June 1, 2011
We woke up to a beautiful sunny day! Laverne went walking with Sandy
and John, who hadn't walked in a couple of days. It felt wonderful to be able to sleep in instead of rushing to get moving on the road.
part is going to sleep at midnight when it is still light outside.
We are getting about 20
hours of daylight now. We brought black foam board to put in our bedroom
windows to keep the light out. They are pretty effective.
We went into town to do some sightseeing. Before we got into town we
stopped at a place called Swan Haven; a place along Marsh Lake where
Trumpeter Swans stop on their northward migration to rest and feed. They
come through in April, so their wasn't much to see but a few stragglers.
First stop was the
Transportation Museum. Laverne
worked for Canadian Pacific for 37 years, and the museum is next to the
airport. Outside the museum is a DC 3 so precisely balanced it is a
vane and will turn at winds as little as 10mph! It turned directions
while we were in the museum! It showed a great pictorial history of
early flight navigation in Northern
Canada. I used to think all they did up here was mush sled dogs. Not
twenty years after the Wright brothers took flight, they were flying all
over the place up here. Very interesting. There was also information
on the White Pass Yukon Territory RR, dog sledding, steamers on the
Yukon River, travel to gold fields during the strike of 1898.
From there I wanted to see the Old Log Church that was downtown. Here
was the history of how religion came to Northwest Canada. The chasuble
was made by the women of the Old Crow tribe
by tanning the hides of two caribou and then the cross was made with red beads. The Log Cabin Church was used from 1900
until 1960 when a new cathedral was built.
I was looking at an exhibit when I turned around, there was a man
standing/hulking/hovering behind me; it was Bill Hicks. They were doing
a walking tour of the downtown and this was their last stop. They are
leaving in the morning for Dawson City. We should meet up by Saturday.
ate dinner before heading over to
the "Frantic Follies" over at the Westmark Hotel. They had three or
four tours waiting to get in. Good thing we had purchased our tickets
earlier in the day. We sat in the second row; the show was excellent.
I would highly recommend it. It is based on the poetry of Robert
Service, who was a writer who lived up here during the gold rush years,
along with Jack London! Can you imagine getting out of a show
10:30 in the
evening at it's still daylight out? I would have hated to date up here when I
was a teenager; where's the mysterious darkness, that makes all those guys
look more handsome than they really were!
On the way home
we followed Laverne and Brenda through Miles Canyon and on the way out,
we spotted a beautiful fox with a big bushy tail. This picture was
taken about 11 pm at night!
Thursday, June 2, 2011
moved our coaches into town to spend the night at Walmart. We fueled up
as we came into town so we wouldn't have to worry about it tomorrow
morning as we left. After that we did some food shopping at the grocery
store. It's so very interesting to go shopping in another country. So
much is the same and yet so much is different. They seem to have more
of a selection from different countries than we do in the USA. Ran into
Laverne and some people he has known for many years. So interesting.
Did I mention that Laverne and Brenda are going camping with us up to
Dawson City? What fun we will have. These are some pictures taken at
their house on the lake. Just Beautiful!
June 3, 2011
Last night Bob
discovered that the fog lights on our car have both been knocked out by
rocks. They are below our rock shield we have attached to the car. He
also carved a piece of carpet to place over the windshield to keep rocks
from breaking our windshield.
Our little caravan
took off for Dawson City about 9:30. It was a rough section of road on
the way up. There was a "Whole lot of shaking goin' on." Have to
remember to be careful when opening cupboards and the fridge when you
We haven't seen
any wildlife for the last couple of days and I didn't think we would see
any today, but we got lucky and saw another black bear on the side of
the road. They are all looking very healthy and have shiny coats. We
pulled into a provincial park about 10 miles before reaching Dawson
City. We'll drive in tomorrow morning. Today was a long drive.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Happy Birthday Rachel!
really miss my grandbabies. This is the first time I have missed
her birthday party, although the party is not until
tomorrow. We don't have cell phone or Internet service here, so we
are really out of communication.
Drove into Dawson City with the RV's and parked right along the river
front. No sooner had we gotten out to walk than Bill and Margie passed
us and said they were going to gas up and would catch up with us.
Dawson City is one place that has retained most of it's original
flavor. You have to walk on wooden boardwalks and the streets are not
paved. Many buildings are original, many have been restored, and any
new buildings are made to look old. Dawson City was the original
capital of the Yukon Territory until it was moved to Whitehorse.
Unfortunately, my foot was giving me lots of trouble and I needed to go
back to the RV to rest.
