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Author Topic: North To Alaska  (Read 56844 times)

ArdraF

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #120 on: July 01, 2012, 08:43:50 PM »
Marsha - Me three!  ;D

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Jeff

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #121 on: July 01, 2012, 09:30:49 PM »
Marsha:

Haines is also high on our list and I remember sitting there at the crab feed. Still makes my mouth water!

We had an eagle sitting on the light pole right next to the Light House that just added to the ambiance.

SargeW

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #122 on: July 03, 2012, 08:38:27 PM »
Well, we found a Jeep dealer here in Whitehorse and purchased a replacement window for the Jeep. Not too bad a price, but it is coming from here in Canada. I think that there is a Jeep assembly plant here somewhere, so they aren't importing it across the border. The dealer subs out all of their glass work to a nearby glass shop so I went by to see if they could handle it on Friday. As long as the part shows up, it looks like we will get a new window on Friday. And of course it is less than the deductible for my insurance....

We are going to be delayed in Whitehorse while we get a window replaced, but then on to White River. A brief stop before Tok.  Wahoo! Alaska!
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 08:43:09 PM by SargeW »
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Tom

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #123 on: July 03, 2012, 08:41:09 PM »
Sarge, glad to hear you found a source for the window.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

Marsha/CA

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #124 on: July 04, 2012, 11:53:47 AM »
Haines, Alaska (June 28, 2012) to Tok, Alaska (July 3, 2012)
We are sad to leave Haines, but are very ready to get to central Alaska.  The Haines Highway starts out on a level plateau following the “Chilkat” river and enters a Bald Eagle Sanctuary.  The sanctuary is large and we spot several places along the road where cars can pull over and pedestrians can walk along a sidewalk area for Bald Eagle watching.  We see very few Bald Eagles, but we do see a couple “fish wheels” in the river where salmon are caught up into a basket and then retrieved, clever fishing. 
We will change highway numbers 3 times on this drive, as we will be in Alaska (7), British Columbia (4) and then the Yukon (3) before we reach the Alaskan Highway.  The road is a long steady grade up and we eventually reach the Canadian Border.  The young fella asked a few questions like how much liquor, how long will we be in Canada and do we have more than $10,000.00 with us.  I answered 2-6 packs of beer, not long as we are headed to Alaska and no…not more than $10,000 on us.  We move on.  We have yet to see a Canadian Border guard smile..must be the long cold winters.
The Haines Highway is very different from the drive down to Skagway from Whitehorse.  The Skagway road was scenic, had lots of canyons and different landscape.  The Haines Highway was almost bland and desolate and very cold. Most of it was barren and above the timber line which was less than 3,500 feet.   We eventually turned on the generator and ran both heat pumps.  For lunch we stopped at the top of the grade, and I made coffee to go with lunch just to warm us up.  Getting nearer to Haines Junction the landscape changes with big trees and lots of overgrowth; we stopped to read about the “Tatshenshini-Alsek Wilderness Provincial Park” area we were traveling through.  This area is the home to the largest number of grizzly bears in Canada.  We think we saw one.  This is also the area when you can begin a 10 day float trip floating through glacier areas, seeing grizzlies and fishing opportunities finally coming out into the Pacific Ocean.  We both think that would be a fabulous trip; maybe next time.
Coming down into Haines Junction was somewhat of a disappointment.  We both expected lots more businesses and activity.  We were planning on fueling up, but found the big Shell station closed, with a notice that “Go-6” gas facility was going to open later..  There was another gas “bar” as they are called, in with a campground; but we thought it might be a tight squeeze for us.
I took over driving after lunch and figured we could make “Cottonwood RV Park” at the southern point of Klune Lake in short order.  Well….that came to an abrupt halt and reality set in.  About 10 miles outside of Haines Junction we began seeing construction road signs and then hit horrible road conditions.  The road was completely washboarded out with pot holes everywhere, and I mean, everywhere.  There was no relief, you couldn’t miss them, you couldn’t avoid them and every man was for himself.  Our speed dropped to less than 10 mph and the coach rattled and rolled for several miles…lots of miles.  I was exhausted.  Finally we got back on a paved road, but it was full of frost heaves, big holes and uneven road condition.  I couldn’t get any speed at all and often could only go 25-35 miles per hour. 
We finally made it to Cottonwood RV Park; a pretty place but it only had 15 amp service, no garbage collection, no sewer and you had to buy water and it was $32.00 cash per night to boot.  We did have a beautiful site looking out at the lake, but the wind was howling and it only got to 49 degrees and dropped much lower through the night.  In this situation we usually rely on our heat pumps; but this time it was the furnace.  The cats loved it; they laid in front of the furnace vents on the floor and thought they had gone to heaven.  Tim and I realized this is the first time in all the years we have owned the coach that we have run the furnace so much.  We also had a bit of excitement in the campground.  As you pull in, there is a slight down slope where you park to go into the office to check in.  Several hours after we were all set up, we both heard this terrible “thump” sound.  I looked out to see a “Gulf Stream” diesel pusher with it’s front end up against the two trees right behind us.  Apparently somehow the coach rolled into the trees.  We didn’t hear the details, but the front grill was broken and as we were watching they were checking head lights.  It was moveable, as after a while they found their site and were settled in for the night.  One of our biggest fears is that if we leave Charlie in the coach he is big enough to step on the air brake plunger allowing the coach to roll.  These folks had a big dog, so maybe that is what happened.  We’re hoping the event didn’t end their trip.  As for Charlie, we block the driver’s seat and put something over the brake knob.
