Archive for Juli, 2010

Fairbanks, Alaska – Hot washing day with Bannock

Samstag, Juli 31st, 2010

There is summer in the high North. Since three days we have 27°C, but it feels much hotter, more intense up here. I’d like to use a day of laundry and car washing to tell you about something I didn’t mention before: Bannock, wherefore Yukon is famous. Bannock is a simple pan bread that you can bake everywhere on a camp fire or any other heat source. It consists of few ingredients: Flour, water, salt, and baking powder or yeast or baking soda. Kneed dough, form a flat loaf, spread some oil in a pan and bake the bread preferably covered for 15 min, turn, and finish in another 15 min.

Bannock is sometimes called Indian bread, but trapper bread would be more correct, because trappers and gold miners in the past days used to eat that a lot. The Natives learned baking bread from the trappers. Actually this method is said to come from Scotland. In the old days people used sourdough to improve taste. Every trapper always carried a tin full, that’s why they were often called “Sourdoughs”. You can use different ingredients to improve taste. I found this recipe in Inuvik:

2 cups flour, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ cup sugar, 2 ts baking powder, ¼ cup veggie oil, ½ cup milk, 1 egg. Kneed quickly, form a flat loaf, and bake at 180°C / 350°F for about 15 – 20 min.

Fairbanks, Alaska – Arminius at North Pole

Freitag, Juli 30th, 2010

There are many moose up here. However, one is managing to create a traffic jam. The buck is bursting with health and has got a huge antler. As many animals of this size he is patiently enduring the photo session, is looking several times into the camera lens until he’s loosing interest and leaving.

The village North Pole 20 km in front of Fairbanks got its name hoping to attract toy industry what seems to have succeeded. Since American kids believe Father Christmas to live at the North Pole the Santa Claus House was erected here. In front of the house an oversize St. Nicolas welcomes the visitors; inside you get all year round everything connected to Christmas. Pure kitsch and a huge business. You may send letters from Santa Claus to children all over the world. It is not very surprising that roads carry names like St. Nicolas Drive, Santa-Claus Lane, Polar Plaza, or Snowman Drive.

Fairbanks itself isn’t too interesting, but if driving up to Prudhoe Bay make sure to stock up with groceries there, because on the way north there is just minimum supply.

Top of the World Hwy, Yukon / Taylor Hwy + Alaska Hwy, Alaska– The wrong visa on top of the world

Donnerstag, Juli 29th, 2010

Fortune is with us: Today morning’s information is that Taylor is passable. The 120 km long Top of the World Highway between Dawson City and right after the Alaskan border is partially paved, partially gravel. It carries its name justly: The road wasn’t built, as usual, in the valleys of a mountain range but follows the mountains’ ridges. The highway mainly ranges between 1000 and 1200 m of elevation above tree-line and offers fantastic views to endless deserted expanses. On leaving Canada there is nothing to do. The US-American border Poker Creek is open only between 9 a.m. and p.m. from May to September, according to weather conditions. During winter the complete route is closed. The two border officers are kind; there is no food or vehicle control. We get a funny caribou stamp into our passport, but unfortunately it is the wrong visa. The immigration officers issued a waiver visa for three months only instead if the proper six-month-permit. That doesn’t seem to be an issue in the beginning since we don’t plan to spend such a long time in Alaska. Even after telling them that we want to enter the lower 48 later they don’t panic. Just after explaining the intension of spending another six months there they are starting to realize to having a problem. What now? They didn’t have a clue how to correct that to issue the correct visa. That needed many phone calls and even more time. We should better solve that on next entry to the United States, there they should know what to do. They are trying to assure us that we’ll not have to pay another six Dollars visa fee per person (Well, we’ll see…). They got rid of a problem and avoided a dressing-down of their supervisor. We agree in the end, because an officer who’s able to put such a nice stamp deserves leniency.

On Alaska side the highway consists of many potholes. We have to skip the trip to Eagle at Yukon River since the 100 km long road is closed. At the connecting Taylor Highway we can clearly see traces of the flooding. The brook that caused the disaster seems ridiculously small now when harmlessly murmuring in its bed. But the ravages it caused are obvious. In many places the creek just ate a piece of the roadside, but in some areas it just swept along the road and it had to be renewed completely. After another 200 km behind the border we are back to Alaska Highway at Tetlin Junction, watching the massive, snow covered mountains of Alaska Range. We are driving the last miles to Delta Junction where another monument was erected for the end of Alaska Highway. A favoured place to take a photo is in front of the info centre: the world’s two largest mosquitoes, made by an artist. There is a cross-section of the pipeline any a lot of interesting information. Right after we will meet the “real” pipeline. In Big Delta Richardson Highway crosses together with the pipeline huge Tanana River. The 1.2 m thick oil pipe is, very interesting, fixed at a suspension bridge.

Dawson City, Yukon – Gold diggers then and today

Mittwoch, Juli 28th, 2010

Midnight Dome is a 1,887 m high mountain rising behind Dawson City. Via Dome Road you reach a view point 600 m above the town, from where you can see Yukon and Klondike River meeting as well as the damages more than 100 years of digging for gold have left. Gold rush has begun in 1896 when George Carmack has found a gold nugget – there are different stories – but did last only few years. Its peak was soon reached in 1900, when 34,000 tons of gold were washed by hand. That was very hard work due to strong winters, and permafrost had to be thawed first. Even after the first wooden gold dredges arrived, those production numbers were never reached again. Nowadays, in the average 2,200 tons are still produced per year. That’s the official number, at least. All together gold worth more than one billion Dollars was found.

North America’s largest wooden gold dredge, Dredge # 4, can be visited with a guided tour just outside town at Bonanza Creek. Around there you still find many active gold mines. A lot of old stuff like machines and cars, older than most of us, can be found there. Nobody disposes of them. At a plot at Klondike River we are meeting Walter, born in 1937, in Dawson since 1957. A real gold digger. He has got so many old German cars like Unimog, Mercedes, Volkswagen, a BMW and a Moto Guzzi motorbike with sidecars. Nothing works any more; they haven’t been used for ages. “I don’t have time to repair them”, Walter means. Could the reason be all those empty two litres red wine bottles and the empty red wine glass he is holding in his hand when meeting us at four in the afternoon?