After a late lunch,
the guys wanted to drive up to the gold dredge and maybe pan for gold, so I went with the
guys, while the ladies headed over Diamond Gerties to play the slots. I
enjoyed the dredge and the guys went
on a tour of the dredge. When they got in the car to leave, the car wouldn't turn over, we
had a dead battery.
We were lucky to get a
jump from a
guy coming down the road from
another claim. They are still actively mining gold up here, so you just can't stick your
pan in the water just anywhere. They take things real serious up
here. By then it was so late, we headed straight back to town, so I did
NOT get any gold. BOO!!!!
We took the ferry across the river to camp at the Yukon River Campground. The ferry can hold 2 40' RV's with toads and
maybe two other cars. There are not a lot of docking facilities, they just run up to the riverbank and drop you off.
When the river floods they just rebuilt the dirt ramp; it's simple, it
much, and not much maintenance is
not big like ours at home, but it is free. The Yukon River is still
running very swiftly from the snow melt off in the mountains. So we are all camped over here for the night.
Margie and Bill, Brenda and Laverne, Tillie and John, and Bob and I.
Since Tillie had
won at the casino, she didn't care to go back, Margie and Bill had been
last night, so Brenda, Laverne, Bob and I went back into town, but first
we headed up to Midnight Dome to get a view
of the whole
valley. Great views! But there was cloud coverage overhead so it wasn't
all that pretty. Nobody won anything at Gertie's so we headed home.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
It had rained
fairly heavy during the night, we woke up to lots of mud. Bill and
Margie headed out about 8:30..
said our good-byes to Brenda and Laverne who did not bring their
passports with them and were not continuing on. We didn't get on the
road until 10am. We drove straight up to the clouds and while talking
to John on the CB, we were surprised to hear Bill cut in. Seems he was
right ahead of us. They had sat there for two hours waiting for the
rain and clouds to clear and decided to return to the campground and
wait for a better day to travel across Top of the World Highway. Bob
and I agreed and soon John and Tillie returned with us. Once we got
back we headed into town to get an up to date weather report. But it
seems, the Canadian visitor doesn't give updates on Top of the World
Highway! Brenda and Laverne had moved their RV into town for the day
and so we got to see them once again.
Bob and I returned home while the
others stayed in town. It was nice to just relax for a while. The sky cleared up tremendously
and it looks like a go for tomorrow.
After dinner Bob
an John hiked up the river to see the old abandoned river paddlewheelers
that were beached in the riverbank and are currently in a state of
advanced deterioration. Later we stayed in the cooking pavilion, stoked
the heater/stove and played cards till after 10 pm because it stays
light so late up here.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Top of the World Highway
the day. We are going, the sky is blue!. We put Bill and Margie in the
lead again. On the way up the sky was clear, much better than
yesterday. But once we were up high, we still ended up in the clouds
and at times we all had to run our 4 way flashers so we didn't run into
one another. It runs across the ridge tops of the mountains and on
CLEAR days (whenever that is), you can see forever.
road was paved most of the way through Canada. Once we got through
Customs at the US Border the road immediately turned to yellow dirt.
But at least now the mileage signs are in miles and not Km, I can stop
using my multiplication skills.
We finally came to
which has a population of about
fifteen. This is another place that you can pan for gold. It's not
something I have a real urge to do when it is wet and drizzly outside.
From there it was downhill all the way to Tok, Alaska, where the sun was
shining and the air was warm when we got out of our RV's. John, Bill
and Bob walked over to the post office to get the mail. Ours was not
there, so we have to spend the night and the others
are stopping for the night also. We are staying at Sourdough Campground
with full hookups! Yeah! That is always a treat for me. They also had
a car wash which we took advantage of immediately! When we get home, I
am going to have our car washed and detailed!
There was a
Sourdough Pancake Toss contest at 7 pm (where you could win a free
breakfast), followed by Karaoke and music by Don Lee. We didn't win
anything but the music was pretty good. I even got brave enough to
stand up and sing "Crazy" by Patsy Cline.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
mail did not come in. Boo! Looks like we will be spending
another night staying in the back of the
Chevron Station. The others are continuing on to Fairbanks.
Before we parked
our rig, we stopped at the RV wash to clean our rig. OMG! The dirt and
rocks must weigh a ton. Getting rid of all that will surely increase
our MPG!. It's also when you find out if you have any damage to your
rig. We came out okay.
The rest of the
day was spent catching up on emails, bills, my blog, and just RESTING!
