Here we are getting close to the end of our first week of our two week stay in Alaska, and are we getting the views and the experiences we will never forget!
If you want to try kayaking, there are outfitter shops in Valdez. Guess you can kayak up pretty close to a glacier. They boat you in, and off you go in a kayak. Sparky says, "No, thank you!" Too cold, too risky with glaciers calving (splitting off big chunks) and she still remembers the time cruising where a giant slab of glacier broke off (bigger than a house, the captain said) and it crashed into the sea, causing a wave that rocked THE ENTIRE CRUISE SHIP. But guess outfitters are aware and knowledgable about those things and won't let you get THAT close!
Day 6--An early breakfast and a juvenile bald eagle posing at the docks.
We go to leave Valdez, heading north again, and the sewer cap is stuck on the rental so bad, we can't get it off. Sparky tries WD-40. No dice. The hunky college dude in the next rig over can't get it off. A guy and an old man couldn't get it to budge. We get tools from the office and try to tap with a hammer and wrench with a wrench to get the cap off. Nope! Finally, Sparky asks one more beefy guy for help, and he gets it unscrewed like it's nobody's business. Geesh! Note to self: Road grit gets in the screw cap threads and becomes like cement. Keep sewer cap threads clean on future road trips in Alaska!
|Gulkana River Viewpoint|
Day 7--We got to see the pipeline up close and personal as we were driving. Sparky and Eldo are always amazed that you can walk right up to the pipeline. You can touch it, you COULD try to climb it, but you are not supposed to. No alarms go off, no fences, it's right there.
We saw a cool HORIZONTAL rainbow in a valley while driving, (we were so high up in elevation that the rainbow was beneath us) and we stopped at the Knotty Shop in Salcha, AK. It's constructed out of many burled beams and it's all wood. Don't miss it! Everything Alaskan, great ice cream, wildlife displays and outfitters' stuff. It's like a mini Cabelas. AND--we saw our first moose off to the side of the road. Eldy was in the lead vehicle, he saw it first. It took a week, but at last we saw one! No photo this time, but the moose photos are coming, just you wait and see! (And the moose poop photos, laughs E.)
We stopped for the night at Riverview RV Park in North Pole, Alaska. Very nice park, spacious sites and 55.95 for one night. We pull into our sites, side by side, and Jeannie's site has MOOSE POOP in the site lane! Woo-hoo! Moose frequent the area! Sparky is so excited to see this!!!! (She's a little "different", explains E. Hmmmm...Maybe that's why she was a special ed teacher for so many years?) Maybe.....
Sparky LOVES that North Pole town. All the street lamps are decorated in red/white trim, and all the street names are Christmasy. We stopped at the Christmas shop in town. It's great...beautiful ornaments and decorations (we bought a few) and you can purchase a postcard and mail it to your grandchildren from the North Pole (!) AK, so Sparky did that, too.
Day 8--We head to Denali National Park, passing through Fairbanks. It's 125 miles from Fairbanks to get to Riley Campground at Denali National Park. Sparky takes a hike on the McKinley Trail and takes the bike path on the way back. A young MOOSE is standing smack dab in the middle the bike path around the bend, munching on the bushes! Sparky waits him/her out and the moose moves on after about 15 minutes, tired of the gathering crowd in the front of her and the backup behind her. Yikes, she was CLOSE! But paid no mind to anyone around her, she was just hungry! You never know where you will see moose in the park, but you will see them! We ate dinner that night at Prospector Pizzeria and highly recommend the super friendly staff and fabulous pizza--AND the decor! We decided to go for an evening drive out to Savage River, the furthest you can go in your own vehicle unless you have special camping privileges further into the park. We saw another moose on the way back, a very pregnant one!