Dawson City seems to be a relic from the past. The old wood houses were refurbished and painted in bright colours. Roads aren’t paved; the sidewalks are made from wood. When at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall Casino revue girls in original costumes swing their legs when dancing can-can, you think you are back to the 19th century. By the way: Diamond Tooth Gertie really existed. The nightclub girl was very successful and became rich together with some gold diggers. She pinched a diamond between her incisors.

Dempster Hwy + Dawson City, Yukon – Tyre change at Dempster and landscape murder in Dawson

Dienstag, Juli 27th, 2010

The motorhome is standing with warning flashers on the roadside. Two guys are a bit helplessly watching their burst tyre. They are two Canadians with a rental pick-up with cabin whom we met a couple of times since Inuvik. Actually we agreed at lunchtime “See ya’ in Dawson“, but now, 200 km earlier we stop to assist them with their breakdown. Their emergency manual requests to call the rental station in case of a puncture. I assume this to be a good joke (Mobile phone at Dempster?), but one of the guys has got an ancient huge satellite phone, is catching a satellite and getting reception. The result of the phone call was well predictable: They are requested to better change the tyre themselves. The other Canadian guy is taking his rifle, charging and cocking it – there are so many bears around, he means. I try to imagine how a grizzly is raiding four humans to pinch their spare wheel. Really dangerous area here. Of course, a thunderstorm is starting right now. Joerg is changing the tyre, and in return we may shoot with the rifle some trees to death. One of my favourite activities.

The land in front of Dawson is damaged and far away from scaring over. Every, really every stone was put upside down to look for gold. Gravel and stones as far as you can see. Still today landscape murder is continued. Mountains are pulled down in hope to find a grain of the precious metal. The remnants of the mountains are carelessly tipped out into the nature then.

Arriving in Dawson City, the information centre clerk is confirming, what other travellers tell us since days: The Taylor Highway in Alaska, connection route to the Top of the World Hwy, is closed due to wash-outs. It was closed for ten days, passable for a couple of days, and closed again after new heavy rainfalls. There is no detour except many hundreds of kilometres back to Alaska Hwy. We aren’t in a hurry; we want to see Dawson first.

Inuvik, Dempster Hwy, North West Territories – More grizzlies

Montag, Juli 26th, 2010

The snow-white igloo church is the best-known attraction in town. The Our Lady of Victory Church was built from 1958 to 1960 to represent the culture of the North. The Catholic Church was the first building in igloo shape not made from snow. Since there was no way to put it on piles, a deep gravel bed was made with a concrete bowl inside. The round wood building rests only on the edges of the bowl and has got a double wall to allow the cold air from the bowl to circulate upwards and escape. Take a tour with sister Maryjo or one of her colleagues through the church where you can go up into the roof.

One lane of Dempster highway is said to be open, so we are leaving Inuvik. The ferry has got problems to pass the river, whole trees are drifting downstream. Later we’ll get to know that just ten minutes past us the ferry stopped working and the road was closed again! How lucky we are!

Dempster Highway crosses untouched deserted nature – animals’ paradise. But critters are not easy to discover since they are not used to civilisation and timid. The luck is still with us: Numberless caribous are crossing our way, as well as an arctic fox and a pine marten. A deeply dark grizzly bear with a pretty good amount of winter flab is enjoying its berries beside the road. Nothing can disturb it. As we are settling down for the night at the Arctic Circle parking lot, the fur of another blond grizzly is flashing in the sunlight. We are able to watch the beast for hours, just shovelling the berries. I decide not to want to harvest berries today and leave them to the bears. I have a generous day, and they need the fruits for their hibernation more than I do. We are sitting in the sunshine until 1:30 in the morning. What a night!

Inuvik, Dempster Hwy, North West Territories – Land of the midnight sun

Sonntag, Juli 25th, 2010

Weather is still cruel – dark and rainy. A second complimentary ferry is taking us over Mackenzie River. After another 130 km we are finishing Dempster Highway and are reaching Inuvik. At Western Arctic Regional Visitor Center we are getting to know that the road was closed behind us again and that we are stuck here. No matters, we want to visit town first and tomorrow is another day. At the gas station we are for the first time getting in contact with Inuvik prices. We skip fuelling for 1,45 $/litre. At the grocery, one litre milk is four, five Dollars, a 1-l-glass pickles is nine Dollars and a whole wheat toast 6.50 $. Fresh food is rare and expensive, meat and bread is available mainly frozen. Food is stored in huge refrigerator and freezer houses. Supply is brought by ship as long as Beaufort Sea doesn’t freeze, by plane, and by truck when Dempster Highway is open. In summer you cross the two rivers on a ferry, in winter you drive over the ice. But two times a year traffic stops when the ice isn’t thick enough, but the ferry can’t go – in autumn for around two, in spring for one month. Then prices rocket in hours.

Inuvik is a neat, proper town with colourful wood houses and 3,500 inhabitants, mostly Inuit, Indians, and Whites. Building on permafrost is very difficult. Soil in Inuvik is constantly frozen between 90 and 300 cm, and only the upper layer thaws and freezes during seasons and lifts the soil. To prevent buildings from destruction they have to rest on piles, deeply anchored in the permafrost. There has to be a distance between ground surface and house floor to allow heat from the building to disappear. But of course, there is the other Inuvik as well with seedy cabins and an above-average number of people under the influence of alcohol – concededly of all skin colours.

At night we are going a couple of kilometres outside Inuvik to a pick-nick area where even complimentary firewood is available. Many locals harvest blueberries and cloudberries here. Men protect their harvesting wives with rifles or axes. Two women walk at least with a bear bell. They tell me they never saw a grizzly while collecting berries, but you never know…

At 1:42 a.m. sun is finally setting in Inuvik – and we can see it! It will be for few hours only, sunrise will be at 4:17 a.m. some degrees further east, but daylight stays with us all the time.

