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Author Topic: Great Alaska Adventure - 2013  (Read 26669 times)

SaltyAdventurer

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Re: Great Alaska Adventure - 2013
« Reply #120 on: August 12, 2013, 10:52:51 PM »
Mikie,
Glad you're following along. Don and I are not big on taking every charter trip, every tour, every-everything, on any trip. We visit a select few museums only, not every one. We pick & choose what we want to see in any town, but we like to just walk around, find a little plastic-table cafe where locals hang out, or a coffee shop everybody goes to, and just sit around meeting people and talking. That's our idea of "experiencing" a place. And we often do a fair amount of driving out of town in several directions if there are parks, trails, or things to see way out of town. WE prefer not to go where the milling hordes go, to be honest. On this entire Alaskan Adventure, we have done only 2 "big deal" tours...the all-day Glacier Bay Cruise out of Gustavus, which I think was a rollicking $300 per person; and the nearly-all-day visit to the Anan Wildlife Observatory out of Wrangell with Alaska Vistas, costing $251 a person. Both were worth every penny! Our decision was not to do fishing charters, boat rides out of Homer over to a small town built on stilts with lots of art galleries, or to see 26 glaciers in one day on a super-fast catamaran. Oh, I forgot, we did find a driver to take us in her van out to Dyea from the town of Skagway, because we wanted to see the start of the Chilkoot Trail that the gold-rushers took--cost us $60 total...she was only going to charge us $15 each($30 total) but we thought it was worth a good deal more than that. We prefer to walk, talk and hang out at places, getting the feel of the town. That's about all I can tell you...If you do lots and lots of the tourists-specials, you can easily drop $5,000 just on bus tours, fishing things, boat tours, etc.  The only thing we haven't done, either because the weather wasn't right or we had to move on, was an all-day kayaking guided tour at one of the towns of the Southeast. Oh, well, another time, another trip.

Don & Susie,
I am really enjoying following your adventure as we are planning on making our "Great Alaskan Adventure" next summer.  I love that you're giving recommendations on restaurants and RV parks too!  I wonder if you'd mind letting us know what your tours are costing?  Someone on another thread said that they were very expensive and so they chose to forego them and you're making me think I want to partake!!!

Thanks in advance, I'll be looking forward to the  rest of your daily journals!!

Mikie
Klondike Susie aka Salty Adventurer
2013 Itasca Reyo (25', no toad)
Married to oldedit
Resides in Denver CO area & Silverthorne CO

SaltyAdventurer

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Re: Great Alaska Adventure - 2013
« Reply #121 on: August 12, 2013, 11:34:00 PM »
Friday Aug. 9, 2013      Day 73

Waiting around a lot for the ferry to arrive from Petersburg…very foggy, thick as pea soup out there. Ferry had to anchor along the way, then got caught at low tide and couldn’t move for hours. Finally arrived 3 pm, only 5 hours late. We finally got to Ketchikan at 8:30 pm.

At least we didn’t spend any money on the ferry…we had our water bottles, and I made sandwiches using stuff from our goodie bag that we took along with us – bread, cold cuts, cheese, mustard. It was dark by the time we drove 15 mi north of the ferry dock to Clover Pass Resort and got into our parking spot… Not enough exercise today. Lots of reading aboard the ferry, some walking around.  Too much waiting and sitting, though. Nice sunny day once the fog lifted. Waters very calm, thankfully…it can get quite rough on that passage south.

Saw a few humpback whale spouts in the distance along the way, and a dolphin. Lots of fishing boats, including a seiner boat with its big yellow purse-seine strung out far behind it, with another fisherman in the small skiff that always goes with a seiner pulling around to the port side of the bigger boat ready to pull in the “purse” full of fish at day’s end. I hadn’t had a chance to really see one of those at work before. A bit later, a young woman came by looking out the windows near our chairs for a bright blue seiner working these shores, with a yellow net extending behind it…it was her husband, whom she had not seen for a month!  And she had just found out minutes earlier that he was fishing somewhere near where the ferry was. I told her we had already passed that boat, about 10 minutes earlier, and that I had paid special attention to it because I hadn’t really seen a seiner at work before. She was so disappointed that she had missed seeing her husband’s boat!

I am getting my fill of ferry rides on this trip, that’s for sure! And we’re learning that it involves a LOT of hurry up and wait…lots of sitting around waiting for ferries to arrive, unload, re-load, and get where they’re going, then sitting and waiting to unload again. Quite efficient operations, but still, it’s just a lot of sitting and waiting. I don’t think we’ll ever take 11 ferry legs again in our lives on a single trip! Five or 6 is fine, after that you’re tired of it. Remind of that, please, when I’m planning our next Great Adventure!
Klondike Susie aka Salty Adventurer
2013 Itasca Reyo (25', no toad)
Married to oldedit
Resides in Denver CO area & Silverthorne CO

55cruisers

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Re: Great Alaska Adventure - 2013
« Reply #122 on: August 17, 2013, 02:38:18 AM »
Susie,  We have been following your report since you started and have really enjoyed reading your very descriptive stories.  We are planning to make this trip next year so we have been following a few blogs to glean information and have taken copious notes on things to see and do (and what not to do!!)  First hand information is so much better than "tourist" information. 
Enjoy the rest of your trip home. 

Diane
 

SaltyAdventurer

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Re: Great Alaska Adventure - 2013
« Reply #123 on: August 18, 2013, 10:19:05 AM »
Saturday Aug. 10, 2013      Day 74

We needed a lot of walking and activity today in Ketchikan, in anticipation of a looooooong ferry trip of 12+ hours to Prince Rupert BC tomorrow morning.

At the RV park, I asked if there was a good place on our way to town for breakfast – Don and I are both in the mood for bacon and eggs for once. The owner’s 13-year-old son was lounging in a chair by the front desk and offered: “My Dad always takes me to the Best Western, just down the road. The Landing is in there…it has good breakfasts.”

So we headed out, looking for the Best Western, opposite the waterfront, along the roadway where all the canneries and industrial stuff is located. The breakfast was good, and the Landing is definitely where the locals hang out…lots of truckers, fishermen, boaters there discussing weather, fishing conditions, yesterday’s catch, etc. I had made  special note to visit Totem Bight Park in Ketchikan…a whole bunch of wonderful totems in one location, and a nice walk. But we are OD’ed on totems after the gorgeous park a few days ago in Sitka.

So we headed for downtown Ketchikan where the junk and souvenir shops for the milling hordes of cruise ship passengers line a dozen streets, the avenues are narrow and at weird angles (must be another waterfront town built up against mountains during the Gold Rush days, huh??), the hills are very steep, and the parking scarce. We want to park and walk all the way up Fish Creek to see the ancient fish ladder from the 1800s, and go on up to the spawning grounds. The day is beautiful and sunny, quite warm. Very humid. I am feeling sticky-damp and moldy all the time now!

Aha, we found on-street parking in an out-of-the-way spot two blocks above all the tourist places, but close to the walkway up the creek where the salmon are running. Good omen! This creek is absolutely black with salmon, mostly smaller pinks and some keta (dog salmon). Every pool is thick and boiling with layers of salmon fighting for air and space, in a holding pattern until they recover enough strength to leap up the next set of riffles and steep whitewater to get to their spawning grounds.  There are about 20 sets of waterfalls and whitewater for the salmon to conquer on their way home before spawning…hard to believe any fish could go the distance and survive to do the procreation work at the end of it all. An amazing annual show, and we never seem to tire of witnessing it!

Clearly, many fish don’t make it to the end…we see a few silvery dead bodies at the bottom of nearly every pool, and some salmon who lost the battle going upstream caught in notches of the rocks they have to leap over on their way. We also see quite a few extremely large salmon carcasses along the way, mostly near the edges of the creek…they’re pretty well decayed and coming apart at the seams. Must be the king salmon (Chinooks) that ran in late spring and early summer upstream to spawn…they die after spawning and most float back down the river or creek to the sea. These carcasses are probably the leftovers from the very end of the run. They’re huge – some of them a good 2 feet long or more, and probably ranging in weight from 10 to 30 pounds.

At the very top of the creek is a shallow, gravel-covered area where the salmon do their mating dances, use their tails to swish out a shallow depression and law their eggs, where they are fertilized by the males who discharge their sperm in milky clouds atop the little hollows where the eggs rest. Quite a show!

I was furious, though, as I watched some idiotic tourists taking off their shoes and wading out in the shallow waters trying to scare the fish and catch them with their hands, as the fish tried to spawn. A family with a bunch of kids was disturbing the whole process, and I felt like screaming at them…Don convinced me it was really none of my business, but gosh I was upset with them! Can't they read the signs posted everywhere that say NOT to disturb the fish or go into the water when the salmon are spawning? Duh! Sometimes I think people have absolutely no common sense at all.

After several hours of watching fish climb the formidable falls to their last hurrah, we walked along the old Creek Street, which has been preserved and gentrified a bit…Ketchikan’s old red-light district with tiny frame buildings on stilts.

For the remainder of the day we decided we wanted to simply “feel” the life of Ketchikan, so we drove south of town 8 miles to Rotary Beach, where we parked in a pullout for several hours, looking out to sea, watching kids play in the (very cold!) water and climb among the moss-covered rocks along the beach, watched the passing parade of fishing boats and skiffs roaring up and down through the channels. The water was sparkling in the sunlight, and the breezes were wonderful. It smelled like ocean and fish and kelp and wonderful stuff!

