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Author Topic: Alaska with the Stocks 2009  (Read 109268 times)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #180 on: July 10, 2009, 11:39:16 PM »
July 10, 2009       Day 49   Kenai, AK

   We went to Anchor Point Tesoro because we knew gas there was 11 cents a gallon less than in Homer, but they pump it really slowly. 
   While we talked, Dean told me he had received a "senior discount" at Safeway.  We dug out the receipt and he got 10% off for being 62 or over-available only in Homer!  Good thing we saved money at Safeway, because we discovered that gas was another 11 cents cheaper at the Tesoro in Ninilchik.
   We took the Kalifornsky Loop Road because we'd been down the Sterling before, and I told Dean for the 100th time, "Maybe we'll see a moose."  WE DID!  My first wild moose!  He was just standing a few feet from the side of the road chewing his cud-do moose have cuds?  I was thrilled. 
   My map was very general, and I thought we had to return to the Sterling to be able to get to the Kenai Spur, when there was a sign that said, "Welcome to Kenai".  Our park is at the end of the road-so easy to find.
   It's a good thing we got in early.  It had been hazy all day, even in Homer there was like a fog rising off the water and blurring the mountains.  There are fires burning in the Kenai, as well as the Anchorage area and Denali.  We don't smell any smoke, but we saw black clouds floating by.  As we entered the park, we could see fishermen in the bay, boats, and lots of birds.  By 4:30, we were totally socked in by fog and we couldn't see the bay at all.  We'll have hot clam chowder for dinner tonight and stay cozy.

High temp:  Mid 60's for most of the day, followed by cool fog.

Miles traveled:  87

Overnighted at:  Beluga Lookout Lodge & RV Park, $50.88, great TV through a box with lots of channels, great WIFI, 50 amps ($3/day), FHU, small sites close together, but not scary close

Wildlife:  1 MOOSE, 3 bald eagles-I think I may have completed my Alaska Big 5-but I can't find where it says what they are.  Does anyone know?
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Marsha/CA

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #181 on: July 11, 2009, 05:59:28 AM »
Linda, I am SO jealous.  We have not seen a moose yet.  I'm really starting to believe Tim's theory that there is only 1 moose in the entire North America and it roams around.  It's in your area now.  ;)   Congrats!!!

Marsha~
2017 Heartland Mallard IDM231 Travel Trailer....Small but mighty.

Wendy

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #182 on: July 11, 2009, 09:05:39 PM »
Tim's theory that there is only 1 moose in the entire North America and it roams around.  It's in your area now.  ;)   Congrats!!!

Tim's right. The moose's name is Bullwinkle and he has a radio collar. He wandered out to Hovenweep (Utah-Colorado border) while we were working there. Then the DOW guys came and got him and took him somewhere else.

Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
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ArdraF

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #183 on: July 11, 2009, 09:06:58 PM »
Linda - Well, hot dog - er moose.  Mission accomplished!  They have faces only a mother and people like us could love.  ;)

Marsha - Your turn will come.  We saw a lot in Newfoundland, especially in the western side around Gros Morne.  If you take the hike and boat tour at the northern end of the park you're bound to see some.  We also saw coyotes in the northeastern end.  A ranger told us that about 1950 some coyotes from the mainland floated over on ice floes and have been there ever since.  Coyotes seem so very southwestern U.S. and we never expected to see them there.  We saw a family and the kits were having a great time playing in the road while we stopped to watch.

ArdraF

ArdraF
:D :D

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #184 on: July 12, 2009, 01:06:43 AM »
Linda, I am SO jealous.  We have not seen a moose yet.  I'm really starting to believe Tim's theory that there is only 1 moose in the entire North America and it roams around.  It's in your area now.  ;)   Congrats!!!

Marsha~

There is hope, but be careful what you wish for.  It's addictive.  Now I want to see a moose mama with her calf.  We're going out looking for wildlife tomorrow in spots the locals have told us about.  Maybe Wendy's moose got transferred up your way.  Keep looking, and I'll bet you'll find one or Tim will get so tired of hearing "maybe we'll see a moose" that he'll get you a stuffed one.  Dean just quietly smiled every time I said it. 

Linda
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Chet18013

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #185 on: July 12, 2009, 07:39:20 AM »
If you really want to see a moose, you need to do the Canadian Maritimes and spend at least two weeks in Newfoundland. They figure the population there to be in excess of one moose per sqKM. Not only will you see "mooses", but the scenery and the people there are GREAT!

