubhouse.  Once nap time came around we were on the road again.  Two and a half hours later we had made it to Denali, Alaska.  From the time we left Cantwell, the town before Denali, we had been looking for a good spot to stop, even if it was another pullout.  RV Parks near Denali run from $28 and up, just depends on what kind of luxuries you want included.  We had planned on staying in a pullout shorty after you pass the Denali Village, off to the left side of the road , with a view of Nenana River and a old black steel railroad bridge.

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Nenana River

Construction was going on and the 5-6 huge pullouts after you leave Denali were being used for storing big tractors and had “no camping” signs posted.  Still headed north after crossing over Bison Creek, around the corner and up the hill was a pullout with about 8 RV squished in it.  No Fun!  With no luck, we decided it was dinnertime.

Matt did a little research online and found the PERFECT spot.  My favorite place so far.  I was glad we didn’t have to keep driving north because I don’t think Ryder wanted to sit in his car seat anymore and no-one likes to travel with a screaming toddler.  We have been here four nights now, it’s just so beautiful that we decided to stay a little longer than a short stay.  Why not we don’t really have anywhere to be and have no scheduled things to do.  At this moment, this is home for these curioustires.i.JPG

Kink River, Alaska

Kink River Public Use Area

This land is managed by the Department of Natural Resources.  We stayed on the river bed right off the Old Glenn Highway.  We were on the North side of the bridge and to the left side.  Very spacious place and easy accessible for cars or RV’s of any size.  

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We camped on the other side of the bridge.  We are just out of the frame and would be sitting just to top and left of the picture.

There are tons of spots with already made rock fire pits or just set yourself up next to water, just be sure your back far enough that when the tide comes in you don’t get a flooded campsite.  nGreat 4G internet and for the most part quiet.  There was the occasional 4-wheeler or truck that sped by .  Now we did only stay from Monday night until Thursday afternoon.  Fact is that this place gets crazy on the weekends.  Its the cool place for everyone to go party and people tend to get unruly.  We didn’t want to have that much fun:)

Our view was of Pioneer Peak
Mountain and the beautiful sandy Knik River.  By staying here we were very close to Anchorage, Wasilla and Palmer. h We stocked up food, water gas and ran errands too.  We were actually in Butte, Alaska that has a small gas station with minimal snacks.  Right around the corner is a pick yourself farm, Pharahs Pioneer Peak Farm that is always a fun trip.  The Bodenburg Butte Knol hike thats rather easy but gives you a nice view about the valley.  There is also the Reindeer Farm and a Musk-Ox Farm in Palmer.

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