What’s interesting, too, is that the teenage girls come to the rock-covered beaches, spread out their colorful towels atop the rocks, and lay their bikini-clad bodies out to get tans, the same as at any sandy beach in the Lower 48. What a hoot! It must be very uncomfortable lying on those rocks, though!

After a few hours reading and watching at this site, we drove on farther south around a southern tip of land called Mountain Point and headed north on a little peninsula toward Herring Bay. At one spot, I looked through a wide opening in the trees at the waters of Carroll Inlet and suddenly witnessed two huge mature bald eagles come down out of the sky, fighting over a good-sized salmon one of them had in its talons…I hollered to Don to slow down, but before he could even look, the eagles locked their talons together and fell smack into the water, one on top and the other upside down, only a few yards offshore. At this very moment, a third large mature bald eagle flew by, right at my eye level, between where we were driving and where the other 2 had smacked into the water.

This all happened very quickly and very close to us. Must be that when those two locked-together eagles actually hit the water, their talons released, because they both took off immediately. We were already past the spot where there were no trees, so I lost my view! The whole things happened in just seconds, but what a show of nature! Two immense birds in a wild plummet into the sea…they made quite a big splash! We had learned earlier from a forest ranger at some location where we watched eagles that they are unable to release their talon-grip on a fish or on each other once their talons have closed around “prey”…in this instance, I think they must both have locked their talons around that salmon during the fight for it.

We parked a second time near Mountain Point, fixed a small dinner for ourselves with the doors and windows open, and spent another hour or two watching the world go by. When the time came to head for the ferry terminal to get in line we drove back toward town. Our plan is to get in line for the ferry at 8:45 pm, sleep overnight in our Rollin Home and set the alarm for 5:45 for we’re ready for an 8:30 am departure for Prince Rupert BC.

We’ve learned this neat little trick from other RVers along the way on this trip: When there’s a really early-morning ferry to be caught, instead of having to get up at 3 or 4 or 5 a.m. at your RV park, get unhooked and then drive to the ferry dock, you find out a day ahead what time you can pull in and park overnight in the ferry’s lot (already in your assigned lane!) and you go there after dinner, get a good night’s sleep, rise and dress just before the ferry starts loading! Voila! Well rested, time for a good breakfast and coffee or tea, and everything! This way you’re not wasted for days afterward because of only a few hours’ sleep. A very good plan…we’ve really learned the tricks of the trade on this trip!

The clock showed we still had an hour remaining before we wanted to get in line at the ferry and bed down for the night, so we parked in the nearby Safeway lot, facing out to sea, watching more “life of Ketchikan” drift by. Many ocean kayakers came paddling by close to the shore in front of us as light of day turned to dusk. Huge barges piled 6 layers high by 5 rows across and 8 rows long with shipping containers floated by, pulled on very long cables by hardworking tugs. Dozens of sailboats motored past, without enough wind to sail and being pushed by opposing currents in the ebbing tides. Many floatplanes taking off and landing on the calm waters just north of us, around the bend a bit. A fascinating panoply of seaborne activity…parked in a supermarket lot, of all places!

Wanted to mention that I’m completely “shopped out” so nothing in any galleries or shops really catches my eye as we toodle along in these towns. Same old, same old. I’ve seen it all a million times already, though the native designs up here really fascinate me and I’m very drawn to them! Today, the only thing I saw that was really really really good was some native Tlingit art by Marvin Oliver, whose wife was selling his stuff in a little gallery along Creek St. He has a BA and an MFA in fine art from Univ. of Washington and has been the university’s curator of native American art for some years…his work is fabulous! His ancestry is a blending of 3 major Indian tribes, including Tlingit and Pueblo. He melds traditional Tlingit moieties and spirit images with bright colors and very contemporary design – absolutely fabulous design! Man, I really wanted to buy one of his pieces! He creates a perfect bridge between the ancient and the modern…much the way Doug Cranmer of the Kwakiutl tribe did in the 1970s with his interpretations of traditional tribal images. I have to look Oliver up on the Internet when I get home, he is so good!
Klondike Susie aka Salty Adventurer
2013 Itasca Reyo (25', no toad)
Married to oldedit
Resides in Denver CO area & Silverthorne CO

SaltyAdventurer

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Re: Great Alaska Adventure - 2013
« Reply #124 on: August 18, 2013, 10:20:31 AM »
Thanks, Diane! Glad to provide useful info. I read 3 different Alaska journals on reform.net before planning our trip...it has been wonderfully helpful, and I feel as if I've made great friends among the Alaska travelers!
Klondike Susie aka Salty Adventurer
2013 Itasca Reyo (25', no toad)
Married to oldedit
Resides in Denver CO area & Silverthorne CO

Wigpro

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    • Capt Jim Lucas
Re: Great Alaska Adventure - 2013
« Reply #125 on: August 18, 2013, 01:21:51 PM »
Saturday Aug. 10, 2013      Day 74

So we headed out, looking for the Best Western, opposite the waterfront, along the roadway where all the canneries and industrial stuff is located. The breakfast was good, and the Landing is definitely where the locals hang out…lots of truckers, fishermen, boaters there discussing weather, fishing conditions, yesterday’s catch, etc. I had made  special note to visit Totem Bight Park in Ketchikan…a whole bunch of wonderful totems in one location, and a nice walk. But we are OD’ed on totems after the gorgeous park a few days ago in Sitka.



The Best Western is good - but the ultimate Locals Breakfast place in Ketchikan is downtown and called the Pioneer!

Best breakfast in SE Alaska by far. Glad you had a good time in my old home town!!

Great meeting you in Haines, hope the rest of your trip is uneventful or at least fun events.

I head South on Monday and will do a trip log on my way to Montana via the Cassiar Highway!

Enjoy,

Jim
Full time traveler, fishing guide and photographer!

Travel Blog: http://captjimtravelblog.blogspot.com

Website: www.captainjimlucas.com

Photo Site: http://captjim.smugmug.com/

SaltyAdventurer

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Re: Great Alaska Adventure - 2013
« Reply #126 on: August 25, 2013, 12:41:54 AM »
Yes, I've been AWOL! Yikes, it's so easy to fall behind -- WAY behind!! -- when you are trying to do a daily journal! I don't know if I'll ever commit to doing this again. I've enjoyed the experience, but gosh it's a lot of pressure to perform, daily!  OK, i'm going to skip over some day, and post a couple of things fro our latest events, then I''ll go back later and fill in some blanks, from Sunday August 11 through the 17th...


Sunday August 18 thru Wednesday August 21, 2013   Days 82-85

We drive south into Victoria, 3 pm ferry to Port Angeles on Black Ball; find out there’s a BIG Robert Bateman exhibit right next door to the Black Ball Ferry that we don’t have time to visit before our departure, darn! Bateman’s my all-time favorite wildlife artist…a real master! Have to look up info about that exhibit later on the internet.

We grab a quick lunch across from ferry dock in a little bistro that is part of the Grand Pacific Hotel…nice little lunch! 90 minute ferry trip…Great Alaska Adventure has ended. I feel sad. We meet up with Don’s brother Al and his wife Susan at the Olympic National Park visitor Center outside Port Angeles … We’re staying in a nearby RV park, and they are staying at a B&B not far away, and out plan is to explore Olympic Natl Park and do some hiking together, have meals together in the evenings at their place.

Our spot for 3 days is the Elwha Dam RV Park, a really really nice place! Lots of grass, shaded sites, beautifully kept up, lovely gardens, good laundry room, impeccably clean bathrooms, showers and laundry!

The next morning, as we talk about our day’s plans, I realize I need a day to sleep some more and recover from a head/chest cold I came down with a few days ago. I’m hacking my head off and have a full chest. So I stay home on Monday while Don, Al and Susan go hiking on Hurricane Ridge in ONP….I spend the day doing a bunch of laundry, putzing around, napping, reading, wandering around a bit, talking to myself! A very welcome bit of time off! 

I fix halibut marinated in white wine for dinner night, and prepare some breadcrumbs, some sauce, and some carmelized onions to go with it…using the recipe for Halibut Caddy Ganty from the Gustavus Inn…it turned out fine, but wasn’t as good as if the halibut had been fresh, tho…this fish was okay, but had been flash-frozen…it just wasn’t as tender, succulent and flaky as fresh halibut is when baked!   

Al & Susan’s B&B…the Elwha Ranch B&B… is quite the remote, wonderful place! Just one cabin on a property with the owner’s main residence, on a mountain in the woods. Very secluded, very wonderful!

Tuesday we drive to Neah Bay, the Makah tribe’s village that is along the way to the northwesternmost point of the contiguous 48 states of the US…we walked the wonderful trail out to the headland. Sunny when we started, and very warm, got very foggy and cool along the way, was quite damp and muddy, but wonderful. At the headland, the seas churn and there are spectacular sea caves below the cliffs…out at the end of the trail, there are sheer, vertigo-inducing drop-offs.

