Friday, August 12, 2011


   It was a short drive to the state park in Ninilchek. We parked facing Cook Inlet. We had a view of volcanic mountains out out front window along with the inlet. A little to our left was a boat loading business. Most of their business was putting charter boats in and out of the inlet. They did it with big tractors that backed them into the water then another guy that rode in on the trailer would release them and with a jerk forward of the tractor they were off the trailer. This went on all day. As the wind was always blowing and the temp was only in the 50’s we spent most of the day just watching activity in the water out our front window. The best part was watching the Orca whale feeding and of course the magnificent Bald Eagles. There wasn’t much to the town but we did visit an old Russian town. We did some metal detecting on the beach but the best we found was a huge sinker. We decided we had seen enough and been cold to long and it was time to leave Alaska but since the Salmon were running we would make one more stop at Hyder which was well over 1000 miles away. We moved up to the Palmer  to stock up ay Wal-Mart for our long trip to Hyder and then back to the lower 48. While here we went over to the Iditarod headquarters. Joe Redington’s (The father of the Iditarod) was there with a team of Alaskan Huskies and 4 puppies. We toured the headquarters and then went on a sled dog ride. Paula enjoyed meeting and greeting with the puppies. The next day we began what we normally don’t do. 3 long 300 to 400 mile travel days. The first day we arrived in Tok our 1st repeat town. We stayed the night at the rear lot of a gas station. The next day we began the part of the Alaskan highway we missed on the way up as we turned off in Whitehorse and took the Klondike to Dawson City and the Top of the World Highway to Chicken then on to Tok. We arrived in Whitehorse and boondocked at a local campground. The next day after stopping to see the black gophers we missed on the way up we turned off the Alaskan Highway onto the Cassier Hwy. We arrived in Dease Lake on the 23rd with only around 250 mile until Hyder We passed several temp fish camps so we figured the salmon were still running. We filled up with Diesel and got permission to stay in their lot overnight. We pulled over to an out of the way spot. When I went back to check on the car I noticed the RV radiator was leaking. To Be Continued!!!  


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Sunday, July 17, 2011


  Last post I wrote that 6 SKP rigs pulled into our campground in Talkeetna and we did have a great happy hour. The next day we moved over to Anchorage. We found Anchorage to be like any other big city. Everyone was in a hurry and had no patience for us tourist on the road. We visited earthquake park, saw an earthquake movie where the seats shook at certain parts. We went to check out a gift shop at a 1st Nation hospital but it was closed for the 4th of July weekend. Fire works weren’t set to go off until midnight and it only got dusk at that time so we didn’t go. We went to the market on 3rd St. and ran into the Rhinehimers & Kings. The 3rd town we have met up with them. I had another halibut taco at the market and it totally different than any taco I have ever had. Not sure what was on it but it was good. We usually stay away from chain restaurants when we’re someplace new but there was a Golden Coral there and they are my weakness so we went and it was gooooood. We got up at 5 one morning and drove to Turnagain Arm with hopes of catching a Bore Tide but no luck. We did see a beautiful swan and the scenery was worth the ride.

  After leaving Anchorage we traveled down to Seward. The ride down was absolutely beautiful. The 1st thing we did there was take a boat ride. A sea otter gave us a send off as we left the harbor. We saw porpoises,sea lions,puffins and all kinds of different birds. The best was the whales. 2 adults & a young one. They really put on a show. Another day we went and visited Exit glacier. We followed the trail up to the glacier and we were able to stand on it. Quite an experience after seeing so many glaciers ever since Glacier NP. On the trail who did we cross paths with but the Rhinehimers & Kings. Later in the week the Devonshires pulled into our campground. We keep crossing paths with our friends. The Sea Life center was a nice way to spend part of an overcast day. The last place we visited in Seward was Bear Creek Weir.  This weir is used to count sockeye and coho salmon smolt emigrating from Bear Lake in the spring and sockeye and coho salmon adults returning to the lake during the summer and fall. We were sitting on the creek bank taking pictures of the salmon as they jumped the water fall and cheering on the ones that were struggling to make the jump. I heard Paula say Ohhh Tom and I turned my head toward her. What we had was a grizzly bear about 15 feet away and we were in between  him and lunch. We slowly got up and walked the path out to the road and into our car.

