Sunday, June 21, 2009 Lorraine’s report
We’re here! After leaving Beachwood RV Park on June 6, we arrived here in Palmer, AK on June 20. The mileage showed 2010 miles when we left yesterday and drove around 330 miles to here. We all survived the long, hard drive to get here.
We are on a beautiful lake with the mountains off in the distance. We are staying at Palmer Elks RV Lodge and campground. It’s been two weeks of fairly hard driving to get here. Everyone was beat! The hardest part of this long drive was from Whitehorse to Beaver Creek. That road was like a wash board, rutted and just plain rough. We spent from 9:00 am to after 5 pm getting there. That was a long day.
But we’ve had fun getting here. One night Norma/Rob had a big chili feed for all of us in Whitehorse, Yukon. Then we played pass the love, with Chuck being the big winner.
Thursday night, we got a call from Mark and Sue saying they were back from Chicken, AK and wanted to come by. They came over for a visit and Mark then got a call from Bob/Vicki, and Joe/Loretta saying they were back from their day trip to Chicken, AK. They also came over. Chuck went over to tell Rob/Norma, and Dorothy/Tom that we had the other three friends visiting. It was dinner time so Norma suggested we put our individual dinners together and feed everyone. Dorothy, Norma and I did just that. We had tuna casserole from Dorothy, homemade chicken noodle soup from me and Smokies, (which are big Canadian hot dogs and buns) from Norma and me. We then went over to the club house at the RV Park where we were staying for a free show. It was a singer on a guitar, a man on a mandolin and a gal on the violin, singing songs and telling us stories about Tok, AK. It was a very nice show. Then everyone but Joe/Loretta came back to our rig for ice cream Dorothy had bought that day. I think everyone enjoyed themselves since everyone stayed till late.
I have to say it feels great to be back in Alaska. This land feels like home to me. I love the tall, snow capped mountains, the fast flowing rivers and creeks, and the beautiful green colors of all the trees and plants. We passed by the Matanuska glacier yesterday, and it was incredible.
It will be nice to see Rick, my son when we get back from the wedding in WA. He’s taking a week off from his guiding on the river to take us out fishing. Thank you Rick for doing this, I appreciate this kindness. I’m looking forward to that. I’m also looking forward to seeing my daughter, Susy and granddaughter, Kaitlyn and SIL, Mark, if he makes it up while we are at the wedding next weekend in Bellingham. I think I need a baby fix, I miss Kaitlyn so much. It will also be nice to see my nephew, John and his son, Joey, who are moving from Colorado Springs, CO to Bellingham. And I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of my family and friends
Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers out there!
So until next time, be well, drive safely and take care……Lorraine
Sunday 6/21/09 Chuck’s Report
I’ve been trying to keep this up to date as we go along, just need to finish it up today and send it. First a Happy Father’s Day to all of you fathers, its probably the best job any of us could ever have. I think being a grandfather is pretty special too but Grand Parent day comes later next month, I believe.
I checked the mileage when we got to Tok and we had traveled just 10 miles short of 2000 miles from Blaine, Washington to Tok, Alaska in 14 days. I think the best scenery was the first day, traveling through the Frasier River Valley in lower BC. Now that we are Alaska the scenery is getting very nice too with more mountains and snow..
Tom/Dorothy, Rob/Norma and we decided to stay on in Whitehorse for another day because we were going to see the Follies and it didn’t get over until after 10 pm. We all really enjoyed ourselves with the high kicking can-can girls, old time vaudeville, girls, corny jokes, and the girls. We left with our jaws hurting from laughing so much.
So on a very rainy Tuesday morning Mark/Sue took off for Dawson City and Top of the World Highway which includes Chicken, Alaska. Joe/Loretta and Bob/Vicky continued on the Alaska Highway heading for Tok. They plan on meeting somewhere around Fairbanks while we are headed to Anchorage. We will meet up with these folks later, somewhere around Kenai.
On Wednesday morning we once again hooked up and left in the rain, headed towards Alaska. We wanted to split the trip to Tok into two days but didn’t know where we would stop. Boy are the roads beyond Whitehorse full of frost heaves, very bumpy. There was a couple of sections that were gravel and of course some dumb sh— in a pickup had to pass all of the coaches and when he passed us his truck kicked up a rock and gave us a star right in the middle of our windshield, sh—.
When we travel, we don’t like to drive more than about 5 hours in a day, get started about 9 and stop early afternoon. This day, we couldn’t keep anywhere near the posted speed limit due to lots of frost heaves and potholes. The scenery was sure nice with lots of mountains but the driver must give all their concentration to the road and it’s very tiring. Because I was in the lead, I was looking for a good place to pull off for the night. The campgrounds we found were closed and all the pull off were too close to the road and the traffic noise would have been bad. So end result, we were on the road for a lo-o-ng 7 hours, too much for us.