Had to visit Kimm Brown’s Take Home Fish Co in Neah Bay….it’s been widely written-up and gets rave reviews! Just a tiny shack, really, a block off the main road…and Kimm fixes the very best smoked salmon (kings!!!) I have ever tasted in my entire life! Bought $50 worth…got his card to buy from him in future…I send money order, he send salmon!  Kimm charges $16/lb for the biggest “white kings” you’ve ever laid eyes on! He smokes more than 300# of fish a day…in a very high-tech cooker…a rusty old oil drum with a door cut into the bottom into which he shoves wood to stoke the fire. He sets a 2-tier welded wire rack filled with big fish thick fish steaks down into that drum…Kimm uses only good alder wood for his smoking!  He offers all of us a taste of his fresh hot smoked fish…a nicer big chunk of fish for each person…it is out-of-this-world delectable! I swoon at the beauty of this product.

Neah Bay’s Makah Museum is outstanding …it contains wondrous exhibits of the archeological wonders that have been excavated in the last 10 years …the fishing village of Neah Bay was completely buried 500 yrs ago by a colossal mudslide following an earthquake. Among the amazing discoveries…the Makah tribe was using hand-knotted fishing nets as far back as 500 yrs ago!!!

We tried to visit the town’s one little local art gallery but it was closed…

On our way back to Elwha Dam, we stopped in at Lake Crescent Lodge, a Natl Park lodge on the shores of sparkling huge Lake Crescent…as beautiful as any lake we saw in BC!!!  Not shockingly cold…lots of ppl swimming, wonderful dock out into the lake for swimming. Lots of boating and kayaking too. Oldest lodge in ONP, built 1916, frame with cedar shingles, painted gray with white trim, felt like you were visiting grandma’s cottage! Has lots of little cabins for rent…would be well worth going back to and staying for a week! Lots of trails there!

Gorgeous drives to and from Neah Bay from our campsites…for dinner that night, smoked salmon chowder with lettuce salads. And Susie’s dessert concoction…oatmeal cookies in a cup!

Wednesday we pulled out of Elwha Dam RV Park, met Al & Susan at Hoh Rainforest along the western edge of the Olympic National Park to hike 2 trails inside Hoh…the Hall of Mosses trail and the Spruce Nature Trail. Wonderful. Total of about 2.5 miles…took us quite a while because I just had to keep stopping for pictures…the rainforest is amazing! Huge trees, spectacular scenery.

Then we drove south 21 miles from Hoh River Rd. and met up with Al & Susan again at Kalaloch Lodge (pronounced Clay-loch!) for lunch in the lodge. Kalaloch has an absolutely beautiful RV park overlooking the ocean at the north end of the lodge. The lodge itself is lovely, with a wonderful view overlooking the ocean, situated above the outlet of a river. Below, huge snags (piles of bleached logs) litter the beach, looking as if they were thousands of toothpicks thrown there by the seas and winds.

Kalaloch has two rows of wonderful rental cabins overlooking the ocean…what a perfect site for a vacation retreat! The rates aren’t really that bad, and they go down by 60% on Oct 1…would be well worth going back there and renting a cabin for 1-2 weeks! The lodge’s food was very good…I had a Seasonal berry salad that contained lots of local blueberries, spinach, arugula, nuts, bleu cheese, vinaigrette. We shared a Flatbread pizza piled high with Oregon mushrooms, fresh basil pesto, goat cheese, fresh cherry tomatoes, leaves of fresh spinach and basil. YUM!

Left there to drive down near Mt. St. Helens, to Silver Lake, to stay in Silver Cove RV Park for the night. We pulled in at 6, hooked up, put water in the tank and then Don did his usual Walkabout to meet and greet everybody, learn where everyone is from…about 50 yards from our site, he met up with an old friend of mine from Denver, Joe Moody and his wife Dona!!!

Such fun…Joe and I hadn’t seen each other in about 7 yrs! So we had Happy Hour times 2, and quickly killed 2 bottles of good wine yakking into the night! Decided to extend a day and spend tomorrow together and have dinner together.
Klondike Susie aka Salty Adventurer
2013 Itasca Reyo (25', no toad)
Married to oldedit
Resides in Denver CO area & Silverthorne CO

SaltyAdventurer

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Re: Great Alaska Adventure - 2013
« Reply #127 on: August 25, 2013, 12:42:57 AM »
Thursday August 22 thru Saturday August 24, 2013      Days 86-88

Extended our stay at Silver Cove RV Resort and Silver Lake OR…really a great place! Air is hazy from all the fires everywhere in the West, but we can see Mt. St. Helens at a couple of points along the road to this placed. We decide not to take the 50 mile drive up to the volcano, however…to much time on the road for too little reward. We know all about the big blast, we read about it at the time. And we know all about the fact it is still spewing pyroplastic lava and is spouting little bits of smoke and steam and is still churning away.

Spent the entire day with old friends Joe and Dona…they came for breakfast at 10:30, we talked till 4:30, went our separate ways and took 2 hours off for naps etc, reunited at 7 at our place, fixed grilled porkchops that had been marinated all day in Triple Ginger Teriyaki sauce, had some leftover salmon chowder and fixed a quinoa & brown rice dish to accompany the meat that also included goat cheese and peas…excellent dinner …Killed 2 more bottles of good wine!

Pulled out of Silver Cove at 11 am (our usual!) and drove into Portland, registered for our spot at Jantzen Beach RV Park on Portland’s north side. Went to Camping World for “stuff” and to get quotes on things like new hubcaps to replace 2 that we lost in Alaska. Had dinner with nephew Sam & his spouse Ellen at Papa Haydn restaurant near their house in SE Portland….absolutely terrific restaurant with excellent food! Desserts to die for!  Salted caramel gelato, raspberry tart, raspberry panna cotta the creamiest, smoothest and best panna cotta I’ve ever eaten!

Saturday drove south to Eugene OR & got together with relatives at the fancier more chi-chi 5th Street Public Market…definitely has gone upscale! 40 years ago, for heaven’s sake, the 5th Street Market was a hippie hangout, with funny little hippie stalls where things like feather earrings could be bought for $4! Inn at the Fifth really nice! Met at the fountain, lower level, got food from Provisions bakery/deli on main level, delicious!!! Finished up with honey lavender gelato; lemon sorbet and chocolate sorbet; raspberry sorbet…outstanding!  Great coffees too!

Tonight we’re at the Oceanside RV Park in Charleston OR, very near Coos Bay but closer to ocean…our RV park is about a 3 minute walk from the ocean beach on a little trail out of the park. We can hear the Coos Bay headland foghorn blowing away in the fog…the night is very cool, the air still. Lovely!!! 

Contrary to what I expected a week ago, the adventure definitely continues!
Klondike Susie aka Salty Adventurer
2013 Itasca Reyo (25', no toad)
Married to oldedit
Resides in Denver CO area & Silverthorne CO

SaltyAdventurer

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Re: Great Alaska Adventure - 2013
« Reply #128 on: April 03, 2014, 08:08:53 PM »
Okay, I deserve to have a lot of angry folks chiding me because I simply "fell off the cliff" once we got to Oregon and headed south toward Brookings to visit family there. Our Great Alaska Adventure continued for another 30 days, and YES we had a wonderful time. The land we travelled, however, was "old ground", which we'd pretty much covered before. While it was gorgeous, and fun, it was nowhere near as exciting, revealing, stimulating to every nerve-ending as the trip to Alaska, through Alaska, and down to Victoria from Alaska.

We arrived home several days after Labor Day, delighted to be back in Colorado and constantly ooooh-ing and aaaaaah-ing over the natural beauty of our home state, even in comparison with BC, Alberta, the Yukon Territories, Alaska, and even the Olympic Peninsula. Colorado is to die for!

It's fascinating to both Don and me that not once did we become irritated or impatient with each other in the 100 days we spent on the road living in a space less than half the size of our walk-in closet in our Greenwood Village, Colorado, patio home. We were definitely ready to be HOME at the end of this wonderful journey. Yet coming down off the continual highs of our adventure…constantly seeing new things, meeting new people, finding new places and exploring them, experiencing the primitive nature and undeveloped gazillions of acres in northwestern Canada and Alaska…left both of us feeling a bit deflated. Lethargic. And we even got a bit snappish with each other during the week or two after arriving home.

There were wonderful parts of being home, of course…taking long walks and bicycling for hours on the nearby Highline Canal path every day, going swimming every day, seeing familiar faces (at long last!), and just BEING HOME in our favorite "nest." Nevertheless, we both went through a bit of a crash for a couple of weeks.

I went into a true "nesting mode," believe me. Yes, I went for walks and I swam daily. But I felt as if I didn't want to even leave the house…I wanted to sit on the patio, read books, talk to friends, pick fresh veggies from my dilapidated garden And cook good dinners. There are phases in life when we humans just want to crawl into our cocoons and stay there! This was one of them. It was literally months before I felt like going anywhere…that's what  3 months on the road did to me.  We went to our mountain house in Summit County, of course, and stayed for extended periods. I painted outdoors en plein air with my watercolor buddies in the mountains, feasting my eyes on the brilliant flaming mountainsides of flashing liquid gold aspens at the height of their glory, leaves shimmering in the winds. Aaaaah, Colorado! It felt good to be engaged in familiar routines once again.

Would I do the Alaska Adventure again? YOU BET I WOULD! WE would! Don agrees, it was the best trip of our lives. I loved every single minute of every single day, and so did Don! 