Chet18013
Chet18013
Full time in a 45' '04 Monaco Signature
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Marsha/CA

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #186 on: July 12, 2009, 07:43:57 AM »
Chet,  we are in the maritimes now, heading to Nova Scotia tomorrow and then onto Newfoundland on Wednesday.  I'll have my camera at the ready!

Marsha~
2017 Heartland Mallard IDM231 Travel Trailer....Small but mighty.

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #187 on: July 13, 2009, 01:07:35 PM »
July 11      Day 50   Kenai, AK

   Beluga Lookout RV Park has a great view of the bay, which is loaded with fisherpeople in waders trying out their luck.  Kittiwakes and seagulls fly by, giving Sherlock a free show. The cg sits atop a bluff, and there is a pretty panorama out our windshield each morning.
   We started our day with a trip to the Kenai Saturday Market, which was small but had interesting merchandise and people.  We followed this with brunch at the Burger Bus, a recommendation from the Brewers.  It was the best burger and fries we've had on our trip. If we were here longer, we would definitely go back.
    We went to the Visitors Center, which had 5 informative half-hour films, a wonderful art show celebrating Alaska's 50th birthday, a gift shop, and a good history museum.  I was so fascinated by one artist's work that I am trying to track him down and find out where he displays his art. A very informative young lady behind the information desk gave us good maps, but Kenai is really small.
   We stopped by the cute little Russian Orthodox church.  It still has services on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings.
    Fog had already rolled in when we exited around 6:00, so we went to a movie.  Bingo (to support the Little League) is also available on Saturday nights.

Interesting Fact:  Every time I call home, everyone asks about Sarah Palin's resignation.  Tonight on ABC news the Anchorage station had asked their viewers, "Do you agree with Sarah Palin's decision to resign?"  46% said, "NO, she left the job undone."  37% said, "YES, it's OK-she can do good for Alaska outside of the governorship."
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #188 on: July 13, 2009, 01:13:26 PM »
July 12      Day 51   Kenai, AK

   We went into Soldotna because we'd done all there was to do in Kenai.  We had a nice lunch at the Grand Burrito (buy one lunch, get one free coupon), then went toward Sterling and found "the wood carver".  We really enjoyed seeing his beautiful carvings and the wooden carousel with Alaskan animals to ride on.  Rides were $1.  Scott got started carving when the birch trees started dying of bark beetle.  He had seen a small carver's shop, and he thought, "I can do that!"  He now has 3 or 4 assistant carvers. 
   On Scott's recommendation, we went over to the Black Jaxx bar-b-q and asked for a free sample.  It was the best bar-b-q I've ever had anywhere, and we have eaten at many bar-b-q places, sometimes traveling far out of our way to do so.  We will come back tomorrow and buy 2 pounds of brisket and pork.
   We stopped at the Soldotna VC. It was very tiny and the lady inside was overwhelmed by too many people, the phone ringing often, and trying to ring up sales.  For information about the Kenai Peninsula, the Kenai VC is much, much better.
   We went to see "Ice Age" at the Soldotna theatre ($6 each) because we wanted to see it and we needed to hang around until later, hoping to see wildlife.  There is a herd of Kenai caribou that is usually in a specific area where an observation deck has been built, but there were none there tonight.
   We went to Soldotna Creek Park and strolled along the rushing Kenai River.  We enjoyed talking with the fisherpeople, and they enjoyed showing off their catches.  There is an elevated boardwalk, but the city has kindly erected staircases to allow those fishing easy access to the river.  Almost everyone had at least 1 fish. Many different wildflowers grew near the path, and we saw our first significant fireweed.  It was a fun evening.  The weather was beautiful and sunny, with a gentle breeze.
   As we drove back to Kenai, it became foggier again.  I am amazed at how different the weather is, although Kenai and Soldotna are only about 10 miles apart.

High Temp: 66°F
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Betty Brewer

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #189 on: July 14, 2009, 05:33:33 PM »
For those of you ( like me) who enjoy your daily fix by following "Alaska with the Stocks"  I have  a news update.  Linda called me and left a message on my cell phone to ask me to  post a note here letting you know they are not in any wifi range for the next 3 days.  She knows  how I look forward to my daily report from them and did not want me ( nor anyone else) to be disappointed when they found no post.  I will attempt to  call her cell phone tonight to see where they are and what's new.  I don't get cell phone service here at the cabin in Northern Idaho but on my way into town her message popped up.  Isn't technology grand?