As we travel along, we keep communications with each other using walkie talkies. We try to inform each other of approaching traffic when passing, when others are being passed by big rigs, etc. On this day, I was in the lead, Tom in the middle and Rob following. Rob called Tom and said something didn’t look right, that his brake lights were on and to pull over. We all pulled to the side and sure enough, Tom had a problem with his hitch. We disconnected their car and Dorothy drove it to a campground in Beaver Creek, Yukon, about 30 miles from the Alaska border.
Next morning we headed out for the Alaska border with Dorothy driving the car and Tom alone in their motorhome. We didn’t have a long day planned, we were stopping at Tok, Alaska. We got to a campground around noon and got set up. This is a very nice campground (Tok RV Village) except all the sites are a bit cramped for large rigs. We did have very good electrical power there plus they have cable TV with 6 channels. Also, the roads from the border to Tok are in very good condition, way, way better than from Whitehorse to the border.
After getting set up, Tom took his car/hitch to a local mechanic and got everything repaired. He also was able to get his car serviced there too so he is back in business. Rob and I washed our cars at the campground wash station. The gals went shopping in Tok, returned in time for dinner.
We discussed our timeline and decided to stay in Tok for one more day, possibly washing the rigs here too. There is entertainment at the office building each night but the guys and Lorraine decided to stay home so only Dorothy and Norma attended.
While we were washing our cars, Joe/Loretta and Bob/Vicky happened to drive by and saw us. They are staying in Tok but at a different campground. We didn’t have time to do much but say hi and get an update on their travels but it was nice to see them.
On Thursday Mark/Sue called, they had just pulled into the same campground the others were staying. Mark had just finished the drive over the Top Of the World and visiting Chicken, the others had taken a day trip via car to visit Chicken. Anyway, Mark/Sue came over and later the others came over too. We had a good time visiting and had a dinner of home made chicken soup that Lorraine had just made, Smokies and some home made cookies that Vicky had made. Mark kept us entertained with his jokes and everyone seemed to have a good time. They are all going to Fairbanks before coming down to the Kenai Peninsula, where we will probably meet up once again. So I guess our new numbers are 6/12/2 vs. 6/4/2, drinks for 6/dinner for 12/sleeps 2. I think that’s the most we’ve had sitting in our coach at one time too.
On Friday morning we left Tok and planned to stop somewhere along the way but once again we ended up having a long day, almost 8 hours. We drove to the Elks club at Palmer, Alaska, about 45 minutes NW of Anchorage. The road had plenty of frost heaves but was in better shape than the last part of the Yukon. We also got to see two big glaciers along the way. We did stop at a restaurant along the way where the owner and his wife were quite the people, big time hunters too.
We are parked near a lake with mountains in the background, very nice. The people at the Elks club seem nice, they have a Father’s Day Bar-B-Que this afternoon which we may attend. I haven’t gotten my non resident fishing license yet but the lake sure is calling.
We plan on being here until after we get back from out flight to Bellingham. Unfortunately we only have 30 amp power, no water or sewer. The nearest sewer dump is in town, about 5 miles away so we will be conserving our usage. Rob/Norma and Tom/Dorothy will be staying here, exploring the area while we are in Bellingham then we all will head South to the Kenai Peninsula for our fishing fix. We don’t have any set schedule once we get back except to spend time with our son the first week in July, he is taking time off of work to spend it with us.
Our daughter and grand daughter will be flying up to spend some time with us in Bellingham and the following week we get to spend time with our son. The only thing better would be to have them together at the same time.
The group of us at the Follies in Whitehorse, an evening well spent.
More scenery pictures from Whitehorse to the Alaska border.
An old, abandoned log cabin we ran across.
There was a group of ~ 25 Bentley car owners who had a rally in Alaska. They come from all around the world, we talked with some from Sweden and Australia. The pictures were taken when we were stopped by construction for 1/2 hour or so. They are already leaving Alaska, headed South. I’m not sure where they started or going to but I know they were in Prince George, BC, about 1000 miles from where we met them maybe two weeks ago. Nice cars but open with all the dust and rain, not for me.
More pictures along the way.
Here is the restaurant we stopped at in Glenallen. The picture is of a Boone and Crockett record black bear the owner’s wife shot. It was over 1000 pounds and was charging at her when she shot it between the eyes. She is only 4’ 11”.
Some shots of the glaciers.