Ready and on the road by 7:50 this morning. Beaver Creek was a great stop, especially with "Buckshot Betty's" two driveways down. Will miss Canada as our dollar is so strong there. We had pretty much a 25% discount on everything we purchased. In addition to that it is a beautiful country, and we really enjoyed traveling through it.
After passing through the Canadian border there were bunnies everywhere! Not sure why, but I guess the wolves haven't discovered that they're there. The road between the Canadian and US Border crossing continues with the washboard conditions...fun. I am beginning to feel like I am in a covered wagon on the first crossing. Certainly not an area where you want to be putting on your make-up! The "Minnie Winnie" seems to be holding up well. No issues so far. We had a choice of getting our RV from Winnebago in IA, or getting a smaller RV from THOR in Indiana. I'm happy we went with the Winni, as we've heard reports from campsites along the way that the Thor's are having lots of problems, and the renters have gripe lists a mile long.
Going through the border was a snap.
No lines, no questions, just passport check. Guess we could have bought those eggs and veggies after all! The drive from the US border to Tok, AK, known as the Purple Heart Trail, was again loaded with beautiful scenery. This area is part of the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge, 730,00 acres comprised of rolling hills, hundreds of small lakes and 2 glacier rivers. I know, I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but it just never ceases to amaze me how beautiful this area of the country is. After a short stretch break in Tok, we headed down the Tok Cut Off, passing through towns of Mentasta Lake, Slana, Chistochina, on our way to Valdez, AK. We have not traveled this highway before, but have heard that it is something to see. Not long into the drive we saw our first moose. A beautiful animal going across the highway, but unfortunately he was in quite a hurry when he got to the other side of the road and we were unable to get a picture.
The mountains looming in front of us were snow covered and quite large. Mount Sanford, elevation 16,237 feet is one of Alaska's 10
highest peaks, and to the right of it is Mt. Drum, elevation 12,010. They are part of the Wrangell Mountain range.
The first half of the leg to Glennallen was quiet magnificent with the snow covered mountains, valleys and lakes, but the last half was not only boring with no vistas, but the wahboard roads were back, along with construction and high winds. The weather didn't cooperate either. We had some rain, snow, hail and sleet, and even at that, the views were spectacular. The road weaves through the mountain valleys with glaciers and incredibly high mountains all around us.
At Glenallen, we stopped to fuel up, before the final push down the Richardson Highway. Ray got shell shock when he saw the fuel price of 3.59, before he realized it was now gallons and not litres. The final miles to Valdez brought us over the Thompson Pass (Alaska extreme snowfall records here - 974.5 inches in 1952-53, 298 inches for one month, and 62 inches for a 24 hour period) and down through the Keystone Canyon, loaded with waterfalls due to the heavy rains we're having. Frankly, after the weather of today we are hoping our weather
out of Valdez on Saturday will be clearer and we will see even more on our way out. Even with the low clouds and precipitation, this road is spectacular. Saw the most beautiful red fox cross the highway in front of us, and scamper into the forest. We stopped in the canyon to shoot a picture and a video of the Bridal Veil Falls, which was quite beautiful. Travelling this stretch of highway, we could view the Alaskan Pipeline, crisscrossing the highway on it's way to Prince William Sound.
We finally arrived at our destination, Bayside RV park, located right on Prince William Sound. Shortly after checking in, we ventured out in the rain to watch the "Feeding of the Eagles". Although feeding eagles is illegal in Alaska, this gentleman had a special license that allowed him to feed herring to the eagles until mid June, when the salmon begin their runs. The eagles in the area definitely know he's coming, and begin circling as he prepares to throw the herring. They swoop down and snatch the fish mid-air. It was funny to watch one of the adolescent birds. Every time it got a fish, one of the mature
eagles would pounce on him and steal his food. He managed to escape with a few, but took a beating to do so.
Went to Cunningham's home for cocktails, and a gourmet meal prepared by Diane. Actually, it was a chicken pie that she warmed up in the oven. It even had potatoes and vegetables already in it, so we didn't need to bother with those. It was absolutely delicious. After desert, we went home and began this blog before retiring for the night. It's going to feel great not having to rush up in the morning, as we're staying here for two nights.
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