Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Friday July 31, 1998 - Quebec


Sainte-Luce - sunny and warm

I woke up very early and was out of bed by 6.30 am, but by the time I'd packed and had breakfast it was almost 8.30. Nothing got dried out since I was in the trees, but it was sunny all day so things dried out by evening.

I went into Quebec City and spent the morning walking around the old town at the base of the cliffs and then driving around the Citadel and the Plains of Abraham. I was expecting the Citadel to be a fortress but instead it is an old quarter of the city. Narrow winding streets with old stone buildings. In the old town below the streets are blocked to cars except for delivery trucks and they are chock-a-block full of tourist shops. In the old town above streets are open to vehicles (but only just barely!) and there are more ordinary shops and office buildings.





I took Yohan for a walk but it wore him out, he could barely make it back to the truck. After that we crossed the river and drove through old Levis, the town immediately across the St Laurence from Quebec City. When I used to live in Ottawa I frequently drove to Nova Scotia and just drove past Levis on the Trans-Canada, never actually going into the town.

Levis across the river
I left Levis and continued on the old highway (#132) through a bunch of small towns right on the river. Many craft places (artisanat), especially around St Jean Port Joli, where everybody seems to be a folk wood carver. I got back on the Trans-Canada and continued on that as far as Riviere-du-Loup. The Trans-Canada turns south here to go to New Brunswick but I got off to drive through the old town and then highway 132 past Rimouski as far as Sainte-Luce.

Along the St Laurence River




Old Quebec City reminds me of France and Levis reminds me of Lunenburg. The small towns I've been passing through are typically Quebecoise: huge churches, outside spiral staircases, curved roofs.

I am staying in a small private campground right next to the highway which is noisy with trucks. The campground owners are very friendly, they told me they have a son in Chilliwack who works at the Abbotsford Airport and is married to a girl from Langley. The husband speaks English and the wife only French. I'm not fluent in French but I'm getting more comfortable with it. I find myself thinking in French which is frustrating because my vocabulary is so limited. I can only think about the things I know the words for.

I walked from the campground through the woods down the hill to the town. It is along the riverside, a long curved bay with a beach and a promenade, a couple of bistros offering beer and fried clams. I bought some clams for my supper.

It gets dark by 9.30 pm now. I stopped writing to wash up and go to bed, only to discover that it was only 9.15. This is like when I started out on this trip, going to bed very early. It's good to get up early though, makes the day seem longer.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Thursday July 30, 1998 - Quebec

Sainte-Foy - sunny then rainy.

I left Ottawa around 11.30 am. Once again I felt lonely and sad as I usually do when I part company with people I meet or am visiting with. I never get used to it. I got a bunch of touring info at the Quebec border and drove straight through to a campground just west of Quebec City.

It started out sunny and warm but turned rainy and cold. I left the back windows open and my sleeping bag got wet. The campground (Juneau) was expensive ($19.00) and the proprietor put me in a weird site in the trees on what appeared to be a road. Very dark but also very private, which was nice. It started to rain and I put up the tarp which I could stretch to cover part of the picnic table so I had space to cook supper.

Yohan kept wandering off and get soaked before I finally put him inside the truck cab. I went to bed early and spent some time catching up on my trip journal. I think it rained half the night.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Wednesday July 29, 1998 - Ottawa

Sunny and hot.

Today I earmarked for errands since I plan to leave tomorrow. Shopping, paying bills, getting caught up on email, and packing the truck. Liz waited all day for a phone call from her daughter who is currently in Czechoslovakia; the call never came. Yesterday Liz had gotten email from her daughter that the Amex cheques that she sent never arrived. As it turns out, they were returned here and Liz found out she could wire the money if necessary. But frustrating to wait all day for a call that never came.

In the middle of the afternoon I discovered my credit card holder was missing; it had all my bank cards, ID and driver's licence in it. I freaked. After searching the apartment I started phoning stores I'd been to. The Baseline Loblaws had it. A long way to drive in rush hour but what a relief! All my cards and ID were there.

We rented Boogie Nights which was pretty awful. Made the whole pornographic business look pretty abysmal, painfully realistic in parts. A whole lot of dysfunctional people.

It was late by the time the truck was packed and I could go to bed. I gave Yohan a little bit of food, he's allowed to eat now but I am being cautious, I don't want a recurrence.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Tuesday July 28, 1998 - Ottawa

Cloudy with rain.

Yohan's diarrhea is no better so I took him to a local vet. He diagnosed gastroenteritis and prescribed Pepto-Bismal and an antibiotic. I have to force it down his throat (the vet also prescribed no food for 24 hours) which is awful. He bites and snarls, he cut my hand twice.

