Sunday, June 27, 2010

So Long to Seward

We had a very nice time in Seward. Five days of doin' nothin' mostly. As already mentioned, the views of the snow tinged mountains around the harbor were killer. Couldn't beat walking along the water, gazing hither and yon.
Nice Alaska Sealife Center marine museum with a large bird tank and additional tanks for sea lions and seals. Paid for with settlement money from the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Laundry, coffee, groceries, mocha hazelnut gilato.


Next stop, Kenai on the Kenai Peninsula.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Superlatives in Seward

Readers with memories longer than mine will recall that I wrote on June 14, 2010, "In three years of traveling, this is the most beautiful view ever through our window."

I was wrong.  We are now dry camping at a city park in Seward.  THIS is the most beautiful view ever through our window.

At 8.30pm
 Now a discerning reader might reasonably ask, "What makes you think you won't find another spot even more beautiful than this one?"

Nothing makes me think.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010


We spent three days in Anchorage.  We picked up our General Delivery mail from the post office, and made ports of call at Fred Meyers, Costco, and the local RV stores.

Plus we thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits at the Anchorage Museum, particularly one created by the

Smithsonian Museum of the Alaskan indigenous tribes.

For those wondering about RV parks in Anchorage, don't plan on any.  We saw one mediocre park, the Golden Nugget, whose chief attraction was its location across from Costco.  Otherwise, forget it.  We dry camped at the Eagle River State Recreation Area, 13 miles from the center of the city.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Solstice in Alaska

You have no doubt heard of the long hours of summer light here in Alaska, culminating at the summer solstice.  Well, you ain't nothin till you lived it. 

We live it.  Sitting around in the evening, reading or some such activity.

"Hey, Jenna.  What time is it?"



So, of course, I wrote a poem, while laying in bed in the light.  No song to accompany it this time.  Rather a riff on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's famous ode, tho unrelated in subject.

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth just right out there,
No need to get it 'fore the night,
There is no dark.  Nay, all is light.

That damned Sun shines the whole day through,
He takes no rest, I'm telling you,
You wait for night, for blessed sleep,
You get more light and counting sheep.

Then six months hence, no Sun you see,
Then all is dark, no archery,
You grope around and turn on lights,
You curse the dark, you curse the night.

Ol Sol he just can't figure out,
Can't hear me moan, can't hear me shout,
"Just strike a balance, dark and light!"
"Twelve hours day, twelve hours night!"

The Sun so bright, seems stupefied.
So big, yet just so mystified,
We need a new one, that's for sure,
Elect another, smart and pure.

Not Democrat nor 'publican,
No Tea Party Lib'tarian,
Just someone smart to oversee,
Got just the guy, of course it's ME!

Click here for the original poem


Friday, June 18, 2010

Valdez, AK

We have spent four nights in Valdez.  What a surprising place. 

A village of 4,000 people working for the oil and fishing industries.  Glacier covered mountains rise 5 to 6 thousand feet above the village and harbor, when the clouds clear from time to time.
They've seen their troubles.  In 1964, a 9.0 earthquake leveled the town.  Twenty five years - more trouble in the form of the oil spill from the Exxon Valdez.

We saw a few museums and the town bakery (twice).

Enjoyed the eagle show at the park

Bruce went out on a kayak trip to the Columbia Glacier ice flow.  Paddled around small to medium size floating pieces of ice under a light rain. 

Saw sea otters

and a variety of birds.  A unique experience.  And cold.

Next day, we took a wildlife cruise on the LuluBelle.  Saw whales,
 dall porpoises,
Click here for slideshow of porpoises surfing the bow wave 
 sea lions, and birds of many feathers.  And sailed among the ice of the same glacier.

Next stop - Anchorage.


Monday, June 14, 2010

First two days in Alaska

We reached Tok, pronounced Toke, Alaska, via the Bad Roads.  Not so bad really.  Ruts and mild potholes, a little shimmy and a little shake.  I've seen worse on state route 1 in New Jersey.

We spent a night in a campground in Tok.  Left late the next day after replacing a badly damaged trailer tire with the spare.  And washing the considerable grime from our truck and trailer.

We drove 150 miles towards Valdez.  Spent the night at a viewpoint, overlooking Willow Lake and four large glacier covered mountains:  Mt. Drum, Mt. Sanford, Mt. Wrangell, and Mt. Blackburn.  In three years of traveling, this is the most beautiful view ever through our window.