Would I do the trip the exact same way as in 2013? Probably not….We'd dearly LOVE to return to BC/Alberta/Yukon and spend 3-4 weeks just in Canada, exploring all the national parks there, and staying each place 4-5 days. We loved Banff and Lake Louise, would love to return there. I'd give my eye teeth to visit the famous dinosaur museum in Alberta and have 3-4 days to wander there. We'd love to spend more time on Vancouver Island, too….the RV parks there are magnificent…and we had NO time at all the see any of the primitive, wild, wester half of the island, where roads are scarce and RV parks nonexistent….but there are, we hear, some luxurious cabin-stye resorts hidden in the western wilds of Vancouver Island that make one's heart go pitter-patter. MMMMMM. Would love to visit those.

I intentionally planned our trip differently from the way most folks go to Alaska in RVs….from all my reading, I learned that most people head for Seattle, then do a quick trip up The Southeast by Marine Hwy to get up into AK, then they start driving to see as much of the state as they can pack in. I'm VERY GLAD we went up through Canada and took our time going to Tok, doing the whole trip "up over the top" the way we didm. Yes, it's a long haul. But well worth it! Don totally agrees. Then we did the 15 or so Alaska Marine Hwy ferry legs afterwards with our 25' RV through The Southeast, staying each place for 2-5 days. Perfect!!!

Having done or first Alaska foray that way, if we were to go back to Alaska, I think we'd do the reverse trip of what we did in 2013 … we'd drive
directly to Seattle or Vancouver, take the Marine Hwy north to Juneau, skipping Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg and Sitka. We liked many of those places a lot, but we don't need to return the them (well, maybe Ketchikan, to take a couple of side trips that we missed out on!)…and avoiding places with tons of cruise ship passengers would be a major goal, especially if the RV park is near or alongside the cruise ship docks. We adored Juneau (not the downtown…but the outlying areas to the north of the city, north of the road to Mendenhall Glacier!) And we loved Haines, parked 5 feet from the shoreline, watching the moonrises, the ships cruising up the straits, the eagles sitting on dock pilings and diving for salmon every few minutes!!!

Our FAVORITE places and things in Alaska? Gustavus and the Gustavus Inn, definitely!!  Homer, for sure. We could spend weeks there, and not tire of it. (If we went back, we'd take some of the day trips by boat to nearby tiny villages across the bay.) Kenai…the town is a delight, as is
 the entire Kenai Peninsula.  We would definitely MAKE TIME to go to Valdez…we were sorry to miss it last year, and we wouldn't make that mistake again…and we might take the ferry to the sea-locked town of Cordova. We'd love to spend much more time in/around Seward too.

Speaking of the Kenai Peninsula, it would be well worth going to Kodiak Island to visit the city of Kodiak and the National Wildlife Refuge on Kodiak Island…most efficient would be to fly there and stay at a lodge for 3-5 days to explore the area. Fishermen I've spoken with who have stayed in and near Kodiak for periods of time say it is the most beautiful part of Alaska, to their ways of thinking. Probably because the population is small, the nature unspoiled, the quiet remarkable. I learned while staying in Kenai that Kodiak is the base for the Russian Orthodox seminary…its history is fascinating. I'd like to visit there.

And lordy, I still have this HUGE unfulfilled desire to see Unalaska, far far out near the southwestern end of the Aleutian chain, closer to Russia and China than to the US. Unalaska, where it is said the eagles are as numerous everywhere in this godforsaken little village as are the pigeons on the streets of New York…eagles by the dozens and hundreds, perched on power lines, trees, roofs throughout the town, on fishing boats, and docks! Taking a ferry there means a week or more each way, from Homer. We'd need to figure on living in Alaska for a year to have the leisure time to make that trip. So we'd probably fly there, either from Homer or Kodiak, for a couple of days.

It's impossible to get into the Wrangell/Elias National Park & Preserve without spending weeks hiking in very high mountains…but we'd surely take the one road into the Wrangell mountains and spend 4-5 days exploring what we could without doing major mountain trekking. The mountains within Wrangell/Elias are heavily glaciated, so trekkers have to be extremely hardy folks, even in the depth of "summer"…maybe all 2 days of it! The mountains are simply enormous, so primitive and jagged that it's a wonder people could actually live in the area and survive the arduous conditions. I just have to see it, closer up!

We would definitely go to Fairbanks if we were in Alaska again, probably to stay near there and explore for a week or more. Without a doubt we'd make arrangements way ahead of time to take our RV into Denali ( the national park) and camp…if possible traveling on by bus and staying at Kantishna for an additional 3-4 days at the lodge.  Kantishna is hard to get reservations for, but friends who've been there say a stay at the lodge is a heavenly experience.

It's hard to believe that even after spending a full 50 days actually IN Alaska, we only saw a tiny fraction of the state! As I look at the map of Alaska, I realize that if we went back I'd love to fly to 3 or 4 remote villages in the "interior" and/or "far north" and/or "southwest" of Alaska, just to experience them, meet the people who live there, and get the feel of the places.  I believe the name of the tiny Inuit village in the Northern Yukon Territories I'd like to return to is Nunavik…I've read about the town, and the whole experience of meeting natives (First Nations people in Canada and all the various tribes in Alaska) pulls me strongly. I love everything about the native lore, the customs, the fetishes and symbols, the totems, he stories (such as the different creation tales, involving Raven and the Box in which sunlight was locked). I'd go for a lot more of that.

One of our all-time favorite spots during this trip was a tiny resort/RV park in the Yukon (Canada), between Destruction Bay and Beaver Creek, shortly before crossing into Alaska and getting to Tok. The couple who owned the place were delightful. Every night they build a roaring outdoor council fire, during which everyone sits around and tells tall tales (and these are real WHOPPERS!) of the old days, the Yukon, the mineral resources, the wild animals, and the winter hardships. The lady proprietor has owned the place for about a decade…in the early 2000s, she took a sabbatical from her high level corporate job for a long road trip to Alaska, stopped at this little resort in the woods, fell in love with a bearded Mountain Man while staying there, and never went home. Yes, they're a couple, and yes, they make the place very, very interesting. Bathrooms and showers in the main building have been renovated, but the front room, where guests register and linger over their morning coffee while using the wi-fi. The old glass retail cases are filled with chunks of jade found in the area, with fossils and historical items from when the Alcan Highway was constructed during WWII. It's a mishmash of wonderful stuff, and the company is intelligent, stimulating, and wonderful. A full week there would be a delight.

I'd really love to fly up into the Arctic Circle, maybe even as far as Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay. Why? Simply because I want to see the far north! I'd love to go to Barrow for a few days…I want to see towns where people still hunt seals and whales. Point Hope sounds interesting, and someone who lives in Kotzebue tell great stories of her life there. Let's go!Seeing those places would show me un-civilization, people who live close to the earth, their lives rules by the seasons. Yes, I want to experience it!
 
You get the gist, huh? If / when we go back to the frontier state, we'll need another 3 months, at least!  So much to see and experience, so little time!

We were very selective about the museums we chose to visit. I read about every museum in every town, and made decisions on the spot about whether we'd use up any time hanging around a specific museum. Many folks visited every single museum, large and small, in every single town. Yuck! How many old wringer washing machines, ancient rifles, and handmade snowshoes can you find interesting? Every old beaded gown looks like every other after you've seen three. Several museums stick in my memory as outstanding…1.) The big Alaska Museum in Anchorage has the most incredible native artifacts and clothing I've ever dreamed of! Full floor-length hide capes covered with thousands of tiny white bird bodies of perfect feathers…mind-blowingly gorgeous. Absolutely garb fit for a chieftain! It took years and years to create. It's the equivalent of ancient silks from China, silk-stitched tapestries from Tibet, statuary and bronze and tile work from Greece and Italy. 2) The Beringia Center in Whitehorse, Yukon, is outstanding. Worthy of at least three visits. Full of ancient history. It is so well done that it provided the links for me of the modern world of the north to the ancient world of the north, when the land bridge existed. I began to understand the heritage of all the Native Americans, related to the various tribes of Alaska, particularly the Athabascans of central Alaska. who migrated east and south.

That's all, folks! Our trip was a glorious adventure. Every minute of every day. We didn't take a single fishing charter, and didn't feel cheated at all!
We took only ONE expensive boat tour…on Glacier Bay. It was fabulous, worth every penny and more. The flight from Juneau to Gustavus was exhilarating and spectacular, and our 4-day stay at the Gustavus Inn was to die for! Accommodations, service and FOOD unparalleled. We are people of the land, let there be no doubt…we must have said a hundred times that we were so glad not to be on a cruise, and not to be flying in and out in the space of a couple weeks. Don and I are farmers at heart, so we found the wildlife, the undeveloped land, the vast stretches of forest and muskeg and rivers and lakes spectacular.

Oh, one more thing….I would do a lot of kayaking if I returned to Alaska. Don isn't fond of kayaking at all; I love it! I would sign up for a half-day kayak tour at nearly every town, leaving Don to have coffee and read the papers while I'm paddling away. If I did go kayaking on Glacier Bay, maybe I could commune at length with my favorite birds on earth… winged puffins! Cutest critters ever created.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2014, 04:32:06 PM by SaltyAdventurer »
Klondike Susie aka Salty Adventurer
2013 Itasca Reyo (25', no toad)
Married to oldedit
Resides in Denver CO area & Silverthorne CO

SaltyAdventurer

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  • Posts: 142
Re: Great Alaska Adventure - 2013
« Reply #129 on: April 03, 2014, 08:16:46 PM »
OUR ITINERARY…This was done in January, 2013 and has had so many viewers that I'm re-posting it here so people can find it! It was buried and was difficult to locate for those who still want to use it!