Liz and I walked to the Market and had lunch at Bistro 615. We talked to a woman at the next table who was visiting from San Jose. We took the bus home and then later Liz drove me to Mexicali Rosa's where I was to meet a friend from Mitel for dinner. The friend did most of the talking, about her recent separation from her husband, how weird he was being, her fears of being laid off at work and her new house. I talked a bit about my own family. It started to rain really hard while we were there and since we were seated on the patio we moved indoors.

I phoned Liz to pick me up and she said I'd have to wait because she was busy. A bit annoying since it was her idea to drive me there in the first place, I could have just driven myself. Oh well.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Monday July 27, 1998 - Ottawa

Cloudy and rainy.

I called the local library and found out I could get on the internet there for free, right away. So off I went. Also called another friend, Nancy, that I used to work with at Mitel, and we arranged to go for dinner tomorrow night (Tuesday). I got email from Isaac to say that they plan to be in PEI September 1-7, which is when I thought I'd be in visiting them in Toronto, so I don't know what I'll do about that.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Sunday July 26, 1998 - Ottawa

Sunny and hot.

Yohan has diarrhea, not fun taking him for a walk in the neighbourhood, next to impossible to pick up after him. Liz and I did laundry at the local laundromat, some grocery shopping and then picked up The Full Monte to watch in the evening. We ordered pizza.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Saturday July 25, 1998 - Ottawa

Sunny and cool.

Liz and Jim and his two boys, Noel and Andrew, and I went out for breakfast to a place Noel wanted to see, a sports bar on Bank Street called Local Heroes. After breakfast Liz and Jim dropped the boys off at McLeod and me at Glebe Avenue and took off to go computer shopping and looking at houses in Gloucester. I did a few chores at Liz's place and tried to take Yohan for a walk. He's sick again, not sure what the problem is.

In the evening we sat out on the porch drinking wine spritzers and watching the world go by. Like old times.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Friday July 24, 1998 - Ottawa


Sunny and cool.

It's going to be hard to do a day by day description of my stay in Ottawa. Most of the time I was staying with my friend Liz and we just hung out. I used to live in Ottawa so other than visiting old haunts I didn't really want to do much sightseeing. Mornings Liz and I would drink coffee, chat and have baths before setting out on whatever the day's activities were. Liz has an apartment in the Glebe which makes most of downtown Ottawa fairly handy if you don't mind walking and I don't.

Also I didn't take any photos! Hence the postcard...

Today I set out down Elgin Avenue looking for an internet connection. I tried calling the library but they were closed Friday mornings and I couldn't get through in the afternoon. I did find a computer store that charged $7 an hour for internet access which seemed like a lot but there was nothing else so I booked an hour. I had nothing but trouble, the connection kept dropping and I kept losing whatever I was working on (mostly email). It was very frustrating. When I left the guy charged me $2, saying, "seemed like 15 minutes to me, and I don't think anyone else was timing it."

After that I got a Lois and Fram's waffle ice cream cone and went back to Liz's. We went out to the Barley Mow with Jim, her boyfriend, their favourite local pub. Met their real estate agent there too, they are looking for a house to move in together.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Thursday July 23, 1998 - Ontario

Last night I stayed at a roadside rest area west of Hearst and east of Fushimi Park. I woke to yet more cold and rain, it had rained all night. I just got up and made breakfast, fed Yohan and took off. Later on further down the road I stopped and actually ate my breakfast. I spent most of the day driving.

I saw a red fox in Mattice and a moose. I slowed down when I saw it in the bulrushes beside the raod and it saw me and ran into the woods. It looked like a humped back donkey with its long ears. Othere than that I did not see much of interest, this is not exactly the scenic route.

From the Manitoba border to Nipigon the Trans-Canada highway is Highways 11 and 17 combined. At Nipigon Highway 11 goes north and Highway 17 continues east; Highway 17 at this point is the Trans-Canada. The two highways intersect again at North Bay just east of Sudbury, Highway 17 continues on eastward to Ottawa while Highway 11 heads southward to Toronto, eventually becoming Yonge Street, the longest Main Street in Canada (and probably the world) because it is the Main Street of every town along the way.

I phoned my friend Liz in Ottawa from North Bay to say that I planned to stay in North Bay tonight and arrive in Ottawa tomorrow. But she said I may as well just keep driving to Ottawa, she would wait up for me. So that is what I did. I had a sanwich for supper at North Bay and then drove pretty much non-stop to Ottawa. At March Road in Kanata I got off the highway to see the stars, first time since I don't know when, maybe last autumn? I used to work at Mitel in Kanata so I took a turn through Kanata to drive past the Mitel building, just for old times' sake. Saw a raccoon there. I actually felt a little nostalgic for those days at Mitel. I continued down Carling Avenue all the way to Liz's, arriving there just after midnight. We chatted for a while before going to bed just after 2 am.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Wednesday July 22, 1998 - Ontario


Somewhere on Highway 11 - cool, windy and rainy.