Destruction Bay was the next little community after we pulled out of the park, if you can call it that; a gas station and a campground.  We fueled up and began the trek to the Alaskan border.  Our destination was Tok, 225 +/- some miles if the road was good, but we agreed if we got tired, we’d stop for the night.  Well, we got tired.  The road was terrible, long stretches of pot holes, frost heaves and large uneven road.  Finally we reached the Alaskan border and are glad to be there.  I was driving, answered the agent’s question and yippee’ we were back in the good ole US.  The US road was FABULOUS…beautiful…smooth.  Any adjective you can use!  We stopped at the visitor’s center and found there was a campground just up the road called “Deadman’s Lake”.  They told us we could fit with our size coach, it was free camping and we were ready.  There was a long parking area close to the turn off for the campground which enabled us to unhook the car.  This area is the Tetlin National Wildlife Reserve, and Deadman campground is owned/operated by the Fish and Game.  It was 1.2 miles off of Alaska Highway.  The road was supposed to be gravel, but it was a mixture of hard packed dirt and gravel with some soft mud spots; but easily passable.  We originally chose one site, but had a hard time leveling.  Found several nice level spots where even a 40’ could get in.  There are no facilities, but the lake is pretty and the camp hosts very nice.
That evening there was a “host/ranger” talk about Permafrost”, so Tim and I joined in.  We learned quite a bit.  Did you know that north of Fairbanks, Ak the permafrost goes down somewhere between 300’ to 400’?  It never thaws.  Also if you build a structure and don’t take the proper precautions, that the heat of the house will melt the permafrost under the house and the land will sink along with your house.  We had noticed during our miles of driving that often we would see areas where the trees were stunted and it looked like nothing was doing very well.  Well, those areas are permafrost.  However, across the road the forest can be green and rich with growth.  That’s where the permafrost is not so prevalent.
We climbed into bed fairly early that evening, but with sunrise at 3:30 am, it’s hard to sleep in.  The campground hosts had mentioned that more rain was forecast, so as a precaution and to avoid more mud in the road to the campground, we pulled out early and went right back to the parking area.  We left the coach and then drove about 10 miles to hike a trail that we had read about.  It was good to stretch our legs and Charlie loved the exercise.  The lakes we visited at our campground and this hike have life jackets for kids to use when they are close to the water.  Also the lake we hiked to (Hidden Lake) had a rowboat for anyone to use while they were there..no cost).  The boats are called "John" boats, and to keep people from taking the paddles, the Fish and Game people constructed paddles by using 2 x 2 pieces of wood with a 12 x 12 square piece of plywood.  The screwed the plywood onto the bottom of the 2 x 2s and voila` a paddle of sorts.  They told us the paddles worked very well.
Tok, Alaska was a few hours from our campground and a very easy drive, so we pulled into the “Three Bears RV Park & Campground” in Tok about noon.  Tok is basically a cross roads town, with one highway going down to Anchorage and Valdez; the other going to Fairbanks.  We had originally wanted to stay at “Sourdough RV park”, but when I called they did not have any full hookups sites, which we wanted.  The Three Bears campground is not bad and only $26.00/nite full hookups.  The sun has been shinning off and on all day with a couple of thunder showers in between.  It is supposed to be in the 70s in the next couple of days….wahoo!
Tomorrow we drive to Chicken with the little car.
The drive to Chicken, Alaska is about 65 miles.  For many miles we drive through a burned Spruce forest which burned hundreds of thousands of acres of trees in 2004.  By the time we pass through this area we climb above the timberline and after several rain showers we finally arrive at the town of Chicken.  Many arrive here by taking a 400 mile trip from Whitehorse, Yukon to Dawson then to Chicken of which the last 50 or so miles is an unpaved-dirt, narrow road with large drop-offs.  We opted to take a different route with the motor home and just drive our car from Tok to Chicken.  Seeing the unpaved dirt road going through Chicken toward Dawson in a heavy downpour made us glad we decided to skip the route from Dawson to Chicken. 
We did however catch a glimpse of a Northern Hawk Owl, who is the only member of the owl family that hunts during the day.  At first we thought it was a large “Great Horned Owl”, but learned later that it was the Northern Hawk.
The town of 30-50 people was named Chicken by miners a long time ago when the town was first settled.  They subsisted by eating Ptarmigan which is the Alaskan State bird.  This was what they intended to name the town, but they couldn’t spell or say the name so they settled on Chicken.  There is nothing there now except some touristy stuff and everyone leaves town by late Fall.  There is a good place for desserts.