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Our mail is in. We can continue on to
Of course it is cloudy and drizzly. One stop we made was at Delta
Junction, the End of the Alaskan Highway, 1422 miles. We saw
2 moose cows along the way, but only got a picture of one. By the time
we got to North Pole, Alaska it was 6pm. I wasn't sure they were open,
but most places up here stay open
8pm. because of the long hours of daylight and travelers take advantage
of that. Bob and I got to meet and talk with
get our pictures taken and go see his reindeer. Fun place. We finally
got into Fairbanks about 8pm., meeting up with the others at Walmart.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Spent a good part of
the day stocking up from Sam's Club and Walmart. My foot was really
hurting so came back and got it up while I took a nap. Weather was
rainy in the morning, followed by a slow clearing in the afternoon.
(Every day can't be great day.) The picture of the sunset has a time
stamp of 11:32 pm. The sun is scheduled to rise at 3:10am. I will not
be staying up to check it out. It truly does not get dark up here at
June 10, 2011
and Tillie left this morning for Denali National Park. They have to be
in Anchorage by Monday evening to pick up their grandson at the airport
so they are on a tight schedule. It was hard to say goodbye to our
traveling companions of six months. But we should see them again in a
couple of weeks.
We went down to the
Visitor's Center in downtown Fairbanks where they have an excellent
display of animals and life for the native Indians.
We came back,
picked up Margie and Bill and headed over to the Steamship Discovery for
a 3 hour tour. One
of the first things we saw was a bush pilot taking off from the river.
The picture to the right shows a plane in someone's back yard. To
out of there, they use the grass strip running behind their neighbor's
One in sixty Alaskans has his pilot's
This tour also
stops at Susan Butcher's Dog Kennel. Susan
won the Iditarod Dog Sled Race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska a record 4
. The dogs
pulling the 4 wheeler
below can maintain
a speed of 20
The ship also
stopped at the Chena Indian
Village, from the early 1900's, before their
life was touched by the white
man. Wonderful presentations by
young Chena Indian girls describing
life back then.
They displayed an absolutely gorgeous fur coat made by women from the
village, estimated to be worth over $30,000.
In the evening we
went back to the visitor's center to watch a couple of films: one was life
in Fairbanks at 40' below zero. Talked about staying fit during the
long winters, fighting depression, staying warm; it was so
interesting.The other was on the phenomenon Aurora Borealis.
Sidebar: There are poles in the Walmart parking lot with plugs on them
so you can plug your car in so the engine won't freeze during the
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Called my sister today. They are
leaving on their trip on Thursday. They will be traveling to the polar
ice cap on June 30. Monday we are going to try and make it to the Artic
Circle. She will be at 83° and I will be going to 66°
Same difference don't you
calling today North Carolina Day. We went over to Creamer's Field to
see Northern Waterfowl. Saw a lot of Sand Hill Cranes and Canadian
Geese. Talking with the woman in the visitor's center she mentioned she
was from North Carolina...when I asked where, she said Emerald Isle,
about 60 miles from where we live. You just never know who you will
meet where. It truly is a small world. They are volunteering for seven
weeks and then they are taking off for Denali National Park. We also
stopped at the University of Alaska Large Animal Research Station where
you could see wild musk ox, caribou and reindeer. The musk ox were the
most interesting by far. They have a hairy under fur called quivit
which is lighter and softer than cashmere!
You can buy it, but it is
VERY EXPENSIVE! About $85.00 a skein!. It's like wearing a cloud it's
Afterwards we decided to eat early since we skipped lunch, and headed for
Big Daddy's BBQ - The Northernmost Southern Barbeque! Visited and
recommended by Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. They carry all
kinds of Southern BBQ from Memphis, Texas, Arkansas, all over and North
Carolina style! It was delicious!! We had fried okra, homemade
coleslaw and Eastern style pulled pork so tender and moist it melted in
your mouth. The only thing that spoiled it was the little bit of sweet
sauce they put on it. If we had talked more before we
had ordered it,
they would have held the sauce. I would highly recommend this place to
any Southerner passing through Fairbanks!
Fairbanks is Alaska's second largest city with a population of of
35,252. The Chena River flows through the middle of town. It's a place
where you can still see people living in log cabins beside those in
modern homes. Fairbanks is flat and a great place to ride bicycles.
They say you can see Mt. McKinley from here, but so far, no luck.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
We moved over to
River's Edge RV Park in town. Full hook-ups with 50 amp service. We
were able to get all our laundry done, using both the laundromat and
using the W/D in our coach. We took a break in the afternoon to go
to Pioneer Park, sort of like a living history museum for Fairbanks.
But it started to rain and my foot was hurting again so we came home
long enough to eat, then headed to
to do some shopping before coming home and gongWe moved over to River's
Edge RV Park in town. Full hook-ups with 50 amp service. We were able
to get all our laundry done, using both the laundromat and using the W/D
in our coach. We took a break in the afternoon to go to Pioneer Park,
sort of like a living history museum for Fairbanks. But it started to
rain and my foot was hurting again so we came home long enough to eat,
then headed Safeway to do some shopping before coming home and gong to
bed. We have a long day tomorrow.