She is not only a very informative  and entertaining writer, she is reliable and always concerned about others!

Betty
Betty Brewer

see where we are

ArdraF

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #190 on: July 14, 2009, 10:14:00 PM »
Betty,

If you get to talk with Linda tell her that her fans may go through withdrawal.  ;)

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #191 on: July 18, 2009, 02:40:57 AM »
July 14      Day 53   Portage, AK

   First thing this morning, we moved to Williwaw Campground.  It was just too pretty to pass up-Dean says it is the prettiest site we've ever had anywhere, with trees surrounding us, fireweed in bloom, and a glacier out the window.
   What a gorgeous day for a glacier cruise!  I just can't believe how sunny it is.  I met a lady today (I'd guess she was in her 40's) who has lived in Alaska all her life, and she says she's never ever seen so many beautiful sunny days.  Last year they only had 6 sunny days all year long!
   We went on the Portage Glacier cruise today ($29-buy one/get one free coupon) in Portage Lake.  The Ptarmigan was only about 10% full, so there was lots of room.  First, we went to see Burns Glacier (named after Robert Burns), a pretty hanging glacier.
   Then we motored over to Portage Glacier, a freshwater glacier because it calves into a lake that it created 100 years ago by a build-up of silt called a moraine. The moraine formed a dam and trapped the glacial ice and water.  That lake is now over 600 feet deep, and it is a "dead lake" because it is so full of silt scoured off the mountain that nothing can live in it.  I felt the fine silt, and it is grey, smooth, and silky, kind of like baby powder that has been put in a blender, turned on high, and left for an hour.  The ice on the face of the glacier was 75-100 years old, but if you went to the extreme back of the glacier and drilled down, the ice would go back to the time of the Ice Age.  We saw all different shades of blue from a soft baby blue to a deep royal blue in the crevasses.  A deckhand told me that on overcast days, it is even more brilliant.  Hard to imagine!  We were told that the ice isn't really blue.  The snow has been compacted by the weight of snow on top of it, changing the shape of the ice crystals.  This process takes about 10 years.  It absorbs all the other colors, and the blue is the only color reflected back to us because it has the most energy and the shortest wave length.
   We saw many pieces of glacial ice afloat.  90% of each iceberg is below the waterline, hence the saying, "just the tip of the iceberg."  We heard groaning, but there wasn't any calving.  It was relaxing and very enjoyable.
   One hour later, we returned to the terminal, which has interesting history of the area.  On level ground, they receive 40 feet of snow on the average.  On the peaks, they get as much as 400 feet!  When they returned this spring, they had to shop vac out 88 gallons of water from their building, and the Ptarmigan was almost covered totally with snow. 
   On August 3, 2006, just 3 weeks after the Brewers visited, they had winds of over 85 mph.  In December, 2002, the nearby weather station was destroyed by winds last recorded by it of 149 mph.  Locals on their own anemometers measured them at over 200 mph.  The wind comes from 3 different groups of mountains, so a typical weather report might be, "Rain today, North winds @ 17 knots, East winds @ 10 knots, and West winds @ 14 knots." 
   We went to the Boggs-Begich Visitor Center (Mile 5.2 on Whittier/Portage Glacier Access Road) and saw interesting exhibits and a good movie on glaciers.
   The Chugach National Forest is the second largest national forest, behind Tongass.  Just as the glacier was every shade of blue, the vegetation is every shade of green.  We really love it here!

Interesting Fact:  The Alaskans treat their seniors well-free car registration, free driver's license, first $150,000 is exempt from property tax, attend classes at University of Alaska for free, free ferry rides anywhere in Alaska or Canada anytime, and every Alaskan, regardless of age, receives an "oil check" of thousands of dollars each year!

Temperature:  High of 70°F, slightly breezy

Dry camping at Williwaw Campground--$9 with Golden Age Pass--$18 without-absolutely beautiful, secluded site.  I hope our site is far from where the brown bear ripped apart a tent in this same campground 5 days ago.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 11:59:08 AM by Dean & Linda Stock »
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #192 on: July 18, 2009, 11:40:55 AM »
  I will attempt to  call her cell phone tonight to see where they are and what's new.  I don't get cell phone service here at the cabin in Northern Idaho but on my way into town her message popped up. 
She is not only a very informative  and entertaining writer, she is reliable and always concerned about others!

