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Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.

Journal Entry:

Tuesday, January 04, 2011 07:37:52

Rolls Alaska to Argentina & back: 7 Victoria, BC, Canada through the USA

Rolls Alaska to Argentina & back: 7 Victoria, BC, Canada through the USA =20

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Miles for the day: 401 (645 km) Miles to date: 3,513 (5,654 km)

It has been a year and five months since the financial crisis interrupted this trip. Last week I flew to Victoria, and amid Christmas celebrations with family (it is the first time in 19 years Marilynn and I have been in Victoria around Christmas) I picked up the car. It is running well, and in spite of a warning from Ron White, my principal mechanic, the first time I hit the brakes I bashed my forehead on the steering wheel. Usually they required severe force to come to a stop but now they are amazing!

There were a number of details to look after in the frantic few days I was there, and a major fear of snow that threatened with temperatures of minus 3C (26F), but in the end everything was done and I departed today on the first sailing of the M.V. Coho for Port Angeles, Washington. The customs and immigration fellow recognized the car from other trips, so that went very quickly, and they positioned the car in front of the unloading ramp so I was first off. Customs was quick and easy.

>From there the drive was across the Hood Canal Bridge through areas with snow on the ground. All went well until I needed gas, exited the express highway, and couldn't find any way to get back on. Finally I went through downtown Bremerton where I passed in front of rows of aircraft carriers before stumbling back onto the right road. It got me to the Seattle-Tacoma Airport half an hour late to pick up Vic Paananen, my first major travelling partner, who flew in from Edmonton. We left Victoria together in 1964 with $30 between us, hitchhiking until we ran out of money and working until we had enough money to hitchhike again. We'll be travelling a similar route as far as Mexico, but this time in considerably more comfort.

>From the airport it was due south in search of warmer temperatures, stopping only for dinner. A hotel reservation had been made for us in Creswell, Oregon by a friend, Capt.Bobby, as tomorrow morning I'll meet with his friend, Gayle Hickok, an expert in marketing. The temperatures in Creswell were at least as cold as in Victoria - even Vic was cold and he is used to cold winters. Having no heater in the car didn't help!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Miles for the day: 418 (673 km) Miles to date: 3,931 (6,326 km)

The day started with a 7AM meeting with Gayle Hickok in the breakfast room of the Motel 8. He appeared to be very knowledgeable about marketing, and I look forward to exploring with him further the possibility of him marketing our Costa Rican properties.

It was another freezing cold morning, so Vic and I bundled up and huddled in the car as we got underway. The car heater and defroster system was overhauled this year, but while the defroster works the heater motor doesn't, so the only heat was from our bodies and a very small amount from the defroster. We made good time to Grant's Pass, which fortunately was clear of snow, although there was no shortage of it alongside the road. The very beautiful drive through that part of the state presented vistas of snow clad trees and mountains on a regular basis. Fourteen thousand foot Mt. Shasta was spectacular in the crisp, cold air and bright sunshine.

Once past Redding the car warmed up somewhat with the sun shining through the closed windows, but not too long after that we encountered our first rain. Nevertheless, we continued to make good time until we stopped in Dunnigan for gas. The pumps would not accept a credit card without a local zip code, and the staff had no idea how to handle the situation. We had waited in a long lineup to get to the gas pump, and were not about to move until we were filled up. The manager finally got the pump turned on, and held my credit card hostage until the purchase was complete.

It was now getting dark, but 16 miles further down the road we encountered a comfortable Best Western Hotel with wireless internet and so checked in for the night. The hotel recommended Ruby Tuesday's restaurant for a meal, which was excellent and well received, as we'd not stopped for lunch and I had only a bowl of cereal for breakfast.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Miles for the day: 516 (830 km) Miles to date: 4,447 (7,157 km)

It was cold again this morning, but not as cold as it has been. The car was covered with condensation so Vic cleared that off so we could see where we were going. Once underway we noticed electronic signs warning that I5, the highway we were on, was closed well over a hundred miles ahead, and that we needed to take a detour. Once the warnings were down to 100 miles we stopped in front of a parked police car to ask what we should do. He recommended taking a secondary road to Bakersfield, and bypassing the problem that way.

Just before Bakersfield I stopped at another parked police car, where the highway patrol lady said she just had word that they were permitting cars through "The Grapevine" where the road had been closed with an escort, and that if we followed Hwy 99 it would get us back to I5 and on route again. We discovered that The Grapevine is a stretch of winding road climbing over a 4,500 ft. Mountain range, and that it had been closed due to snow. We thought we'd seen the end of snow, but there was plenty of it on the sides of the road in the pass, however the road was clear. Our side moved along well, but traffic coming the other way was either crawling or stopped completely. The only problem was mud thrown onto the windshield from the wet road.

We entered LA at about 2:15 PM, which was earlier that planned even with our lengthy detour through Bakersfield, where traffic moved well. We used the car pool lane when available and moved very quickly, even with heavy rain showers that cleaned the windshield. We were in San Diego well before the time we'd hoped for, as I'd allowed for heavy LA traffic but it was no problem. The area just before the border is filled with motels, high end shopping malls and restaurants, so once checked into a motel we had a tasty dinner of shared appetizers with beer.

Tomorrow we'll cross the border into Mexico and the trip will begin in earnest. One thing I certainly won't miss is the California system of having to prepay for gas - we were going to fill up before the border but decided not to bother when we got a lot of hassle from an attendant for the third time today . The only place in the world I've encountered such a pain to buy gas was in Russia!