Our Alaska Adventure...summer 2013: The planning is underway!
January 23, 2013


Hello All!  The planning is progressing....I'm posting our entire ITINERARY here, for your information...I've now added a possible visit to the Fish Creek sanctuary by the Tongass Natl Forest near Hyder in Southeast Alaska to our plans, for when we are in Wrangell or Petersburg, whichever turns out to be closer to the bear-visiting place....thanks for the suggestions, one and all!  I know some of you have said not to write off Fairbanks, but other friends of ours said Fairbanks was "just another city, and not a very interesting one at that"...so I do think we are going to eliminate the time and distance of driving there and going into Denali. For those of you who don't live in some of the world's most gorgeous mountains, going into Denali NP is surely something very special...but we live in one of the world's most beautiful places and are in/near many 14'ers all the time.  So....   

One of you asked what the $$ damages are for all of our ferrying with the RV from Whittier back across to Juneau, and then Ferry-hopping with the RV throughout Southeast Alaska....total cost $3,634.  On only one of those trips (from Whittier to Juneau---nearly 2 days) did I reserve a cabin...I got us a 4-person cabin so we would have extra beds on which to poe cases & clothes, plus an in-cabin bathroom (per advice from friends who RV'ed to Alaska in summer, 2011).  There's one additional ferry cost that I don't have at my fingertips right now...that is from Prince Rupert BC to Port Hardy BC....will give that to you later on. It's very reasonable, however....and I didn't get us a cabin for that rip of 15 hrs....the BC Ferries agent suggested a first-class lounge seat, instead...less expensive, more comfortable than economy class, and lots of cabin-like conveniences without the cost of a cabin.  So that's what I did for that leg.

All told, considering the enormous amount of driving time, miles on the road, and fuel cost savings, I think the ferry is very cost effective for us! Would be much less so, of course, if we had a coach of 30-36 feet or more.  But that's really the joy of having our 25 foot-er. Easy in lots of ways.

Here's my plan so far:

ALASKA ITINERARY:

May 29   RAWLINS WY (2 hrs/125 mi)
      --RV World CG (no cable tv, okay, clean,  but road noise) 307-328-1091
      --Rawlins KOA CG (unfriendly, it’s okay, but not great) 307-328-2021

May 30   LANDER WY 2.75 hrs/ 160 mi)
--Sleeping Bear RV Park (best of anything available, immaculate facilities, great showers, very quiet!) 307-332-5159

May 31   JACKSON WY…2 nts (2.25 hrs/95 mi)
June 1   --Virginian Lodge RV Park (best available but not fabulous, expensive, has tv and wifi, clean) 800-262-4999

June 2      YELLOWSTONE NP…3 nts (2.25 hrs/95 mi)
June 3      --Yellowstone Park KOA, West Yellowstone MT 406-646-7606, 6 mi fr
June 4      west park entrance; $60/nt x 3 = 180

June 5      BUTTE MT (3.5 hrs/193 mi)
--there’s a crummy KOA in Butte, best place is Fairmont RV Park & CG, Fairmont MT, 15 mi west of Butte  406-797-3505

June 6      MISSOULA MT (2 hrs/120mi)
--definitely stay at Jim & Mary’s RV Park!! Abso the best around! Has TV. Very clean. Great facilities. Get spot farthest from train noise. 406-549-4416

June 7   GLACIER NP…4 nts  (Whitefish 2.5 hrs/136 mi, Glacier is another .75 hr/126 mi)
   --In Whitefish, MT, Stock up on some frozen veggies & frozen fruit for  Canada travel…eggs? Milk? (NO WINE, FRESH FRUIT OR VEGGIES!)
--stay at North American RV Park & Yurt Village, Located only 5 miles west of Glacier National Park's West entrance between Mile Markers 147 & 148 (rec’d by rvforum buddy) Coram MT Good Sam. full hooks $35/nt 800-704-4266
--OR if going to the east side of the park, stay at Johnson’s CG & RV Park in Browning MT. 406-732-4207. Excellent place. $42/nt. Good Sam. Fabulous views.
June 8
June 9
June 10

June 11   BROWNING MT (1 hr/68 mi)/ ST. MARY MT (0.5 hr/29 mi)/ WATERTON PROVINCIAL PARK AB CANADA (0.75 hr/41 mi)
--FILL UP WITH GAS in Browning…30-40 cents cheaper!
--EAT for sure at the Park Place Café in Browning…everything homemade. Out of this world.
--FUEL UP in Browning or St. Mary, ABSO before crossing into Canada!!! (Gas is cheapest in Browning!)
      --Get $250 Canadian cash right after we cross into Canada.
      --Buy a Canadian USB Modem Card (TELUS?? Card) right away ….
--Townsite CG (Parks Canada) in the town of Waterton has full hookups, nice place according to reviews. 403-859-5133

June 12   CARDSTON AB CANADA (0.5 hr/28 mi)/ BANFF AB CANADA (3.75 hrs/226 mi)
--stay in Cardston overnight if necessary, at a city park rt downtown called Cardston Lee Creek CG (city park, very nice according to rvforum guy)
--Banff has Tunnel Mtn CG (a public park) with Full HUs, only a mile from downtown Banff, $38.20/nt  403-762-1550
--a private RV park close to Banff is Spring Creek RV CG in Canmore, 14 mi from Banff $37-$40  403-678-5111

June 13   LAKE LOUISE AB CANADA (1 hr/36 mi) / JASPER AB CANADA (3.5 hrs/145 mi)
   --Just West of Lake Louise, off Hwy 1/93, beyond the turnoff of Hwy 1 to the west, is Yoho Natl Park, home of the famous Burgess Shale, the finest paleontological deposit of soft invertebrates in North America…would be well worth going to!!
   --Hinton/Jasper KOA, 1.5 mi west of Hinton 780-865-5061 $36.65

June 14   PRINCE GEORGE BC CANADA (4.5 hrs/233 mi)
      --Bee Lazee RV Park & CG, $28 for full HUs, 250-963-7263
--stop in Prince George for a COUPON BOOK! Good visitor center..in old part of town. Interesting city…
--stay in Southland RV Park (South Park RV Park??) south of Prince George on Hwy 97…nice place…Sarge

June 15   CHETWYND BC CANADA  (3.5 hrs/190 mi) / FORT ST. JOHN BC CANADA (2.25 hours/108 mi)
   --Our LONGEST DAY—5.75 hrs!!
   --Ross H Maclean Rotary RV Park, at Charlie Lake just north of Fort St. John. Good Sam park. $33-38 for full HU. 250-785-1700
   --IF we go to Dawson Creek (interesting town, nice place…), sty at Northern Lights CG, has good restrooms! Says Sarge…does he mean Dawson City???
   --June 9-10 in Chetwynd is the Intl Chainsaw Championship!

June 16   FORT NELSON BC CANADA (4.5 hrs/237 mi)
--Bluebell Inn & RV Park, old, mud & puddles, behind a gas station and motel w a convenience store; $27 for full HU. 250-774-6961  a dump!
--OR Triple G Hideaway, $37 full HUs. Best available. 250-774-2340
--Sarge says none of the RV parks in Ft Nelson is very good…he stayed at Triple G Hideaway CG, 130 sites.
--FUEL UP ABSO in Fort Nelson, before leaving!!!
--FILL UP WITH WATER FOR MUNCHO LAKE!!!

June 17   MUNCHO LAKE BC CANADA (3.5 hrs/150 mi)…2 nts
--Muncho Lake PP / Macdonalds CG NO hookups but gorgeous fabulous dry-camping!! Everybody loves this place! 250-776-7000 $16
--Northern rockies Lodge RV Park, private CG, at Mile 462 on Alaska Hwy, $42-50/nt    800-663-5269
June 18   --Sarge says to definitely FILL UP on gas in Contact Creek, on the way to Watson Lake!!

June 19   WATSON LAKE YT CANADA (3.25 hrs/170 mi)
--Baby Nugget RV Park, abt 15 mi west of Watson Lake just before the Cassiar Hwy turnoff. Fairly decent…best available. $36 for full HU. Has an RV wash. Restaurant is expensive/overpriced, but some ppl liked it.
--Sarge says all the RV parks in/near Watson Lake are icky…he stayed in Downtown RV Park
--Is KLUNE LAKE somewhere nearby?? Cottonwood RV Park…rec’d by rvforum guy…best of the worst.

June 20   WHITEHORSE YT CANADA --Summer Solstice!!! (5 hrs/272 mi)
--Hi Country RV Park $35 for full HU. Lots of shade trees, best available park. Clean facilities and good laundry room. Has tv. 867-667-7445
--Sarge says OK to stay at Pioneer RV Park…he stayed there.
--Caribou RV Park is OK, 30 amp + water, nice laundry & bathrooms! (rvforum)
--Sarge says to definitely go to The Frantic Follies in Whitehorse…hilarious! In the Westmont Hotel in downtown Whitehorse…really fun! (doesn’t perform on Mondays…this is a Thurs!)
--Sarge says there’s a fabulous restaurant in Whitehorse, “BarbBQ and Salmon” is the name, also good is the Klondike Rib & Salmon restaurant.
--visit the Beringia Museim in Whitehorse…fun, & the café there is good!
--the 2-hour boat ride on the Yukon River is really a good trip!!
--Guffeys loved Whitehorse…a really neat place!!
--Guffeys say to SKIP Destruction Bay…BUT that it’s well worth considering driving north & west from Whitehorse to Dawson City, then to Chicken, THEN to TOK….that’s really the best route!!!