Dempster Highway, Yukon + North West Territories – November weather at the Arctic Circle

Samstag, Juli 24th, 2010

If you believe Canadians and tour guide books Canada has super summer weather. It has 30°, even in Yukon, and there is very little rain. Really! In the last days it rained at least once per hour, interrupted from short cloud-free periods with sunshine. Today it is raining since hours, the thermometer doesn’t’ even reach 7°C. Probably no summer day. Just accidentally. The tundra landscape is fantastic anyway. High valleys, hills and mountains are completely overgrown with low brush and grasses. Clear creeks wind in-between, getting a red-brown colour from iron oxide. They flow to Ogilvie River that accompanies the road for a while and grows constantly. The loveliness of the landscape is misleading: You can’t put one foot beside the road without sinking to your knees in the swamp. The non-frozen part of the permafrost ground acts like a sponge. Below 1000 m you will find trees again, if you want to call them so. The cute conifers are neither high nor thick and consist mostly of a thin black trunk. On the outside a few thin needles are arranged from top to toe. The trees do not widen downwards and look like outsized pipe cleaners. Rainfalls are filling the plains more and more, trees seem to grow out of lakes. The river beside the road is coming frighteningly close. It got an enormous speed and is building up waves of likely one meter. From the slopes beside the road falling rocks and landslides are coming down. Waterfalls are building up, flooding the road and starting to wash it away. Some parts of the road have already broken out. We are catching a moment with less rain for a photo at the absolutely beautiful bird-eye’s view from Ogilvie Ridge Viewpoint. A Swiss guy from Alaska is informing us that the road has been closed due to wash-outs yesterday, but we have been lucky to pass.

Road condition is getting worse. The surface is slowly exchanging to soft soap and deep ruts are wearing out. The trip becomes a mudbath. I’ve never seen so many so dirty cars. Next we are driving into the clouds, even we aren’t that high. We are in the middle of the rainclouds now and are having fog and rain at the same time, that’s really rising our mood. It is cold, it is wet, and we can’t see anything.

At kilometre 406 we reach 66°33’ northern latitude: the Arctic Circle. From here on we are driving in the Arctic. That’s not only an imaginary line, vegetation changes immediately. Big areas are covered with yellow-green grass, and less trees, bushes, and even “pipe cleaner firs” grow until they disappear nearly entirely. The road is built on a three metres thick insulating gravel layer above the permafrost. When discovering the Richardson Mountains we are crossing the border to North West Territories. There is suddenly a wild run on the left. We found a part of the huge Porcupine Caribou Herd that lives up here in the North. We are descending from 500 m elevation to nearly sea level to cross Peel Rivers by complimentary ferry. At midnight, rain is stopping and clouds are diminishing. It hasn’t been so bright for the whole day.

Silver Trail + Klondike Hwy + Dempster Hwy, Yukon – A marmot in the bucket

Freitag, Juli 23rd, 2010

Yesterday evening we have left Klondike Highway at Stewart Crossing for a short, 250 km long excursion. On the Silver Trail we are going via Mayo and Elsa to Keno. Until 1989 one of North America’s largest silver mines were run there. After the price for silvers has dropped and the mine was closed, Mayo lost all its economical importance. It was worse for Elsa and Keno, nowadays just a handful people live there, the villages became ghost towns. Keno’s museum reports of better days. Highlight of the trip is a drive up to Keno Hill over a steep, narrow, ten kilometres long gravel road. It is suitable for most cars except bigger motorhomes and trailers. The path zigzags up to the 1,849 m high mountain. The peak awaits you with a terrific view and another well-known photo subject: The sign post, a road sign with direction and distance information to all the big cities of the world. It has only 8° up here, so we are getting our lunch in the cabin. Through the closed mosquito net door we are watching two marmots. One of them is approaching the Unimog watchfully but steadily. At the right rear tire it disappears under the car. Suddenly a rattle. What is the beast doing? It is clattering again and again. The marmot must be investigating our bucket that hangs under the car. Before we start we are making sure that we are not transporting a blind passenger.

On the way back we take the loop from Keno via Duncan Creek Road to Mayo. The old, original Silver Trail is narrow and not in the best condition, but a funny “off-road” drive on-road. Back to Klondike Highway we turn into Dempster Highway 40 km in front of Dawson City. 740 km to Inuvik. This route is a must for travellers seeking the typical loneliness of Canada’s North. Only beginning and end are paved for a couple of kilometres, the rest is dirt road. Dempster Highway is the only road in Canada crossing the Arctic Circle. It was opened in 1979 after 20 years of construction. Constant erosion due to extreme climate conditions still cause problems and needs constant maintenance.

Sergeant William Dempster (1876 – 1964) after whom the highway was named, worked 37 years for the North West Mounted Police in Yukon. Patrols and mail service were standard from 1904 on and were maintained throughout the winter months. Dempster early made a name for himself. He covered the 770 km long dog slide trail not only more often than all his colleagues, he managed in a record time of 14 instead of 20 to 25 days in the average. After weeks of searching he recovered in March 1911 the bodies of a patrol that has been lost in December the year before, he got the order to improve safety of the trail. In the following winters he marked the route and built emergency shelters. The Lost Patrol lies still buried in Fort McPherson where they were found.

The road that mainly follows the old Indian and dog-slide trail goes higher and higher through Ogilvie Mountains. After 75 km you have an incredible view from Tombstone Mountain View Point over mountains and valleys. A few kilometres further you cross North Fork Pass, with 1300 m the highest point of the road and in these latitudes high above tree line. The high plateau and the surrounding soft mountains are grown over with grass and low brush, in-between flower fields are blooming, and brooks and ponds are sparkling in the sunlight. A lovely landscape that might be a bit deceptive. Leaving the highway you have to take care where to go; there is swamp everywhere and you might sink in. A red fox is sneaking along Arminius, and a hare is lolloping behind him to maybe tell him good night.

Campbell Hwy and Klondike Hwy, Yukon – A lonesome highway and a terrific river

Donnerstag, Juli 22nd, 2010

In the morning upon departure the first shock: We are locked in! Yesterday night we went for sleeping to a gravel pit we pretended to be unused. The gate has been open. We have heard a car stopping there this morning, but there was nothing we could have done. And now that! I am already thinking with which tools I could free us. With the axe? Perhaps with the machete? Or does Joerg have to assemble his chain saw that is somewhere stored in parts? All the excitement was for nothing. The gate is closed, but not locked.

Today’s rain changes the gravel road into a muddy track. Campbell Highway winds its way through the two mountain chains and crosses a number of rivers and brooks. I am glad about the rain in view of many forest fire areas. Just before the highway ends we meet Yukon River. It impresses us from the first moment on. It is green, wide, and fast. The mighty river has created a whole labyrinth of side branches and big wooded islands. In Carmacks we are reaching Klondike Highway. There is nothing than a gas station with acceptable prices and an astonishing well-ranged supermarket. A few kilometres north it’s worth to stop at the Five-Finger-Rapids. From above, they don’t look so dangerous, but many gold miners have died in the rapids on their way to Dawson City. Even the shuffle boats later on really had problems with them.

