Travel journals USA, Canada & Alaska

with links to travel journals of South America, South Africa and Mexico!

by Claudia and PJ Potgieser

 

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In 2000 we shipped our Mercedes van from Holland to the USA. The plan was to spent a half year in the United States, but we were getting very attached to this continent with the amazing wildlife, gorgeous National Parks and friendly inhabitants. We kept coming back.

Click on the underlined years and countries to read the travel journals.

2000 March - September 2000 (sorry, not translated yet)
Our first meeting with the USA, traveling through the states Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington. In Canada we traveled through British Columbia (including fishing grizzly bears in Hyder), Alberta, Yukon Territory and North West Territories. In Alaska our 26 year old Mercedes van decided to give up. After a long and expensive repair we could still continue our trip, but in the beginning of 2001 we decide to buy an American truck with a slide in camper.

2001 January - October 2001 (sorry, not translated yet)
In January we defy the cold and snow for a while and fled than to the South. We visited lots of National Parks in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and Wyoming. After Canada's famous parks in Banff and Jasper we traveled the most northern route through Canada to the Dempster Highway. Alaska got an extensive visit. In Hyder we see fishing wolves! We are befriending more and more wildlife photographers and started to get really interested in wildlife photography. In Churchill we saw the polar bears.
We tried to travel through Mexico (Baja California), but our truck breaks down and we returned to the States.

2002 October 2002 (sorry, not translated yet)
For the first time we have problems entering the States, but after an interrogation of an hour we are allowed into the country. We go south bound to spent the winter in Mexico.

2003 November - December 2003 (sorry not translated yet)
This is the first year that we shoot with a digital camera, in Grand Teton NP we photograph moose in the snow and then we go south bound. We bring a visit to the beautiful Bryce Canyon, the overrated Zion NP, the comfortable Tecopa Hot Springs, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife refuge and we celebrate New Year with friends in Organ Pipe. The rest of winter we spent in Mexico.

2004 April - October 2004
April in Yellowstone, the month of May back in the Netherlands, again trouble at immigration in Chicago, June in Yellowstone and 35 days in Hyder, Alaska. For the first time we hear about the beautiful fall colors of the tundra in Denali NP in Alaska.
Another visit to Hyder. Seeing friends in Colorado and winter in Mexico.

2005 May 2005
We spent a month in Yellowstone and travel cross country to the East coast to ship our camper to South America.

2006 August - November 2006 (sorry not translated yet)
We pick up our shipped camper in Houston, Texas and hurry to Hyder, Alaska. For the first time we hear about Bella Coola, where grizzly bears fish on salmon. We visit Banff and Jasper in Canada and spent the rest of fall in Yellowstone. We got snowed in Grand Teton NP. The winter we spent in Holland.

2007 May - October 2007
lots of bear action in Grand Teton and Yellowstone, buying a new pick-up truck and a new camper. More grizzly bears in Hyder, Alaska. We drive the Dempster Highway in Canada for caribous. Via the Top of the World Highway we go to Alaska. Lots of moose in Denali NP and via Campbell Highway we continue to Bella Coola. The winter we spent three months in Mexico.

2008 June - October 2008
After half a year working in the Netherlands we go back to the USA. Snow in June (!) in Yellowstone, grizzly bears in Hyder, Alaska and then we continue to Alaska for the fall colors of the tundra. The wildlife is in rut and ready to mate, so looking their best. We take the Dalton Highway to Prudhoe Bay, the northern most road in Alaska. Our bear pictures are published in the London Metro news paper.
Via Bella Coola we travel south. And we are getting warm again in the hot springs of Death Valley, California. The winter of 2008 - 2009 we spent in Mexico.

2009 April - June, October 2009
Blooming cactus in Arizona. Lots of wolves, but also snow in Yellowstone. In British Colombia (Canada) we see for the first time a Kermode Bear (rare white black bear). Three months in the Netherlands and in October back to Yellowstone and then we spontaneous decide to fly to South Africa and rent a camper.
Back in the USA the temperature has dropped to -4 F and we fled to Mexico.

2010 April - May, November 2010
Yellowstone is on the program again, our favorite National Park.
In November we are back in the USA and go straight south to Mexico.

2011 March - May 2011
Yellowstone with lots snow, wolves and bears. We meet old friends and PJ builds a flatbed to give the camper support, to have more storage space and an extra dieseltank.

2011 August - October 2011
This trip is to visit Alaska in fall. We drive the Dempster Highway to see Caribou, but only see grizzly bears. In Denali NP we blow up the engine of the truck and the truck is towed to Fairbanks. Four weeks and lots of money later we head south again. We witness a magical Northern Light show at Kluane Lake in Canada and see a Kermode bear (white black bear) for the second time. We leave the truck at a storage in Calgary and leave the truck for 8 months!

2012 - 2013 November 2012 - March 2013
We land in a cold Calgary, but decide to travel north to Banff and Jasper NP.
We make a road trip to the USA through Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Colorado and Utah.
After three lovely months in Mexico, we enjoy Arizona and Utah before we rush north to Calgary again.

2013 August 2013 - December 2013
Straight to Hyder Alaksa to photograph fishing wolves. Well, that takes longer than planned and after a month we finally are satisfied with the shots. Next is Haines, Alaska were we see lots of grizzly bears.
In the meantime we try to photograph Northern Lights too. The Shut Down of all the National Parks in the USA forces us to stay longer in Canada and we chase Aurora's for 2,000 miles.
Half of November the parks in the USA open and we visit Yellowstone and are blessed with lots of snow. We travel along the west coast of California and find condors, sea elephants, sea otters and BOBCATS! In December we cross the border of Mexico and go the the Baja California.

2014 May - November 2014
After spending the winter in Mexico, Dutch friends fly to Denver to travel with us for a month.
After that we spent time in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National park and for the first time we photograph Wild Horses!
After 6 weeks in the Netherlands we start a road trip beginning of August from Calgary to Hyder, Haines, Russian River, Denali National Park, Dalton Highway en 12 times Northern Lights in the month of September.
More Wild Horses in the USA and then we take the decision to quit traveling on this continent and sell the tuck and camper!! This takes more time than expected and for now the camper is in storage in Calgary, ready to be sold.