Tonight we splurged and ditched our diet for some excellent pizza and tomorrow we start our trek towards Anchorage and Valdez, Alaska.
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Ernie n Tara

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #125 on: July 04, 2012, 02:09:28 PM »
Woops! Wrong thread - Sarge?

Replacing a window due to stone damage should be covered under comprehensive with no deductible; I'd at least check.
Ernie
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ArdraF

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #126 on: July 04, 2012, 10:00:22 PM »
Marsha and others, if you run across Fireweed Jelly it's really good.  I think we had some in Whitehorse at the cafe in the Beringia Museum.

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SargeW

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #127 on: July 04, 2012, 11:24:57 PM »
Yup, you caught me Ernie! I am saving that comprehensive claim for my $1500 motor home windshield.....
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Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #128 on: July 05, 2012, 01:42:57 AM »

Saturday evening a very big, very red tour bus pulled into the campground.  Out popped 14 people.  The front of the bus was a plush tour bus with big comfy seats and big windows for touring.  The back half was used as sleeping compartments.  Tim and I were intrigued with how efficient everything seemed to go.  We also decided we could not travel in such close quarters and felt a bit extravagant with our motorhome
 The visitor center listed “King Koin” as the only laundry in town.  Oh my!  This was an awful place; but we were desperate.  I’m thinking this is the same facility that Linda and Dean went to when they were here on their Alaska adventure.  First it was $3.00 a load to wash and $.25 for 2.5 minutes to dry.  Most, if not ¾ ,of the washers and dryers were in some state of brokenness.  It was in a bad part of town and we were glad to be finished when everything was done!  I think the idea of buying a new motorhome with a washer and dryer crossed both our minds after that experience. 


We saw several of these tour buses, with very interesting configurations.  Enjoy the comforts of your motorhome--you worked hard for it and earned it!

As for the laundry, I love my Splendid!  We had it put into the coach, so you really don't have to buy a whole new motorhome!  The water quality, as I recall, was sometimes questionable on that trip.  I'd be careful where I did washing in my machine.  I am something of a security freak--I want everything and everyone to be safe (probably a leftover from my teaching days).  And, laundromats tend to be located in poverty-stricken parts of town.  More than once I breathed a sigh of relief when we pulled away from the laundromat with everything OK.  That was probably  the biggest reason I wanted our washer/dryer/all in one machine.  It was my birthday present, Christmas present, and anniversary present that year (and most likely should have been the same for the next year, too).  It wasn't cheap, it does wrinkle, but I would give up my TV before I gave it up.
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: North To Alaska
« Reply #129 on: July 05, 2012, 01:44:30 AM »
I've decided I'm not as detailed, thorough, or up to date as Linda and Betty.  But here goes anyway:



Each of us has our own unique style, and I am loving your log!  Keep it up!  I am enjoying hearing about your trip from your dog's point of view.
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: North To Alaska
« Reply #130 on: July 05, 2012, 02:02:33 AM »
I'm getting caught up...wifi is good!