Watson Lake, Alaska Highway, Yukon – Osterhausen goes international

Mittwoch, Juli 21st, 2010

The bison bulls already came down from their northern territories to mate with the cows. Still they are peacefully resting on the slopes on the other side of the ditch, breathing so hard that it steams from their nostrils and shake their head from left to right. Such a bull, up to nearly one ton heavy, accepts humans relatively close to him. He patiently lifts his head or sometimes his feet to give more action to the photos.

Contact Creek is the site where both of the construction teams of the Alaska Highway met and connected it with a bridge. The gas station here has the cheapest fuel, and many cars are lining up. 70 km further we are crossing the border to Yukon, one of three Canadian territories. Territories don’t have the same self-governmental rights as provinces do. In Watson Lake is the famous sign-post forest. During construction of Alaska Highway homesick soldier Carl K. Lindley from Illinois posted a sign of his village Danville and animated thousands of other travellers to emulate him. In the meanwhile around 65,000 signs from all over the world are fixed. Since this afternoon, the village of Osterhausen, district Mansfeld-Suedharz, federal state Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, is among them. Just beside we fixed the sign from welder Melvin from Capstick, Cape Breton Island, who had asked us for this favour.

In Watson Lake we are turning right to Robert Campbell Highway, named after a fur trader of the 19th century who discovered a canoe route through Yukon Territory. The road follows a valley between two mountain ranges. The scenery of the surrounding mountains, rivers and lakes, forest tundra, grasses and blooming flowers is very pretty. The gravel road is sometimes not wider than a better forest path, but partially already extended. Generally the highway is good for cars and motorhomes, but make sure to get updated information about road conditions.

Liard Hot Springs, Alaska Highway, British Columbia – Test of courage in hot springs

Dienstag, Juli 20th, 2010

Alaska Highway is beautiful to drive. The road is curvy and hilly in the northern Rocky Mountains. A very nice part is the highway following the shore of copper oxide dyed blue-green Muncho Lake. We see a black bear today, two caribous, a couple of mountain goats and seven moose, among them a mother with fawn and two bucks with already impressively grown antlers. At 7:30 p.m. we reach Liard Hot Springs. The hot sulphur springs are legendary since they are situated in the middle of the forest and their pools have been kept more or less naturally. Many truckers take a bath here; they recommended us to stop at this point. Follow a boardwalk through the warm swamps in the woods where ample nearly subtropical vegetation grows. We are so late that the rangers let us pass without paying the 5 $ entrance fee. The campground at the springs is mostly full, but it is allowed to overnight at the no-fee parking lot on the other side of the road. There are two pools. The second one is three metres deep and shall have 42°C. While swimming we are overheating quickly and want to try the first pool. I can’t imagine the temperature of 58°C it is said to have is correct. But maybe it is. This pool chain is shallow and you can walk around. The sulphur water is hot, and in some spots it wells unexpectedly from the bottom so that you jump backwards because you nearly scald yourself. There is a spot you can only reach when walking through the area where the very hot water comes out. Brave ones have built a stone man there and everybody who reaches this place puts another stone, accompanied by the applause of the watchers. The secret shall be to move continuously. The first time it works very well, but without camera. We have to repeat the procedure to get a photo of evidence. Unfortunately the water stream changed somehow and I return with legs red like a boiled lobster.

Fort St. John, Alaska Highway, British Columbia – Endless distances, grazing bears and bison steaks

Montag, Juli 19th, 2010

Udo and Ursel from Germany breed cattle in a settlement area that is fittingly called Bonanza. They’ve discovered us yesterday night at the river and invited us to visit their ranch. They came in 1986 to have a big farm. Nowadays they own about 120 cows, nearly the same number of calves, and a couple of bulls. They diminished the amount of cattle after their children left the house and only the two of them run the farm. They don’t officially produce “organic” beef, but they run the farm ecologically. It works without spray and fertilizer, they mean. Only the grasshoppers cause them problems. They eat so much grass there’s nothing left for the cattle. But against the locust that show up every few years there is not much to do. A main problem in this area is lack of water. This is nearly unthinkable in the land of two million lakes. There a few swamps on the plot, but all what is not swampy quickly dries out. The harvest yield is bad, sometimes there isn’t even enough for the cows. Rainfall is weak in summer, there is nearly no ground water and therefore no wells. A cow drinks 70 to 80 litres of water per day, on warm days or in winter when she eats hay even more. Water has to be collected from thaw in artificial ponds. When there is enough precipitation cattle has to eat snow in winter. Ursel and Udo don’t want to let us go without lunch. They have homemade game salami and game liver sausage as well as home-baked bread.

Then we finally leave Alberta and ride for a couple of hundreds if kilometres in British Columbia, Canada’s most western province. A small but sturdy tornado is sucking dust from the ditch and shaking Arminius. In Dawson Creek the legendary Alaska Highway begins. The starting point, Mile Zero, is marked by a monument. The road was built in 1942 in only six months due to strategic reasons; later on it was redeveloped several times and even partially moved what caused abridging. Today the track is completely paved and isn’t even a challenge for the numerous motorhomes in summer. Alaska Highway is today only 2230 km instead of 2288 km long. For the moment we will just join a part of it and the rest later respectively on our way back from Alaska to the south. We go first to the north of Canada to Inuvik.

A black bear is eating fervently clover in the ditch. There is nothing to disturb it: No trucks, no squealing brakes, nor clattering car doors, not even a curious human couple making pictures in front of its nose. The bear is grazing like a hungry cow that didn’t get food for three days. It looks very healthy; its black fur is shining. The following moose, the foxes and the deer don’t look worse, as well as the next two black bears that only get a stroke in our statistics.

Peace River, Alberta – Howling coyotes at half moon

Sonntag, Juli 18th, 2010

2900 km to Inuvik. A beating argument to get on the road again. The sky above the prairie is wide; again and again white clouds are piling up into the blue. Canola is blooming yellow, but it is very low. It is already middle July. The measly meadow is maybe 30 cm high but already bleaching. Not a good harvest this year. On the left hand side a domesticated bison herd is grazing peacefully. Our bison demand is met since Archie’s neighbours, bison breeders, well stocked us. Ten more kilos bison steaks are plugging our fridge and freezer.

