Off for and RV trip to Alaska for 6-7 weeks. Traveling with friend Alice who owns the RV.
  • Day39

    Alaska Day 39 Haines, AK

    August 14, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    A morning of more RV work. Alice working on a new latch for a drawer that will not stay shut when we drive, Kay cleaning the floor of the RV. We both soon had enough of that so headed out in the opposite direction from yesterday to the Chilkat State Park. A long gravel road but finally really reached the end that opened up from a dense forest to huge bodies of water on each side of us and mountains with glaciers, so beautiful. Quiet out here, we just walked around enjoying the scenery and decided to have a picnic on the beach. Made our tunafish sandwich and enjoyed the views.
    On the way into the park we saw an Art Gallery right as we entered. Stopped on the way out and what a surprise it was! A great small gallery with all types of media - paintings, jewelry, pottery, fused glass, mosaics, etc. All very nice work. Alice got to talking with the artist and soon we had all the information on the art community in Haines and where they had all shown there work (some quite impressive shows). This was all in a small home with a spectacular view through the trees of a mountain with a glacier. We got to be on a first name basis with John who was quit the information source on places to eat and drink in Haines. A fun stop.
    Back to RV to "dress" for dinner at John's recommended restaurant, The Fireweed. I have been hungry for a steak for weeks so decided to have one tonight - excellent choice! Also different side dishes, all in all a very good meal. Back to our RV for our nightly "TV" (Kay's Ipad) and to bed.
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  • Day38

    Akaska Day 38 Haines, AK

    August 13, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    A morning of "running around" and RV attention. No propane so out for breakfast. Nice cafe in Haines - Chilkoot Cafe and Bakery. Filled up the propane but still not working, went back later to the propane place, problem was the switch got turned off! 🤣😂 not sure how, maybe with all the erratic road conditions yesterday - who knows. Also took the time to clean the floor of the RV, take everything out and reorganize a bit. We wanted to wash the RV but the wash place was closed. 👍🤣.
    Off to the Chilcoot State Recreation Area. A lovely drive along the Lynn Canal (a huge fjord) , more mountains and water everywhere. Lots of fisher people in the river. The draw to this area is that the salmon are swimming upstream to spawn and the bears come down to the river to fish. This paark is the destination of a lot of the nature tours. Ugly road with many potholes but we finally arrived at Chilcoot Lake - quite the spectacular scenery. Everyone is looking for bears. We passed a group on our way in that had spotted a brown bear across the river bit that wa to be out closest encounter to a bear for the day. I think a certain amount of patience is involved. (Not my strong suit) 😱.
    However on our way out we saw one of the Nature Tour groups with a monocular mounted on a tripod. Just then a bald eagle flew overhead to the top of a large tree across the river. Through the monocular you could see the nest with eaglers. Soon both mother and dad were there feding the babies! 👍. Pretty amazing.
    Back to town for a beer at the local Fogcutter Saloon. Then back to RV for dinner. Finished Seasin 1 of Fleabag.
    Note: Pictures coming, cannot download them with WiFi at this Park. 😕
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    Bruce Brong

    What happened to the pictures?

    8/14/19Reply
    Kay's Travels

    Internet here will not download - even one at a time. Working on it. 👎😅

    8/14/19Reply
     
  • Day37

    Akaska Day 37 Beaver Creek to Haines

    August 12, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Up and out by 9AM for another long day of driving, 350 miles to Haines. For the first time it got downright cold last night. Had to get dressed under the covers this AM. 😱. Out quickly as we did not like this campground much. Roads better all day today, especially the 2nd half of the drive. Drove about 3 hours through the Yukon on the Alaska (aka Alcan) highway. Scenery was forests, primarily spruce trees, rivers, lakes, tundra and mountains. One really gets an appreciation of the size of Wrangell-St Elias Nathional Park (250sq miles) as we can see it now from the oher side. Stopped at a view point, a UNESCO world heritage site. This entire area joins 4 National Parks, 2 Canadian and 2 US to make the largest area of National Parks in the world covering the Yukon and British Columbia in Canada and Alaska. Pretty amazing. A stop at Haines Junction for gas and a cute bakery for lunch. Then left the Alcan Highway on a spur of 150 miles on the Haines highway to Haines. Easy drive, through customs, back into the US and we recovered the hour back we lost yesterday.
    To Haines in time to checkout 2 campgrounds to decide which one we liked better. One clearly the best with lots of space between vehicles. For cleanliness and amenities this is our favorite so far. Immacuate and run by a couple from New Jersey. Have had several campgrounds in the woods and, for location, they are my favorites. A quick run out to the ferry as we want reservations for Thursday to Skagway. A very interesting geographic note for those of you who want to look at a map. Skagway is 15 miles by boat away from Haines however if you drive from Haines to Skagway it is 355 miles!!!😱😂. Got our reservations and back to campground for wine and dinner. Our after dinner entertainment has been watching something downloaded on my Ipad. We are currently into Fleabag
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    Therese Atkinson

