Sunday, August 29, 2010

A couple more pictures....

Dick wanted me to post these two pictures.  The first is us as Eilson Visitor Center, 66 miles inside Denali Nat'l Park with Denali (Mt McKinley) in the background.  The 2nd is the gi-normous tractor that our Canadian friends have.  You really don't get a true perspective of just how really LARGE that tractor is! 

Add caption

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We are home!

We finally made it home on Wednesday after driving just over 11,000 miles in the RV and around 2700 miles in the jeep! It took me two days to clean the RV as it was just coated in dust from the 6 weeks of camping at Denali where everything was dusty and dirty!

We had a great time in Wisconsin at Dick's family reunion.  That was his mother's father's side of the family.  Then on Sunday we visited with his cousin and some family from Dick's father's side.  Between the two gatherings I think I gained 4 lbs!!

We left the greater Chicago area and drove to Dayton, Ohio where we spent the night at Wright Patterson AFB at the family camp.  We also discovered that one of the best, if not the best, aviation museum was in that area so we delayed our trip home by a day to visit the museum.  In particular Dick wanted to see the plane there on display similar to the one his Dad flew in Korea.  Also they had retired presidential planes there that I wanted to see.  It was interesting but a bit much for me as I was overwhelmed with the sheer number of aircraft there on display!!  There were 3 large hangars full in addition to two smaller hangars with the presidential planes and experimental aircraft.

It was a truely spectacular summer and we had such a great time.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


We are near Kenosha, WS now for a family reunion today.  Tomorrow we'll drive a short distance into Illinois and stop at his cousin's house for the night and visit with family on his Dad's side.  Then we'll make the final leg of our trip to NC beginning on Monday.

Wednesday we drove across Montana and Thursday we drove thru North Dakota and Minnesota where we encountered really strong winds and that makes for tough driving.  Then we were awakened in the night by thunder, lightening and driving rain.  Yesterday it poured and poured as we drove through Wisconsin.  There were reports of flash flooding and tornado watches in effect.  Fortunately we only experienced driving rain and we did manage to drive out of the worst of it.  However, about the time we got parked in the campground and as Dick was hooking everything up outside, it started to rain and lightening again.  He got soaked!  Wish we could bring some of that rain with us to NC!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

On our way home

We are in Canada now slowly working our way home.  we will stop in Wisconsin for a family reunion of Dick's mother's family.

We are driving south on the Cassiar highway which is a drive through the mountains & wilderness.  It is really beautiful although our visibility is limited as it has been quite rainy.  we are camping in Stewart, Canada and will viisit Hyder, Alaska which is just a couple miles away.  Hyder is like a lost piece of Alaska as it is on the coast and bordered only by Canada.  It is a very small community with dirt roads and looks mostly like a coastal ghost town.  I think its population is 100.  It has one claim to fame and that is Fish Creek.  Black and grizzly bears gather at the creek this time of year to fish for the spawning salmon.  Yesterday we watched a grizzly sow and her cub fish for salmon.  She had to work at it but she did catch a nice size fish!  There are two kinds of salmon in the creek, pink and chum.  The chum are really large and can reach 50 lbs.  When she would get near the fish they would start flipping out of the water.  It was really fascinating to watch.

Her cub was a spring cub, meaning born this spring and just adorable!  he was so cute and small.  He couldn't yet catch fish so he would play with the dead ones - after they spawn they die.  The dead fish were nearly as big as the cub and he had fun wrestling with them!

There are numerous glaciers around here and we will visit some today.  Too bad it is raining again today but oh well.  That's pretty typical for this area.  However it is supposed to be sunny for the next several days after today.  Of course we have to leave tomorrow!

Monday, August 2, 2010


Here is the wolf that we saw today.  He looked small to me and lean.  We heard that only the alpha male and female are collared but I wonder if this is true, this guy doesn't look all that alpha to me!!  But then, what do I know...??

And this is a caribou, which, when domesticated, is called a reindeer.

Good-bye Denali!

Our little slice of heaven.....