June 13, 2011
Today the sun rose
at 3:04 am and the sun will set at 12:38 am. With only twilight in
between. By next week....the
will set at 12:48 am and rise at 2:58 am. with only 2 hours on dark
daylight in between. It's crazy up here.
That being said,
today we drove with Margie and Bill, up to the Artic Circle 200 miles
north of Fairbanks. They warn you to take at least 2 spare tires
mounted on rims, CB radio, and be prepared to be blown off the road by
truckers and/or get your windshield broken. This is also known as "The
Ice Trucker's Road". It's paved only the first 50 miles, the rest is
mud, pot holes, frost heaves and such The books aren't too encouraging
are they? One of the
first stops we made was at the Pipeline Information Kiosk.
The pipeline is 4
feet in diameter plus insulation and outer sheathing and runs 800 miles
from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, Alaska.
The road was not
that bumpy, but it was MUDDY. We did see a couple of truck campers, a
few trailers, but no motorhomes. When we crossed the bridge over the
Yukon River, we were told it was the only bridge over the Yukon for the
entire 1,900+ miles. The Alyeska Pipeline crosses underneath the
bridge. The weather was very cloudy and rainy. It was not a very scenic
trip and yet it was more that what we were
Coming up a rise on the road, we had to come to a quick stop, for
standing in the middle of the road was a moose cow. She was big!
Before we could get our cameras out she shot off like a flash into the
woods and disappeared.
Not to leave without our photo op, Bob and Margie jumped out of the
with cameras in hand and the chase was on. They got their pictures.
YEAH! The trip was worth it just for those pictures.
Up at the Artic
a sign where we could get our pictures taken, and there was a BLM
ranger there handing out pins and certificates. We are
certified! He also had his intern with him. She is a student at
Clemson University spending her summer in Alaska!
home Sandy had to stop by the side of the road and throw some water on
our front window. Why bother with the back until we got all the way
home. He couldn't see a thing out the back window.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
we moved on to Denali National Park area. On the drive down we stopped
in the small town of Nenana. There was an interesting historical train
station and also a museum. We
have reservations for the Riley Creek campground in the national park
that start on Thursday through next Tuesday. Until then we are having
to find a spot to spend a couple of nights. Tonight we are in Healy,
parked in a community center parking lot between an outdoor hockey rink
not used in the off season and the volunteer fire department, community
center, bank, and state troopers office. Now that's what I call
multipurpose! Again it has rained off and on all day today. Will it
Pictured below are some of the wildflowers and wildlife I photographed
along the way today.
- Right now I could scream my head off. I just lost three typed pages
of my blog. But I think I will just cry instead. I'll attempt to
retype what I have lost. :(
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Bill and Margie got reservations for
today at Riley Creek Campground. We will stay here at the community
center one more day and just vegetate and relax, catch up on bills and
write on my blog. It's a very rainy day and the temperature only got up
to 51 degrees. We do have reservations for tomorrow.
After dinner, the sky cleared up, so we drove down to the park and drove
the park road to see if there was any wildlife we could view and maybe
catch a glimpse of Mt. McKinley. But there was nothing to be seen. On
the way back we stopped at Riley Creek campground and found a sight we
liked. Hope we can get it tomorrow.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
We woke up to a clear and sunny day with
light puffy clouds. First order of business , get set up at Riley Creek
campground. We had no problem getting the sight we wanted. After we
were settled, we headed up to the Park Visitor's Center, which had great
info, fabulous displays of wildlife and films. After lunch, we grabbed
a bus that went to the Denali Dog Kennels.
They have had a working sled
dog team in the park since 1939. They do a lot of work in the winter;
they haul logs, take supplies up to the winter outback cabins, check on
winter campers, snowshoers, cross cross-country skiers, haul scientific
equipment for research teams, and cut trails for people who run their
own dog sledding teams in the park. They pretty much have their summers
off as it is too hot for them. They were languishing in the heat today
and it only got up to 68 degrees! These are not pure bred dogs, but a
mix of breeds that have been bred for temperament, fur coat, enthusiasm
for running and other factors. They also used to deliver the mail
within the park. The park has been charged with protecting the
wilderness here and the dogs do it so much better than equipment that
breaks down at a minus 30/40 degrees. These guys just love it. It's fun to
see them get all excited when they see their handlers starting to put
together a sled for running. They start jumping and barking, "pick me,
After dinner we went to the Ranger campfire program on the
wolf and the Lynx. The program was so interesting and we learned a lot.