    My Dad worked on the Alcan Highway. We lived in Dawson Creek. Therese

    8/14/19Reply
    Kay's Travels

    Wow. What did your dad do on the highway?

    8/14/19Reply
    Therese Atkinson

    I have to look it up for sure but I think he was the construction engineer.

    8/16/19Reply
     
  • Day36

    Alaska Day 36 Valdez to Beaver Creek

    August 11, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    On the road by 8AM today. Next destination:. Haines, AK - 700 miles away. We need to go inland quite a ways, catch the Alcan highway and then back to the coast. Most of the driving today was in Alaska but we crossed the Canadian border into the Yukon Territory at about 350 miles. Scenery today was mountains, not snowcapped, forests, lakes and rivers. . I am sure that the world will never run out of spruce trees!!! We planned to drive to Haines in 2 days. The roads are not great - lots ofups and downs (called frost heaves), road construction, gravel patches and pot holes. Hard tomake good time and a driving challenge for Alice.
    We made one stop at the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge. A huge area of lakes, rivers and grassy marshes. This is a test stop for migratory bird and waterfowl. Visitor center of openso did not learn much but a nice area to stretch out legs and look around.
    Our campground for the night was in Beaver Creek,Yukon shortly after the Canadian border. Not much but "home"for the night. Time change one hour and the price of gas doubled! 😱. Back to the US tomorrow.
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  • Day35

    Alaska Day 35 Valdez

    August 10, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    We did not have anything we particularly wanted to do today so had a relaxing day wandering and checking out some places we had seen on the map. Kay went for a walk/hike early on one of the many peninsulas that lead off of the harbour. A lovely dense green forested trail with Prince William Sound on both sides. Found 2 trees that had a couple of Christmas ornaments on them! I was so excited, had to take a picture.
    Back to campground for some RV clean up and maintenance and to get ready for a long drive tomorrow.
    Pipeline story:. The Alaska Pipline begins in Prudhoe Bay about 500 miles north of Fairbanks and flows souh to its end at Valdez. Beginning on our ride from Fairbanks to Valdez, we started to see the pipeline close to the side of the road. Parts of the pipeline are above ground and othrs underground. The pipeline is 48" in diameter. But did not look that big. The pipeline became most notible when we were crossing a river on a bridge and next to us was a separate bridge for the pipeline! The pipeline was an amazing engineering project and continues to function today though not the the previous levels. The pipeline is a big part of Alaska history and represented in museums. The economic bom that the pipeline brought to Alaska contiues today. Many who came to work on the pipeline stayed in Alaska. The terminus in Valdez is huge complex visable from all over town however highly secured and you cannot get close to it.
    In the latest afternoon we checked out one of the local museums. We enjoyed the exhibits primarily about Alaskan history. The special exhibition was prominent Alaskan artists from as far back as the 1920's. Lots of pipeline, gold Rush, and other historical information. Took a walk to the park ly real retail store in town, an REI type of shop. All the brands we would see there at home. Valdez does not have a real commecial area for shopping. Not sure where these people buy any clothes or shoes? Probably on line like the rest of us.
    Out for dinner, salmon tacos!! 👍
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    Illene Colby

    R u geocaching ?