Betty

  Thanks, Betty, for the kind words and putting up the message.  We stopped in Portage to go on the lake cruise, drove around the first night just to get the lay of the land, and fell in love with Willliwaw CG.  We realized that if we did the Whittier cruise while staying in Portage, we could save over 100 miles roundtrip from Anchorage and get to stay among trees instead of among other RVs.  So, at that point, I called for your help.
  You always knew how to motivate your staff. You set high objectives to be "informative and entertaining."  I wrote a lot over these 4 days because I wanted to share the wonder of what we were seeing.  Last night, by the time we went through all the pictures, it was really late and we were really tired.  So, we made mistakes.  We ended up posting the same thing twice, and not getting  the other 3 days in at all.  We'll work on that this morning.

Linda
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #193 on: July 18, 2009, 11:49:20 AM »
Betty,

If you get to talk with Linda tell her that her fans may go through withdrawal.  ;)

ArdraF

Ardra, you'll have to let me know which is worse--withdrawal or overdose.  The last 4 days have been so amazing that I wrote and wrote--just couldn't seem to stop.  Editting the postings for these days to try to make them shorter than a novel and editting the pictures was really tough!  Each moment there made my heart sing.

Linda
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #194 on: July 18, 2009, 12:03:09 PM »
July 15, 2009   Day 54   Portage, AK

   What an incredible day!  The sun was shining as we drove 5 minutes to the Anton Anderson Tunnel, which leads to Whittier, a town of only 190 year-round residents. The 2.2 mile-long one-way tunnel is shared by cars and the railroad, and it would be open at 9:30-9:45 for traffic going our way. The toll is $12, but you only pay one way.  The tunnel was built by the Army Corps of Engineers for the railroad to supply troops who were protecting Alaska from a Japanese invasion during World War II.  A group of engineers started at each end, and when they met, they were only off by 1 (one!) foot.  That was accomplished with the tools and knowledge of almost 70 years ago.  Drops of water from the roof fell on our car.
   We got to the offices for Prince William Sound Glacier Cruises at 9:45 for the 11:00 cruise.  Sometimes they cancel a tunnel opening (It's only open on the half-hour) because of trains, and you could miss out on your cruise if you waited for the 10:30 opening. The boat had easy access doors, railing all around so you could go outside and view without crowding, spacious booths, and plenty of room.  This boat was just the right size and was very comfortable. We went up to the second level and spent the day there. We were served a main dish (good crab cakes, good chicken, or vegetarian, wild rice, veggies, and a roll).
   We saw many rafts of otters really close up, a salmon fish hatchery with the salmon jumping high out of the water, Dall's porpoises, lots of bald eagles, including two that were flying in circles, a rookery with lots of kittiwakes, sea lions, both a piedmont and a tidal glacier, and ice chunks with seals and baby seal pups. We could hear the "bergie seltzer", a fizzing sound ice makes when it moves, but there was only tiny calving down low.  We felt otter fur; it is so soft and silky that I understand why the Russians hunted them.
   I came back so exhilarated by this fabulous wildlife cruise that I signed up for another one tomorrow with a different company which goes on a different route.  The captain was very knowledgeable, the waters were calm, and I would highly recommend this cruise. ($107 + tax, buy one/get one free coupon)  This company offers 3 cruises; we took the longest one because we wanted to see everything.

High Temperature:  70°+, sunny
   
Overnighted at:  Williwaw Campground
   
Interesting Fact:  a 7-pound goose poops 4.5 pounds daily (USFS)   
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Tom and Margi

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #195 on: July 18, 2009, 01:41:07 PM »
Linda:

I'm really enjoying all your posts from Alaska.  There's no such thing as overdosing on your interesting writing.  I'll cheerfully read all you have time to post.  Willawaw was one of our favorite campgrounds, also.  It was nice to be off the "gravel line-up" for a change.  We also liked the state park near Anchorage -- I think it was in or near Eagle River.

Margi

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #196 on: July 19, 2009, 12:05:35 AM »
Linda:

I'm really enjoying all your posts from Alaska.  There's no such thing as overdosing on your interesting writing.  I'll cheerfully read all you have time to post.  Willawaw was one of our favorite campgrounds, also.  It was nice to be off the "gravel line-up" for a change.  We also liked the state park near Anchorage -- I think it was in or near Eagle River.