Peace River is one of these rivers that, invisibly from far, pestered into the prairie before ages – a welcome change in prairie monotony. In the town Peace River the No Frills Supermarket behind Canadian Tire is a good bid. There are good fruit and vegetable varieties and most articles are cheaper than in other supermarkets around.

A dreamlike lonely gravel road is leading us in the evening another time steeply down into the valley. We find a site at the really peaceful but fast flowing river and are enjoying nature and loneliness. Not for long. Nature stays, loneliness goes. The half-moon is setting on the opposite bank and is mirroring in the river water. A couple of coyotes are barking clearly and howling. We probably aren’t that lonely.

Slave Lake, Alberta – Adult games in the woods

Samstag, Juli 17th, 2010

We are going playing in the woods today. That is somehow like children doing, but toys are bigger. We are going with one of Archie’s Hägglunds into the mountains, his brother Ron with wife Helen are bringing their own, with it a lot of solid and liquid catering to survive the strenuous day. Hägglunds are double-cabin caterpillar vehicles from the Swedish army that after rejection, restoring, and technical improvement are usually used in difficult terrain where otherwise only helicopters have access. It’s a kind of tank driving, just not armed. In Canada, Alaska or Russia Hägglunds are used for instance for control and maintenance of oil and gas pipelines, but for hunting, getting wood, or simply for fun as well. Archie is one of the main dealers for Hägglunds in Canada. We are starting on an ordinary gravel road, taking a forest path then and stepping up to a cross-woods drive. You just drive through rivers. If a pond is accidentally too deep, no matter, the thing swims as well. The amphibian vehicle is also driven by its tracks in the water. Only once a brook has carved too deep into its bed and created a cliff that seems to be invincible even for a tracked vehicle. A couple of logs remedy things and fill the brook bed to make a kind of bridge. You simply driver over laying logs; standing birches up to four, five metres height aren’t a problem at all, you take them in the middle and drive them over. In the rare event that a taller specimen inevitably blocks the way a chainsaw helps. Probably there are still enough trees left in Canada, but possibly we are leaving a lane of devastation. From now on I will include the god of the trees to my evening prayer. We are dismaying a deer without purpose, startling a couple of grouse and chasing away two clover eating black bears. We don’t see other animals today; no wonder due to the noise me are making. For today, this doesn’t matter.

At midnight, the last evening glow is fluttering over the sky like our campfire that’s going out. The North is calling.

Slave Lake, Alberta – Lake barbecue instead of missed opportunities

Freitag, Juli 16th, 2010

For the second time we are missing a mega party. After Calgary Stampede we are loosing Edmonton’s Capital EX as well. Stampede is said to be the world’s biggest outdoor event (again one of Canada’s beloved superlatives) and attracts up to 1.2 Million visitors. The entrance fees of the monster rodeo are superlative as well. After waiting a week for Arminius to be repaired we didn’t want to spend more time. We left Calgary on Wednesday morning while Stampede started on Friday. For Capital Ex we are a week too early. I wanted to see the spectacular RCMP Musical Ride where you can see Mounties in their parade uniform. Instead we are saying good-bye to the guys of Prestige Auto Repair. Al is putting a bison roast into our hands with important advices how to cook it. Then we are on our way through the prairie that didn’t gain excitement in the meantime. Flat land with meadows and forests, a road without curves, from time to time some canola and wheat fields, a couple of rivers and lakes. Slave lake is final destination today. Archie and Torrie have a beautiful lake plot there and an “entertainment center” called annex with a terrace where the most tender and moist AAA Alberta beef is prepared in a smoker that we ever ate. In the night, little lake waves are lulling us into sleep.

Edmonton, Alberta – Save on fuel

Donnerstag, Juli 15th, 2010

This morning our parcel is arriving that we were expecting so urgently. There are two taps from Germany inside to replace our cheaper leaking and dripping ones. While exchanging the faucets today we will have to hop in and out of the cabin, get the tools and store them back, put on and take off rain jacket. Weather seems to be crazy today. According to my tour guide book warm and mostly dry summer weather distinguishes Edmonton’s prairie climate. Precipitation is rare and connected to short but heavy thunderstorms. Only that in this year the rain-free periods between thunderstorms turn out pretty short.

Wal-Marts in Edmonton are quite recommendable. Grocery department is as big as in other super markets; there are even fresh fruits and vegetables. Edmonton is probably one of the last cities where you can buy food and fuel your car for quite a good price. To the North and even in British Columbia everything is expected to be more expensive. At Superstore’s gas bar we are getting diesel for 80.9 Cents plus a 5.4 Cents voucher per litre for shopping at Superstore. Seems to be worth with 400 l tank capacity.

Edmonton, Alberta – Records don’t always improve things

Mittwoch, Juli 14th, 2010

Today, we wanna know it: We are going to West Edmonton Mall (WEM). Al lent us a car to not have parking problems. Opened in 1981 WEM is and was – allegedly – world’s largest completely roofed mall with 800 shops, 100 restaurants, six department stores, 21 cinemas including IMAX, and 58 entrances. For those needing more there is the absolute entertainment. An amusement park with world’s biggest indoor roller coaster, a water park with artificial beach, surf bath and 14 water-chutes, an all-year ice stadium, a mini-golf area, sea lion shows and shark aquarium, two hotels and many more attractions shall lure the visitor willing to spend money. Upshot? From outside the komplex is an architectonical sin. And inside it’s just a mall, not even a very beautiful one. Most modern Malls in the world’s metropolis probably do not have much less shops but are more attractive. WEM is big but not much impressive. Also the following visit of downtown that is of manageable size is not able to really win us over for Edmonton. The new mall shall be more modern; but for today we’ve got enough malls. We are going back to the outskirts to care for our purchases, but actually the whole city is a single mall. You don’t know where one ends and the other starts. Somehow everything seems a bit scruffy.

Edmonton, Alberta – Squared eyes

Dienstag, Juli 13th, 2010

Today I’ve got squared eyes. Not from watching TV due to there is no TV, but from working on my computer. To make you watching pictures and reading articles. The weather doesn’t encourage to any outdoor activity anyway.