We get our beer, take the dog back to the motorhome and go back into Hyder to experience the Seafood Express.  I have to admit, I didn’t feel it was all it was supposed to be.  We had seared Halibut which came with tons of French fries and nothing else.  Tim had a soda, I had water and the bill was $39.00.  I know lots of folks think the food is spectacular, but I’ve had better elsewhere.  I’m wondering if it was frozen and not fresh; perhaps that was the difference.  The paper plates and plastic forks made us feel much better about the cost.  When we got home Tim fixed another dinner.

Marsha, I know I'm reading this late, but I want to encourage you to go back in August, providing the road/bridge are repaired.  We had a great time watching the bears there, and when the salmon run, they will come. 

You are correct to get caught up when you have wifi.  We found local libraries to be our savior, but it means taking time out of the heart of the day because they do have restricted hours.  Some of the cafes also have it.

As for filling your gas tank, even my carefree husband had a rule of not traveling with less than 1/4 tank.  We were looking to fill when it got below 1/2 because you can go forever without finding gas on parts of this trip.  And, sometimes the gas stations aren't open.  Most are mom and pop, and illness/vacations/supplies may mean no gas.

I don't remember the name of the restaurant we loved, but it was a trailer building.  It was expensive, but it was delicious, and they have to make a year's living income in 2-3 months.  The man had caught the halibut we ate just that day.  The boat was out back.  I'm not sure if it's the same place you went.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

BernieD

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #131 on: July 05, 2012, 10:13:23 AM »
Marsha

We did Alaska counter clockwise and did Destruction Bay, Haines, Skagway in the opposite direction. We went thru Dawson Creek, TOW, Chicken to Tok and then Tok to Haines on the way back. Dawson Creek was a fun town to spend a few days in, then the ferry ride across the Yukon River to pick up the TOW, a very scenic drive, tho a lot better when the weather is nice (we were very lucky and had good weather most of our Alaskan adventure). Marlene likened driving the TOW to riding on top of the Great Wall of China; scenic and endless horizon. Chicken was fun also, and I think we still have some of the dust from there in the coach.

When we went thru, Destruction Bay was about halfway thru a 6 year road reconstruction program and the name lived up to its origin; our  car insurance paid about $6k to repaint and fix the body, tho the coach had nary a scratch. When we got to Haines, I drove the car across the road from the campground to wash it and the park gave me a hard time coming back in because they didn't recognize the car; it was Ol' brown before and Ol' Yeller again after.
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roadlife

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #132 on: July 06, 2012, 09:45:00 AM »
Marsha -

Would you say the trip to Chicken was worth the trouble?  We are thinking about popping up there on the way home, but if it is just another blip on the road maybe not.
Road Life

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BigLarry

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #133 on: July 06, 2012, 12:50:03 PM »
There really isn't much to Chicken except to say you've been there.  We stopped because we needed a place to stay coming from Dawson City.  We also wanted to go to Eagle and didn't want to pull the trailer all the way up there.  The top of the world hwy and the Taylor Hwy on up to Eagle are unique and different from anywhere else we drove while on that trip.  Most roads are in the valleys.  These are on "Top of the World" and we really enjoyed it.
Larry and Betty
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Marsha/CA

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #134 on: July 06, 2012, 01:14:57 PM »
Anna,

I think Larry hit it.  It's a blip on the road, but Chicken is unique.   Most of the 60-70 miles from Tok to Chicken was burned forest from 2004...not much to see.  In Chicken, you see lots of tourist taking photos and when we were there, washing off tons of mud.  It had been raining hard for the last several days and everything was mud..mud...mud.  But I must say, I think it was worth it just to say you had been there.  If you decide to go, take cash; when we were there the credit card online service was not working.