    8/12/19Reply
    Kay's Travels

    Found one in Valdez

    8/12/19Reply
     
  • Day34

    Alaska Day 34 Valdez

    August 9, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    The day was filled with little trips and different things we wanted to see and do here. We are discovering that we have done most of the things we wanted to do on the trip. Did a drive through town to find the post office, not much commercial area. Mostly residential areas with very nice homes. Population of Valdez is ~4,500. The town is ALL about fishing. A fishing derby currently going on, so far the biggest fish cauis 275 pounds. (Halibut). One would think it would be cheaper on a menu however no such luck. When I bought it fresh off the dock in Homer, I paid $30 for a shade over a pound - just like home.
    Next stop:. The Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery. Never did I think a fish hatchery could be so interesting. About 10 miles our of town, we parked at an area where there were people watching a lot of gulls. Turns out it was the parking lot for the fish hatchery. It is salmon spawning season right nownformabout 3-4 weeks so lots going on here. There is a rushing river coming down the slope into Prince William Sound. Thereis a fish weir across the water. A fish weir is a device that keeps the salmon from being able to get up stream and channels them to a fishladder that takes them into the hatchery,. Without exaggeration there were thousands of pink salmon ( the links are running now, coho in a couple weeks). There is a self guided walking tour around the hatchery with videos to watch about the process. At this time they process 20,000 salmon a day!!! 😱. Processing means that they separate the males and females, take the road out of the females, the milt (fertilizer) out of the males, mix in a bucket ( I am sure the recipe is a secret) and take them to the incubators. There they grow to a certain size and are released. Their fertilization rate is almost 100%!!! Each year they process 250,000,000 pink salmon and 2,000,000 coho salmon.
    Then went looking for a place for a picnic. Found an idyllic spot next to a glacial lake filled with icebergs fed from 2 glaciers. Quirt and peaceful until 2 groups of kayakers returned from their tour. 🤣. Tire low again so back to the tire place for hopefully a permanent fix. 🤞. Cocktail hour and dinner "in".
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  • Day33

    Alaska Day 33 Paxson to Valdez

    August 8, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Cool night but sunshine this AM. Made hot breakfast this AM before leaving. With no hook ups, easy to leave. Destination today is Valdez about 150 miles. Lots of campgrounds there, we called in the AM and got our first choice. An early stop at Wrangell-St Elias National Park, the largest park in the National Park system. Who knew? The Park is 13.2 million acres, (250 square miles) more than twice the size of Denali and 6 times the size of Yellowstone! There are 2 mountain ranges within the park - Wrangell and St. Elias. We spent an hour or so at the visitor center looking at exhibits, watching a movie on the park, and walking to a great viewpoint for the mountains. The 3 easiest to see are 12, 14, 16,000+ft. There are 5 mountains in this park over 16,000 ft! The drive south from there had even more spectacular scenery than before, giant snow-capped mountains with green foothills, and rushing rivers nears the road at all times. Amazing countryside!
    Down the road another 50 miles, stopped for a one way construction project, the little flagger gal told us we had a flat tire. 🤬👎🥵. Same one as before and this time no one found the hub caps so it is gone. As luck would have it the construction crew here had a fellow that had a tre "fixer"!!! Lucky us. Hopefully this will hold to Valdez. 🙏
    I have to say that the drive from Glen Allen to Valdez was one of the most incredible scenic drives I have ever made. Every direction you look there was a wonderful vista. Mountains with glaciers, forested foothills, green tundra above the treeline, glacial rivers and, new to the mix, waterfalls. So breathtakingly beautiful.
    Our tire fix made it to Valdez so a late 🍔 lunch and off to a tire repair place for a more permanent solution. Quickly done and back to our RV park. Good location rght by the harbor but one of the ones I do not like so much with one RV right next to another. 👎
    Our RV park is in a good location, right next to the very busy fishing harbor. When I checked us in the gal had said that if we go over to the harbor about 5:30P the fishing boats start to come in. So we walked there around 6 and had a great hour or so watching the commercial boats binging in their catch for the day. Fascinating to watch them maneuver these 100 pound fish, cut them up and package everything right at the numerous fish stations on and near the docks. A row of restaurants and shops nearby so we stopped for a beer and then discovered there was a geocache nearby so went to look for that. Found it with significant help from a local sitting at a nearby table. Clearly he had seen others struggling with this before. Back to RV for some wine and communications catch up time. Late lunch so just picked at some leftover soup for dinner.
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    Patricia Rebello

    Never a dull moment for Kay and Alice.

