2018 - North America
Mexico - USA - Canada - Alaska - Mexico
on the road again in Mexico…
Narrow roads, well sounding language, cactuses, palms, Margaritas and variously prepared, spicy peppered Tacos. Yes, the pattern for Mexico is perfect.
Actually this time we wanted to enter straightaway to the mainland of Mexico. At short notice we changed our mind and again we crossed via Tecate border to Baja California. This time we found the beaches almost empty, with cold wind and occasionally rain.
In Mulege and Loreto, Pueblo’s Magic’s, we felt immediately at home again. The local ones greet also tourists and are ready for a small chat. Contrary to American, they also know one on the day after a talk. The meal offer is with ingredients fresh, even in small, cosy restaurant. It is sung and makes music. One feels the joy of life. We like it!
Safe full of Golf Putter
In Phoenix we had the opportunity to visit the PING golf factory. To see the high-tech manufacturing process from metal blocks to putter and golf clubs was unbelievable.
Karsten Solheim, the founder of the business started his client-orientated enterprise in a garage. Now the PING factory is huge employing about 800 people, many for decades already. A shop is not to be found here. The PING clubs and putters are exclusively manufactured on order after Golf Club Fittings.
Yellowstone National Park – a seething danger
Yellowstone is a super volcano and belongs to the biggest volcanos worldwide. Apparently, the ground is lifting and dropping every now and then. The magma is situated only 8 kilometres beneath the surface, thus you are literally sitting on top of a pressure cooker. If that lid blows not much will be left of North America.
Numerous geysers, hot springs, bubbling mud holes and colourful water ponds count as highlights of this park. Sometimes, heavy, of sulphur smelling fumes as well as the altitude make it hard to breathe. Occasionally the view from the wooden walkways was not really promising due to all the steam.
Bisons, formidable beef-cakes, are hardly bothered by the tourists surrounding them and even make themselves comfortable right next to the road.
A cold snap, blocked roads, mobile homes lying in the ditch made us leave the park after six days already. All this and more made our visit in this national park a highlight in our traveling life.
Banff & Jasper National Park
Due to the forest fires in the region and the resulting strong development of smoke we decided to wait in the small village of Hinton for better photography and hiking weather.
After three days of rain the air was smoke free with clear sights. So, nothing stood in the way of exploring this scenically exceptionally appealing area. Our expectations regarding unique natural motifs were fully met. Rivers with turquoise blue waters, postcard motives, glaciers, legendary Lake Louise and many more.
Where there are so many natural highlights so close to each other one has to nowadays be able to handle a lot of tourists – most of Asian origin.
We were lucky to find quiet overnight spots without having to drive too far.
Alaska is the fishermen’s paradise
To be able to go fishing in Alaska an official fishing permit is required. For foreigners and for longer than 14 days it costs 145 US$. We organised one at Delta Junction.
In several large and rather rapid rivers my attempts had to be booked under «practicing». Locals told us that it was still too early for salmon.
In Valdez I managed to do everything right. Weather, passing salmons and thus I succeeded in reaching the daily allowed quota of six fish per day several days in a row. Now we have the comfortable problem that in our 30l freezing compartment apart from the salmon – filleted by Brigitte – there was only space for some Magnum ice creams and ice cubes!
Denali Highway and National Park
The Denali Highway with 220 km is situated outside the Denali National Park and leads through Alaskan Wilderness. Its centre piece is Mount Denali = Mount McKinley. In the Denali National Park, one is only allowed to drive the first 24 km in own vehicle. For the remaining 114 km a shuttle bus has to be rented. Travel friends of ours highly recommended us to book this 11-hour tour.
When we wanted to book a camping spot and the tour we were informed that the campsites were fully booked for the next couple of days and seeing the full busses made us feel claustrophobic. We thus abstained from this touristic highlight.
By now we have managed to view all the game expected inside the park, just as well on the outside.
Sundowner just before midnight
To be able to charge our 2 x110 Volt AMG Batteries during the long sunny hours – days with over 19 hours of available sunlight in Yukon and Alasca - faster whilst parking, we had a second solar pannel mounted onto our Northern Lite. This required quite some effort.
Our preferred, special-sized panel would have been deliverable within one day in the USA and Canada. But we received the information of a waiting list for the fitting of the panel of 2 to 6 weeks. Ridiculous, if one knows that the part supplemental to the first panel can be fitted in one and a half hours maximum.