Edmonton, Alberta – Arminius behind barbed wire

Montag, Juli 12th, 2010

In the very early morning a thunderstorm is starting. Also in the following hours we hear again and again rolls of thunder and scatters pelting down. Not a good day for a hike above the tree-line. It is chilly, even in 1500 m elevation it is just above zero, you’ll get soaked and above tree-line you don’t want to repel flashes like a magnet. We are cancelling the hike to Sulphur Skyline. We are driving the few kilometres up to Miette Springs anyway, the actual trail start. Clouds are hanging so deep to entangle in the treetops. Scatters are accelerating to strong continuous rain, there is even hail. Miette Hotsprings are sulphur containing thermal springs, the hottest in the Rockies. Not astonishing on a day like that and a glance over the parking lot is revealing: There are too many people in a single tub. I’ relinquishing.

We are leaving the park to the east, direction Edmonton. You can safely mark up the drive as “boring”. We are going through a plane, slightly hilly prairie landscape of meadows, just interrupted by few forests and canola fields. Edmonton is capital and second largest city of Alberta with 730,000 inhabitants in city area. In the beginning of the 19th century the town came from branches of the two big fur trade companies and profited in the end of the decade by the Klondike gold rush. Later on Edmonton continuously developed as traffic junction in western Canada and province’s capital.

Now we stand here in 10° and ugly continuous rain penned in a barbed wire fenced area, surrounded by many different Mercedes Benz models of many different years of manufacture, and a couple of Hägglunds caterpillar vehicles. It is the plot of Prestige Auto Repair, and that belongs to Al. Al deals with Mercedes and repairs them. He owns one of the Canadian agencies of Hellgeth Engineering in Germany that have adapted our Unimog. No, we don’t want to try curing Arminius again. But Hellgeths brought us in contact with Al; he warmly welcomed us and allowed us to camp on his fenced company plot to remain undisturbed. Well, then: Good night!

Jasper, Jasper NP, Alberta – Goose flesh in view of the grizzly family

Sonntag, Juli 11th, 2010

The rangers at the campground reception explicitly reminded us of not leaving any food or garbage outside to avoid critters visiting us. Storing food in a car is fine since bears do not break open cars here. For tenting bicyclers or motorbike drivers bear proof storage compartments stand by. A cooler isn’t an adequate protection. You shouldn’t even cook inside the tent not to get the food smell into the tent. Never wear clothes used while cooking when you sleep. A bear might mix up “food” and “human” with inconvenient consequences for “human”. Garbage has to be stored in containers with patent catches that can’t be opened by bears. This morning an odd track surrounds our truck. It is a thick pad with five claws – a bear on nightly patrol? Now we know that precautionary measures are absolutely reasonable.

At Maligne Lake, 30 km above Maligne Canyon, you can do several hikes. There is a bear warning for Opal Hills Loop, but the trail isn’t closed yet. There is nothing to stop us. Although the trail is with 8.2 km pretty short, it is classified as quite strenuous, because for instance on a stretch of only 3 km you have to cope with 460 m elevation gain. We are puffing the first kilometres through forest and over marshland. At the same time, a Dutch couple started with us. They walk in similar pace and hike as taciturnly as we do. We don’t want to chase away the game, we want to watch it. Fortunately they don’t have a bear bell or something like that to tell the animal kingdom miles in advance: A human is coming. A Japanese group is chatting behind us. A young elk buck is hesitatingly crossing our way. It is only one of dozens we are getting to see today. The group behind us is screaming more frightened than astonished. Possibly it has seen the elk now. Luckily we don’t hear anything else from it later. We lost it or it has left the dangerous terrain.

A couple of kilometres further my hair stands on end the first time. We find altogether five bear scats on a few hundreds of metres on the path, each two together and a single one, all of them quite fresh. Can a single bear put so many huge poops into being? Obviously bear use, as game do, human hiking trails for movement. That’s after all more comfortable than going cross-country. In front of the last ascent we are walking above the tree-line along a high plateau, or much more a high valley. It is a couple of hundreds of metres wide and some kilometres long, surrounded by several peaks. It is peaceful and quiet up here, grasses grow and flowers bloom. We are crossing two burbling creeks and are enjoying the mountain scenery. If we knew at this point how close we already have been to the bears, we wouldn’t have walked here so calmly. In the end of the marked hike we are once more realizing, there is a way up further and higher. So we are shouldering the backpack and starting again. Instead of turning right to the sea view we are deviating to the left where we can overview the high valley that we just passed through.

In the beginning we are thinking it must be a piece of wood (above the tree-line?), but a glance through the binoculars is revealing: A dark brown grizzly bear mum with her two blond kinds is sleeping here cuddling up to one another closely. The cubs must be from last year; they are nearly as big as their mother. We are watching and photographing this beloved and cute image for quite a while from purportedly safe distance from the other side of the river. One of the kids is waking up, roaming around, and returning; eventually the rest of the family is waking up and starting to move – in our direction! Despite they are plodding without rush they are coming closer incredibly fast. Yet they crossed the creek and are coming up the slope we are standing on. We could shout now, make noise, talk, ring with not existing bear bells, use the existing emergency whistle from the backpack, or draw somehow their attention. We don’t do anything. We are too fascinated of the spectacular site met our eyes. The Dutch are taking flight, it becomes too nasty. They can’t run that fast, they mean. It is too late to run anyway in view of the speed the animals can display. Furthermore, running should be the stupidest thing we could do now. The distance still seems sufficient not to be dangerous. In this moment one of the cubs is lifting its snout; it has found our scent. The two others are discovering us as well. They are watching us for a moment, and instantly turning off heading to the valley where two unsuspecting hikers are walking and where we moved just half an hour ago. The bear mother shows, as rangers call it, good behaviour. She avoids contact to humans, that’s why this path isn’t closed yet. Just now I am realizing that I’ve got goose flesh that probably comes more from chilliness than from excitement. We are starting to put on clothes, the waterproof jacket immediately after that, because it is starting to rain. It is too late for a picture of the lake; it is wet, cold, and threatening. We are enjoying the outlook for a moment, but it is too dark for a photo. Not to be unfair: Up here we have met a group of distinctively nice Japanese. The descent is even more steep than the ascent, but done in an hour. Altogether we managed the about 10 km and 1300 m of elevation in three hours plus a rest and bear watching.

On our way to the next camping, now in sunshine again, there are more elk, deer, Rocky Mountain sheep, and mountain goats. We will sleep at Pocahontas Campground, a former coal mining area that is dedicated to tourism now.

Jasper, Jasper NP, Alberta – A day with game and grizzly

Samstag, Juli 10th, 2010

Sunwapta Falls, our first stop today, show the enormous power of water. Chaba River carved deeply into the rock, falls several metres into the depth, squeezes again with high pressure through a crevice, bangs on the opposite side against a rock face where it slowly washes out a cave, and eventually bends in a 90°-angle.

