The glorious mountain sunshine ended as we dropped down to Seward. Foggy, with the mountaintops cut off by low laying clouds Seward was “socked in”.
We drove to the Bay, where Seward provides inexpensive RV camping. ($17 dry $35 water and electricity.) It looked like there was no room at the Inn for late comers.
I wasn’t even sure I wanted to join the party.
Compounding the problem there was no way to physically reserve a spot, no posts to hang a tag, no host to register with. Campers self register and were expected to either leave their RV on the parking site, leave some chairs or something to let everyone know “this site is occupied.” There was also something about “claim jumping” other peoples site is rude.
I decided there had to be something better than RV city so we drove down the bay, but everything looked full.
We decided to drive around town, have lunch and maybe a boondocking opportunity would turn up. We came across a “Save On Parking” private lot just south of the ” City Public Parking, South Lot” that let us park overnight for $15.00, which was 2 bucks cheaper than the waterfront. BINGO!
The next morning was Memorial Day weekend. I wanted to see part of the Kenai Peninsula before turning in the RV and flying back home. So we were on the Parks Highway at 5am headed south. We had 367 miles to drive and if possible, I wanted to be in Seward for lunch.
Not far down the road Denali shone pink in the alpenglow.
An even better panorama waited at the south view area.
We passed by the road to Talkeetna, the town that services most Denali climbers. By mid morning we were in Wasilla where the half term Alaska governor and failed 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin and her family lives. I drove by the driveway that leads to the Palin compound and noticed it was guarded by security cameras.
We stopped for coffee and internet at the local McD’s. I didn’t catch a whiff of Sarah, Todd, Track. Bristol, Willow. Piper, Trig, toot or poot while in Wasilla and later learned Mrs Palin was actually in our home town to attend the big race and probably see if she could stir up some of the race car crowd. Trolling for super pac donations no doubt.
We gassed up in Anchorage, $3.969 a gallon and continued south to the Turnagain Arm of Cooks Inlet and the Kenai Peninsula.
Boondocking in Whitehorse at the Walmart. We saw many Filipinos working there and found there is an authentic Filipino Restaurant in town!
Asian Central, Oppan Filipino style!
Full Pinoy menu. I had my favorite, Kare Kare, De had Sisig.
Karaoke in the dining room, just like back home!
Every store must have some groceries, like pancit noodles and bagoong.
Franciana from WalMart stopped in to make sure we found the place.
Generous portions, dinner is served.
After dinner with full stomachs we took our doggie bags back to the WalMart for an evening camping in the parking lot.
coming into Teslin
closed but I walked around anyway
canoe thru window
Big Buffalo herd lining the highway to Watson Lake
Smith River Falls 1/2 mile up gravel road off highway
The highway weaves back and forth across the British Columbia/Yukon border seven times.
Signpost Forest, Watson Lake Yukon
From one posted by a homesick soldier working on the Highway to 75000 today!
Make that 75001!
Must stop on the Alaskan Highway
About 1/3 mile thru a marsh. Nice boardwalk
I have noticed they don’t say “the Yukon” but simply Yukon. We left the Downtown RV at 8am, our latest start to date. But then we were only going to Whitehorse, Yukon about 250 miles away.
A bit about the Downtown RV. It’s a gravel parking lot and it’s right in the middle of town, near the Signpost Forest, grocery and across the street from the Northern Lights Theatre. What it lacks in ambiance it makes up in service. The park has full hookups, good cable, internet sewer, water and 30/15 amp electric. Adjacent to the office is a coin laundry and clean men and womens showers with plenty of hot water. Archie, the owner, runs a tight ship and will treat you right. He charged us $36.50 for the night and got us a 3% discount on a gas fill up at the FasGas just down the street. Every little bit helps.
How do you know when you are suffering from “scenic beauty burnout”? When you don’t take so many pictures. Snow covered mountains rose into view, ho hum, another day on the Alaska Highway.
We were climbing through a forested valley towards a pass when I noticed the lowering clouds hade cut off the mountaintops and were dropping something ahead. It wasn’t rain but snow. Starting just after Swift River we entered about 5 miles of almost whitout conditions. Eventually the snow gave way to scattered sunshine.
We stopped to make a sandwich at a rest area next to a frozen lake. I didn’t realize until we were ready to leave WE DIDN’T EVEN RAISE THE SHADE while eating. Now THAT’S scenic burnout.
Before starting back on the road another RV pulled in and a couple got out to beat snow out of the wheel wells. They explained they had come from Alaska where it’s snowing. The man said he had driven through a 450 mile snowstorm. Great, that’s where we are headed.
The nearest Government campground that was open was Squanga. It was pretty but too far from Whitehorse. I decided to continue into town and boondock at the Walmart lot. Just to say we did.
climbing into the mountains
Into the “Hall of the Mountains”
Historic Toad River Lodge and truckers motel. From a sign in the hall, “Rooms with open doors are vacant. Take one and pay in the morning. $78. Dbl/sgl”
“World Famous hat collection” Four rooms, hats displayed hanging from the ceiling.
Frozen Muncho Lake, Strawberry Flats Campground
Stone sheep running from honking truckers
McDonald Camp at top of frozen Muncho Lake, every site a winner
more to come…
Summit Lake, Alaskan Highway. Frozen campsite
Woke early as usual. Took an early walk around the now full campground. Someone had come in the middle of the night and taken the site next to us. A pickup truck with a camptop pulling a brand new galvanized bear trap.The pickup had a sign that read they were welders and fabricators. I didn’t hear any disturbance from inside the trap so assumed they were delivering the trap somewhere in Canada.
On the road we slowly climbed out of the Peace River district and into the mountains. A lone caribou on the road was a harbinger of things to come. Before long we saw a small herd browsing at the side of the road. I stopped to snap a few pictures.
The scenery became more mountainous, with views of the snow covered peaks.
We turned a corner and saw a beautiful river valley with the water crashing down rapids and mountains framing the scene. I stopped again and walked over to frame the picture.
After snapping a few I peeked over the side and was surprised to see a brown bear not 10 feet down the embankment having breakfast. After making sure it wasn’t a grizzly, I immediately started taking pictures.
An exciting encounter.
Further up the mountain we came to Summit Lake, an empty high alpine campground next the still frozen lake. Victoria Day campers hadn’t yet made it up there. Last night if I had known such beauty was only 2 hours away I would have held out for this spot.
Further on we saw a black bear running away from the road. He was only a blur and I didn’t get a good picture but coming up to the place he was running from We see an old carcass with Raven pecking at it. We scared the bear while scavenging road kill and now old Raven was having his fill.
to be continued…