We left our campground this morning with the new campground hosts that came in to take our place.  We are sad to leave as we loved our "summer home" there!  Currently we are at the park headquarters doing laundry and we'll leave for Anchorage tomorrow.

The weather during all of July was way less than stellar to say the least.  We had rain, and more rain, and more rain with the occasional view of sun.  But happily our last weekend in the park was bright, sunny and warm!  That was even more enjoyable as we had friends in the park that we know from Colorado so we were able to enjoy sitting out by the campfire with them!

Our last bus ride into the park was last Thursday and turned out to be quite a suprise!  That morning when we got on the bus, it was, as usual, quite cloudy, so we figured ho-hum, another not so nice weather day.  But what a suprise as it cleared up and Denali (Mt. McKinley) was out in all its spectacular glory!  It is such a sight to see as it rises around 18,000 feet above its base and is 20,320 feet high in its entirety.  Mt Everest, although higher than Denali, has a vertical rise of 12,000 feet above its base.  Unfortunately, I have not yet downloaded those pictures so I'll have to do that later.

My only disappointment at the park is that we haven't seen too many wolves, yet many of our campers have come back telling us about the pack of wolves they saw up close and personal.  The pack, according to the rangers, has 12  adults and 5 puppies and this pack has been seen quite frequently along and near the road by many of our campers.  We have tried, in vain, so many times to spot this pack!  I guess as a consolation "prize" we were treated to a lone wolf walking down the road this morning as we were driving to the park entrance so I did get some nice photos of him.

Yesterday a cargo plane crashed in the park near headquarters, unfortuantely killing the 3 people on board.  We will never know, but I like to think that the pilot in his last moments was able to steer the plane away from the employee camp, headquarters and visitor center before crashing.  Although a tragedy in itself, it could have been so much worse as the crash was very near several population centers.

We watched these two Dall sheep come down a very steep mountain side, go across the stream and then up a steep hill and bank onto the road.  I love this photo of the one in the stream.

We will be heading home soon and are looking forward to seeing everyone!  I'm glad to hear that it has finally rained on our homestead!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bus humor--

When you go into the Park, you ride on a bus that is essentially a school bus and if you go all the way into the park, you'll be on that bus for about 11 hours.  That's plenty of time to get to know your fellow passengers and bus driver!  Our bus driver told us that some one actually asked him "when do the caribou change into moose?"  Oh my, I know that people from afar are not well versed on the animals that live in Alaska, but really, do you think that animals change from one species to another??  Only in a Harry Potter movie does that happen!!

There's always alot of joking about people encountering animals and being eaten so here are the definitions:

A person on a bicycle - "meals on wheels"
Person walking on a trail -  "trail mix"
Person on a bus -  "canned meat"

Well that's humor, Denali style!

Departure time is approaching...

It’s our last week here at Denali and we will be sad to leave! We’ve really enjoyed meeting people from all over the world and sharing the wilderness of Denali with so many people.   In particular, we've had a lot of visitors from Israel, Switzerland, and Australia.
Last Thursday we were granted a pass to drive the road in our car. Unfortunately, you really can’t see that much from a car so the experience wasn’t all that great, however, we did spot some moose out at Wonder Lake and that was worthwhile! We’ve seen a lot more bears than moose!

The road into the park is all gravel and beyond the first 29 miles, quite narrow. Parts of the road are cut out of the mountain side and are perched on very steep mountain sides. Its really quite scarry, especially if you are on the outside of the road! You look down and it’s a really long way down!! I took this picture of a bus coming at us on a very steep section of
the road. Notice how narrow the road is. Hard to believe but there is enough room for two buses to pass, albeit very closely!! We’ve had a lot of rain so the danger of rock and mud slides also exists and there was a small mudslide late one night. The park service was able to get it cleared and have the road ready to go by the next am.

The road near Polychrome Pass:

A couple of nights ago as I was closing all the shades I looked out and there was a lynx standing no more than 15’ from the camper looking straight at me! What a beautiful face he had with the black tufts of hair on his ears. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo as I was more concerned with radioing Dick to watch out for the lynx. He was walking Chena and I really didn’t want him to come upon the lynx with Chena in tow.