This weather is following me. I drove into Thunder Bay and got ice, gas and cash from a bank machine and then stopped at the Terry Fox monument just northeast of town. This is where Terry Fox's run across Canada ended in 1980.

Terry Fox monument
Lake Superior across the highway from the monument
At Nipigon I turned off the Trans-Canada to follow the northern route through Kapuskasing and Cochrane. It rained most of the time. I stopped by a lake for supper and saw a merganser with more than a dozen chicks. First they swam in a clump and then later in a long single file (so I could count them all). When the adult duck saw me she quacked and the chicks all clumped up again and rose up out of the water to scramble across the surface away from me. It was cute to watch.

I stayed in another roadside rest area that night; it was cold and wet and there were lots of mosquitoes outside of the truck. The newspaper in the tailgate cracks is still working to keep them out. I did not see a lot of scenery worth mentioning and there were mostly big trucks on the road. Lots of raod construction too. This is not exactly a tourist route, which is I guess why they aren't so strict about camping in picnic areas.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Tuesday July 21, 1998 - Manitoba


Somewhere west of Thunder Bay - cool, windy and rainy.

I continued on across to Lake Winnipeg and then down the shore to Gimli. When I was camping in BC someone told me that I really should visit Gimli so that was part of the reason that I was travelling through Manitoba north of Winnipeg. But I would still have to go to Winnipeg because it is on the Trans-Canada and the only way to get from Manitoba to Ontario is on the Trans-Canada.

Gimli birdhouses
Gimli is an Icelandic town. It was kind of picturesque but I'm not sure I would go around telling people they must see it. It has a marina and a fishing boat harbour on Lake Winnipeg, and there was a long wharf out into the lake with a concrete wall along one side of the wharf. The local art club is filling the wall with murals.

Gimli wharf and murals

Some were completed last year, some this year and some were still being painted while I was there. When they finish a painting it is coated with an anti-graffiti shiny clear coat of something or other. Gimli also sports a fighter plane on a post and a giant birdhouse tower.

I ended up driving through the Portage and Main intersection in downtown Winnipeg several times because I kept making wrong turns and trying to get back to it. But I finally got through and onto the Trans-Canada eastbound. I kept driving until quite late at night and then turned off at a sign for a boat ramp. I followed a dirt road for 8 km through the bush in the dark before reaching a lake. I didn't see a boat ramp but there was a bit of beach so I parked there beside the water and went to bed. I have figured out that the mosquitoes come in through cracks on either side of the tailgate so I am using newspaper to block them. I still have to spend 15 minutes killing the mosquitoes that get in before I have closed everything up, but after that I get a bug-free night.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Monday July 20, 1998 - Manitoba


Ste Rose du Lac - cool, windy and rainy.

I got up early and had another shower on the theory that it was best to take advantage when you could, and then headed into Saskatoon. I got another Canada map at the CAA office and gas (expensive at $0.56 but I had Domo 4 cents off coupons), and then headed out on a back road to Manitoba, north of Dauphin. I took photos of canola and flax fields, the huge fields of yellow and blue flowers were pretty amazing.




I stopped for supper just north of Dauphin and then continued on a while and spent the night in a roadside rest area. This part of Manitoba, west of Lake Winnipegosis, is referred to as parkland. It's flat as prairie and where cleared it looks like prairie, but its natural cover is aspen and cottonwood.

Manitoba parkland
Where I ended up spending the night was in a free municipal campground on the edge of a small town east of Dauphin. Next to the campground was a large religious grotto.

Most of this part of Saskatchewan and Manitoba is largely Ukrainian with churches with cupolas and Croix de Lorraine. But the Dauphin area is French.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Sunday July 19, 1998 - Saskatchewan


Pike Lake Park - sunny and hot.

I arranged the cab of the truck so Yohan could sit in his old spot behind the bench seat. It is better shaded and gives me a little more space in the front, but means more packing and unpacking of the back of the truck. We went to see hoodoos east of Drumheller, but they weren't as interesting as the ones in Dinosaur Park.

More hoodoos
The scenery was rolling hills, short grass prairie, and beef cattle, some of them long-horned. I drove quite a long way along gravel roads before getting back onto the highway to Saskatoon. What can I say, a prairie highway. I like listening to country and western while driving this kind of highway.

