Alaska: The Last Frontier
As we headed out of Fairbanks, we immediately noticed the change in landscape. We were on our way to a national park and preserve that was over 6 million acres in size. That’s 9,375 square miles. Another way to picture it is if lined up end to end, 9,375 square miles would stretch from California to Maine - three times. After a few hours of driving and with many of those miles on roads with the asphalt removed, we finally arrived at Denali RV Park in Healy. Although it was cool and rainy during most of our stay at Denali, we lucked out with the weather for our Tundra Wilderness Tour into Denali National Park. The day started out with fairly heavy rain at times and was coming down pretty good right up until we boarded our tour bus at 1:30. The tour turned out to be excellent. We had our doubts about 8 hours and over 100 miles on a bus over gravel roads but the time flew by. The rain pretty much stopped shortly after we started the tour and really became a non-factor. It turned out we saw plenty of wildlife including a grizzly, Dall sheep and lots of caribou. Our tour guide was great. He's been doing these tours for over 30 years and was a wealth of knowledge. He also had a great sense of humor so we spent a lot of time laughing. Unfortunately, because of the rain, this was our only visit into Denali National Park so we never did get to see Mt. McKinley. Our next stop was in Anchorage. Although the weather still wasn't perfect, we were able to enjoy better temperatures and some sunshine. While we were in Anchorage we enjoyed a Trolley tour of the city as well as a walk through the Farmer's Market and a visit to the Ulu Factory. We also took a trip to the Alaska Zoo. While we were there we enjoyed a pizza at one of Anchorage's most popular eateries, the Moose's Tooth. Our next stop was in Homer which turned out to be a great little village. It was one of the most beautiful places we've visited. Of course, having great weather helped. We spent plenty of time at the beach, especially at low tide with Stella where she was able to run and had the time of her life. We were also able to see many golden and bald eagles while we were there. We spent some time in the village and out on the spit and also took a couple of drives up to scenic overlooks to get some great views of the mountains and glacier's that surround the area and Kachemak Bay. Our next stop took us to Seward where we enjoyed our last extended stop in Alaska. While there we took our Kenai Fjords Day Cruise. We were so fortunate to have picture perfect weather all day. The sky was deep blue with only an occasional cloud and the water was calm, at times, like glass. We saw glaciers, snow covered mountains and hundreds of beautiful islands jutting up out of the sea, each unique in its own way. We also saw a variety of whales, porpoises, sea lions, sea otters, and all kinds of birds including bald eagles and puffins. We drove through a sea of ice before stopping only a few hundred feet off the Aialik Glacier where we watched chunks of glacial ice drop into the sea. We passed close by dozens of sea lions and watched as a bull sea lion made his presence known. We also took a slow pass around an enormous island of rock, covered in cracks and caves, home to tens of thousands of birds. That 6 hour tour was definitely one of the highlights of our entire trip to Alaska. While in Seward we also enjoyed walking around the historic area and having a great lunch at a local diner. We also spent a nice sunny day there by hiking out to Exit Glacier. It was a great 2 mile hike out to the bottom of the glacier where we could feel the cold air and see the ice up close. After Seward we made our way back to Anchorage for a 2 night stop and a chance to prepare for our long trip back to the lower 48. We then made our way from Anchorage to Tok Alaska where we spent 1 night. While at the Sourdough Campground in Tok we participated in a pancake throwing contest. The prize was a free breakfast the following morning which I won by flipping my pancake into a bucket about 20 feet away. Claudia missed the bucket but took advantage of my winnings by picking up a free breakfast to go as we headed out at 7am the next morning for an 8 hour drive into Canada. We've enjoyed our time in Alaska and Canada but now it's time to head back east. We still have some great stops along the way and with over 5000 miles still to go we’ll continue to enjoy this great adventure but we’re getting more and more excited about seeing everyone again. Ed
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Ed and Claudia always dreamed of retiring and travelling the country in their motorhome. They retired in 2013 and this is the continuing story of their adventures on the road.