Margi

Thanks for your nice words.  As you can see from my references to others' logs, we have  to thank those who came before for giving us such great information.  As we've gone along, other Forum members have given us hints that have caused us to change our plans.  I have an ex-student in Eagle River whose family has kept in contact with me for over 20 years, and I was planning on seeing her--making that a day trip from Anchorage.  I will try to track down the state park.  So many of the state parks have had sites that were 15 x 30 (that seems to be a standard size for all of them), and we don't fit.   We're 37'.  If it works, we'll stay there when we visit Trisha and possibly while we visit the cities of Eklutna and Palmer.  I'd love to try it.

Linda
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #197 on: July 19, 2009, 03:01:36 AM »
July 16, 2009      Day 55   Portage, AK

   Last night I wished for an overcast day so we'd be able to see an intense blue at the glaciers.  God answered my prayers tenfold with an overcast that came down to the ground (fog).  Oops!
    We went through the tunnel at the 10:30 opening, hoping the fog would burn off by the 1:15 sailing time.  As we waited, we saw hundreds of passengers marching onto the Phillips 32-glacier catamaran, and we were glad we weren't on that one. 
   We had booked the Major Marine cruise, and the Emerald Sea was smaller than yesterday's Prince William Sound Glacier Cruise boat.  Yesterday's boat had the passengers spread out over two levels and felt very spacious.  Today's boat had tables for 4 that were VERY crowded together and fixed to the floor.  Everyone was talking about the lack of space.  You could go outside, but the walkway was so narrow that it was difficult to go past another passenger.
    This boat had a USFS (Forest Service) guide, and she did tell us some interesting facts, but she didn't tell us as much as the captain did yesterday.  She told us that the very large grey building in Whittier was built to house 1000 soldiers during WWII and was a city within a city, with a bowling alley, movie theatre, and stores, as well as apartments. Whittier was chosen because it was an ice-free port and has a lot of fog, which acts as a natural camouflage.  Their one building was grey so it would blend in with the grey weather, which would help camouflage it. It has since been replaced by another building where 90% of Whittier residents live.  They have a K-12 school with 34 students. There are no snow days, despite having 190" of rain and 20' of snow each year, because everything is in the same building. 
   We saw a rookery of kittiwakes, one raft of otters, pigeon guillemots, which are related to puffins, 3 seals, and 3 bald eagles. Yesterday we saw much more wildlife, and we saw it from much closer.
    But the glaciers were a different story! Today we saw more glaciers, they were much larger, and they were more active.  There weren't any huge calves like we saw when we visited 10 years ago, but they were larger than yesterday's. These are the bluest glaciers we've seen on our trip, and they had interesting waterfalls in addition to the typical outflow at the bottom of all tidal glaciers.  Major Marine is the only company that goes to Blackstone Glacier.  We learned that a glacier carves a "U", and rivers carve a "V".
   There was a lunch buffet of salmon & prime rib, salad, wild rice, carrot cake, cheesecake, jello, and brownies.  Dean thought his well-done prime rib was delicious, and he is hard to please.  They had something to please everyone.
   Cruises have been our favorite activity, second only to seeing bald eagles grab fish from right in front of our RV.  We ranked the cruises separately, and we totally agreed.
* #1--Stan Stephens' longest cruise in Valdez
* #2--Renown's longest cruise in Seward
* #3--Prince William Sound 6-hour cruise in Whittier
* #4--Major Marine in Whittier
      However, each cruise was a joy, and we would go on all of them again.
   NOTE:
      There are five pictures of the front of the glacier.  If you look at the center of each one you  will see it calving.

   High Temp:  Mid 50's, heavy, heavy overcast with drizzle, breezy

   Overnighted at:  Williwaw Campground

Interesting Fact: 1" on a sea otter pelt has as many hairs as an entire adult German Shepard dog
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Tom and Margi

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #198 on: July 19, 2009, 10:06:18 AM »
Linda:

I finally found the trip log from our Alaska trip.   I had made this notation about Eagle River, AK, July 13 and 14, 2000.

"Another super dry-camp campground -- Eagle River Campground in Chugach State Park.   All roads and campsites are paved and plenty long and the foliage is thick and beautiful."  

As I recall we had a "side of the road" type pull-thru site, but it could just as easily have been a back-in.  Too many years of CRS have passed.  We could hear a creek rushing by down a slope from the campsite.  Our motorhome is 36 feet and we had plenty of room.   The campsites are well spaced, but no hook-ups, of course.  