June 21   DESTRUCTION BAY YT CANADA (4 hrs/162 mi)
--Sarge says Destruction Bay is the pits…a yucky place…no good RV Parks there! HOWEVER, halfway betyween Tok and Whitehorse is White River…White River RV Park is a nice place with excellent views!! Better to drive on to White River, he says!
--Cottonwood RV Park, fabulous views! Unparalleled! Only 15 amp power tho, from a generator. No tv. $32 for full HU. 867-841-4066
--Destruction Bay Lodge & RV Park, no tv, $33 for full HU  867-841-5332
--about halfway between Destruction Bay and Tok is Deadman’s Lake Campground. Free…boondocking, no hookups. 1.2 mi off the Alaska Hwy.

June 22   TOK AK / CHICKEN AK (4.75 hrs/225 mi)…2 nts
--Stay at Sourdough Campground in Tok!! RESERVE AHEAD if you want full HUs!!!
--Three Bears RV Park & Campground is ok…rvforum guy…$26/nt for full HUs, wanted to stay at Sourdough but there were no full HUs available. Sourdough is the preferred spot!
--Sarge says Tok RV Village is nice, $45/nt full HUs, has shade with pine trees.
--Gary & Eileen Guffy loved Chicken…a 75-mi drive away, but I think it’s a gravel road…town is related to the book Tisha…interesting place. Sarge liked it too…Sarge says the drive on Taylor Hwy up to Eagle is just gorgeous.

June 23   ?? Moveable day!! Extra day in Tok to drive to Chicken?? or go on to Glennallen??
--From Tok, drive south to Paxson, then go west on Denali Hwy (gravel) across to Cantwell, then south toward Anchorage…fabulous views, great wildflowers, very little traffic (almost no oncoming traffic!), outstanding wildlife!
--If we go to Gakona, the Gakona RV Park on the Copper River is really nice, says Sarge. $28/nt

June 24   GLENNALLEN AK (3 hrs/179 mi)
--Possibly stay 1-2 nights at Majestic Valley Wilderness Lodge at Glennallen??
--rvforum guy said Northern Lights campground is fine…$38 CASH for E+W…LOTS of mosquitoes!!!
--Between Glennallen and Palmer, the Glacier View RV Park is just beautiful!!! It’s 60 mi from Anchorage.  (Be SURE to go to Palmer…Guffeys just loved it. The musk ox farm in Palmer was so great, they spent a whole day there!!)

June 25   PAXSON to CANTWELL VIA DENALI HIGHWAY (1.25 hrs/74 mi)
--stay at the CG along the Denali Hwy!!...Sarge says the McLaren River Lodge is the GREAT place to stop along the Denali Hwy!! Do they have RV sites??
      --Frommers says Denali Hwy drive is one of the best in the state!

June 26   TALKEETNA AK (2 hrs/127 mi)
--Gary & Eileen Guffy: Be sure to go to Talkeetna…took a flightseeing tour from Talkeetna to Mt McKinley / Denali…that’s definitely the BEST way to see the mountain and the area around it!
--Sarge says he had the BEST sourdough pancakes for lunch he’d ever eaten, in Talkeetna

****ARE WE GOING TO VISIT VALDEZ??? 2 ppl on rvforum said Valdez was one of their favorite 3 places in all of Alaska…Marge & Tim adored Valdez. Bear Paw II RV Park. LuLuBelle cruise was great. Eat at Totem Inn in Valdez…wonderful. Sea Otter Campground is also OK. Best prices for salmon & halibut in all Alaska are across street from Sea Otter CG at the cannery…go upstairs!****

June 27   ANCHORAGE AK (2 hrs/112 mi)…4 nts
--RESERVE at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood AK for 1-2 nights??? (3/4 hr/38 mi fr Anchorage)
--Sarge says the Golden Nugget RV Park in Anchorage is OK, not great…MUST RESERVE AHEAD!!!
--or at the Hotel Alyeska in Anchorage?
      --Another place that’s interesting is Hotel Captain Cook!!
      --Guffys loved Anchorage, especially the MUSEUM there…
--might want to take a flightseeing trip to Denali from here??…best way to see the park & mtn
      --Check out the Anchorage Theater & music scene while we’re there…
--Sarge & wife liked the Snow Goose restaurant, and the Sleeping Lady Brewery in Anchorage
--the drive from Anchorage to Seward is absolutely gorgeous, but a real WHITE-KNUCKLE DRIVE!
--Be SURE to drive to Palmer, near Anchorage…go to the Musk Ox Farm at Palmer…Guffeys just loved the musk ox farm! Spent a whole day there!

June 28   
June 29
June 30   

July 1      HOPE AK (1.5 hrs/88 mi)
--Guffys: Be SURE to go to HOPE AK, just off the road that leads to Whittier…Hope is a really interesting town.   

July 2      SOLDOTNA AK
--The road between Soldotna & Anchorage is really crowded abt July 15 when the red salmon run starts…
--There’s a big Fred Meyer store in Soldotna!

July 3      KENAI AK (2 hrs/104 mi from Hope)…4 nts
      --***RESERVE RV PARK ABSO!!!!
-- MOOSE PASS AK??
NIKISKI AK??
ANCHOR POINT AK??
SELDOVIA AK??
YAKUTAT AK??
--Guffeys: Be SURE to go to the WILDLIFE REHABILITATION CENTER near Kenai…off the Seward Hwy…lots of great wildlife there, a fascinating place!!
--The fishing trips for salmon & Halibut from Kenai are great
July 4
July 5
July 6     

July 7      HOMER AK (1.5 hrs/82 mi)   …4 nts
--RESERVE at Heritage RV Park, way out on Homer Spit!! Site #82 is fabulous! $60/nt: Sarge
--Also really nice is the Oceanview RV Park in Homer, on the bluff..full hookups, really great: Sarge
--If you want to boondock on the Homer Spit, go to City Park Beach and park for 2 days!! Sarge
Guffeys: Very very scenic place, several great little towns along the way. This is the place to get a boat tour if you want one.
--Eat at the Broadway Inn on the Homer Spit..great fish & chips! Sarge
July 8
July 9
July 10

July 11   SEWARD AK (3.5 hrs/168 mi)…3 nts
--Waterfront (City) Park (RV Park), good hookups! says Sarge
--Guffys: Seward is really worth going to, for the scenery and the history
-- Try to stay in Seward 2-3 days at least, and drive the Scenic Glenn Hwy to Valdez…along the way, stop & hike the Exit Glacier at Kenai Fjords Natl Park
--Frommers P 7 says Exit Glacier is one of the best in Alaska…short gravel path (chapt 7)
--SEWARD HWY between Anchorage and Seward, through the Chugach Mtns, is the most beautiful drive in Alaska, says Frommers (pg 7)     
July 12
July 13

July 14   WHITTIER AK (2 hrs/88 mi)
      --Stay in Whittier only 1 afternoon, not much to see there.
--Gary Guffy…Whittier is a really neat city, very unique.

July 15      WHITTIER AK…Ferry to Juneau, departs 11:45 pm
--Be there be 8:45 pm ABSO!!  PICK UP ALL TICKETS AT OFFICE FOR ALL FERRY TRIPS!!
      --Ferry trip is 1 day/13 hr/ 15min
--we have a 4-berth cabin!!!
--CORDOVA AK….does Whittier ferry stop here?? If so, what time? We would enjoy seeing Cordova, I think!!

July 16      all day on FERRY to Juneau!

June 17   JUNEAU AK…arrives 1 pm in Juneau (terminal is at Auke Bay!)
--Can we park near or at the ferry dock when we arrive, to catch the ferry the next morning…have to be at the ferry by 6 am??? (terminal # is 907-789-0066)
--RESERVE ahead at Auke Village CG, only 1.75 mi north of the ferry dock…vault toilets and running water only!! Only 11 sites tho! $10/nt.
--terminal is 14 mi from downtown Juneau…
--Shuttles operate from the ferry dock to downtown Juneau, but times are changeable. Ask at ferry dock, or call visitor center 888-581-2201
--Eat at Hot Bite, located at the Auke Bay boat harbor…a locals’ secret…fabulous halibut burgers & shakes!!
--DEFINITELY eat at the Red Dog Saloon, at 278 South Franklin St…rec’d by Jim Strain!! Really famous, lots of great memorabilia from the heyday of the old mining days!  Good fish, salmon wraps, burgers!
--
Tracy's King Crab Shack
 