The campground is on the Teklanika River and there are bears moving down the river getting closer to the campground. They’ve been spotted on the river a number of times and are getting closer to the campground every day. The rangers say that its just a matter of time before they come into the campground. They will most likely come in from the river which is the further point away from us so we probably won’t see them. We have been cautioning our campers to be bear aware! There’s never been a bear fatality here in the park so I don’t worry about it too much. It’s really interesting how easily the wildlife and people coexist here. For the most part the wildlife ignores the people. It is really important to never let the animals get food from the humans – when that happens, the animals see humans as a food source and that’s when the havoc begins. The saying is so true, a fed bear is a dead bear.

Some of the animals in the park are wearing collars so that their movements can  be recorded.  The wolf picture in a previous post has a collar.  Yep, I think they're tracking him to see when he will arrive in Raleigh for the first football game!  LOL, GO Wolfpack!!  Many of our visitors have seen the pack - there were 7 pups to start but now there seems to be only 5.  The pack has been seen with the pups in tow and several adults.  We have not been that fortunate and I am soooo jealous!  One of our visitors had a photo of a wolf with a caribou hind quarter in its mouth!!

Time to go, we have to do laundry today!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Only 2 weeks left!

We are in Fairbanks today, grocery shopping and running errands.  Its hard for us to believe that we only have two weeks left as campground hosts!

The last time we were coming into the park we saw a really large wolf just walking down the road.  He walked right by our car.  I have been hoping for an up close and personal view of a wolf so I was excited when we found this guy!

While driving back from doing our laundry we ran into this trio of Dall Sheep on Polychrome Pass.  The pass is the most frightening portion of the road as it is narrow and winding and has dropoffs like you wouldn't believe - 600 feet or more and very steep.  As we go around each curve I mutter the prayer, "no bus, no bus" as my fear is that we will meet an oncoming bus and there will be about a foot between our car and the bus as we pass!   It's not so bad when we're on the inside curve but when we're on the outside, it really scares me to death!!

I don't have much of a lynx picture but this is one that Dick took shortly after we started the camphost gig where the lynx a nd the dog were having a faceoff.

Well we have to get on with the shopping so good bye for now.  Will try to write something more intelligent next time I'm on a computer!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Laundry day again -

Here it is July already and before long we'll be packing up and heading home.  We are hearing how horribly hot it is on the east coast, we're not looking forward to returning to that!!

The last 3 days have been unbelievably gorgeous in the park.  It's supposed to hit 80º here in the park.  that's unusual!  Today there's hardly a cloud in the sky and Mt McKinley is out for all to see.  It is soooooo spectacular!

We will get a pass that will allow us to drive our car the entirety of the park road (about 90 miles) for the 3rd week of July.  Although only 90 miles, it usually ends up being a 10 hour trip all the way in and out as the max speed is 35mph and often less.  we also have to pull over and stop when any vehicle larger than ours approaches and there are a lot of those (buses and construction equip).  We are looking forward to that and are hoping for some great wild life viewing although it is hard to see from our car so we will probably "hang" with the buses so we have the advantage of all the spotters on the buses.