To paraphrase Joe Nemeth, "I can't wait till tomorrow, 'cause it keeps getting (he said, "I get") better looking every day."


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

We spent four days in the Pioneer RV Park in Whitehorse, YT, the capitol of the Yukon Territory.  The town, not the RV Park. 

Nice town, centered on outdoor activities and wildlife.  Young buff men and women carrying knapsacks mixing with sallow RVers carrying cameras, the men taking pictures of the young buff women.  Me, I took pictures of the sallow RVers.

We enjoyed the McBride Museum, with exhibits on wildlife and history of the Yukon.  Sorry - too lazy to take pictures.

Then the Beringia Museum, which documented the flora and fauna present on the "land bridge" between Russia and Alaska before the most recent ice age that ended just 15,000 years ago.
We are both reading James Michener's Alaska novel (1,073 pages), and he spends the first 106 pages on the people and animals of that time and place.

Finally we toured the Transportation Museum, with exhibits of trains, boats, and planes used during gold rush times.  The piece de resistance was the world's largest weather vane.

Oh, wait, we also showed up at the Yukon Brewery, motto "Beer worth freezing for."  They have created the perfect northwest beer.  Their Midnight Sun contains beer and espresso!  Brilliant!!  Why dirty an extra glass?

Then hit the road for 200 miles to another rest stop with views of snow covered mountains higher than Mt. Rainier.
On the way, we saw our first two grizzly bears along the side of the road.

Tomorrow we reach Alaska, after driving over reportedly our first BAD ROADS!


Monday, June 7, 2010

Watson Lake, Yukon Territory

Today we reached one of our goals for this trip.  The Signpost Forest in Watson Lake started in 1942 when a homesick US Army Engineer erected a sign bearing his name and distance to his hometown.  Since then, over 65,000 visitor have posted their own street signs, license plates, and other creative souvenirs.  As of today, make that 65,001.

Click here for a slideshow of unusual signs, international signs, and signs from places we have lived in or near.

Following this, another night in a wonderful rest stop along a lake on the Alaska Highway.  Tomorrow we reach Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon Territory.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Days One and Two

Two days on the Alaska Highway, in northern British Columbia.  The trip has begun!

Wildlife, bumpy roads, camping in rest stops. Even the rain has finally quit.  It's all very good. 

And so a short song

The First Two Days of the Alaska Highway
  On the first two days in BC,
  Oh here is what we saw,
  Eight hundred skeeters,
  Seven buff'lo ambling,
  Six hundred miles,
  Five bears a-leaping,
  Four moose calves moosing,
  Three stone sheep grazing,
  Two nights in rest stops,
  And some RV parts along the road.

Tomorrow we enter the Yukon Territory.  Having just finished reading Jack London's Call of the Wild, I feel fully prepared.

PS Some pictures below  Double click picture for full screen view.

Slow moose

Friday, June 4, 2010

On to Alaska

We have completed the second leg of our journey north.
1 Drive thru California, Oregon, and Washington to the Canadian border.
2 Drive thru part of British Columbia to reach the Alaska highway.  We reached Dawson Creek, BC yesterday, where the Alaska Highway begins at Mile 0.   Took a day off to lay in supplies (eggs) and wash clothing (socks and T shirts).
Sharp eyed readers will notice Pontiac, MI in the distance.  You can only see it on a clear day.

Now we're really on it.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Travels through BC

Still in Canada.  We waited to enter the country till Dick Cheney left office.  Otherwise Homeland Security would have added us to the Terrorist Watch List by now.

After four days of driving thru rain, we stopped for a break at Whiskers Point Provincial Park, north of Prince George, BC.  Dry camping in a lovely site on McLeod lake.

 Jenna attempting to outwit swarming mosquitos.
Come to think of it, we've seen rain almost every day since we left Park Sierra, with the exception of this day in the park. Long term forecast as of today - "Rain."  Enough already!

One complication tho.  The description on the BC Parks web site lists a dump station.  Upon our arrival, we learned that the park closed it two years ago. 

Uh oh, we had three days of effluent and a three mile 8 - 10 grade hill (steep!) before us.  Thus we took a 36 mile RT detour to MacKenzie, the only place with a dump station before that hill.
Top tourist attraction

Serendipity is our copilot.