I stayed at Pike Lake Park on the Saskatchewan River. It was expensive: $5 just to get into the park and then $13 for a campsite. But showers were free. I went swimming in the lake, briefly, but it was reedy and not really that nice. The showers have electric eyes that make them turn off and on automatically, and they were nicer than swimming in the lake. But I had to wait a long time in line for a shower. When I finally got back to my campsite it started to rain with thunder and lightning, so I went to bed early. But the mosquitoes bugged me all night, I have to figure out how they're getting in because I thought I had screening over all the windows and gaps.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Saturday July 18, 1998 - Alberta


Bleriot Ferry - hot and sunny.

I visited the museum at Dinosaur Park and then followed another walking trail, Fossil Hunters. In addition to being a campground, Dinosaur Park is also an active archaeological site. This year the camp staff have acquired a couple of special wheel chairs for navigating the walking trails, for the use of visitors who need it. But so far since they are brand new, they have not gotten much use for their intended purpose. Instead the staff use them for wheel chair races along the rocky trails.

Yohan is having a bad day, because of the heat I think. I drove to Drumheller and on the way saw a moose in a pond by the highway.


I doubled back to take a picture. Someone driving by saw me and the moose and did the same thing but they didn't have a camera.


The moose heard me talking to them and looked up. After thinking about it the moose decided to cross to the other side of the pond and head into the woods there. We drove on.

After passing through Drumheller I followed the signs to the Tyrell Museum, to see where it was, and then on along the Dinosaur Trail to the Bleriot Ferry. It is a tiny cable ferry crossing the Red River.

My little red truck on the Bleriot Ferry
On the other side is the Bleriot Ferry Recreation Area, where I staked out a campsite in the sun. I was thinking that the bugs would be much worse in the shade by the river so I didn't want to chance it. Then I returned to Drumheller to visit the museum.


The banks of the Red River are much more clearly "layered" than at Dinosaur Park.


At the museum it was very hot and very crowded so I thought I'd come back in the evening. Once again I drove back to Bleriot Ferry. Some RV got hung up while driving off the ferry so there was a half hour delay in its running. I made tea while I waited.

Had supper at my campsite then returned to the museum at 7 pm. Their dinosaur displays are quite spectacular, both skeletons and mock-ups. I stayed until closing and returned to camp again. I took Yohan for a walk through the campground and met two women who liked Yohan. They had a campsite in the shade by the river and said there were no bugs there. Oh well.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Friday July 17, 1998 - Alberta


Dinosaur Park - hot and sunny with cloudy periods.

It was very hot and buggy last night so I didn't sleep well. But I was ready to leave by 10 am, which I did. Jim and I walked to the edge of the river valley so I could take some photos of downtown Edmonton and I also photographed the whole family except Trouble the cat and Vickie, one of the exchange students.

Jim thought it was only 3 hours to Dinosaur Park but in fact it was over 6 hours. I hardly stopped at all and it was extremely hot and tiring, but we made it in time to get a campsite. The site was in the shade and very buggy.


I set up the tent for Yohan and went for a walk along one of the trails, the Badlands Trail. After supper I tried to walk another trail but the bugs were just too much. Mosquitoes here are small but very aggressive.

A Badlands hoodoo
Instead I took Yohan for a drive around the Public Loop Road through the Badlands. Stopped to take a picture of a deer with very large ears grazing just off the road.

My shadow (lower left) photographing a deer (top)
It is all very neat scenery but it seems like everything is in miniature. I tried to get down to the Red River to maybe go for a swim but the bank was very steep and the current quite strong. Instead I had a shower when I got back to the campsite because I was so hot and sweaty. The shower cost a dollar but it was nice. A woman in the shower house said she saw a rattlesnake by her camper. This is supposed to be unusual, they don't normally come near the campsites.


This is a very noisy and crowded campground; there are 128 sites and hardly any trees. Mostly cottonwoods. Some people brought along wading pools for their kids, there's a lot of kids. And they charge $6.00 for firewood.

A little bit of cactus in the grass
I guess this is what I can expect from here on out, expensive campgrounds with few trees or water. BC and the Yukon were so different!


Tomorrow I plan to doubleback to Drumheller, get a campsite near there and then visit the Museum. Also try to get around to see more of the Badlands.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Thursday July 16, 1998 - Edmonton

Sunny and hot.

I planned to leave Edmonton today. I packed the truck, injected Yohan and had a bath, but by the time I was ready to go it was almost 1 pm and I just lost momentum. So I am hanging around until tomorrow morning. Jim and Ali went for a barbecue at some francophone neighbours, and later Ali came and got me to come along. I think Jim was just a bit embarrassed to have his wife and ex-wife at the same time and place. I got to practice my very rusty French describing my trip to Inuvik.