Margi
« Last Edit: July 19, 2009, 10:10:14 AM by Tom and Margi »

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #199 on: July 19, 2009, 07:13:26 PM »
Day 55 part 2

More photos.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #200 on: July 19, 2009, 08:32:50 PM »
Day 55 part 3

More photos.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #201 on: July 19, 2009, 08:42:25 PM »
July 17, 2009      Day 56   Anchorage, AK

   We said a sad good-bye to Williwaw on an overcast morning. We drove right by Girdwood since we wouldn't be able to see through the clouds if we took the tram to the top.  Maybe we'll return.  We had "swivel neck", looking for birds on the mudflats on our left and for moose in the lush green foliage on our right. We saw one bald eagle chasing a kittiwake.  On our last cruise, we learned that bald eagles will kill kittiwakes.  When a bald eagle is nearby, all the kittiwakes fly in haphazard patterns, trying to confuse the eagle.  This kittiwake was all by himself.  I hope he survived.
   We arrived in Anchorage and checked the weather report. It said we'd be having 4 days of rain starting on Sunday, so we set out to see our outdoor sights.  We went to the Botanical Garden ($5 donation requested).  I did see several plants that were new to me, but this is a "B" attraction.  I so admire the Alaskans and their ingenuity.  After WWII, they had this area by the airport where they had established paths when they practiced how to drive tanks and jeeps.  Since paths were already in, they decided to put in a botanical garden.
   We needed groceries, since Portage doesn't have any stores-not even a market or gas station.  So we did "must do's". In the evening we went through about 100 pictures, savoring the last 3 days, trying to choose just a few to post, and reliving the moments.  Hours flew by!

Miles driven 51.

Overnighted at:  Golden Nugget RV Park, $45, FHU, 30 AMPS, TV svs, good WIFI.

High Temp:  High 60's, overcast burned off somewhat in the afternoon
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #202 on: July 19, 2009, 08:50:06 PM »
July 18, 2009      Day 57   Anchorage, AK

   We were anxious to do our outdoor activities before the rain comes, so we started early when the Saturday market opened.  They had huge vegetables, beautiful wildlife photographs, jewelry, handmade crafts, and entertainment.  You do have to be careful, however.  They had a leather purse just like the one I was carrying, made in the Lower 48, for $10 more.  We saw delicious food and drank fresh lemonade, but everything was expensive.  We spent two hours there, most of it viewing photographs.  We bought two photographs and one cat bed-Sherlock had outgrown his old one.
   We had planned to go to the Native Heritage Center, but it was too late.  Parks here don't close until around 10:00, so we went to the Visitors' Center to learn more about the handicapped-accessible trails. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is approximately 15 miles long. We spent about 1.5 hours on it, seeing little wildlife on the mudflats, just a few ducks, but seeing lots of bicyclists (age 3-70+), in-line skaters, fast runners, joggers, and walkers.  In talking with one couple about where the trail exited, I learned that Kincaid Park has many moose.  Hmmm...  The seed of an idea was planted.
   We had only eaten one lumpia (Philippine egg roll) since breakfast, so we were hungry. The Lucky Wishbone, a pan-fried chicken restaurant which was  highly recommended to me, was not too far away (nothing really is, Anchorage is not very large). The owner, George Brown, who started the café 55 years ago still works there shaking customers' hands, bussing tables, carrying large tubs of dirty dishes, and serving customers ice water.  He is 87.5 years old, and makes me feel guilty for retiring when I was only 60.  Oh, and he flies an airplane in his spare time!  The restaurant was packed with 102+ customers, not one empty seat, and had a very active drive-through.  But, no one waited long because every employee, even George, really hustles.  They served hamburgers, halibut sandwiches, malts (when did you last see a malt?), strawberry shortcake with homemade old-fashioned buttermilk biscuits, and sundaes with 10 different toppings.  Even in a bad economy, and everyone says it's especially bad up here, the old-fashioned values of hard work and producing a good product at a reasonable price still work.
   My tummy was full, but my soul wasn't.  I talked Dean into going moose hunting in Kincaid Park.  We were only going 10-15 mph, looking left and right, when Dean said, "Look behind us!"  A mama moose and her calf were following right behind our Jeep.  We pulled over to the side of the road and stopped, and they slowly came alongside.  Wow!  I hope the pictures come out good.  I was so excited that my hands were shaking!  They stayed for a few minutes before going off into the forest.  It was the same exhilaration I felt when we got to see the bald eagles close up in the wild.