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

Marsha/CA

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #135 on: July 10, 2012, 01:16:22 AM »
 Tok, Alaska (June 30, 2012) to Glennallen to Valdez (July 5, 2012)
We left Tok just before the July 4th parade was to begin and almost became part of it.  Folks were lined up along the highway with their lawn chairs and American Flags.  About 15 minutes down the road we spotted a female moose.  The drive was pretty, we were slow, stopped at numerous sites along the way.  There were sections of the road where repairs had been made with some gravel sections and small uneven frost heaves.  Our original plan was to make it to Valdez; but we changed our minds and decided to stay at Glennallen, the crossroads for Valdez and Anchorage.  The highways are called the Richardson highway and the Glenn highways.  We are getting used to the road system here; instead of using numbers they use names.   Northern Lights Campground was just past the highway intersection.  The price per night was $38.00 cash with only 30 amp and water.  Geesh!  But the great thing was that it was sunny and we could sit outside…Wahoo. 
We met the campers parked right next to us and they had a tale to tell.  They were from Florida and were driving a family member’s diesel pusher and Jeep tow car to the Kenai peninsula for them instead of flying out for a visit.   They had left Florida three weeks ago; little fast for Tim and I but doable.  They had driven hard every day and the wife was saying how tired she was of RV travel.  I asked if she thought they would ever get a rig of their own and travel, she quickly told me “NO”.  Not only were they traveling fast, they had had trouble along the way because they had forgot to set the key correctly in the Jeep so that the tires would not turn….ruined the front tires and the dealer told them they need new all 4, so they bought a set of tires.  Then the awning billowed out on them during some strong winds.  They got that fixed without damage.  Tim and I both noticed the right rear outside dually was leaking oily fluid, so they may have had a seal leak.  They didn’t mention anything about that.  I think they will be glad to deliver the coach to their family.  They were flying home in a week.
The Northern Lights campground was OK for the night and uneventful except for a large crop of mosquitos.  We were glad to leave.  I had called Bear Paws II campground in Valdez before stopping for the night in Glennallen.  One of the reasons to not go on into Valdez was that with the 4 of July celebrations, the campground I wanted was full.   However they had plenty of full hookup sites facing the harbor on July 5th.    Bear Paws II had great reviews and was on the harbor.  We are enjoying harbor/water front camping a lot.  For those following us, this is a fabulous campground.  For those reading Betty Brewer’s log, the Sea Otter campground no longer exists.
The road into Valdez is just beautiful, rugged rocks and snow topped mountains everywhere.  We stopped a lot for pictures and “Oohs and ahhs”.  It didn’t hurt that the sun was shining the entire way.  When we reached Thompson Pass there was snow everywhere, with patches of ice on the lakes, glimpses of glaciers and it was cold.  Thompson Pass is only 2800’ in elevation; but it felt like we were going over the “Ice Fields” parkway in Canada.  It was beautiful.  Thompson Pass holds the record for the most snowfall in the US.  They got almost 1,000 inches in one record year.  They also hold the record for the most snowfall in a 24 hour period--60 inches and in one month, 250+ inches
The drive down into Valdez goes past and along a canyon with several waterfalls.  One of the waterfalls was called “Bridal Veil” and reminded us of Yosemite NP.  However, this waterfall was much more dramatic than Yosemite.  Yosemite and Glacier National parks fade a bit when compared to scenes like this in Alaska.
Valdez is a small tourist/fishing town; but we have come to love it.  The mountains literally surround Prince William Sound and it is very beautiful.  We took the day to get settled, do some cleaning and basically just relax.  The next day we did laundry, found the visitor’s center and checked things out. 
It has been raining on and off, but we’ve gotten used to it.  We now wear or carry raincoats with us everywhere.  The average temperature is 55 degrees and they do not have the weather extremes like the inland part of Alaska.  Winter lows get only in the teens, which probably accounts for their large accumulations of snow; perfect snow producing climate--a water source and warmer temps.
We had been hem-hawing back and forth about hiring a charter boat to do Halibut fishing and to do some salmon fishing.  One of the days we drove out to the fish hatchery. Just after the turn off on the main highway going out toward the fish hatchery a small bear cub came out of the undergrowth, saw us then dived right back into the brush.  We arrived  to find lots of people fishing along the shoreline within 300 feet of the hatchery.  Pink Salmon also called “humpies” have begun their return to the hatchery to spawn.  Pink Salmon are the smallest of the salmon family and the most prevalent.  Since the fish hatchery was closed that day, we saw hundreds of salmon swimming up the “ladder” to get back to where they were born.  However, that day the gate into the hatchery was closed.  We saw lots of salmon near exhaustion with trying to get through the door.  I thought that was a bit harsh, and that they should have left some means of being able to continue with their journey.  The fish hatchery “milks” the salmon of their eggs, fertilizes them then releases the young fry and the cycle begins again.