I washed Yohan's blanket again. He was incontinent before our trip and I was giving him Ornade for that, but after his accident I stopped the Ornade so he's been dripping a lot and his blanket has gotten quite smelly. But the vet I saw yesterday said it was okay to give Yohan the Ornade so hopefully his blanket will not get so stinky.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Wednesday July 15, 1998 - Edmonton

Warm and sunny.

Jim had a doctor's appointment today so I stayed home and baked oatcakes for the trip. I burned them a bit but they're okay. When Jim got back we went to a couple of veterinarian offices looking for food for Yohan. We found a cheap place, Beck's, and I got them to show me how to do subcutaneous fluid injections for Yohan. The vet here says that to be really certain Yohan has kidney failure I should do more than one blood and urine analysis over 48 hours. He may simply be dehydrated, but I'll continue to give him the special dogfood to be safe.

I talked to my friend Liz in Ottawa and she told me about her cat dying of kidney failure. She was pessimistic about Yohan's chances for survival, but I think he is much better than she is thinking.

Jim took my truck in for the oil change and I cooked some rice and beans. We also went to the Street Performers Festival downtown and watched a guy swallow a sword and another guy on a loose wire juggling fiery batons. We had perogies at the festival.

I wrote to a friend in Vancouver about my trip so far:

"The scenery in BC and the North was pretty awesome, I took a lot of photos but they just don't do it justice. 

"Travelling alone has its good points and its bad. Mostly I like it, but sometimes it's lonely. I meet a lot of people, some of them I see for several days and then when we part company I miss them. But that passes. I like driving, and I like camping in out of the way places (which is surprisingly hard to do). But it seems like I spend a lot of time tending campfires, cooking, packing and unpacking the truck, and so forth. One day I did laundery at a laundromat in Inuvik and it seemed like such a luxury to have a machine do the work for me. Makes you appreciate the conveniences of civilization that give you time to do something other than just the basics of staying alive.

"My schedule is shot to hell, not flexible. I'm already so out of whack with what I thought I would be doing that there's no point trying to catch up. This country is way to big and has way to much in it to expect to see even half of it in 4 months. 

"The most stressful thing has been this business with Yohan; I still wake up in the middle of the night and check to see if he is still breathing. 
"This is just so different from anything I've done in the past couple of decades. I don't exactly go looking for adventures, they just happen. I never know when or how, so every day is new. Twice I've been stuck in lineups that lasted 4-6 hours (once for a river ferry that wouldn't cross due to high winds, once due to forest fire) that ended up being great social occasions, so it was actually kind of fun, not tedious at all. 
"I really kind of miss the North now, if I hadn't told a bunch of people back east that I was coming, I think I would have just spent the entire trip in the North. I heard a song by Murray Mclaughlin, who is not a favourite of mine, but he had a line in this song about how you can find the heart of Canada in the south, but its soul is north of the timberline. And I believe that."

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Tuesday July 14, 1998 - Edmonton

Cool with cloudy periods.

Today we went to the West Edmonton Mall. It has four principal entertainment areas: the indoor ice rink, the submarine pool, the water park and Fantasyland (also called Galaxyland).


The ice rink is right in the middle of the mall and the Oilers practice there occasionally. There were a few skaters on the rink. The submarine pool has these submarines on tracks that tour the pool.


There's a full-size mock pirate ship, an area of remote control boats and a dolphin pool.


The dolphins were performing, doing backflips right out of the water some 15-20 feet into the air.

Fantasyland was a full-blown amusement park with rollercoasters and all the regular rides. We had lunch at a restaurant adjacent to a fully automated 10-pin bowling alley. It even keeps score for you. There was also a nightclub area with an indoor street of clubs and bars (Yuk Yuks, Hooters, Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood and a New Orleans place).

The waterpark has a wave pool with a beach at one end, water slides, hot tubs and so forth. Complete with real palm trees and a bungie jumping tower. For $110 you get two jumps, a video of you jumping and a T-shirt.

After all that we just had time to pick up some dry soups at Mountain Equipment before Jim picked up Ali at 4. I took them out for dinner at their favourite Cajun restaurant, DadeO's on Whyte Ave. I shared a sampler of different dishes with them and wine. We had ribs, red beans and rice, gumbo and jambalaya. The restaurant had a funky '50s decor with booths and individual juke boxes and bowling alley panels on the walls. Great restaurant, very good food!


Friday, July 13, 2018

Monday July 13, 1998 - Edmonton


Edmonton - cold and cloudy.

In the morning Jim drove Ali and the exchange students to work and then we hung out for the rest of the day. We both had shopping to do and I wanted to see if I could get my portable CD player working. I took the CD player to A&B Sound and the guy there said that the power jack was hitting the ground in the lighter socket and shorting out. He said I should either insert the jack very carefully or else replace the lighter socket. We went to Canadian Tire and I bought a new lighter socket.