265 Reviews
Juneau, AK
 
Sandpiper Cafe
 
84 Reviews
Juneau, AK
 
 
Sand Bar and Grill
 
27 Reviews
Juneau, AK
 
The Rookery Cafe
 
22 Reviews
Juneau, AK


July 18      FERRY to SKAGWAY AK...3 nts  (Ferry departs 8 AM-be there by 7A)
--RESERVE AHEAD!!! Pullen Creek RV Park www.pullencreekrv.com  907-983-2768  is near the small boat harbor, right on the water’s edge, coin-op showers, sites have E & W $38/nt. (HINT: Park facing the docks!)
--Get a Skagway Trail Map at the visitor center…town has good hikes…(Frommers Pg 207)   
      --eat at Skagway Fish Co…good fresh fish and beer.
--eat at The Stowaway Café..in a right blue bldg. overlooking the boat harbor…best rest in town.
--with a population of only 900, there’s not much here! The Canadian border is 14 mi north at the top of the pass…one of the MOST spectacular drives anywhere in Alaska! Do it in clear weather only…in cloudy weather, you’ll see nothing.
--Skagway is a great place to walk everywhere, or to bike…Sockeye Cycle, 5th Ave off Broadway.
--Go see the Days of ’98 Show…$22/person, good show abt the history of the town. Has been running since 1927.
--SMART bus is $2/ride, around town or also out to the Klondike Gold Dredge…$5 all-day pass.
--The Whitehorse Yukon train trip is really fun, one person said.
--Drive to Dyea, find the Chilkoot Trail that the miners took, and hike part of it! A hoot!
July 19
July 20

July 21      FERRY to HAINES AK…3 nts (Ferry departs 3 PM…be there @ 2 PM)
      --Go the Haines Visitor Center!!
      --Oceanside RV Park is rec’d by rvforum folks
--there’s a campground in Haines ¼ mi from the center of town, with GREAT views!...Guffeys stayed at the RV Park in Haines that’s right ON the bay close to the ferry dock…it’s just GREAT, Gary said! Overlooks the water, u can watch all the ships and ferries coming & going.
--The Lighthouse restaurant right near the campground is great!
--Guffys: We went to Resurrection Bay from Haines, where we watched dozens of grizzlies feeding on salmon during the run. We were on a walkway, and safe, but were actually very close to the bears. It was the experience of a lifetime…I’d go back there in the blink of an eye!
--Frommers see Pg 189 etc.
--Fort Wm Seward is here, and Alaska Indian Arts Native Cultural Center.
--Eagles are everywhere in Haines!!
--Along Haines Hwy is the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. Viewing esp good from Miles 18-21!! Spectacular alpine terrain!
--visit the American Bald Eagle Foundation site…rvforum folks said it is wonderful!
--rvforum folks LOVED watching the salmon and the eagles at the FISH LADDER in town!
--Worth driving to Klokwan from Haines??
--Take the train from Haines to the Klondike Gold Rush Historic Park…quite fun!
--Might be a good place to bike…Sockeye Cycle, $35 for 8 hrs, just uphill fr Port Chilkoot Dock at 24 Portage St in the Ft Wm Seward area  877-292-4154
--Haines is a good place to hike, too…Battery Pt Trail is 2 mi along a beach, starts at the end of Beach Rd.  Seduction Pt Trail 7 mi long, starts at Chilkat State Park at the end of Mud Bay Rd, south of town…goes thru forest and along beaches to end of Chilkat Peninsula…great views of Rainbow Glacier. Check the tides!!!
--Eat at The Bamboo Room…famous for its halibut fish & chips!
July 22
July 23

July 24      Ferry to JUNEAU…2 nts…Ferry departs 5 PM (Be there @ 4 PM)
      --trip is 4 hr 30 min
----RESERVED RV CG AHEAD!! DONE!!  Spruce Meadow RV Park, 10200 Mendenhall Loop Rd 907-789-1990 is best..$37 for full HU. Wooded and open sites in forested area near the glacier. Cable TV and wifi. Also on the city bus line!! Don’t take the RV into the city of Juneau…it’s tight!  www.juneaurv.com  SENT RESERVATION FORM IN 11/16/12…talked to owner twice, all arranged!!! We can leave the RV there, with electric for a partial fee, while we go to Gustavus!! We can get a taxi from there to the airport on the 26th…
--((ALTERNATIVE place wd be Auke Village CG, only 1.75 mi north of the ferry dock…vault toilets and running water only!! Only 11 sites tho! $10/nt. ))
--Only abt 1 mi from the ferry docks, the Auke Village Recr Area, northwest of the city on Glacier Hwy, is great for picnics and beach walks…only about 1 mile from the ferry docks.
--24 miles out the Glacier Hwy (rd turns to gravel) past Auke Bay is Pt Bridget State Pk, which has a beautiful 3.5 mi flat path thru forest, meadow and marsh to the shore…sea lions, humpback whales, eagles.
--Eat at Hot Bite, located at the Auke Bay boat harbor…a locals’ secret…fabulous halibut burgers & shakes.
July 25

July 26      Fly to GUSTAVUS AK …2 nts Air Excursions flight @ 11:30 AM
--RESERVED/CONFIRMED at Gustavus Inn for 2 nights, all meals included, incl lunch the day we leave. (See Frommers Pg 188)
--Do we want to take the all-day boat tour from Gustavus to see Glacier Bay Natl Park?  Frommers says the Grand Pacific Glacier is the most beautiful in Alaska (Chapt 5)  YES!!! I arranged this already with
Dave Lesh at the Gustavus Inn!!!  Jim Strain said the glacier is by far the most amazing, beautiful in all of Alaska..no other even compares to it.
July 27

July 28      Fly to JUNEAU AK…3 nts     Air Excursions flight @ 2:25 PM
--RESERVE RV CG AHEAD!!! DONE!!!  Spruce Meadow RV Park, 10200 Mendenhall Loop Rd 907-789-1990 is best..$37 for full HU. Wooded and open sites in forested area near the glacier. Cable TV and wifi. Also on the city bus line!! Don’t take the RV into the city of Juneau…it’s tight!  www.juneaurv.com  SENT RESERVATION FORM IN 11/16/12…talked to owner twice, all arranged!!! We can leave the RV there, with electric for a partial fee, while we go to Gustavus!!
--Otherwise, Mendenhall Glacier CG, public but very good, 9 full HUs, +9 partials with E & W. $28    907-586-8800  Frommers calls this place the best public CG in the entire state of Alaska!!!
--Check out POSSIBLE HIGH WINDS in Juneau…esp at RV park close to harbor…winds often go to 100 mph! Is RV safe while we’re gone??
--Go to Angoon and Pack Creek from Juneau…they’re neat places! Pack Creek is fabulous for bear viewing, but it’s on Admiralty Island and costs $600/person to get there in a 5.5 hr tour by plane…reserve ahead if we want it. 907-790-2120
--Excellent bear viewing at the edge of the parking lot at Mendenhall Glacier, which is Juneau’s best attraction. Drive north out of Juneau to the head of the valley…good trail leads to the edge of Mendenhall Lake…bears are within a few yards of the viewing platforms near the visitor center. Try the East Glacier Loop Trail, 3.5 mi RT with a few steep parts, but relatively easy…thru a forest to a waterfall high above, the glacier’s face is quite close.
--The Auke Village Recr Area, northwest of the city on Glacier Hwy, is great for picnics and beach walks…only about 1 mile from the ferry docks.
--24 miles out the Glacier Hwy (rd turns to gravel) past Auke Bay is Pt Bridget State Pk, which has a beautiful 3.5 mi flat path thru forest, meadow and marsh to the shore…sea lions, humpback whales, eagles.
--Bald eagles are everywhere in Juneau! Most common on the shorelines…esp at the hatchery.
--Perseverance Trail goes up the valley behind Juneau (city) into the old mining district…4 mi of easy walking on the mtnside above Gold Creek. Trailhead is 1.5 mi from town on Basin Rd.
--Whale watching is reliable from Juneau…many small boats are available for tours
--Tracy Arm is as gorgeous as Glacier Bay and easier / cheaper to get to…$150/person for Harv & Marv’s Outback Alaska Tours…long, narrow twisting passageway into the coastal mtns with mile-high peaks rising straight out of the water, big waterfalls, and several big glaciers at its head. Whales and other wildlife along the way. Jim Strain did this trip and said it’s OK but not nearly as good as Glacier Bay cruise!
      --Alaska State Museum at 395 Whittier St. is good…
--Eat at Hot Bite, located at the Auke Bay boat harbor…a locals’ secret…fabulous halibut burgers & shakes.
--IF a clear day, take the Mt Roberts Tramway at 490 S Franklin St., 6 min ride to 1760 ft high…can hike the 2.5 mi back to town. $27/person RT
July 29
July 30   --Late afternoon of the 30th, should we drive to the ferry docks and park there to sleep? We have to be at the ferry docks at 3:15 AM!!   NO NEED TO, says the owner of the Spruce Meadow RV Park…only about a 15 minute drive to the ferry!