He also had pelts of the lynx and wolf. (Becky, you would have really
liked this program). Before we got into the program, we practiced what
to do in a bear encounter. Kind of like a lifeboat drill on a cruise
ship. It needs to be done. To get to the amphitheater we walked down a
path that said: WARNING! Moose calving area AND grizzly bear hunting
area BE ALERT! That will get your attention right quick.
June 17, 2011
We woke up to another bright and sunny
day. We quick jumped in the car and headed back out to the viewpoint to
see if we could see McKinley. (It's official geographic name is still
Mt. McKinley, but the park name was changed to Denali). Denali in the
Athabascan language means "the tall one" or "the big one".
MADE IT! Yippee! We are now part of the 30% club. Only 30 percent of
the visitors ever get to see Denalli because it is covered in clouds.
It is so huge it makes it's own weather! You must remember the pictures
of the mountain are taken from 70 MILES AWAY! On the way up there we
almost ran over a snowshoe hare; had to brake hard.. A little further up
the road there were cars stopped on the road with blinking emergency
A grizzly bear was crossing the road. It looked like he was on
the scent of something he was tracking, but we got some great pictures,
much closer than what they say your supposed to do. Further on, we saw
about a half dozen caribou. When we got to the turn around part of the
road, we got out to look around. High on the mountain I spotted about 4 Dall sheep. Also, located on a gravel bar in the Savage River was a sea
gull sitting on a nest. Sure hope the river doesn't rise!
After dinner, Bob went to the Ranger program and then walked the trail
to the visitor's center. Riding the bus on the way back, he spotted a
moose cow, standing on the side of the road. It always happens when I
Saturday, June 18, 2011
We are headed further into the park to camp at Teklanika River
Campground. You have to have a pass to drive down the road this far,
stay a minimum of three days and leave your toad vehicle behind.
the way in all we saw was about twelve snowshoe hares, one of which
posed very nicely for me. Although the sky was crystal clear blue,
there were clouds all around Mt. McKinley and it could not be seen from
the viewpoint. Once we got setup, we (Margie, Bill, Sandy & I) hopped
on a bus about noon and road to the Eielson Visitors Center.
driver was very informative about the wildlife. On the ride up we saw
many Dall sheep, Artic Ground Squirrels, Caribou laying on snow to get
relief from insects, Snowshoe Hares, Grizzly taking a nap, and the best
shot of the whole ride...two grizzly bears mating! No, it's not funny;
but to see life in the wild, not something put on by a zoo, you feel
like, I don't know, maybe all is right with the world. I just can't
bring myself to post that picture here, but there is a picture of him
after THE DEED! We had thirty minutes to spend at the visitors center
if we wanted to take the same bus back. It's a new building that is
totally green in it's carbon footprint.
They use solar panels, hydro-electricity from the creek below to charge
their batteries for electricity, passive solar heating, and ultra-low
flow toilets. It's also build into the hillside to aid in temperature
regulation in the building. They earned a Platinum Award for their
design. On the ride back, the grizzly was awake and feeding, the
mating bears were gone, the caribou had gotten up and were feeding,
there were more Dall sheep and more squirrels. All in all a good day
for a six hour tour. Seeing the animals got my adrenalin going and when
it was all over, all I wanted to do was crash and burn.
have bus seats reserved for doing this again tomorrow and travel all the
way to Wonder Lake. I don't think I am going.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Happy Father's Day
morning was overcast. I definitely didn't go. Bob was able to get on
the same bus as Bill and Margie so he was not alone for the ride. They
caught the bus at 8 am and I had the whole day to myself. Seems kind
of selfish but it was what I wanted to do. I sat down to read the book, "Tisha";
about a young girl nineteen years old going to Chicken, AK, to teach in
1927. The only way to get there was by pack train on horses. It's all
about her first year and the trials and tribulations she went through.
very Interesting reading. Bob got home around 4:30. He finally got a
picture of a bull moose and a coyote, but still no wolf. They went all
the way to Wonder Lake today. I put on a pot of spaghetti for dinner
before he went to the ranger talk over at the amphitheater. I read some
more. I was still reading by the light of the sun at 11:30pm before
the sun went below the mountain, but the sun didn't set until sometime
Monday, June 20, 2011
Happy Birthday Cousin Margie!
was raining when we woke up this morning. It had been raining during
the night. Bob had canceled his Discovery hike with the Ranger for
today. Its a good thing he did. He didn't really have the proper
equipment for today anyway; extra socks, extra shoes for crossing
streams, backpack, etc. Bill and Margie canceled also, and Bill decided
to leave rather than spend the day sitting here. They will stop at
Riley Creek Mercantile to pick up email, dump and water before heading
on to Cantwell. We will probably catch up in Talkeetna. The sun
appeared before noon, so Bob and I went walking along the river gravel
bars looking for animal tracks. I really tied him down, because of my
bum foot, so I couldn't go very far. It's frustrating for him and
painful and upsetting for me because I can't do very much at all. But I
did see some new flowers while we were walking out there.