    8/8/19Reply
    Kay's Travels

    So true!🤣

    8/9/19Reply
     
  • Day32

    Alaska Day 32 Hot Springs to Paxson

    August 7, 2019 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

    Out “early” this AM (10) with only hotel check out to do. 😃. Cold breakfast in the RV to get an early start on a mostly travel day. Next destination is Valdez, AK. (Remember the Exxon Valdez?). It’s over 400 miles away so will make a 2 day trip out of the distance. First stop - the North Pole. The famous North Pole. This is the town known the world over for where children write their Santa Claus letters. The towns main attraction is the Santa Claus store. And OMG it is the biggest Christmas store I have ever scene many of you know my penchant for Christmas so needless to say it was an expensive stop. 😂😫🎉. They also had an Antler Academy to teach children about reindeer which we sad.y missed.
    Made a brief stop in Delta Junction which is the beginning or end of the Alcan highway, depending on how you look at it. We did not have a campground for the night so looking for a spot about 150 miles to Valdez to make an easy driving day tomorrow. Several BLM ( Bureau of Land Management) campgrounds in the area. We had no stayed at one of those previously so gave it a try. Sourdough Campground. Lovely spot near a river and a path from our campsite leading to a feeder stream. No hook ups tonight so “dry” camping. A walk after dinner down to the river and boat launch area around 9PM. So peaceful, quiet and beautiful.
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  • Day31

    Alaska Day 31 Chena Hot Springs

    August 6, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Taking a day off from tourism and spending a relaxing day at Chena Hot Springs Resort, about 60 miles NE of Fairbanks. A beautiful drive through the Chena Stata Recreational Area. Trees, rivers, streams and a highway with tons of gravel roads taking off to the right and left to fishing spots, campgrounds and hiking trails. Arrived at the resort around 1PM, checked into our room, had lunch and off to the hot springs. Spent the afternoon soaking up the water and sun. We were laughing and saying we felt like we had a "day off". Back for a shower and a bathroom we only had to share with each other and not all the campground neighbors 😂.
    We signed up for the 5PM tour of the Aurora Ice Museum, on the grounds of the resort. A fun diversion, an entire building with ice sculptures, a bar for 10, an ice hotel and an ice chapel for weddings. The 2 people who have done all the sculptures were in their workshop at the entrance to the museum. They also maintain the building and the ice structure. Amazing place, temperature at 25 degrees. They provide super warm parkas. The best part was the “ appletini” (vodka and an apple liquore) served in an ice martini glass! What fun!
    A great dinner of Alaskan scallops and a early bedtime.
    One final note, we met 2 interesting groups of young people today. At the hot springs, 3 young male geologists from Denver that had been working in Denali the previous 3 weeks. Had a long conversation with them about their work, traveling in Alaska - they were genuinely interested in our trip and lots of fun commentary. At the ice bar, while drinking appletinis, we met 2 30 something couples from NYC who were taking a year out of their lives to travel the US via RV. Three of them had quit their jobs, one could work on the road. They were full of fun stories and so personable. A real bonus of travel.
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    Rennie Brong

    All bundled up

    8/11/19Reply
    Rennie Brong

    Nice

    8/11/19Reply
     
  • Day30

    Alaska Day 30 Fairbanks

    August 5, 2019 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 15 °C

    Out this AM to get the tire air valves replaced and hub cap put back on. Done relatively easily before noon. And less than $50 ! Then to Starbucks for some planning time for the remainder of our trip. We have changed our minds several times and now again. We have heard many people talk about Valdez so have decided to go there next. But first we are going to do one more day in this area, going to some highly touted hot springs about 60 miles NE of Fairbanks. Should be fun. We splurged for a hotel room as well!! First night out of the RV. Then to Valdez about 700 miles south on the coast. After that Haines, maybe Skagway, and then wander home. Currently thinking we might go "the log way" down thru Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff. Will see how the timing goes. Nice to be able to make changes as we go.
    Our tourism choice for today was the Creamers Field - A Migratory waterfowl refuge. On first appearance it is a very large open space with some big birds in the fields. However lots more going on here. We stopped in the visitor center to check out what was going on. We were lucky enough to run into one of the fellows who leads the guided tours in the mornings - Bud. Bud wanted to go back out to check on the sandhill cranes, (the big birds), and invited us to go along. So we had our own personal tour of the entire place. Essentially there are open fields and forest that are a refuge for all types of waterfowl. Bud took us on a mile and a half walk through the fields and forest with a running commentary for an hour and a half! Very interesting! Lots about the types of waterfowl and wildlife but even more about the forest and the land, how the permafrost affects the ground, etc. We learned a lot and enjoyed it. We saw several dozen sandhill cranes, all at a distance. They just started to arrive last week. By the end of the month they will have about 4,000 cranes there for about a month. They plant fields just to feed them and have a festival as well. Who knew?
    A much needed grocery run and back to the RV for dinner in.
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