Today I saw a storm high in the eastern sky. It was a big storm cloud trailing rain, and the lines of rain were all lit up by sunshine so it almost looked like fiber optics. Or like some giant jelly fish trailing through the sky. Quite spectacular.

In the evening we went for a drive around Edmonton to see the downtown and the river and some different neighbourhoods. Jim and Ali live in the southeast adjacent to a francophone neighbourhood and not far from the Strathcona neighbourhood and Whyte Avenue. It was a very cold night.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Sunday July 12, 1998 - Edmonton


Windy and cloudy, clearing later.

Yohan just sleeps, staggers and doesn't look well. He is pooping but only a little, he's still constipated.

I had a bath in Jim and Ali's huge bathtub, what a luxury! And I am doing lots of laundry. When I leave Edmonton, everything is going to be squeaky clean! The truck is clean now too, thanks to heavy rain and no muddy roads. Yay pavement! It is overdue for an oil change so I will have to do that while I'm here. Also some shopping and food prep for the next leg of the trip.

After sending out so many emails about Yohan I am now getting sympathy replies from friends. I sent an email to one friend and then almost immediately heard from my son that the friend's husband had just died suddenly. I felt kind of bad about having sent an oblivious email to her and sent her a message of condolence and apology for being so ignorant of her tragedy. But she responded almost immediately that she had appreciated my email and then gave me a description of how her husband had died. How shocking! And they were so happy together, it just doesn't seem fair.

I talked to Sam on the phone, it was good to be in touch. I have been carrying a cell phone "in case of emergency" but until a couple of days ago I had no cell phone reception pretty much since the beginning of June. And Sam did not have an email address so I had no way to contact him directly. Once I emailed a friend in Vancouver to ask him to phone Sam to pass on a message, but now has an email address so I will be able to stay in touch.

Jim and Ali were due back home tonight, but they had not returned any of Luke's calls and messages since I got here. Around 8 pm they arrived home from Fort MacMurray and were very surprised to see me. They hadn't had supper and neither had I so we went out to a restaurant. Ali had chili and Jim and I split a Greek/Mediterranean platter and had a local beer (Big Rock?).

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Saturday July 11, 1998 - Edmonton

Cloudy, rainy, cool.

It was still raining in the morning and I had to setup a tarp to make breakfast. Yohan just lay in the rain looking pathetic until I could put him in the truck cab out of the rain. I left the campground around 10 am. Thanks to the rain the truck is now looking much cleaner than it has in a while.

My plan is to stay at my ex-husband's place in Edmonton. I had been emailing him to arrange this, and today I phoned but only got his voicemail. Sometime in the afternoon it stopped raining and I arrived in Edmonton around 3.30 pm. I tried phoning again, this time his son Luke answered the phone. Jim is out of town for the weekend, and Luke was not expecting me. I decided to go there anyway. Luke was just leaving the house himself but I managed to convince him to allow me to stay. There were three French exchange students, Annabelle, Vickie and Noidza, also staying there. I walked and fed Yohan and chatted with the students. Yohan had an unpleasant encounter with the cat Trouble so I shut him in Jim's office. Luke returned with some friends.

Yohan was restless and uncomfortable, he had seemed to be improving but now he wasn't. We slept in the truck that night.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Friday July 10, 1998 - Alberta

Alaska Highway Mile 0, Dawson Creek
Young's Point AB - cloudy, sunny, windy

I was up early and on the road by 8 am. Lots of road construction today. I stopped for gas in Fort Nelson and would have liked to taken the turnoff for the Liard Highway. But I have no clean clothes and am looking forward to my stop in Edmonton to do laundry. Yohan could use the rest break too. Besides I am already two weeks behind my schedule and I don't know if it's a good idea to get even further off schedule.

I stopped in Taylor just past Fort St. John where there was a refinery with a huge plume of flame. At the Visitor Centre there the woman at the desk kind of took the ball and ran with it when I told her I was driving across the country. She loaded me up with lots of brochures about the Yellowhead Highway, Dawson Creek, Newfoundland and a local campground on the Peace River. She advised me to stop in Hinton on the way to Edmonton, to stay at the local campground and to visit the Alaska Cafe and an art gallery in an old grain elevator in Dawson Creek. She said there was a Swiss couple at the Peace River campground building a raft to go down the Peace River on. She asked me about the Dempster since she said visitors often enquired about that.

Dawson Creek grain elevator
The sky was beginning to look threatening and I didn't really want to stop now so I continued on. I did stop in Dawson Creek to photograph the Alaska Highway Mile Zero signpost in the middle of an intersection. Yohan decided to stop to poop while crossing a road and the light was just turning red. He had quite the audience of stopped cars for that.