July 31      Ferry to SITKA AK…3 nts Ferry departs 8:30 AM (Be there @ 7:30AM)
      --Ferry trip is 9 hr 30 min
--Sitka Sportsman’s Assoc RV Park, adjacent to the ferry dock 7 mi from town, has E & W HUs…907-747-4712…under $22..heated bathrooms, showers  RESERVE AHEAD!!
--Alternate RV Park is Sealing Cove RV Park, abt ½ mi walk to town, adjacent to marina. E & W only. Under $25. 907-747-3439
--Take a boat tour to Punchbowl Cove in Misty Fjords, south of Ketchikan…fabulously high cliffs, gorgeous!  Allen Marine 877-686-8100 $159 each for 4.5 hr trip…boats are fast, quiet (Frommers p 110)
--St Lazaria Island  off the coast of Sitka sounds really interesting, too!!
--Sitka is great for hiking…a dozen good trails from town
--Eat at Ludvig’s Bistro (Meditteranean) first-rate food, 256 Katlian St….Margi and kent Klute just loved this place…ate there 3 times in 3 days.
Aug 1
Aug 2

Aug 3   Ferry to PETERSBURG AK…2 nts Ferry departs 7:45AM, be there @ 6:45 AM
   --Ferry trip is 12 hr 45 min
   --We have a 4-berth cabin on this trip
   --Trip from Petersburg to Wrangell is one of the MOST beautiful in all of Alaska!!
   --Ferry terminal has a big lawn, & is really nice! About a mile from the town center. Petersburg is on Mitkof Island
   --For fresh take-out fish, go to the counter at Coastal Cold Storage…fried halibut & chowders!
   --RESERVE AHEAD!! Twin Creek RV Park is 7.5 mi out of town on Mitkof Hwy, $30/nt for full HUs. Has a laundry and showers. 907-772-3244
   --Definitely go to Fish Creek, next to Tongass Natl Forest, near Hyder…. Fish creek is located in near Hyder, Alaska, the only mainland accessible town along Alaska’s southern portion of the panhandle. It is a tiny place and accessed from the Cassiar Highway in British Columbia, Canada. Fish creek is a popular destination for bears who come in search of the salmon that lay in its clear waters. The Tongass National Forest borders the area and it was in classical form during my short visit, which was misty, rain filled clouds that would come and go through the mountains. –highly rec’d by RVforum folks!!
Aug 4   

Aug 5   Ferry to WRANGELL AK…4 nts Ferry departs 3:15 PM, be there @ 1:15 PM
   --Ferry trip is 3 hr 15 min
   --Ferry terminal in Wrangell is downtown.
   --STAY AT Shoemaker Bay Recreation Area, ABSO!!! Has 16 RV sites w electric HUs, no water. 5 mi south of town by the road overlooking the boat harbor. Just pick any spot, hook up, and pay at the office or put check in the little box!!! $25/nt, fee includes use of the town swimming pool (indoor) and its showers. No advance reservations, hardly EVER full! Swimming pool is ½ mi south of the ferry docks/harbor…Operated by Wrangell Rec & Parks Dept 907-874-2444
   (**DO NOT STAY at Alaska Waters RV Park…reviews say it’s a dump!)
--Eat at Alaskan Sourdough Lodge family style, no menu (reservations required for non-guests), great food. 907-874-3613
--Great halibut & chips at the Stikine Inn at 107 Stikine Ave.
--Diamond C Café is good, incl fresh halibut, as is Zak’s Café, with lots of fresh fish! Both on Front St.

Aug 6

Aug 7   4 PM ABSO!!! Call Alaska Vistas at 907-874-3006 to get a pickup tomorrow morning at 8:30 for the Wildlife Observatory trip!!! Sylvia is the owner with her husband John…she’s Great!!
     
Aug 8   --Alaska Vistas trip 9 AM to Anan Wildlife Observatory!!!  9am to 4-4:30 pm…RESERVED and confirmed!   $251.45/person. 907-874-3006  Located @ 106 Front St, at City Dock.  Reservation includes 50% deposit, pay rest when at office. Cancel 30 days before to get full refund of deposit!
--Anan Wildlife Observatory is great for bear-viewing…peak of salmon run is July 15-Aug 20…Alaska Waters & Alaska Vistas offers boat tours, $210 to $265/person for 1-hr ride out and a few hrs with the bears. (Frommers Pg 122)  --A MUST-SEE near Wrangell, according to Margi Klute, is the Anan Wildlife Observatory…MUST RESERVE FAR AHEAD!!!!...take abt a 1-hr boat ride, 6 people at a time only, then go with 2 guides (each armed with a rifle) along viewing platforms that re only a few yards away from the bears feeding on spawning fish…incredible!!! She said they were there for 4 hrs and it felt as if the time passed in 20 minutes, it was so fantastic!!

Aug 9   Ferry to KETCHIKAN AK…2 nts Ferry departs 10:00 AM, be there at 8: 00 AM
   --Ferry trip is 5 hr 45 min…arrival at 4 pm
   --RESERVE AHEAD!!! at Clover Pass Resort & RV Park…get TourSaver coupon, 1 FREE night!!! This is the only full svc RV Park in the area, 15 mi north of Ketchikan, 35 sites, full HUs incl tv, $34/nt. Laundry. Has a shuttle to town!! (see email from owner!)
--Take a boat or ferry to visit METLAKATLA AK on Annette Island south of Ketchikan for a day??? Guffys said it is fabulous! It is the ONLY Indian reservation in the state of Alaska…Tsimshian Tribe, but with lots of other tribes represented as well.
--Can we drive to Hyder AK from Ketchikan? The bear viewing there, near Stewart BC, is incredible, says Sarge

Aug 10

Aug 11   Ferry to PRINCE RUPERT BC CANADA…Ferry departs 7:30 AM, be there at 6:30 AM ABSO!!!!
   --Ferry trip is 7 hr 30 min
   --Kinnikinnick RV Park is a 5-min walk from Port Edward in Prince Rupert…only has 15 amp power tho…do NOT do laundry here!!
   --visit the Northern Pacific Cannery Historic Park…10 minutes outside of Port Edward…has a great little café with fabulous seafood chowder! Nearby is a great hiking trail that goes down to the rapids…abt 6 mi RT.
   --I checked with the AMHS abt a ferry on the 12th instead of the 11th, but there isn’t one!

Aug 12   

Aug 13   Ferry to PORT HARDY BC CANADA…BC Ferry departs 7:30 AM, be there @ 5:30 AM ABSO!!
   --Ferry trip is 16+ hrs…arrival Port Hardy is 11:30 PM
   --We have reserved seats (recliners) in the 1st Class Aurora Lounge for that trip (take books, extra jackets, overshirts, small blankets!)
   --RESERVE AHEAD!!...stay at Port Hardy RV Resort, 8080 Goodspeed Road, Port Hardy…250-949-8111…1.2 mile N of Bear Cove Junction where the ferry docks are located…Resort is just off Hwy 19
   
Aug 14   drive south on Vancouver Island… 50 minutes, 33 mi to Telegraph Cove
--Take ferry to ALERT BAY BC CANADA to see Christine?? Alert Bay has the tallest totem poles in the world!
   --Stay at Alder Bay Resort…Telegraph Cove BC 250-956-4117 reserved/confirmed for 1 night, Space #39, Full HU, 30 amp, pull thru, $32 + tax    no TV   30-day cancellation policy. (Near Port McNeill BC)
--from Alder Bay Resort, be sure to drive into nearby Telegraph Cove, a rustic place where with really interesting history and a great little restaurant!
   
Aug 15   drive south on Vancouver Island…2 hrs 13 min, 109 mi to Browns Bay Resort
--Stay at Browns Bay Resort/Ripple Rock RV Resort, 12 mi N of Campbell River, BC. Emailed on 12/6/12 requesting 1 nt, $35-40/nt for Full HU. 250-286-3135

Aug 16   drive south on Vancouver Island—1 hr 32 min, 76 mi to Resort
--RESERVED for 2 NIGHTS at Qualicum Bay Resort, 1 hr N of Naniamo/2 hrs N of Victoria…Conf # 1-201300297, RV full HU w TV $34/nt; 250-757-2003; from Hwy 19 headed south, exit 75, to Hwy 19A, turn left go 0.6 mi to resort, just beyond Big Qualicum River bridge.

Aug 17      @ Qualicum Bay Resort

Aug 18   Lv 7 am to arrive in VICTORIA BC CANADA by 9 or so… 2 hrs 14 min, 83 miles…requires FERRY SERVICE!!!  (Going directly to the Ferry Dock  in downtown Victoria from Qualicum Resort is 2 hrs 14 min, 101 miles…no ferry)
--go to Butchart Gardens in Victoria @ 800 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay BC…to ferry docks fr Burchart is 15 mi, 40 min
Ferry to PORT ANGELES WA…Black Ball Ferry departs @ 3PM, be there @ 1PM
   --Ferry trip is 90 min

Aug 19   PORT ANGELES WA…go immediately to the Port Angeles Visitor Center for trail maps in Olympic Natl Park…there’s a great trail 25 mi west of the visitor center…get its location!
   --Where is Hyder BC?? Close to Stewart WA?? Great bear viewing there, supposedly

Aug 20      OLYMPIC NP…3 nts...camping with Al & Susan
Aug 21
Aug 22

Aug 23      Astoria WA

Aug 24-26   drive down OR coast    RESERVE RV PARKS???
                        --Canyonville OR, Seven Feathers RV Resort, really great…rec’d by RVforum person
                        --Yachats OR Sea Perch RV Park…rt on the ocean..rec’d by Sarge…terraced, so don’t pay highest price for oceanfront!
                        --Stay in Bandon 1 night?

Aug 27      BROOKINGS OR…4 nts
Aug 28
Aug 29
Aug 30

Aug 31      KLAMATH FALLS OR
Sept 1      WINNEMUCCA NV   
Sept 2      SALT LAKE CITY UT
Sept 3      RAWLINS WY
Sept 4      HOME!!!

Klondike Susie aka Salty Adventurer
2013 Itasca Reyo (25', no toad)
Married to oldedit
Resides in Denver CO area & Silverthorne CO
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 08:19:35 PM by SaltyAdventurer »
Klondike Susie aka Salty Adventurer
2013 Itasca Reyo (25', no toad)
Married to oldedit
Resides in Denver CO area & Silverthorne CO

 

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