   From Seward we next traveled to the other side of the peninsula to Homer. Homer has the Homer Spit. The spit is a 4.5-mile (7.2 km) long piece of land jutting out into Kachemak Bay. We parked on the spit at a city park. The view out our front window was crashing waves. There tide here are quite different. At high tide the water was about 15 feet from the RV and at low tide about a football field away. While at Homer we took a boat ride over to an old fishing town of Seldovia. When we got back to our car we had a note from the Rhinehimers & Kings that they were in the campground next to where we were parked so we stopped over to say hi. We also went to dinner with then and another couple at the Elks. There visitor center in Homer was one of the better ones and they also had a trail setup along some marsh and down to the beach. We had no wildlife sighting except for an eagle, which is still special even though we see several every day, but we were told about a bakery that was along the trail where it came out to the road. We picked up some sticky buns and they were delicious. While parked at the beach we enjoyed all the activity out our front window. We watched freighters, fishing boats, cruise ships, eagles, sea otters, kite fliers, wind surfers, kayaks. & horse back riders. We took some scenic drives that overlooked Homer, the bay, and Several glaciers. We did enjoy our time in Homer but today we moved up to Ninilchek.


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Thursday, June 30, 2011


   We arrived at Denali National Park on 6-21 and settled in for 1 week. What a beautiful park. There is only 1 public road into the park and private cars can only drive in around 15 miles and after that you must take a bus. While at Denali several SKP folks came and went. The Reinhimers , the Kings & Devonshires along with our traveling friends Carol & Everrett. It was nice to see and talk to familiar faces. While at the park we did several trails which took us along rivers and lakes and train trestles. On our walk along Salvage river we were treated to Arctic Ground Squirrels (very similar to Prairie Dogs), 2 baby Marmots playing & a mom & dad Ptaragin with several chicks. On another trail we were all admiring the work of the beavers when we heard a splash and there was a cow moose in the lake. She was not concerned with us just having a leisurely walk in the lake. We took a 70 mile bus ride into the park where we saw caribou, grizzlies, moose, dall sheep, and the High One, Mt Mckinley. The clouds parted pretty good and gave us a nice view. Our little camera didn’t do it justice. We also went to a sled dog demo (we love those Alaskan Huskies). At 7:30 every night Carol, Everett, Paula and I walked down to the Amphitheater for the ranger presentation. We enjoyed everyone of them. We were busy the entire time we were there. On the 28th we left Denali and moved to the tourist town of Talkeetna. In the summer it is a staging area for climbers who are going to attempt to summit Denali. The Alaskan train stops here so there are buses all over. We watch Man vs Food on the travel channel and there are 2 places Adam has been to in town. We also have been to both places and one twice. The roadhouse has one of the if not the best breakfasts I have had (I retired from the phone company and I know breakfast places) so we went there 2 times. There is a great place to view Denali in town but it has been clouded in everytime we have checked. Some of the range has been visible but not Denali. A little while ago 6 SKP motorhomes pulled in so we went out to meet them. I think a happy hour is in our future. Tomorrow we leave for Anchorage. We’ll spend the 4th weekend there and then move over to the Kenai Peninsula for a few weeks.


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Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 18,2011

  We spent longer in Fairbanks than we thought we would. That’s what is so good about this life style. If we’re enjoying a place we can stay longer. We’re not on a time table. It was rainy and cool when we first got here so we spent some down time. We did get some shopping in and stopped at the Creamer waterfowl refuge several times. We took a ride to University of Alaska botanical garden. A lot of folks were working in the area and it was a little to early in the year for something like that. We then took a ride down to the Pump House Restaurant. It was to early to eat but they had old artifacts from the gold rush days around. While walking along the Chena river on which the Pump House was located a beautiful bald eagle flew about 15 feet over us. What a magnificent sight. We have seen a lot of eagles in our travels but never that close. Another day we took a ride to the North Pole and met with the great one Santa himself. Next up was the visitor center in Fairbanks. It has an excellent display. From there we stopped at the headquarters for the Yukon Quest Int’l Sled dog Race. Jodi Bailey and 4 of her dogs were there. Both her and her Alaskan Huskies ran last year in the Iditarod and Yukon Quest races. She enjoyed talking about the races and dogs and happily answered all of our questions. We enjoyed petting the oh so friendly dogs. The Alaskan huskies are not as big as we thought they would be. After visiting the city museum we headed back to the rv. Yesterday we took a ride on a sternwheeler along the Chena river. We had a bush pilot take off and land along side of us, visited an Chena Indian village, tasted smoked salmon and to me the highlight was a demonstration at the home and kennels of the late four-time Iditarod champion Susan Butcher. Sled dogs were hooked up to a 4 wheeler, that is used for training, and off they went. The dogs that were not picked went crazy trying to show there dissatisfaction at not being chosen to do the run. Today we went to Pioneer Park. It is made up of authentic  buildings from the early 1900’s used as museums and gift shops. While in Fairbanks we ate at 2 interesting places. Big Daddy’s BBQ. It is billed as the Northernmost Southern Barbecue and was featured on Diner’s Drivin’s & Dives. I enjoyed Paula didn’t. And Soapy Smiths. Soapy’s  owners (quite a character)  grandfather was the 1st governor after statehood. The place is filled with memorabilia. It never really gets dark here at this time of the year just dusk for a few hours. Tomorrow is the summer solstice festival and that is how we’ll finish our stay. Tuesday we’ll move over to Denali National Park and begin another adventure.


