Sunday, August 1, 2010
If you are an Alaskan living along a highway and you want to get rid of stuff, lay it out on the highway with a for sale sign on it.
The number of beautiful mountains in Alaska would drive the natives crazy if the ceiling were not 500 feet on six of every seven days.
The best hamburgers in Alaska were
1. Kenny Lakes RV Diner (The Willow Woman). Congrats to Ms. Kim Morse.
2. The Monderosa-Mile 309 on the Parks Highway near Fairbanks
3. The Crows Nest-Above Honkey Tonk Row just outside Denali National Park
The best soup in Alaska is made by Kim Morse at Kenny Lakes Diner.
The best fish dinner in Alaska is at Rays Waterfront Diner in Seward.
The worst fish dinner in Alaska is at the Pumphouse Restaurant in Fairbanks.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
This kind of driving is something we do well, although it is not particularly relaxing. We did pass some extraordinary scenery, Muncho Lake in northern B.C. long mesas in the northern Rockies, and the delightful Okanagan valley just before getting to the border with Washington state. Problems in the first few days were caused by the Canadian system of summer road repair. Basically, cars are halted for up to fifteen minutes by a flag woman/man, and then a pilot car takes the string of cars slowly up a single lane road. Sometimes these stops take up a full hour. And then, fifty miles down the road, another repair. But by the time we left Prince Rupert, the system changed so that cars can go both ways, although slowly, through the repair zone.
Hitting Penticton around 4:30PM in the hot sun revealed everyone doing as much water based stuff as possible, including floating down between lakes on every type of inflatable contraption known to man. We bought a crate of peaches (this was after Nick warning Mary "Don't even think of buying a full crate of peaches!") north of the border and, fortunately, were allowed through customs into the U.S. with them. They are fantastically good.
It looks like we can make central Oregon tomorrow (that will finish off the hot weather for sure), and we will try to camp. We have a great chili dish that Mary made, and it only gets better. That and a salad and a beer will be a great final dinner in the camper.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Meanwhile, Mr Bear below was intent on his meal of soap berries, which apparently taste like, well, soap. He can't be choosey since he must gain a few hundred pounds in a hurry to make it
through the winter. All in all, a pretty good day's work. In addition to these fine specimens we saw many moose, golden eagles, lots of bears and cubs, and even a gyrfalcon, apparently a rare bird for those who are building their life time list.
Monday, July 19, 2010
During the ride we saw many grizzly bears, beginning to descend to river banks since the berries have ripened. We also saw caribou (nowhere near the grizzlies) and Dall sheep. The ability to see so much wildlife is reason enough to come here. Mary temporarily lost her camera today after Nick had taken one bear shot. It was turned in to lost and found and is now in our hands. But, as a result, nothing in the photo department.
After a couple of days of feeling low about the weather, we are pretty pumped for the last few days of our journey (to remote cabins in Denali) prior to turning the rig south for the long journey home.
Friday, July 16, 2010
July 15, No Internet Connection, Rain-Weary, and Wondering What to do Next
This posting is being prepared offline, despite the availability of a storng wifi signal nearby. Unfortunately the computer is showing signs of advanced age and it is so far refusing to link with a communications device.
The scenery is most likely magnificent in
We wandered out into the boat harbor and were able to buy some fresh and delicious sockeye salmon at the retail outlet of Peter Pan Fisheries, one of the processing plants here. Cooked up on the sauté pan, and served with boiled potato and chard, it was sensational. Almost as good as the tequila we sipped during the meal. This is a nice RV park and we got our showers in and laundry done in very little time.
We talked about what to do next. We both are tired of constant bad weather, and our curiosity about what is around the next corner has diminished after more than a month of travel. We have a reservation at a nice lodge deep in
Here are a couple of Alaskan vignettes for the reader:
We walked into Kenny Lake RV Park's diner last night after returning from Kennicott/McCarthy. We had low expectations but we felt pretty good after the long day, and it was nice to sit in something other than a bouncing shuttle bus. We began to talk about whether it would be fun to drive up some bad roads and visit Chicken and Eagle, both on the way to the
Our dinner arrived, and we feasted on the best burgers we have tasted in a long time, and even better curried rice soup. I noticed that the cook was also doing all of the waiting on tables, and wondered if she could finish, since there was quite a crowd. But her daughter showed up soon and things moved pretty well.
This morning I returned to the diner for coffee and chatted with Kim Morse, the woman who cooked dinner for us. She has very recently purchased the diner, and is renaming it "The Willow Woman Diner". She in fact is pretty willowy, that is, flexible and strong. Kim looks like life has been hard, but she still has beauty in her eyes, and her attitude is terrific. She has some visions on how to change the menu, but she said that they have to use up what was in the cooler and on order first. She loves the local produce that is available in the short summer months. Her soup is a borrowed recipe from a Thai pull-through diner about one hundred miles up the road. I congratulated her on the good dinner and said that things were pretty busy when we left. "Oh, you should have stuck around. We had some real excitement around 10:30. Apparently the horse belonging to another local up the road went prancing down the highway in front of the RV Park. That set the cell phones buzzing and soon someone road the horse bareback for a few miles to return it to the owner. Anyone who happens on
The driver of our shuttle yesterday was pretty sure she didn't want to go to a wedding that she was committed to later this week. "He is such a nice man, and none of us can imagine why he is marrying his fiancé. He is forty and she is sixty. My husband said if she was hot, that would be one thing, but that isn't the case. She did hard drugs for thirty years, and some of us think she is still doing them. She is terrible to his kids. We are thinking of giving them a rafting trip on the