As we were watching the people fishing along the bank, one woman caught our eye.  While we watched she threw out her line 4 times and brought back a “humpie” each time.  Others around her weren’t catching a thing, but she sure was.  Just outside of the shore line were large fishing trowlers and charter boats.  We decided we didn’t want to catch “humpies” so will hold off on our salmon fishing for the moment.  Also the halibut charters go out for 12-14 hours which is too long for us to leave Charlie unattended and we were not able to find pet sitters.  We’ll do that later while we are in Seward or Homer.
Sunday dawned beautiful and sunny, but cold.  It was 41 when Tim took Charlie out for his morning walk.  One of the things we are doing while here is a Glacier Cruise scheduled for Monday during the afternoon.  On Sunday, that same ship, the Lu Lu Belle, does an 8am boat cruise worship service.  So Tim and I braved the early hour and attended the service.  What a treat to cruise out into the waters and enjoy the Sunday sermon and worship.  They had an electronic keyboard and guitar and a 5 year old had memorized the Bible verse for that morning.  It made us miss our granddaughter, Kasey.  After the service the captain cruised around the inlet and we saw a “raft” of sea otters….cute…cute…cute.
It’s now Monday morning and we are taking a Glacier Cruise for most of the day.    What a fun cruise.  The boat is called the Lu Lu Belle and goes out into Prince William Sound looking for: whales, puffins, sea otters, sea lions, porpoises, ice bergs and glaciers.  We found them all, except for the puffins.  They were nowhere to be found.  This captain was a walking encyclopedia.  We learned about the wildlife, the history and the people of Valdez; so much my brain is filled up.  The boat is beautiful, comfortable and handled the 50 or so people who were on her.  Right off the bat we saw several “rafts” of sea otters.  They are so cute, and playful; just floating on their backs, rolling over, then flipping back onto their backs again.  They bob up and down with the motion of the water. 
He idled our boat and slowly circled so that we could watch a commercial fishing boat pull up their nets with their catch, explaining what they were doing every step of the way.  This is a big process, reeling in nets with precision.  Each fishing boat we have seen going in and out of the harbor where we are parked is towing a small tow boat of sorts.  Well, now we learn that the tow boat ties itself to the fishing boat and counter weights it so that when they pull the nets full of fish, the fishing boat does not keel over with the weight of the fish.  That in itself is an art. 
We then spent at least an hour or more “chasing” whales.  I use the term lightly, but that’s kinda what the captain did.  A pod of whales would be spotted, he would turn the boat around and get behind them, drop his speed down and then idle.  They would surface, blow, wave their tails and gently float along the top of the water.  When the whales would get tired of us, they would bend their bodies in a steep arch and dive deep, showing us their tails as they when back in.  These were humpback whales, deep grey and one was very large.  They would disappear then someone would spot the spouts and off we’d go chasing over to them.  It was a lot of fun.  He then took us to “Glacier Island” where puffins are usually spotted.  No puffins around, however there were a couple of “herds…pack…bunch?”  of 50-75 sea lions, some very large lounging on the rocks and frolicking in the water.  Next he spotted Dall porpoises that swam in front of the boat, jumping and playing with us.  It was like they were racing.  He told us that sometimes they don’t want to play and you have “tempt” them to swim in front of the boat. 
We spotted several more water spouts and then he headed to the Columbia Glacier.  He talked about how the glacier had receded quite a bit over the 30 some years he’s being doing this tour boat; but then he also talked about how the neighboring glacier had actually grown in size right down toward the water.  He also mentioned there had been 12 ice age stages, which I didn’t know.  I’ll have to look that up.  We dodged ice bergs; both little and small; both floating and fixed and wound our way as close as he could get to the glacier.  It’s an eerie feeling floating in and between large pieces of ice. 
The weather was cloudy with some breaks of sun; but it was darn cold out on the deck.  The water temp was 40 degrees and the air 50; but when we were at top speed it was COLD.  On the way back we sat with some folks from British Columbia, chatting about motor homes, places we have been, politics, economics etc. and the drive back seemed like no time at all.  It was a great day!
Tomorrow we leave Valdez traveling back up the Richardson Highway towards Glennallen.  We think we will stop along the way and spend a few nights near the Copper River.  Tim wants to take the little car and drive into the Wrangell-St Elias National park to visit the copper mine that is now abandoned.  We were going to salmon fish there, but the copper salmon are not running yet, so we’ll wait.
 