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Tuesday, June 14, 2011


   On June 11th we began our ride on the Top of the World Highway. The highway is so named because, along much of its length, it skirts the crest of the hills, giving looks down on the valleys. It is also one of the most northerly highways in the world at those longitudes. It was a rough ride with some of it chip seal and some loose gravel. There were several switch backs and several white knuckle areas where you rode along the edge of some long drop offs. It reminded me a lot of the Apache trail in Arizona. The views were  great and made the ride bearable. We’re glad we did it but wouldn’t do it again. We entered Canada on May 17 and today we were going to cross back into the USA. The border crossing was simple and we began our tour of Alaska. The road was dirt for the next 40 miles or so to town of Chicken. It is a small town and they were having a music fest so we decided to travel on. The road we just traveled from Dawson City to Chicken is only open in the summer as the only way across the Yukon river at Dawson is by ferry so when the river freezes over the road is closed. Except for the frost heaves the road from Chicken to Tok was pretty good. That evening we had our bottle of champagne that we had been carrying since we bought it at a winery in Florida. At Tok we returned to the Alaskan highway. Some of the rivers are still icy here. We made our way to Delta Junction and the end of the Alaskan highway. A little north of Delta Junction the had our 1st sighting of the Alaskan pipeline.  Were now in Fairbanks having a few down days. Tomorrow we’ll do some exploring here and decide when we’re going to head over to Denali NP


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  We pulled into Watson Lake on June 3rd. We were now in the Yukon Territory. We went to the sign post forest where people have placed 1000’s of signs from there home towns and a northern lights show. When going to the show we saw a small diner that looked like a good breakfast place. If I learned anything in my time working with the phone company it’s was how to spot a good breakfast place. We went over the next morning and it was crowded so we ended out sharing a table with a young man. We found out a lot of the folks in the diner were firefighters in town to fight the forest fire along the Cassier Highway. The young man we were sitting with was a helicopter pilot down from Whitehorse to fight the fire. We enjoyed our chat with him. Several people told us to stop in Teslin for a cinnamon bun so we did and they were great. When we reached Whitehorse we decided to stay a few days. While there we toured the Yukon Brewery which was a step back in time. It was a small operation and quite a few of the operations that would normally be handled by machinery were done by hand. We visited a dam built by the power company where they built a fish ladder so salmon could get over the dam. We did some trails along the Yukon river and walked around town. It was the biggest town we had been in in quite awhile. They gave visitors a parking pass for 3 days so we didn’t have to pay at any of the meters. We walked around town and ate diner at a great 50’s diner. It is also home of  the World Biggest Windvane a  DC-3 Aircraft. We decided to veer off the Alaskan Highway and head toward toward the top of the world highway. When we were walking around Whitehorse some locals we were talking to told us about another cinnamon bun place along the Klondike highway so when we got to Braeburn we stopped to get one. It was huge about 3 times bigger than the one we got in Testa and even though we thought it impossible it was better. We arrived in Dawson City on June 9th. We  decided to stay at a Provincial Park across on the other side of the Yukon river and since there was no bridge we loaded Emily on a ferry and across we went. Dawson City had it’s beginnings with the Klondike gold rush so one of the 1st things we did was pan for gold with no success. We also walked around the discovery claim where the gold was discovered and toured a dredge which was used to move a lot of dirt and remove the gold from the dirt. We also walked around town and toured the local museum. Next up the Top of the World Highway. 


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