Not much else to report - all is well and COOL in Alaska.  80º is considered a hot day here!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Another day in paradise! We’re still having fun here in the wilds of Denali National Park! We begin each day with a walk through the campground with Chena. By the time we have walked both campground loops, Chena has calmed down and walks on the leash like a normal dog rather than the excited, darting every whichway, dog that she usually is! She gets lots of walks throughout the day and is loving RV life!
Yesterday we rode the bus further into the park and finally we saw a wolf up close and personal. It was kind of fun as we were observing a lone grizzly bear when the wolf happened along. The bear picked up the scent of the wolf and started following the wolf. Meanwhile the wolf is “trucking” through the area giving the occasional glance over his shoulder to check on the proximity of the bear. Then the bear lost the scent and gave up the chase. Bears and wolves don’t normally fight each other, I think they are both at the top of the food chain. The only thing that bears have to fear is another bear. A male bear will kill cubs because a female bear will not mate if she has cubs.
We also saw a hare running through the brush with a coyote hot on its trail. We’re not sure if the hare escaped or not, as we lost sight of them in the brush. Other than that, it was sort of a dull day on the bus, the animals were mostly hiding out. They were probably being lazy and hiding out in the shade as yesterday was a gorgeous sunny day. Even the mountain was out for part of the day which is a treat in itself as only about 25% of the visitors to Alaska ever see Mt McKinley.
Dick stays busy during the day playing Mr. Fixit for our campers. We have a lot of first time RVers so they often need a little help. We’ve had several who have run their batteries down. NPS has given us a battery charger to help these folks out. We had another camper who thought he had no propane and he had just picked up the RV. Well, it works better if you turn the propane valve on! Many of our campers are foreign and I particularly enjoy visiting with these folks. Although foreign, many of them are living in the US right now. Had some kids that just graduated from college and they are taking the summer off before entering the workforce; good for them!
Me, I stay busy reading, scrapbooking and cooking. I bought a cast iron dutch oven to use in the fire pit. I made a beef roast in it the other day and it was really really good!
We will be heading to Fairbanks a little later today to grocery shop and hopefully get the parts we need to install the inverter. When we got back last week we discovered that we needed additional parts before installing the inverter soooooo…..we’ll try again today.
It looks like a gorgeous cloud free sunny day today, I almost hate to leave the park on days like this. We had several rainy days this week so we really appreciate these nice days!
Enough rambling, hope you are enjoying your summer!


Thursday, July 1, 2010


We happened upon this "little" oops when we were in Fairbanks the other day.  They are building a new bridge over the Chena River downtown and this crane toppled over into the river.  The boom hit the pilings for the new bridge.  Fortunately, no one was hurt.  It sure did mess up traffic downtown!  One of those rare instances where there is "traffic"!

Thursday, hello!

We are at the Toklat camp today doing laundry.  On our way here we saw two grizzlies taking a snooze in the grass beside a stream.  Then one of them got up and started digging around the tree roots.  Before long out popped a ground squirrel.  Two quick leaps by the bear and he had his lunch.  I guess the rule here is eat or be eaten!

When we drove to Fairbanks the other day, the mountain was out.  Mt. McKinley is often referred to as Denali which is "the Great One".  Only about 25% of the visitors to Alaska get to see Denali as it is often hidden behind clouds.  It is so much taller than anything around it, that it has its own weather system.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More pictures

We rode the bus for about 25 miles yesterday and came upon this sow with her two cubs.  I call this photo The Approach:

This 2nd photo I snapped just after the above, the dark cub hauled off and smacked the blond cub beside the head.  It was a classic sibling move...reminds me of my brothers.  LOL!
The Family.  I took all these pictures from the bus which is at times quite difficult as everyone is vying for position to get the best photos.  In some cases you end up shooting thru glass.

Pictures from our Friday trip when we drove to Toklat

Dall sheep on the road.

The sheep on the left is actually scratching his head with the other sheep's horn.
Bull moose taking a  rest in a mossy bed.

Hello from Teklanika campground!