Interesting & Sad Fact:  Mr. Whitekeys Fat Whale Follies at the Fly By Night Club has closed.  Too bad because it was supposed to be hilarious.

Overnighted at:  Golden Nugget RV Park.

High Temp:  65°F, mostly overcast, tried to rain but didn't succeed
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Betty Brewer

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #203 on: July 19, 2009, 09:12:56 PM »
Li nda and Dean,

You just can't imagine how much I am enjoying your travels.  The crusies you took and enjoyed , we saw in the fog and rain.  Recall we a went to Alaska summer of 2006 which was their wettest winter on record.  Your photos and exeriences  make me certain we will make a return trip to Alaska  health and budget willing! Keep the  stories coming!

Betty
Betty Brewer

see where we are

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #204 on: July 21, 2009, 02:52:30 AM »
July 19, 2009      Day 58   Anchorage

   We slept well with the rain gently falling all night.  Rain during the day gave us a chance to do chores and plan the future.  We are hopeful that the rain will put out the fires in Denali to help the firefighters and give us clearer skies to see "The Big One", Mt. McKinley.  We know that we have been so fortunate to have great weather.  Tonight on the news they said we've had 18 consecutive days with no rain, the longest dry spell since 1938 and second longest in all of their records since they started keeping track.  We did go to Costco when we had a brief recess from the rain.

Temperatures:  High of 65°F, Low of 52°F, rain most of the day, with about 3 hours of mist in the afternoon.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #205 on: July 21, 2009, 02:55:42 AM »
July 20, 2009      Day 59   Anchorage

   We went to sleep with rain on our roof and woke up with rain on our roof. It was clearing pretty well by noon, so we went to the Wells Fargo Alaska Heritage Museum (only open 12-5, M-F).  They had many interesting exhibits of high quality, although it is a small museum. The curator had an excellent background and was very knowledgeable, answering many questions with detailed answers.  We really enjoyed this museum, and we stayed over 2 hours.
   We then went to the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts to see "Aurora", $8.75 buy one/get one free.  They had a film about the aurora borealis, but it wasn't very good.  We were both disappointed.
   But, Humpy's happened to be right across the street.  Every time I asked locals where to get the best Alaskan king crab, they recommended this alehouse.  I've eaten crab dinners about 6 times, but never Alaskan King Crab.  I was determined to have Alaskan king crab while I was here, and Humpy's didn't disappoint.  I ordered their smallest portion, 1 pound, and nothing else-no rice, salad, etc., and it was $28-and well worth it. Dean was also pleased with his halibut and chips.  My crab came up a little after Dean's dinner, and the waiter felt so bad, he offered me free dessert. I had their delicious bread pudding with an extraordinary whiskey sauce, and it was wonderful.  It was such a large portion that I brought half home.
   We finished our evening with a trip to Earthquake Park and the end of Northern Lights Rd., where I'd heard we might see moose.  And we did see one!  Now Dean is really getting into moose hunting, and he wants to see a bull moose. 

Weather:  High of 66°F, rain all morning, we're seeing some
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Jeff

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #206 on: July 21, 2009, 12:52:59 PM »
Linda:

We stayed in Centennial Park, a city campground there in Anchorage and every night a cow moose and her calves would come around to entertain us.

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #207 on: July 22, 2009, 03:05:30 AM »
July 21, 2009      Day 60   Anchorage

   The rain persists, but it is kind enough to give us a clear window from noon to eight or nine, so today we went to all the art galleries along G Street.  We were extremely attracted to the oil paintings of Steven Gordon when we were at a state show in Homer, but the only place his work is on display is at Artique in Anchorage.  They had 6 of his works, which were excellent, but not jaw-dropping amazing to us, which is necessary for us to spend that much money.  We saw some beautiful ivory carving, but I learned at the Wells Fargo museum that if it's white or cream-colored, it could mean that the walrus was slain for his tusks.  Therefore, I admired, but didn't spend.  We saw beautiful glassware (see the sailboat photo), carvings in ivory, wood, and soapstone that were very intricate and high-quality, oils, minerals, photos, jewelry, and watercolors.
   The area reeks of “tourist trap”, but the art pieces were well done, as well as expensive.  We have enjoyed all the pretty flowers throughout the city.  Most have bright colors (see photo). The blooms on all the plants are large, but not as humongous as I remembered seeing 10 years ago. 
   We then went to see "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" at the Regal Theatre (6 screen, comfortable seats, clean). It may be now or never, and we definitely wanted to see it.  It was a dark movie, but with each movie, I become more "hooked."  Seniors were $6.50, and popcorn was $1 because it was Tuesday.