It was a good day for walking cause the air was cool and the sun was
had a wonderful steak dinner before Bob went to the Ranger talk on
bears. Sounded interesting.. Afterwards he came back and then headed
out again to find the couple he met from North Carolina, thinking he had
met them before. I went with him also, but they didn't ring any bells
Driving out from Teklanika Campground we came across this grizzly bear.
He was walking all over the place, just doing his morning stroll I
After last minute gift buying and picture taking we finally left Denali a
little after noon, headed for Talkeetna.
it was beautiful and sunny in the morning, the clouds rolled in big time
the further south we headed on
the Parks Highway. We could not see the mountain
from any of the southern viewpoints. Not Cool!
arrived at the junction of Parks Hwy and road to Talkeetna late in the
afternoon. It's a fourteen mile drive on the spur road to the little
town, and we drove in after dinner to see what happens in the evening.
On the way in, we were surprised by a wonderful southern view of
Denali! There is a small bluff just before you go into town...and there
was a great shot. Amazing! Driving through Talkeetna is like a
whistlestop; not much to see, and yet it was very quaint. Tomorrow we
will go back for another look see.
We are up and moving this morning.
We did not get to see Denali on the way into Talkeetna this morning, too
many clouds. But the tour buses/or the train from the cruise lines were
here bright and early. Tourists were crawling all over the place. It's
what keeps this town alive. Many of the businesses have wooden mooses
displayed in front of their buildings. I have seen many other towns use
this type of attraction.
also got to meet Mayor Stubbs in his office this morning.
only problem was he was taking a nap and not really interested in us.
He was the winner of a write-in vote during elections. The simple fact
is: MAYOR STUBBS IS A CAT!
This is also the town from which all the climbing expeditions leave
from. Most of them fly to a base camp at 7,000 ft. There is a Denali
Park Ranger Station located in town. All expeditions must register, and
take an indoctrination class and inspection of equipment and supplies
before they are allowed on the mountain. Currently there are 309 people
on the mountain. The numbers are controlled by the ranger station, to
protect the mountain and it's environment.
the climbers take up, they must bring back down, including all human
waste. Mt. McKinley is the farthest north of the seven continental
mountains that are challenged for climbers. That also makes it the
coldest of the seven, including Mt. Everest.
Sidebar: I just learn so much when we are
Leaving there, we are headed South once again, headed for the Super
Walmart in Wasilla to stock up on groceries. I wonder if Sarah Palin is
thought we would head to Seward and join John and Tillie. Then Bob
remembered Anchorage has the only ATM/bank in Alaska for our bank. It
was located in the downtown business district in an indoor shopping mall
on the 4th floor! To make matters even worse, Anchorage is full of one
way streets! You should see the crazy lines that were drawn on the
still light so we are still traveling on. Followed the road South
driving beside Turnagain Arm. It's a long shallow bay that has very
steep and fast tides, like the Bay of Fundy. (We found out it does have
the second highest tides.) But alas, we missed the tide change and it
started raining again and the cloud cover got real low.
We stopped at a pullout to take a
train and I was waving to the engineer, and he was pointing his finger at me, or so I thought.
When I turned around, there was a Mountain Sheep about 30/40 feet up the
sheer wall of mountain next to the road, eating the grass! I don't know
how they can climb like that, amazing!
spent the night at the Portage Glacier Cruise Boat Terminal overflow lot.
It is also the trailhead for the Blue Ice Glacier that was above us. It
was a low cloudy and drizzly tonight, it got so dark that we didn't need
the cardboard in the windows at night.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
We woke up to sunny and blue skies. We could see that we were surrounded
by glacier filled mountains. Just beautiful! I know the pictures won't
do it justice. It stayed sunny all the way into Seward. Got in around
1 pm. We found John and Tillie just as they were taking their grandson
out sightseeing. So we are now set up on the front row, right on the
water, facing Resurrection Bay, surrounded by snow capped mountains,
we did some sightseeing on our own and checked out the visitors center
for the Kenai Fjords National Park. By the time we had gotten back to
the campground the winds had picked up considerably, sunny but WINDY!!
The ducks in this picture are called Harlequin Ducks Their plummage is
much richer and stunning than what you can see in this picture.
