Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hello From Soldotna, Alaska

Well, so much for posting every few days! And I don't know if I'll even get any photos posted but I'll do my best. I've had plenty of time to think about how I would post. Given the large number of days passed and the short number of minutes for posting...I've decided to just do daily highlights. I've been journaling all along the way, something I've not done before. I'm amazed at all the things I've already forgotten that come up in conversations between The Fisherman and me. I'm glad I've been writing. Along the way, I've written down quaint street names, funny signs, etc. I might include some of them in the diary form entries. So here goes...

Thursday, May 7, 2009
We went to The Fisherman's concert at the Elementary school. Kids were cute. Got good photos of kids, The Fisherman, and guitars aplenty. Took off straight from school.

Chinle (Chin-lee), AZ - police SUVs with flashing lights driving southbound off the northbound highway shoulder, doing an emergency herding of a bunch of wild horses that had made their way into town.

11pm - Many Farms, AZ - 4 wild horses standing at the side of the road in the middle of "town."
Camped in Monticello, UT, where we had our rollover accident 6 years ago.

Friday - May 8, 2009
North through Utah into eastern Idaho, up into Montana. We liked Montana. Wide open spaces, rolling hills leading up to snow capped mountains. Took a left at Butte, drove through Missoula and thought of Chuck and Audrey Armerding - prayed for Audrey's recovery from a broken hip. Wished we could have seen them. Again through Idaho and camped in Wallace, a cute old fashioned looking town.

Saturday - May 9, 2009
Drove west toward Coeur 'd' Alene, ID - lush mountainous forests, wind-y roads up and down. Into Washington state, Spokane and beyond. Took photos of old farm houses. Fascinated by the history. Kept seeing images in my head of hardy farm women kneading dough in the kitchen and wondered of the lives that were lived there.
Took 97 north along the Columbia River, past houses with orchards in their front yards, apples, plums, pears. Lush fruit regions. The Fisherman would love to move to such a place, being the true "hunter/gatherer" that he is. Canadian border by 2:30 pm.

Sunday and Monday, May 10 and 11, 2009
Mother's Day...*sigh.
Took the Cassiar Hwy north. Different from years past. Beautiful mountains and rivers. thank you. Steep drop offs, winding, curvy, bumpy, potholes. Very tired and grumpy after two days on this highway. We missed the sheep and buffalo on the Alcan Hwy.

Made it into Whitehorse, Yukon Territories and picked up the Alcan there. More terrible roads out of Destruction Bay - the worst of the trip. The frozen ground creates "frost heaves" which are massive the degree that the signs don't say "DIP"; they say "DIP AREA". When we first encountered frost heaves in 1990 in Alaska, we unsuspectingly flew through them at highway speeds and got airborne!

Re-entered the United States at around 8pm. Stayed just across the border at Border City Lodge.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Had first showers. Met two nice people outside the lodge. A neurosurgery pre-resident taking one last adventure before putting his nose to the grindstone this fall in Texas. He's riding his bicycle from Fairbanks to Vancouver, alone. Then we met a guy who just packed up his 5th wheel and came to Alaska looking for a place to settle with few people. He didn't even have an Alaska map - his map ran out somewhere in Canada.

30 miles east of Tok ("toke") we spotted a flock of about 120 Canada geese flying overhead. we chased them and watched them for miles. We stopped the van and turned the engine off at one point and we could hear them honking way overhead. Cool!

Ate our first hot meal (other than the occasional Egg McMuffin) in Tok. Stopped at a photo site of The Fisherman's  from last year, one we call Autumn Reflections. Took photos for over an hour. Fun. More bumpy roads - too cold up here in the interior to have good roads.

Stopped at a liquor store outside Glen Allen, AK to see if there was any Alaskan Winter Ale left for The Fisherman. The exterior of the tiny building was plastered with brand signs, posters, and logos. In amongst them I noted a small "For Sale" sign. The sign looked about 20 years old. Guess it's hard to get out from under a business close to the middle of nowhere.

Wed, May 13, 2009
Awoke this morning in front of the Eureka Lodge. Not as glamorous as it sounds. A little dirty spot 80 miles NE of Palmer, AK that has a gas station, restaurant and "lodge" plus some employee bunk houses. We parked next to two giant green dumpsters for the night.

We passed a KNOB LAKE. Hmmmm...... If the Knik River is pronounced ka-nick up here, is Knob pronounced ka-nob?

Photos of a bald eagle in a dead tree.

KUAPPALA AVE. - wait, are we in Hawaii or Alaska?

Headed north on Parks Hwy toward Talkeetna.

Arrived Talkeetna around noon. Photos of Denali (Mt. McKinley) for awhile. Then... we took a flightseeing trip right up around "the mountain." It was SO cool. Gorgeous! Stunning! Awesome! We were supposed to land on Ruth Glacier but instead, because we were transporting 3 climbers to a base camp, we landed on the Kahiltna Glacier. It was such a neat experience to see the base camp. Lots of people. One-man tents blowing in the wind. An HQ type tent with solar panels and antennae. Snow block walls built around some tents. Climbers milling about. Massive mountains rising above us. We stood on a glacier! At the base of the tallest peak in North America!

Passed HONOLULU CREEK on the way up to Denali Nat'l Park.

Got to dash now! It's 4pm and we're hungry. I'll try to post again soon. I'm going to try to type this all out and have it ready to copy/paste next time we stop at a wireless internet place.

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