Our first week at Teklanika has been great. Through Friday we had nice sunny weather and but for the mosquitos, you could stay outside in your shirtsleeves. Saturday through Monday were rain days but it really wasn’t so bad as it would rain for a bit and then the sun would peek out and then rain a little more. Dick is really enjoying himself talking to all the campers and helping them out when needed. Yesterday we had a couple come in a really big 5th wheel and a large 4 door Frieghtliner truck built for pulling his 5th wheel. Well he wasn’t paying attention and took out the bottom of his slide on a post that he hit. Fortunately it appeared to be just cosmetic damage but still costly. He could have easily made the curve but messed up. It happens…. Well then his slides would hardly come out, maybe dead batteries? Then a bit later Dick discovered that he had two generators going with a leaking gas can between them and he wasn’t even at their site!! So Dick had to rectify that situation! We do have generator hours from 8-10 am and 4-8 pm. Mostly we have had to ask people to move their tents as they are not allowed to camp off the provided gravel pads. The grass looks so inviting, I can understand why they pitch their tents where they do! The majority of our campers are in some sort of RV, a lot of pick up campers, trailers & 5th wheels and motorhomes too. The campground can accommodate RV’s to 40’ so we do get the occasional big class A in here but not too many.
This morning we had a little excitement when Dick came upon a lynx who was starring down a lady and her dog that were not all that far away from the lynx. Her dog was really well trained as she told it to sit and it did and didn’t make a sound! Ha, that would not be Chena! So the lynx and the lady just starred at each other for a minute or two and then the lynx went in the brush. Dick got a neat picture with both the lady and lynx in it. I am thinking that I will keep Chena very close to me and just walk near the camper where I have good visibility!
We makes rounds of the campground numerous times a day because we need the exercise. We are supposed to at least make rounds at 10 am and 8 pm. After our 10 am rounds today, we decided to ride the bus further into the park to see what we could see! For the last several days all the campers have been telling us about all the bears and wolves that they have seen. We didn’t have as good of luck as some of our campers but we did have a great bear viewing of a sow and her two cubs. Also saw a wolf with 2 pups but they were really far away in a gravel bed. Also saw a few caribou and sheep which have become rather ho-hum to us at this point!
I will be posting this tomorrow when we go into Fairbanks for our weekly shopping trip. We are picking up a new converter which will allow us to power the TV, stereo, charge camera batteries, make coffee without having to power up the generator. Our old converter died while we were watching Alice in Wonderland and we were just getting to the good part so I am anxious see the rest!

I am re-reading James Michner’s Alaska – it is much more relevant when you are living in the middle of the book so to speak! Not much else of interest, we are having a blast and haven’t gotten borred in the least. Wish you could be here with us!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hi from inside Denali National Park!

We are 53 miles inside the park today at a workcamp doing our laundry.  They have several computers here that are available for employee use.  Our campground is at mile 29 so we had 23 miles of the road that we were able to drive in our jeep.  That is way cool because cars are not normally allowed to drive on the park road.  the park road goes in about 90 miles or so and that's the only access by road in and out.

We had a great photo op on the way.  A group of dall sheep were standing on the road so I got some great pictures.  Unfortunately I will have to wait until I am able to use my computer before I can share them with you.

Last night there was a wolf in our camp although we didn't see it.  He left his scat which is how we were able to ID it as a wolf.  so I will have to be careful when walking Chena and we also will be advising tent campers to take care and also others with dogs.  I may have to sit up all night and watch what goes through the park when most folks are sleeping!!

Monday or Tuesday we will drive out of the park to Fairbanks which is about 2 hours or so away to pick up supplies and something we need for the motorhome.  I hope I will be able to post some photos then.

Dick is staying busy at the campground meeting and greeting.  You know he is a natural for that!  We have a radio & sat photo to communicate with park dispatch.

We are loving it to say the least!!  I must say that we are not enjoying "feeding" the mosquitos though!!

Maggi and Dick

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Today is the longest day of the year. It is almost midnight and it is quite light outside, the sun is still up. I could go outside and read a book without a light. Its a beautiful evening, I guess by lower 48 standards, it looks to be around 7:30 pm maybe. The sun will go down for a couple hours I guess but it definitely won't get dark!

Here are some photos of our trip into Denali:

We've gone nuts -

We had a wonderful 3 days in the park and saw lots of wildlife - bears, a wolf, arctic fox, moose, caribou, ptarmagin, loons, trumpeter swan, rabbits and squirrels!  Oh yeah, LOTS of mosquitos and a few robins!  We loved it so much that we decided to volunteer for the vacant campground host spot at the campground.  This means that we will be camped at this campground through the end of July acting as campground hosts.  Our duties will be to greet other campers and answer questions, make sure all food etc is kept secure and away from any wandering critters like BIG BROWN BEARS and help visitors with whatever they need.  In exchange for that we will have a campsite provided to us as well as propane, fire wood, diesel fuel, water and sewer.  No electricity - who needs it right??  LOL, we have a generator for any electrical needs that we may have.  We will be able to drive out of the campground one day a week for grocery shopping (that will be 2 1/2 hrs away), laundry, internet and phone access.  No we won't have a telephone and no wifi.  Just us and the bears!  We work 32 hours a week and can use the bus system as much as we like and also will have use of the National Park Service employee facilities.  Work will be mostly hanging out in the campground so its not exactly hard work!!  We are excited about it and think it will be a real adventure.  I will only be able to update the blog once a week now but I will look forward to hearing from all of you as it will be our weekly connectio to the world. 