The best way to see
this park is by booking a tour on a private charter boat. They rangers
do not run any boats themselves, but they do talks on these private tour
boats. There is one glacier to can drive up to on the land side and it
is called Exit Glacier. We will probably go take a look the next day or
Sidebar: Alaska is different in many ways. They don't have
counties, like most states, they have boroughs. The Natives (Indians
and Eskimos) don't live on Reservations, but they are formed into
Corporations that were developed in 1971, based on census records at
that time. They have control over a lot (and I mean A LOT) of land up
here which is privately owned by them. You need their permission to
trespass on their land. Some of which is in the National Parks here in
After dinner we were
sitting over at our friends coach, when we heard sirens going off.
Their local friend who was visiting them said it was a TSUNAMI WARNING!
! ! ! Bullhorn announcements said to tune into the local radio station
FOR INSTRUCTIONS! We didn't know where the local station was located on
the dial!!! Now remember we are right on the water ! ! ! !
I went outside to see
what other campers were doing. Everyone was trying to find out
information. Finally a fellow camper got internet on her cell phone
saying a 7.2 earthquake had hit out on the Aleutian Islands and the
tsunami warning had been CANCELED! What a sigh of relief! That was
enough excitement for one day, I sure didn't want to lose my motorhome
to a tsunami wave. But I may sleep with one eye open tonight, just in
June 24, 2011
Woke up to another sunny morning. The water on the
bay was very calm, almost like a sheet of glass. When I looked out the
front window, there was a cruise ship down at the docks. The Celebrity
ship "Millennium" is in town until 10pm this evening.
is the Northern cruise port for Celebrity and Royal Caribbean.
Princess Cruise Line comes into Whittier, and Holland America docks both
here and at Anchorage.
John and Tillie's
grandson, Devon, got to go out on a commercial fishing boat for the
day. He loves fishing and he was so excited to be going. Just about the
time we were wanting to go for a drive, it was time for his boat to come
in. So we all went down to the dock, to see what they had caught. They
sold 240 lbs of cod to the local fishery. Devon caught another
halibut. They are as prized up here as the salmon. He also hooked a
skate. Said it was the hardest thing he ever had to fight to reel in.
Of course, they let it go. Everyone was happy that he was so happy. He
caught about 70% of the catch for the day. There were only 3 people on
the boat including Devon.
The wind picked up
again today, whipping about 15 mph. The wind chill factor was pretty
CHILLY! It was not a good
day for sitting out. We were going to ride over to the other side of
Resurrection Bay, but we didn't go once Devon returned from the boat.
Both John and Devon
are going out again tomorrow, so we will do some sightseeing on our own.
Oh....Bob caught sight
of a Sea Otter close by as he was grilling dinner outside,
can now add that to our list of big animals we have seen in Alaska.
June 25, 2011
When we woke up this morning there was a Navy ship in
the harbor. Tugboats were out there trying to turn in around. I
couldn't tell what it was so I ran to the Internet and looked it
up...it's a Guided Missile Cruiser, Lake Erie 70, based out of Pearl
Harbor, Hawaii. When they finally got her turned around, they backed
her into a slot next to the cruise ship dock. No telling how long she
will be here. (They didn't see fit to clue me in.)
John and his grandson
Devon went out on a fishing boat charter today for the whole day. It
wasn't a very pretty day and the water in the harbor had whitecaps.
That is not for me. So Sandy and I took off to see the local sights.
We chose to go see what's on the other side of the bay. There wasn't
much except a maximum security Alaska State Prison and some boat yards.....and....some
of bear here
had just turned off a dirt road and Bob said, "What's that standing up
ahead? It's a bear! (black) I couldn't grab the camera fast
enough, for when I did, he disappeared into the trees. So we
thought we would catch him on the other side. So we drove around
the block, but we never saw him again. Bob was taking one last swing
around the block, when we got to the other side, we saw the rear end of
a moose going into the woods. YES! That would make an even
better picture; but he proved elusive as well. Finally he took a
short cut through the boat yard and we drove to the other side, just to
see him go into the bush once again. This time we turned the car
off and Bob got out of the car, being real quiet and waited patiently.
June 26, 2011
Today was another
cold and raw day, even if it did make it up to 58 degrees. The sun
never appeared at all today, but it doesn't seem to keep the people who
live up here from getting out and enjoying themselves. There is a bike
pathway right in front of our motorhome and I think everyone from Seward
was on it today. Biking, walking, runners with leggings; people with
every imaginable kind of dog. Everyone in Alaska must own two or three
dogs, and all so well behaved. (well, mostly behaved anyway). We had
neighbors that left today, who had taken their two week old baby,
kayaking! In these frigid waters, you've got to be kidding me. What if
they had overturned into the water....I'm not even going to go there.
we had to say goodbye to John and Tillie, our long time travel
partners. They have to take their grandson back to the airport and from
there they are on their homebound leg of the trip. We will greatly miss
them, we have had such fun along the way for the past six months. And
our cars and motorhomes are still in one piece! May they have a safe
journey home. We wish them well. (sniff)
was a Holland America Cruise Ship in port this morning. For such a
small town, they do a great business in cruise ships. It left on the
rising tide in the evening.