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Ned

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #136 on: July 10, 2012, 06:44:21 AM »
Valdez was my favorite city when we were in AK.  We stayed at the Bear Paw II (Bear Paw Adult park then) and parked reversed in the site to face the harbor.  We also had a hole in the trees so our HughesNet satellite worked.  We had a couple of good breakfasts at the Totem Inn in town.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
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Jeff

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #137 on: July 10, 2012, 03:44:57 PM »
Marsha:


You may be gone by now but the best prices we found for fresh Salmon and Halibut were at the cannery across te street from the Sea Otter CG. You walk through the big door and go up the stairs to the factory office where they keep a couple of freezers full for walkin-ins.

BigLarry

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #138 on: July 10, 2012, 05:48:22 PM »
Our three favorite spots was Talkeetna, Haines and Valdez.  We also stayed in the Bear Paw II.  It's one of those places we could sit and just LOOK all day long.
Larry and Betty
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Marsha/CA

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #139 on: July 10, 2012, 11:20:39 PM »
Pictures
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Marsha/CA

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #140 on: July 10, 2012, 11:26:11 PM »
We are now on our way to Homer or Seward....don't know which yet and are staying at a great campground between Glennallan and Palmer.  It's called Glacier view and is just beautiful; especially in the sunshine....wahoo.  We saw dall sheep on the hillside, but it took a strong pair of binoculars.

Jeff, we didn't find the "upstairs" seafood shop; but we did find Peter Pan Seafood and stocked up.  Halibut is now $17.99/lb.

I agree, Haines and Valdez are on the top of our list so far.

Marsha~


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Marsha/CA

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #141 on: July 14, 2012, 10:43:48 AM »
After a white knuckle drive from Anchorage, we are now in Seward camped at Resurrection Bay.  The electric/water sites were all taken so we are camped facing the bay in the dry section for $15.00/night. This place is nearly full of  campers of all sizes and shapes; and when we got here water was everywhere because it had rained hard.

On the way here the drive on Glenn Highway from Glacier View RV park, about 60 miles from Anchorage, was just beautiful and we had sun, so it was especially nice.  Several very large glaciers were visible from the road.  The closer we got to Palmer the drive went through rolling hills and right along the river.  In Palmer we filled up at the Fred Meyers for $4.11/gallon diesel.

A storm was either just blowing in or out, not sure which; but the winds were extremely strong along the peninsula coming in.  It was a tiring drive being buffeted and pushed around each turn; plus you must pull over if more than 5 cars are behind you.   I took over driving at one point to relieve Tim and drove the last leg into Seward.  No wildlife sightings and there were no boats coming in and out of Anchorage. 

We have planned 5-6 days here to visit the "Exit" Glacier, do some fishing and some sightseeing.  The Exit Glacier is one you can walk right up to; but not get close enough to touch.  We have scheduled a 7.5 hour Kenai Fijords tour for today.  Tim is going out on a 11 hour Halibut and other fish catching attempt 8) trip on Monday while I am doing a 1/2 day in the bay salmon fishing trip.

The local Safeway store is very pricey and is lacking quality fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables.  One large cantalope was close to $12.00.