Flexibility is definitely not an option in the huge, styled brand garages and the many large motor home vendors in USA as well as Canada. Extreme, obstinate bureaucracy and red tape are unfortunately predominat. We took a turn on Vancouver Island and were back in Vancouver in time for the long-awaited appointment for the fitting.
Northern Lite our new Truck Camper
Brigitte’s wish was to have an oven again like she had in our vehicle Robusto. Yes, and I have been studying options as to where to store our new golf equipment. Why not?
After visiting one of the many RV dealers the exchange of our Cirrus for the new Northern Lite Truck Camper was quick deal.
Our new vehicle also offers other advantages. Five-star rating over the past 15 years and a 6-year structure warranty on a very well isolated hard-shell polyester suitcase. With the same total weight as the Cirrus we have more storage space suitable for our needs. On the same width we now have gained 30 cm interior space thanks to differently mounted hydraulic stabilizers. Technically and qualitatively better processed and equipped than the Cirrus. But also more expensive.
Undulating San Francisco with the infamous prison island
We spent several days on the large parking area of the view platform Vista Point at the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge. During our visits to this interesting town using Hop-On Hop Off busses, our vehicle was well guarded by the many tourists taking pictures of the Skyline of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. The sheriffs also had a watchful eye on the place.
Fascinating mix at the Playa Juncalito
Blue skies, behind us a palm forest, a pebble beach with a large ocean lagoon in front of us with a little island. Colour intensive sun sets in the evening, in the morning some dolphins, enchanting us with their ballet performance at breakfast.
Not to worry, this is not the prologue to a love novel. I just wanted to explain why we stayed at this beach relatively on our own for over a week.
At the end of the lagoon a somewhat desolated village in the distance. On a visit to the village we were positively surprised by its charm, which the partly uninhabited, deserted houses radiated.
Many Canadians and Americans have rented properties from the community for two to four thousand dollars rent annually. They built houses or huts or just parked their large campers or mobile homes with pergolas in front. Fresh water is supplied plentifully by the mountain. Electricity is provided by own generators.
Probably some of the people passed away and others did not pay anymore and did not return. Some few built beautiful houses and looked after their property. This is what makes the somewhat spooky, fascinating mix.
English spoken in Mexiko
After returning from a walk along the beach along the Playa Coyote a fully stacked vehicle from Oregon, USA was parked right in front of our RAM, virtually on our spot. The driver mumbled something about driving away soonest.
www.waypoints.ch amongst the Top 5!
The offroad-magazine Matsch& Piste nominates the best 20 offroad travel blogs each year. We are thrilled that we managed to be amongst those for the second time with our homepage www.waypoints.ch. This time we made it to 4th place. We are very happy and would like to thank the editorial department and the jury!
We also thank the thousands of visitors monthly for their curiosity. We always enjoy posting some of our traveling experiences in form of photos and notes on our homepage and thus inviting virtual travel companions.
Carnival parade in the Mexican La Paz
Carnival is also celebrated in Mexico and on the boardwalk Malecon La Paz three parades are taking place in the evenings during this time. But the music bands are much smaller than the ones in Switzerland and they play Mexican music without any fault. They don’t march along on the streets, but rather play at fixed spots or they join the parade on huge semi-trailers.
For us gringos many of the presented, local topics on the parade vehicles were alien. Only the many beauty queens of the surrounding village, dressed in glamorous dresses, waving from their vehicles impressed even us. Some of the ladies
Meeting with Fabrice in La Paz and at Tecolote Beach
We met Fabrice and his family for the second time now at the campsite in La Paz. We decided to spend some days together at Tecolote Beach.Here, for the first time, he off-loaded his Zodiac rubber boat with a 25 PS outboard motor which he had carried along for several months. The ride to Isla Espiritu was a bit rough, due to the white crest waves, but we made it. My short fishing attempt from the boat was rather unsuccessful. No fish and my well filled bait box went overboard While I was handling my fishing rod.
I hope it was not swallowed by some fish.
Together with the Swiss couple Vreni and Fredi we spend three days at Tecolote Beach close to La Paz. During the day the bay was crowded by locals.
A Mexican drove with his 4x4 up to the water’s edge and somehow