Pretty much from the start of the day I was out of the mountains and driving through rolling forested land. Then I started seeing cows in pastures, a first on this trip. By Dawson Creek I was seeing brilliant yellow fields of canola. In Dawson Creek the grain elevators were labelled "Alberta Grain Pool" even though Dawson Creek is on the BC side of the border with Alberta. The first oil wells appeared after crossing the border into Alberta. Now I was travelling through serious ranch country: grain, cattle, oil wells. The price of gas dropped dramatically, in Grande Prairie I paid 50 cents per litre of gas

I stopped to eat in a park in Grande Prairie and changed into jeans, it was starting to get cool. Around 10 pm I left Grande Prairie. The campgrounds have changed, they are mostly in town with no trees or privacy. There are lots of fast food places and strip malls and all very flat.

I decided not to go to Hinton because that would have added another 250 km to the distance to Edmonton and there were storm clouds in that direction.

I pulled in to Young's Point provincial park west of Valleyview just after midnight. It was now clouded over and quite dark, I needed my camp lamp to setup the truck for sleeping. Shortly after going to bed it began to rain, but I had ensured that everything was stowed in a dry place so I went to sleep.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Thursday July 9, 1998 - Alaska Highway


Stoney Mountain BC - sunny, cloudy, windy.

I got up as early as I could to go into Whitehorse to do a bit of shopping for the next leg of my trip, south and east along the Alaska Highway and in to Alberta. I needed propane, gas, camera film and some groceries and was ready to leave town by 10.30 am. I rigged up a tent using a clothes drying rack and some towels to protect Yohan from the sun while travelling.

On the highway through the Yukon there was a lot of smoke from forest fires particularly around Watson Lake. I stopped there to buy gas and kept going to the BC border. The scenery became progressively more spectacular driving in BC, especially around the Muncho Lake and Stoney Mountain provincial parks. I would have liked to stop around Fort Liard but the campground there (Liard Hot Springs) was full. The campgrounds in the parks were either full or uninviting but I saw several good prospects for stopping off the road. I continued until quite late, around 11 pm and stopped in a dry creek bed south of Stoney Mountain. It was still not completely dark but I did have to use my camping lamp for the first time since leaving Prince Rupert four weeks ago.

In Muncho Lake Park I saw mountain goats and a porcupine on the roadside. The porcupine had its quills fully extended and looked very calm, I guess it was completely confident in its protective suit. I saw some animals that looked too big to be deer and turned out to be caribou looking very scruffy with patchy fur. Saw a moose just disappearing into the forest and a young bear by the road. Lots of wildlife and mountains today.

Yohan mostly slept. Every once in a while he'd get restless to stop and get out of the truck but never at the same time as I wanted to stop. Marina had been concerned about his constipation and had suggested an enema if I was going to stay in Whitehorse. But since I wasn't, she gave me rubber gloves and told me how to insert vaseline in his rectum several times a day. I don't know if that helped or not.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Wednesday July 8, 1998 - Whitehorse

Wolf Creek campground - sunny.

I took Yohan into the Copper Road vet clinic first thing in the morning, and met Marina Alpeza, who owns the clinic. She is going to do two X-rays of Yohan to look at his rear end and his chest.

I returned to the clinic around 1 pm and Marina told me that they had done one X-ray of his rear end and did not see any broken bones. She would do the second X-ray in the afternoon and I should return around 5 pm for the results.

Aside from time at the clinic I mostly wandered around town looking at things. I also chatted with the folks at the Holodeck, who assured me that my dog was in good hands with Marina.

When I came back at 5 pm I had to wait for an hour and a half, the clinic was very busy with many emergencies. I was hungry, tired and anxious. By the time Marina came to see me at 6.30 pm I was in tears from frustration. She showed me Yohan's X-rays. His diaphragm was OK, his liver was swollen, and he was seriously constipated. His poop was backed up to his ribcage! She didn't know why his liver was swollen, it might just be the stress of his injuries. But when I asked she said that she saw no reason why I couldn't continue travelling with Yohan, that he would slowly recover from his injuries.

The clinic did up the bill for a grand total of $420. That included antibiotics, cortisone, a laxative, high fibre dogfood and copies of the results of his blood tests. They had sedated Yohan for the X-rays so when they handed him over he was too dopey to walk, I had to carry him out to the truck.

I went straight back to the campground. I can't remember what I ate, I was just so exhausted. But relieved that things appeared to be much better than I could have hoped for. I thought at the very least I would have to return to Vancouver, and that I was going to lose Yohan. But now it looks like he's going to be okay and I can continue on to my next stop in Edmonton.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Tuesday July 7, 1998 - Whitehorse


Wolf Creek Camp - cold and clear.