At this point we haven't a clue as to what is going on in the world.   I kind of like this oblivion!!  We do check the stock market when we are able to make sure that we still have a retirement account.

Chena in her new back yard!!

America the Beautiful!

I took this picture 66 miles into the park at the Eielson Visitor center.  I just thought it was neat with the flag in the foreground and the beautiful Alaska range behind it. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Posting comments...

If you wish to leave us a message you can click on comments and  abox should open up where you can type a message.  Then at the comment as box click on the arrow to see a drop down menu and select anonymous, then click the "Post Comment " box and hopefully your comment will post!  Be sure to leave your name so we'll know who you are!!

Still in Fairbanks

We are still in Fairbanks and enjoying playing tourist and visiting with friends.  Last night we had dinner with a friend that I used to work with when we lived here.  We had a great dinner of ribs, beer can chicken and risotto!  It was great and I love eating other people's cooking!  Our wonderful hosts:

We leave here on Friday morning heading to Denali National Park which is about 3 1/2 hours away.  We are kind of excited about this trip as we will be camping 29 miles inside the park which is kind of special.  There are only about 52 RV sites available inside the park and I never thought we'd be able to get a camping site at this late date but we lucked out on that!  You have to stay a minimum of 3 nights so we will be out of touch for a while.  No cell or Internet service.  Just us, the bears, moose and wolves!  It would be neat to hear the wolves howling as that's an Alaskan experience we've not had!  We will be allowed to drive our RV only into the camp so we will have to leave our Jeep in an overflow parking site.  The park has buses that go 90 some miles into the park and that is the only way you can visit.  You are not allowed to drive your vehicle into the park unless you are going to the campground as we are.  And for that we get a special permit that allows us to only drive in and drive out.  We will be able to use the bus system inside the park as much as we want.  The park services uses school buses and a round trip all the way into the park and out takes about 12 hours.  No food or water is available in the park and there are only pit toilets.  It is a long day to say the least!  We will pack sandwiches and bring water of course!

There is one time a year when the park allows you to drive into the park in your own vehicle and that is the weekend closest to Sept 15th.  You have to apply for a permit and the permits are chosen  in a lottery drawing and 400 vehicles a day are allowed in for a four day weekend, weather permitting.  Sometimes, weather closes the road and so you may only get in part way or not at all.  We won the lottery twice and it was a wonderful experience to drive in.  the animals seem to be very active that time of year as they are preparing for the winter that is arriving  in Denali by mid-September.

We are being lazy today, we slept in until 9 am!  I can't remember the last time I did that!!  We are going to an antique car museum in a bit.

BTW, we have driven 5232 miles in the RV so far!

Hope everyone is having a great summer, wish you were here with us!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Good morning!

Gee, we have no where to drive today!  We're just going to hang out in Fairbanks and maybe get some laundry done.  It is supposed to be a nice day - maybe Dick will fix the window on my jeep so that it goes up and down!  That will be novel since it hasn't worked in several years.

We appreciate the comments you have left for us!  We love hearing from all of you!   Every campground that we have stayed in has had wi-fi but most of the time the reception in the RV is very poor if at all.  Patiience is the name of the game as it takes a while to post anything.  I have had a little more success in logging on than Dick has had.  However, he has his Blackberry.  Interesting that some of the time he has been able to receive emails on his Blackberry but couldn't make a phone call.  We have great phone reception here in Fairbanks and will be here for several days if anyone needs to talk to us.

Melissa,  we enjoyed our visit with you although it was brief!  When we get back we hope to have more visiting time.  I guess that depends on if your Dad goes back to work.  Hugs and kisses to you and the family.