The campground is very entertaining, especially when the rain stopped and we had less cloudy skies.  There is a paved walking trail right along in front of the camping area.  People are rollerblading, walking dogs, playing ball all sorts of activities.  Last night at 10ish several groups of folks were still outside with campfires and activities going on. 

This morning as we get ready for our fijord tour the bay was full of fishing boats going out; more than we've seen since being here.  I'm sure it is because it's a Saturday.  And, there is a sea otter playing in the bay.  We had heard a couple of days ago a whale was in the bay checking every thing out, but we missed seeing it.

Marsha~

 
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #142 on: July 14, 2012, 12:03:54 PM »
While in Seward do not miss the Alaska Sea Life exhibit/aquarium.

http://www.alaskasealife.org/
Gary
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Jeannine

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #143 on: July 14, 2012, 01:04:14 PM »
The Exit Glacier is one you can walk right up to; but not get close enough to touch. 

The last time we were there you could hike up beside the glacier to the ice field and go on to the ice field.  It was a great hike.  I second Gary's comment about the Alaska Sea Life exhibit.  We took a "behind the scenes" tour that was great.

Jeannine
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BigLarry

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #144 on: July 14, 2012, 01:55:38 PM »
Seward is a great place.  We spent the 4th of July there in 2010.  On the west side of town is Marathon Mountain which is about 3000ft.  They have a run from the start at the south end of Main Street to the top of that mountain and back again.  The winner made it in a little over two hours if I remember correctly.  The competitors slide most of their way down.  The oldest finisher was nearly 80 years young!!!  I've got a picture of him on the home stretch and he looked like he was not enjoying himself all that much at that moment. 
Larry and Betty
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Marsha/CA

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #145 on: July 15, 2012, 06:59:56 PM »
Gary, we did visit the Sea Life Exhibit; it was very nice.  They had just lost a 2 week old Buluga baby that was separated from the mom during the recent storm Tim and I drove through coming down here.

We have had so much fun just sitting out in front of the coach watching all the goings on...Dall porpoises swimming and diving all over the place.  Then we watched at least 4 large bald eagles swoop down and steal left over scraps of fish the sea gulls were snacking on.  Such a commotion.

Big Larry, there is no way I could do that race.  I think I've seen signs for it posted at the Visitor Center.  Not sure if it just happened or is coming up.

BTW, Tim and I just signed up for a "fly-in grizzly bear photography day trip" out of Homer, AK.  After I plunked down my reservation fee, they sent me an agreement to sign.  The list of stuff to bring along includes 2 day supply of medicines in case we get stranded in Katmui N. Park.  Now that would be an adventure!!!

Here are some photos from the last several days:

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Tom and Margi

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #146 on: July 15, 2012, 07:16:11 PM »
Super photos.  Loved the whale tail shots!
 
Margi

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #147 on: July 15, 2012, 08:01:31 PM »
     Marsha, great pictures and she is so jealous that you saw Mountain Goats.  We were told that they were around when we were in Jasper National Park, but they kept hiding on us, much the same as the moose did on your trip east.

Ed
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Marsha/CA

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #148 on: July 16, 2012, 01:33:16 AM »
A couple of Eagle shots.

Tom S thanks for reminding me to do "burst" shots when shooting birds!

Marsha~
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Marsha/CA

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Re: North To Alaska
« Reply #149 on: July 16, 2012, 01:41:11 AM »
Ed, we've seen so many mountain goats on this trip; not only here, but at least 3 other places.  I think we are somehow hitting it just right.  However, the moose is still very elusive; only seen 3 females.  However we've seen tons of black bear and at least 3 large brown porcupines.

Jeannie, forgot to get back to you.  That hike up to the ice fields is still there.  We thought about it, but then had other plans for the day.

Now I have to get ready for my salmon fishing trip tomorrow.  Usually Tim and I go together on these things; but I'm soloing this one while he goes halibut fishing.  I have no idea how to fish for salmon.  However, today I lost my footing while walking Charlie and fell a$$ over teacup.  Now Tim is worried I'm going to fall out of the fishing boat and he won't be there to save me.   :P

Marsha~
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