June 27, 2011
home and vegetated today. Caught up on blogs and housework.
June 28, 2011
We had to do laundry today. Ouch ! ! ! $3.25 to
wash and $3.25 to dry; and those machines don't run 25 cents at a time,
it's all or nothing. That's $6.50 a load. We had to do at least 4
loads. You figure the math, we are broke. (Bob, you better start
wearing your socks a little longer, they aren't dirty enough yet!)
Margie and Bill finally arrived late this afternoon. We were able to
secure them a spot next to us.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
We woke up to
sunshine! We went out and drove by the fishing docks, then headed up to
Exit Glacier. It's the one
accessible by land. All of these glaciers come down from the Harding
Ice Field, named after Pres. Harding. There are over 37 glaciers
flowing down from the ice field. This is all part of Kenai Fjords
National Park. I was not able to walk all the way up to the glacier
because of my stupid foot. I send Bob on to get pictures. I don't want
him to miss anything because of me. The last half of the climb was dirt
and gravel uphill anyways, so I definitely didn't miss walking up that
hill! . I did manage to get some pictures of flowers while we were
there, but they didn't turn out every well. :(
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Happy Anniversary Betsy and Mike!
Trip! er.....should I say, "Sea Cruise"! We took an 8 1/2 hour boat
tour today of Kenai Fjords National Park. It was beautiful yesterday,
but today is full cloud cover again. (I think they only get one sunny
day a week here. I hope it's good for the 4th of July.)
This is what we woke
up to this morning. A bald eagle sitting on a pier piling out our front
window! Considering we are getting ready to celebrate our nation's
birthday in a day or two, I thought this picture was rather appropriate.
took my Dramamine as directed and it worked wonderfully. Thank
goodness! It's wasn't very rough but the boat did rock.
We left the dock at 10
am with a 90% female crew including the captain!
get a whole different perspective of a place when you look at it from
the water. She (the captain) gave a short history of Seward, including
the 1964 earthquake that swept away the waterfront, docks and the first
couple of streets. Three tsunamis are basically what caused all the
damage. But they never rebuilt the waterfront, opting to move the dock
further up the bay. So we are now camped on the old dock sites. We are
the tan colored RV facing the water. Great waterfront views, great real
We were able to watch
our current position on the real time map on the front wall of the
cabin. We could also tell the depth of the water is you looked real
wasn't long before we came into view of Bear Glacier. It's a tidal
glacier, but we didn't really get close to it. ''
Our next sighting we
came across a couple of humpback whales feeding. It was really great to
see their tail flukes waving at us.
got word there were more whales around the point. Sure enough there were
and they were really feeding/hunting like crazy. We got to see how they
circle the fish and blow bubbles to confuse the fish and then they sweep
right in and, GULP! It's din, din time for the whales. We even had one
go right under the boat! You could follow it's bubbles from one side to
the other, and he came up so close to the boat you could see all the
barnacles on him. Bob had the camera but didn't get there in time.
that it was on to sea lions laying up on the rocks. It really looked to
me like they were cold and just trying to get out of the cold water.
you could hear them "talking" with their grunts and growls. You could
also see there was a pecking order as to who got to lay where. (The
thermometer on the boat said it was 50 degrees, but it never added in
the wind chill over this cold water, brrrr! Felt like was 32 degrees.
got up close and personal at the Aialik Glacier. It was AWESOME! You
could see it calving and dropping into the water It was so blue.
were kayakers paddling around out there. I guess everyone defines
"having fun" as something different, but you won't find "kayaking by
glaciers" under my list of fun. Too cold, damp and windy. When we
turned around and left the glacier there was a black bear off our
starboard side. Guess he was looking for some fish, or maybe just some
berries, OR maybe just taking a stroll on the beach! The sun never did
come out today so all the pictures are dull looking. Then again, I
didn't have the sun glare bouncing off the water into my eyes.
the glacier we went out to the Chiswell Islands, which are part of the
Alaska Maritime NWR, on the Gulf of Alaska to see many artic birds.
These included the Cormorants, Common Murres, Horned and Tufted Puffins
and many gulls such as the Kittiwake and the Mew Gull. (Glad
I am writing this down, I'll never remember all those names).
Then it was on to Fox Island for our dinner of salmon and prime rib
before heading home. It was a fantastic day, even if I did lose my