Weather:  High of 66°F, rain & thick overcast

« Last Edit: July 22, 2009, 03:29:37 AM by Dean & Linda Stock »
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #208 on: July 23, 2009, 12:20:46 AM »
July 22, 2009      Day 61   Anchorage

   Rain in Anchorage is scheduled, and it promptly quits at noon and resumes sometime after 8 PM and rains continuously until noon the next day. So, when it quit, we set out for the Alaska Native Heritage Center, a gem-rated AAA attraction.  It cost $24.95 (buy one/get one free).  There are 6 native village houses situated around a pond, and each is staffed by 1-3 Native Americans.  We really enjoyed listening to them explain the artifacts inside each house and tell of what they had learned from their parents and grandparents or by actually living in the villages.  They are trying to get those who have drifted away to come back, and inside one house was a Navajo (related to the Athabascans) from Arizona.
   The heritage center itself is a beautiful building with a minimum of artifacts that raised lots of questions.  The emphasis inside seemed to be on the way they “lost” their heritage through the influence of the Russians and Americans, disease, having their children taken to boarding schools, and assimilation.  There were lots of quotations from those who have watched this happen painted on the walls and posters.
   Now, they are trying to resurrect their culture through educating themselves and their children.  We went by an area where they were making hides into tunics and dresses for them to wear when they work in the center.  They were doing beading using designs from drawings made by the elders.  We saw three films in the theatre.  “Living Dena’ina” was very good; the others were vague and left us with many questions.
   I’d bet that this will be ten times better ten years from now.  Very dedicated people seem to be working hard.
   We then went to New Sagayas Market.  It is a mid-size market with more choices than most supermarkets.  They have just one row of each item, so they had many different brands and varieties.  They also had unusual items.  I bought a wonderful seaweed salad at their deli.
   We contacted Centennial Park Campground this morning.  There was a tape which said they are only open on Thursday-Sunday, and everyone has to leave by noon on Monday.  We needed one more day to do laundry, etc., and when Dean went up to extend here at the Golden Nugget RV Park, he found we qualify for a free day (buy 7, get the 8th free).  Free is good!

Weather:  A cold 65°F & a thick overcast—I’m ready for some sun!
   
« Last Edit: July 23, 2009, 12:25:11 AM by Dean & Linda Stock »
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2009
« Reply #209 on: July 24, 2009, 02:19:12 PM »
July 23      Day 62   Anchorage

   Today was a “taking care of business day”, but in the evening I kept a promise to myself and went out for fresh fish sushi.  Dish, located at 639 W. International (Int’l) Road, is a “MUST DO” for sushi lovers.  It has a pretty, modern, glass and wood motif, and probably  seats 200.  I sat next to an Inupiaq foursome from Nome at the sushi bar.  They recommended the FBI roll, but said that everything was delicious, which got many nods from others at the bar.
    My dinner started with miso soup and salad with an orange dressing (free with any roll).  I had a Northern Lights coupon for $10 off of a $30 dollar  order, so I ordered two of the most expensive rolls and green tea.  The FBI is their most popular roll, and if you order one, you’ll see why.  I asked for medium spice, and it was great.  They shake what appears to be ground red chili on top (consistency of a very fine salt).  My second roll was a salmon & cream cheese roll.  Yesterday, at the Native Heritage Center, one of the “natives” told me that he hates salmon that has been caught in the river because it is very bland compared to the ocean salmon.  The rolls were generous in size and quantity of fish, and well-packed so they didn’t fall apart.
    For the non-sushi lovers they had teriyaki everything, halibut tempura that looked delicious, vegetable & shrimp tempura, and udon (noodle soup).  They finished with a tempura covered, fried oreo cookie, with whipped cream and chocolate syrup (FREE).
    The bill arrived, and it was only $26 because the cups of green tea were also free, and there is no sales tax in Anchorage.  At home, I would have been charged for each cup of tea separately.  They let me use my $10 coupon anyway.
   I went to Carl’s Jr. and got Dean the Six Dollar Burger combo (fries & coke), and the total was $7.69.  I think that’s about what we would pay at home.

Weather:  65°F, threatening rain all day, but no follow-through  Unfortunately, the rain and dampness are not happening at Denali and their fires continue to rage.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)