Lunch bunch, my ears burn every Thursday around noon!  Now why is that??  LOL!  Miss my lunches with all of you!  Wish I could have brought you all with me.

WE are camped on the banks of the Chena river - that's the river that our Chena was named after.  She loves reading her "pee" mail at each new stop!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The beginning and the end...

The beginning of the Alaska Highway:  This sign used to be at the beginning in a round-a-bout but there were a lot of accidents so they moved it a block or so over - its not really at the beginning anymore. 

And the end of the highway in Delta Junction, AK.

More bears along the way - this guy was an adult grizzly I'd guess, he was a nice size.  Photo is not so great 'cause I took it through the window.

ALASKA!! – Saturday, June 12, 2010

We made it!! We felt like silly little children grinning from ear to ear when we crossed the border because we were so excited to back in this state that we both love so much. We stopped and took pictures and chatted with some other travelers and then got back in the RV for the final leg of our journey. On this night we drove to Delta Junction, AK which is the official end of the Alaska Highway. It is raining in Alaska – oh well, wait 10 minutes and the weather will change.

Border crossing:

The weather – I must say that when I first stepped out of the motorhome in Denver and encountered nice cool, low humidity, air, I thought I had died and gone to heaven!! It was in the 70’s and I needed my polartec in the evening. As much as I love the south, I do really miss the low humidity of the west.

We have encountered a bit of rain here and there as well as winds that buffeted the motorhome a bit. But all in all, it’s been a great drive and the weather has been fairly nice. I think this morning, Sunday, June 13, was the worst when we drove the final 100 miles to Fairbanks from Delta Junction – it was rain all the way. We arrived in Fairbanks around 10:45 and checked into a campground that is conveniently located in town. Then we headed over to one of our favorite restaurants to enjoy a Sunday champagne brunch. We were happy to find out that some things had not changed!

After brunch we went and found our friends Lee and Anna that we know from our days in Colorado. They are work camping in Fairbanks this summer. We had a great visit with them and will plan to get together this week. We want to show them around Fairbanks a little bit and show them where we lived here.
By the way, it is now 8 pm and the sun is shining and its beautiful outside. The rain clouds have moved on and we are hoping for nice weather although we hear that rain is in the forecast for the rest of the week.

Thank goodness we have room darkening shades in the RV or I’d never get any sleep as we haven’t seen dark for several days now. It looks like its about 4 o’clock outside. Sunset is at 12:39 AM and sunrise is at 3:02 AM. Right now, sun up time is increasing about 3.5 minutes a day. On the longest day of the year a baseball game is played that begins at 10 pm and there are no lights on the field!

North Pole is a small town just outside of Fairbanks, obviously, its not the "real" north pole!

Postcard world

Sometimes I feel like we are driving through a postcard because the world we are in is so beautiful. The road just keeps winding west and north. We are surprised at how little traffic we have encountered for each night at the campgrounds where we have stopped we see a lot of other RV’s and cars heading for Alaska. But it seems that on the road we are spaced out and the necessity of passing another vehicle has been very rare. Often we don’t see any other vehicles in front of us. The occasional truck passes us going south and I’m sad to say that several Walmart and Sams trucks have passed us!
Time and progress does indeed, march on, and we are surprised at how “things” have changed. There were a couple of nights during our 1995 move to Alaska that we had to stay in VERY OLD motels that only had locks on the inside so that when you left your room you had to leave it unlocked. Once we got a ways north up the highway, it seemed that everything was old and from a different era. Today, in 2010, we saw a lot of nice new hotels and motels and many franchises from the lower 48. I don’t think we would have had to stay in one of those old beaten up motels. It gave us an appreciation for our experience in 1995. We can only imagine what it must have been like for the hearty travelers of the 50’s through the 70’s and even into the 80’s when the Alaska Highway was largely gravel and services were few and far between.

Kluane Lake has to be one of the most beautiful mountain lakes I've ever seen.  These pictures don't do it justice.  When the sun is shining, the water is a turquoise blue.  That surrounded by snowcapped mountains is a sight to see!