I went into the vet's office at 9 am this morning. They told me I would have to wait to talk to the vet because they were busy cleaning up Yohan. During the night he had pooped and peed in his cage and was a terrible mess, there was even poop in his ears. The vet came out finally and said this was a good thing, it showed that his digestive tract was still functional.

He said that I should come back around 11.30 am and take Yohan out for a couple of hours and see what I thought of his condition. I left to do some errands, in particular I checked my bank account to see if I needed to move some money around to pay Yohan's vet bills.

They gave me Yohan with the IV catheter still attached to his leg. He seemed wobbly and dispirited but looking better than the night before. They gave me a can of dogfood and said to give him a quarter can every hour.

Yukon River sternwheeler, dry-docked
I took Yohan for a walk in a park by the river where he pooped and peed again. Then we went back to Wolf Creek campground where I moved to a better site. He seemed hungrier now, he gobbled the small amounts of dogfood I gave him.

When we went back to the clinic they wanted me to keep Yohan overnight. The vet wanted me to feed Yohan special dogfood for kidney failure and they did up a bill for me which I am fairly sure is incorrect but I'll get that straightened out tomorrow. If all goes well they will do the X-rays tomorrow. In particular the vet wants to see if Yohan has a herniated diaphragm. I tried to give Yohan the special dogfood but he didn't like it. I don't blame him, it doesn't look good or smell good.

Tomorrow I will have to decide whether I am continuing this trip or not. I may be returning to Vancouver much earlier than planned.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Monday July 6, 1998 - Whitehorse


In the morning I just washed up and packed to drive into town, I didn't eat. I found the Copper Road Veterinary Clinic. The vet on duty was just temporary, and he was not encouraging. He said that in addition to whatever injuries he had from being run over he was also sick. The eye discharge that he had never really gotten rid of since Inuvik was indicative of a systemic infection and he was way too thin. he doubted that Yohan could handle the anesthetic that would be needed for doing an X-ray. He recommended that I save myself a lot of grief and expense and just have Yohan put down.

That just wasn't an option. I didn't drive all this way just to be told to put him down. So I thanked him and asked where the other vet clinic was, since I'd been told there were two clinics in Whitehorse. The vet backtracked. He said if I didn't want to put him down then the second option was to put him on an IV for hydration, do some bloodwork, and maybe give him a wopping dose of antibiotic for the infection. I agreed to that and left Yohan there. I went to the Taku Hotel for breakfast and then to the Holodeck Internet Cafe to check email. I also dropped off some camera film for developing.

Whitehorse tourist
After running a few errands I returned to Copper Road to find out what Yohan's status was. The vet said he thought he'd guessed pretty well, that Yohan probably has chronic kidney failure and so he's terminal. He may or may not pull through this crisis. But I opted for continuing treatment. They would keep him on the IV, give him some antibiotic and if he recovers enough for an X-ray, they'd do it. The vet guessed a broken pelvis and also a broken tail. He said the pelvis would heal itself but his tail would have to be amputated.

It was pretty emotional. The vet was clearly making a case for pulling the plug due to 'quality of life'. Yohan did look awful and he knew where he was and didn't like it. He never liked being in a vet's office. But the good news was that the woman who owned the clinic would be back the next day, and as the temporary vet put it, she had a way with old dogs, she could pull them back from the brink of death. So I left Yohan there for the night and then went to the Wolf Creek campground to stake out a campsite.

Whitehorse log hi-rise
After securing the campsite I returned to town and went to Whitehorse's brand new and very first Internet Cafe and Computer Game Parlour, the Holodeck, to see if I could get on the internet. No.

The Holodeck is run by a young man and his Mom, both dog lovers who sympathize with my situation. Most of the people here are teenage gamers, but there is the odd traveller like myself checking email. It's a darkened room with computers arranged in a circle of booths, each one with a headset and a joystick. Their Internet connection is tenuous, but I can live with it. It also has a tiny lobby area with a couch and a TV running endless Star Trek movies and TV episodes. So if no computer booth is available you can watch Star Trek to your heart's content.

While I waited for internet access I chatted with the owners about hotmail, ISPs, dogs and places to eat. They recommended the Taku Hotel which is where I had breakfast earlier in the day. They said it had good basic restaurant food at reasonable prices.

In the evening I returned to my campsite and did a major cleanup of the inside of the truck, repacking everything. I screwed down the bedframe sections so they wouldn't slide around on rough roads. I also rearranged the cab of the truck so that Yohan would be sitting in the front not in the space behind the bench seat.


I'm not sure what I'll do now, I am reluctant to go home but maybe I should.