We spent the night in the parking lot of Great Alaskan Holidays. That was our first day in Alaska, flying in and spending the night at the company's parking lot. It was quiet and we were tired. They give you access to the rig because they know that for the most part, you arrived late and are tired. In the morning, bright and early, we were to watch a video and then be on our way! We had the rental for the week, and we intended to make the most of it!
The video was GREAT! We were thinking, geez, with all our experience, this is going to be a waste of time, but it wasn't! We learned a couple of things. One was, why people bottom out on the back of their rigs leaving parking lots...why? Because they drive straight out instead of on an angle. Many of the gas stations in Alaska have fairly steep entrance or exit driveways, so we were glad to learn about this tip. They also had tips about going around obstacles which we found helpful, and were sure that many people, newbies mostly likely, don't realize how far forward you have to go before turning the rig and where tail swing comes into play. Eldy remembered the tip about don't make your turn until the rear wheels have just passed where you want to make your turn to allow the full length of the rig to be where it needs to be so you don't hit anything or anybody.
It took us a little while to get checked in and get going on the road, so we got a late start to our second day in Alaska. We were headed to Denali, and were thinking that being this early in June, we might be able to get a spot at Riley Campground in Denali. Eldy had seen a couple of openings that morning, but once we got there in mid afternoon, they were gone. We had our trusty Mileposts 2018 directory, which Sparky had on her lap every time we went anywhere in Alaska. A quick shout out to the Mileposts directory, it's indispensable! At every mile marker, this directory tells you what to expect--it's updated every year so you get the latest info on driving conditions, highway repairs, construction zones, frost heaves, animal sightings, and much much more. It even has local history tidbits! We stopped at Mile Marker (MM) 174, because Mileposts said it was Hurricane Gulch. Oh, wow! It was quite the view! There was still snow in the parking lot!
For the record, it was quite the views all week long.
Onward we went. We finally decided to boon dock at MM 314.6.....The number of pullouts is AMAZING in Alaska and the Mileposts directory tells you if the pullouts are wide or small and what side of the road they are on. Technically, you could stay as long as you wanted to and never have to pay for a site....there are wide pullouts every few miles for the most part, and some are farther away from road noise than others. They are FREE.
At MM314.6, they had an outhouse, a picnic table and terrible mosquitoes! We hoped that was not a harbinger of what our week was going to be like. (It wasn't. Mosquitoes were not bad at all the rest of the week.) We were so happy to be on the road!
Tomorrow, Day 3.