Next stop: Athabasca Falls. Also there a certain amount of water drops a determined amount of metres into the depth. Very nice, but one day there are enough pictures of lakes, waterfalls, and deer. The parking lot is nearly full despite rainy weather.

Via a side road we want to go to Jasper city to fill up with diesel and get some food. A glance to the right, here it plods. It is an adult grizzly bear, although not as big as the last one. It’s roamering through the forest; it’s just not possible to get a picture of it. Fortunately there is a forest path where we can turn off, and a clearing. The grizzly is sniffing around the meadow, we get some photos, and quickly he’s gone into the wood. We drive down to the highway to maybe catch him again, but we see only two deer fleeing. Few hundreds of metres further a herd of elk mothers with their white-spotted fawns are crossing the road. Grizzly bears, wolfs and cougars are predators of adult elks, fawns and young animals are hunted by coyotes, black bears, and lynx. Today’s grizzly shouldn’t be our last one…

In Jasper we accidentally run into a pizzeria that has got TV. UEFA world cup game Germany vs. Uruguay is running. Germany wins 3:2 and is now world champion in achieving the 3rd place. At least something.

On continuing our trip we finally find mountain goats, licking minerals on the side of the road. They are short-haired and light brown now; they already lost their splendid long white winter fur.

Maligne Canyon is a must in Jasper NP. The ravine with the fateful name is famous. An actually small creek engraved down to 50 metres into the limestone. At the same time it forms waterfalls, rapids, openings, natural bridges, washouts, and overhangs. In some places you can’t see the brook since it is only a few metres wide and it cut the rock zigzagging on the way down so that the view to the water is obstructed. Just the sound of rapidly flowing water remains – from far down. The park management built six bridges over the canyon at the most interesting sites. You walk sometimes on the right, sometimes on the left side of Maligne River and you get exciting photos everywhere.

The Icefield Parkway, Alberta – A glacier pouring into three oceans

Freitag, Juli 9th, 2010

Night temperature was with 2° tonight just above freezing point. Generally on the Icefield Parkway there is always night frost except in July and August. The road takes us further north. We are ascending to nearly 2100 m, descending to 1400 and up again. Right beside there is Saskatchewan River, still a brook, having the strangest colour I ever saw in a river. It contains enough rock meal to be milky-opaque. On the other hand enough glacier mud is already deposited and set minerals free to give it a turquoise colour. Saskatchewan River is baby blue like tiles in Soviet-Russian bathrooms.

The famous Columbia Icefield is about 200 sq km, more than 250 m thick in certain areas, and feeds six glaciers. In an average year snowfall is seven metres. Glaciers form where more snow falls in winter than melts each summer. Over time and under pressure, the snow compacts into glacial ice and moves under the force of gravity downhill. Nowadays most glaciers are retreating. Athabasca Glacier is one of the most accessible glaciers in the world and focus of many visitors in the area. Since the end of the 19th century it has retreated 1.5 km, and has lost more than two thirds of its volume and more than half its surface area. Under the glacier 8000 years old forest was found. The more the glacier retreats, the more living nature captures back the terrain and new forest comes into being. Which part of climate change is natural development, which one is manmade? We are not going to know that in this age.

You can visit Athabasca Glacier in different ways: Special glacier busses bring the queuing tourists for few minutes to the ice field. It’s you to decide if it’s worth the money. Second option is a guided hike with a ranger, probably an interpretive way of discovering the ice. Another possibility is a short hike from a parking lot to the glacier toe. You are not allowed to walk on the glacier there due to safety reasons, but you can see it very well. The self-guided trail with many charts is very informative. Columbia Icefield is a hydrological apex, the meeting point of three continent-wide watersheds. Meltwaters flow into three rivers – Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Athabasca River – and into three oceans: the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Arctic Ocean. But before, its freshwater is a source of life for millions of people.

There is another opportunity to admire the ice field, and we started today with it. The most beautiful tour is a hike to Wilcox Pass. The first four kilometres lead through conifer woods of the subalpine zone into the treeless alpine area above around 2200 m. The first 335 m elevation gain is moderately steep, but still good to manage. Microclimate today is strange: The sun shines summerly warm, but the wind blowing down from the mountain peaks is pleasantly refreshing. Up on the top we walk on a plateau, a kind of upland moor, and have to cross a river hopping from stone to stone. The high plateau is a lovely landscape with small peaks growing from it. It looks like Scotland, but 2000 metres higher. In the end of the marked hike you definitely should put up with two more kilometres and a couple of metres of elevation, going cross-country over some hills and snowfields to get to the lookout. Use existing tracks and paths used by game to protect the fragile alpine fauna. The peak welcomes us with glacier-cold constant wind and a view to Columbia Icefield, more glaciers and the Rocky Mountain chain that was worth every metre. We think: one of the most beautiful hikes we’ve done.

Dress code is pretty interesting today. There are visitors on the glacier with knit cap, scarf, gloves, boots, and winter coat. I do well understand them. But there are lost tourist trudging through the snow with baby doll and sandals. This doesn’t seem easy because the wind tries to lift the short skirt and tries to show the slip. Is it possible to get frostbites on the bum?

In the Icefield Centre we do not only get better material for Jasper National Park with hints for the hikes and background information. The ranger is very knowledgeable and is willing to share her knowledge when feeling serious interest. In the end she betrays not only the best trails, but where we find elk, Rocky Mountain Sheep, mountain goat, and grizzly bear. She will be so right…

Kananaskis Country and Banff NP, Alberta – Game of all sizes: deer, elk, and moose

Donnerstag, Juli 8th, 2010

Travelling means farewell. As soon as you found new friends you are leaving them. We want to get back to the national Parks where we interrupted our trip. John recommends a scenic route that we partially didn’t see yet.

We are going back to Kananaskis Country: Bow Valley Provincial Park, Peter Lougheed PP, and Spray Valley PP, one more beautiful than the other. We see moose, deer and many squirrels; beautiful foothill and alpine landscapes, mountains and deer mirroring in gleaming lakes. Smith-Dorrien / Spray Trail is one of the loveliest roads in Canada and nearly complete gravel. That is what a Unimog is made for. The sound of the tires disappears, and Arminius swallows the bumps like a camel a bucket of water. It’s just fun to drive.

