Well here goes, this may be a long one (quick reminder, you can double click on any picture to enlarge it)...........We spent the first night in Tok, Alaska, then headed to Fairbanks,
Our first stop was in Tok where we stayed a couple nights at the Tok RV Camp, a huge RV Park. That night we enjoyed entertainment from 2 local singers and one from Hawaii. The next morning we went to the presentation by the Howling Raven Kennels about mushing and what is involved in the iditarod. It was very interesting and so much fun to get to meet the dogs. One lucky participant got to ride in the sled as they also did an outside demonstration. It was amazing to see how excited the dogs got when it was time to hook up and start pulling. They really only pull around 4 lbs, once the weight is distributed, they are actually built for long distance running not pulling power.
Also along the way we saw the pipe line crossing a river, a wood burl shop, and of course we had to stop at "The North Pole".....yep there really is a North Pole, Alaska.
Alan's back went out while we were in Fairbanks so I guess we didn't take any pictures while we were there. We stayed a few days so Alan could mend, taking time to get some shopping done. We did have a nice dinner one night on the river with Jane and John.
We finally saw our first grizzly bear....it was great we sat for 10 minutes just watching him. You can tell he is a grizzly by the hump on his back between his shoulders.
The other animals we were fortunate to see were caribou, "pika" a kind of ground squirrel, an eagle, dall sheep (they are the little white specks on the hills), and at the very end a female moose.
There were also many beautiful wild flowers in the park:
After leaving Healy and Denali we stayed in Talkeetna, hoping the weather would clear up and we could see the south side of Mt. McKinley. After setting up camp we headed out in search of the south face. We had a black cloud coming in so Jane and I went back to the RV's and John and Alan ventured further out. We had some thunder, lightening, and rain and they guys never got to see the south side of Mt. McKinley. Alan did get a few great photo's.....
We stayed at an RV park in the city close to Costco and shopping but also close to the attractions we were interested in. First day we got tires for the truck and John and Jane got tires for their car. While they were putting them on the vehicles we did our Costco shopping. Later in the day Jane and I got caught up on the laundry then off to do grocery shopping and to find a Petco for puppy supplies.
The next day we had different sites we were interested in so Alan and I headed over to the Indian Cultural Center. We had a great time watching the dancers then set out in a little guided tour to see all the different Indian cultures and ways of life here in Alaska. There are numerous different tribes here and if I remember correctly some 118 different dialects. Depending on the area some lived above ground using wood because it was available and some lived halfway underground. Entrances were either small or through tunnels and they always had an escape route due to human enemies and wild animals. Totem poles were only common in the southwesterly tribes and were not for worship but instead told a story.
Next stop the museum downtown; they had several rooms of local artists (we especially like this painting of Denali or Mt. McKinley), animals, lots of interesting history and a fun science center for the kids (the big kids had fun too!).
After the museum we headed over to the trolly tour. It was about an hour and it went all over Anchorage. Our tour guide was a music teacher and he was a kick. Had lots of fun facts and trivia about Anchorage and Alaska.
He was telling us a interesting story about his class of 15 to 16 old students. He asked them how many had gotten their driver's license or driving permit and about 4 students raised their hands. He asked how many had pilot's licenses and 11 raised their hands. We saw why on the tour. Not only do they have regular airports they have float-plane landing lakes as well.
We had a big laugh when we got back to the RV Park.....we heard some funny music and as we turned into the park we saw the ice cream truck pulled over serving all the rv'ers. I guess it's true, as we get old we return to our youth.
We left Anchorage for Seward and every time we turned another bend we saw another beautiful site. The 2 - 3 hour trip took us 4 - 5 hours for all the stops. Although Alan is taking lots of wonderful pictures, you really need to just experience all the beauty first hand. Words can't describe how majestic and beautiful it is here.
We made it to Seward, got settled in, then headed for the visitor center to check out the glacier tours. While in town we stopped and had some great sea food.
One day while in Seward we wanted to take the dogs for a walk. We went to a little lake close to the campground and we ran into a nice young man getting ready to go fishing in the lake in his kayak. We asked him where there was a good place to take the dogs for a walk. He pointed up the hill and said there was a nice trail up there and then said with a straight face, "You have your gun with you don't you?" Alan and I looked at each other and said, well no we don't, and so he said well then you better not go up on that trail. I live just down the street and we have had several bears in the area and one young man got bitten in the behind not long ago. It was still a beautiful little lake and we could see the salmon swimming upstream to the lake. We did, however, take the dogs to another spot for a walk.
We left Seward and headed for Portage to get ready for our 26 glacier tour in Whittier. We stayed in an RV park right next to a small glacier. Along the way the scenery again, was killer.
Alan was standing on the glacier when he took the next picture of the campground. It wasn't a very big glacier but it was fun to have one so close, even the puppies walked up to it and walked on the ice.
The next morning we headed for Whittier for our glacier tour. They only have one 2 1/2 mile tunnel going from Portage to Whittier and it is a single lane with rail road tracts. There are scheduled times for when south bound traffic goes, when north bound traffic goes, and when the train goes. We were told it is the longest tunnel in North America.
We boarded the Klondike Express at 12:30 and headed out. We were first served a nice lunch then the beauty began. It was a smooth ride but a bit breezy and cold up on the top deck but that's where we headed to enjoy all 26 glaciers. Again the pictures give you an idea, but being there was a special experience.
We saw lots and lots of beautiful waterfalls along the way then we started seeing icebergs in the water when we were getting close to the main attraction, Surprise Glacier.
We also got to see sea lions, eagles, otters, and seals on the ice by Surprise glacier.
On the way back to port they stopped to see the seagulls nesting on the side of the rocks. While we were watching them two eagles flew down and the commotion began.
Sorry for so many pictures .... I did only pick a few but everything was so gorgeous it was hard to pick just a few, believe me we have thousands on the laptop. After leaving Portage we headed for Ninilchik and a fantastic RV park on a bluff with a fantastic view of the mountains on the other side of the bay.
The harbor is very crowed and only for commercial boats. Tourist fishing boats take off from the beach and are hauled out by big tractors. Fishermen throw unwanted fish parts on the beach which attracks the seagulls and eagles.
This morning, Thursday, July 19th, Alan and John went halibut fishing and tonight we enjoyed fresh halibut, with more yummy dinners to come.
Tomorrow we pick up the rest of the halibut (they cleaned, bagged, and froze today's catch for the guys) and on Saturday we are heading to Homer to look around and then on Sunday off to Valdez.
Sorry for the long update..............as I sit here at 12:24 A.M. here is the view from the back of our trailer...goodnight from Alaska!