Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July in Alaska

Our Friday night, 3 July ended with a lovely campsite near Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the largest national park in the USA. We stopped at a rest area on the side of the road for the night and were joined by five other campers doing the same thing. Gil had decided that we'd stay there when we had passed it on our way to Valdez the day before. When we camp this way it saves us money (instead of paying $26-$35 for a campground spot). We met a very nice couple from Shreveport and I told her about the book mother and I wrote. She took it to her camper and looked at it and read some before bedtime. She seemed to really enjoy it. Gil met another nice couple from Canada while I cooked supper. I had planned chili with some of the venison Barbara gave us because I thought it would be cold, but the weather was very warm; in fact, unusually warm for this area this early in July. I am not really complaining you understand, because it was not in the 100s, maybe 80 degrees.

The next morning we were just 10 miles from the park so we stopped in at the visitor's center. This park is a preserve of the wilderness and wildlife in the 13 million acres it covers. There are no tour buses, and the only way to see the park except for two short drives into two areas is to hike, ski, camp in the wilderness or rent a plane. Well, we are not into any of those sports and can't afford a plane ride (don't ask, we didn't!). We did see a very nice movie which showed us views of the park from a plane so that was special (and free). We took the car off the dolly and left the RV in the parking lot and drove about 20 miles inside the park hoping to see wildlife. We did see a ground squirrel, an eagle many miles above us and one moose who was going fast into the forest. The views of the mountains were not very good either because the trees covered the views except for a 3-mile stretch which did afford us a view of Mt. Sanford and Mt. Wrangell, two of the highest peaks in the park.

We left the park about 2 pm and drove into Tok which is the first town we came to when we entered Alaska almost two weeks ago. We have completed the big circle we planned to take. We are camping at the Sourdough RV park which is wonderful. There are almost 200 sites and ours is a pull-through with full hookups. We did get a discount for being in the Good Sam Club and we did have a free sample of salmon tonight before the pancake toss. We enjoyed eating with the other campers and meeting them. We all took side dishes (kids wanted mac and cheese and green beans). The camp hosts also provided free samples of reindeer chili. It was good, but a little spicy for me. We met a family from East Germany who were having a wonderful time. They told me they will be here for three weeks. Gil won a free breakfast in the morning of sourdough pancakes and reindeer sausage. He said he'd pay for my breakfast in the morning and the kids agreed to stay in the RV and have their usual cereal. How nice of them to let us have a breakfast out. We hope to find a church to attend in the morning. We may stay in Tok Sunday night as well because there is an RV repair place here and Gil thinks our refridgerator needs to be checked again to make sure it is staying cold enough. When we are not hooked up to electricty the fridge should be on gas automatically but it may not be working well and we don't want food to spoil on those nights we camp along the roadside. Hope you all had a happy 4th of July!

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