From Banff to Lake Louise we are taking the same road where we discovered the grizzly last time. This time we are also lucky and are seeing an elk buck. The royal deer wears proud antlers and a well-fed stomach. The twelve-pointer doesn’t show timidity; on the contrary he seems to putting on a show. In the beginning he’s completely ignoring the watchers standing round and is eating really calmly. Then he’s looking around rebelliously and seems to ask: “What!? What do you want, eh?” We don’t see the bear this time, only the rangers trying to locate it with their radar. When a grizzly is staying so close to the road it is probably better to watch his movements. In an emergency hiking trails and even roads are closed to ensure both the safety of humans and bear. Few kilometres later we find another elk, a buck again, this time even a fourteen-pointer, but not as big and fat as the other one.

Temperature on Mosquito Creek Campground is quickly dropping from 30 to 15°. But before seeking the warmth of our cabin we have to admire the alpenglow.

Cochrane, Alberta – Arminius is back on the road again

Mittwoch, Juli 7th, 2010

Continuously good news: Even at cold start Arminius behaves and does without smoking. We buy a bunch of diesel additive, the engines definitely runs better with it. Ernie, the GCL Sales Manager, poured a bottle of conditioner into one of our tanks last Friday to test it. We went around on the weekend. Our smoke and sound problem didn’t disappear with it, but it already improved.

In the afternoon we return to John and Lyndel a few kilometres outside of Calgary. We met both of them and their family already on Saturday a bit more than one week ago on a pick-nick ground and were invited to a barbecue at mother’s house. Today we are requested to come to Cochrane. We watch the soccer world cup semi final game. Germany is defeated by Spain 0:1, so we better cancel this unpleasant topic. John is professional photographer and we might admire his pictures and photo equipment. In the evening one of the famous Canadian barbecues with steaks and salmon happen, there is more family, and eventually we meet the German neighbours Conny and Frank who immigrated to Canada 23 years ago.

Calgary, Alberta – Arminius at detoxification clinic

Dienstag, Juli 6th, 2010

Arminius’ treatment in the GCL detoxification clinic seems to be successful, he doesn’t smoke any more. At least not more than usual. The engine sound significantly reduced, he sounds normal and healthy. A test drive in different rev speed ranges brings the same positive result. The chief mechanic wants to check the cold start tomorrow morning anyway. That’s a good idea, the campground in front of the workshop isn’t the worst one; so we stay one more night.

Calgary, Alberta – Back to friends

Montag, Juli 5th, 2010

The South African mechanic in the special workshop for fuel systems removes our injection nozzles and puts them on the test bed. The result isn’t too encouraging. The injection pattern of two nozzles isn’t correct, and the four other don’t keep the injection pressure. We’d better exchange all six what tears a big hole into our vacation fund. Canada seems to have very poor-quality diesel, many truckers have mentioned that to us. Most of them use additives to improve diesel quality, what would be in Europe for an engine of that kind pouring out money in the drain. But here it seems to be an investment worthwhile. Freight forwarders pour diesel conditioners into their tanks and apportion that to transportation costs. There are few private diesel cars in Canada. Even large motorhomes run on gas. We are ordering the spare parts that shall arrive tomorrow and hope that it’ll be done with that.

GCL company was very obliging. Since the car can’t be moved anymore as soon as the nozzles are removed we had not to go into the workshop. The mechanics do all the maintenance on the parking lot in front of the garage what required at least halfway good weather, of course. This allows us to stay in the cabin and not to have to stay at a hotel or to enlist our friends’ help.

We are invited for dinner at our friends’ house. There is big joy to meet Lynn and Claude again much earlier than expected, and it becomes a long evening. But who knows the plans of Big Manitou?

Calgary, Alberta – Computer work and mixed soccer

Sonntag, Juli 4th, 2010

No, we aren’t bored. After all our photos have to be downloaded, chosen, deleted, edited, named, downsized, renamed, uploaded. Blog postings want to be written, translated, and put online. In the afternoon we are watching a soccer game of an amateur team in the neighbourhood. Despite both parties had to gather all their strength to compile a complete team, and men and women between eight and fifty are playing together, the match isn’t worse than most German village leagues. Soccer is becoming very fashionable in Canada.

Calgary, Alberta – German soccer in Irish pub in Canadian Calgary

Samstag, Juli 3rd, 2010

This morning we have to get up early. We’ve parked directly in front of a sports bar that will show the international soccer match. At eight o’clock we enter the Irish pub to watch the world cup match Germany vs. Argentina. During a rich breakfast we watch together with many other Germany fans in a packed inn how Argentina gets dismantled 4:0 in the quarter final. I am glad that Maradona will not run nakedly along the beach as announced. Who wants to see that? The small enclave Argentina fans will get over the defeat. Most of Germany’s fans don’t or nearly don’t speak German. Perhaps they have German roots, maybe they are simply fans.

We are going back to the industrial area where the Bosch agency is situated since we can stay there over night. In the evening George visits us. He came as Rumanian refugee 30 years ago to Canada, lives in his Dodge van converted to a camper and is a truck driver. George has many stories and jokes at the ready. His car is packed with many things he generously distributes like vegetables, cheese, and a Rocky Mountain tour guide book. We drink schnapps and beer together. George’s got some interesting opinions and insights as well. He admits that fuel is more expensive in Germany. But in Canada distances were huge, it was necessary to go many kilometres to get somewhere, you used more petrol or diesel, and in the end you altogether paid more for fuel. Not completely illogical, isn’t it?

Calgary, Alberta – Diagnostic plugs at Freightliner and mechanics at Bosch

Freitag, Juli 2nd, 2010

An early call this morning at Freightliner Calgary gives us hope: We might come; they are willing to take care for our problem. Mercedes Benz trucks run in North America under the brand name Freightliner and are our contact partners. Two mechanics and one serviceman are poking their noses in our engine compartment, like the expedition mobile, and are making educated guesses. Unfortunately Freightliners just have diagnostic plugs with computers to tell them what’s broken and which part to change; there is not too much knowledge about simple mechanic things. But all of them are very helpful; they find another contact for us and the address as well.

Arriving there we happily realize that it is a Bosch agency. Our injection pump is from Bosch and the possible problem source. It becomes better and better: The boss of the agency gets his special mechanics. He already repaired military Unimog in South Africa and knows the ropes. We are analyzing, discussing and decide: We will start on Monday morning to keep us mobile over the weekend.