Posted by: Frank | 09/27/2011

Week # 2 The RV

Week #2 RV Adventure!!

Ok, who said it would be fun to rent an RV for a week and do some exploring on our own??  Do I really have to mention HER name or can u guess?

Anyway, the first thing they have u do here is to watch a video and scare the crap out of u and make u wonder if ur smart enough to rent one of their RV’s.  WELL – since we’ve owned one, we know it all already!! We signed all the paperwork and headed for Walmart to purchase supplies to last us at least for or five days. Mission accomplished we headed towards Mt Alyeska for a tram to the top for our viewing pleasure.

We started out fine – Except maybe – making triple sure all the little exterior doors are secure or how to turn on the headlights – lol. Since it is the law in Alaska and we couldn’t take our eyes off the road to explore all the buttons and knobs, we had to pull over and explore – one of us too dumb to put his jacket on as he jumped in and out of the RV to check the lights!

With some due diligence and a cold nose (mine) we figured out how to work the controls and were quickly back on the road and into a rain storm. Miles later we heard a loud “thud” and I looked into the drivers side mirror to see one of the access doors flopping in the wind and rain – yes, one of the doors I DID check before we left! So – out in the cold (and this time wet) I went around and checked – AGAIN, this time also locking all the panels!

Now I’m dying for a cup of hot coffee!
The adventure continues!

Some things we’ve noticed – every place we’ve been so far has been very  clean! It seems like the locals take pride in their lovely state, quite unlike some places we’ve been. The other thing is that they seem to make their signs with bullet holes in them – strange to say the least! Good tight grouping by the way, it would imply they know which end of a gun the bullet comes out of!

A note I forgot earlier, we bought a bunch of stuff to take with us on the trip and I am delighted to report that they have some of the freshest tomatoes I have had in years, big, sweet, ripe, red and juicy and half the cost of Hawaii tomatoes!

A night in Homer, on “The Spit” where we were able to hike along the shore where we looked for rocks and shells before checking out some of the local buildings and boats. We had a great lunch at a place that had the “best fish and chips on the coast” of which we could agree but the Cole slaw was NOT on my best foods list! We spent the rest of the driving around checking out the local sites including up to the “ridge” that a great view of the “spit”. We decided to head out early because there wasn’t a lot to do in the local area. We were able to take our time and make stops along the way.

When it was time to find a spot to stat the night, my dear wife took a road that I would have avoided but ended up a finding a great location.

At the RV park we stayed at last nite the woman that greeted us had just checked the river to see if it had crested. It was in fact about a foot higher than normal, she told us, but the park was in no danger of flooding. Being the type of person that doesn’t always take someone’s word for things, I suggested to Martha that we take the one high spot left. We did that, but as promised, we were high and dry tie next morning anyway!

One of the curious things we have both noticed are the “end of avalanche area” signs. The reason we find it curious is that we have YET to see a “begin avalanche area” sign!!  I guess this could be one of those cases where we think the government knows what it’s doing so we “assume” that unless we are told otherwise, we ARE in a avalanche area!

We are headed to “Exit Glacier” to do some exploring and to see what we can see. Should be interesting!

WOW!!  All I can say Is shit howdy! If you have never been but get the chance, this is one place you NEED to visit! The first surprise was the fact that the entrance fee for this fantastic attraction was $0! They quit charging an entrance fee about six years ago. We took it upon ourselves to pay anyway, it was worth it! When we got to nature center there was a notice posted that there had been a she bear and cub sighting earlier in the day but we didn’t get to see them, likely a very good thing. 

The trail we chose was a loop about 2.5 miles and took us real close to the glacier, in fact if the wind had been in my favor, I could have peed on it! We could hear and see the runoff from the melting ice and rain loaded with grey silt as it flowed down the braided river. When we made it back to the entrance one of the rangers had brought back a chunk of ice that had broken off earlier in the day. I know it was a silly thing but touching it seemed like going back hundreds of years.

We left the park an headed into Seward, our new camping area for the night. We were early enough that we had some time to check out the town. 

Boat – The Trip to the Glacier

One of the things I keep forgetting to mention is that they have almost as many bars and churches as they do people. It depends on your mood and time of year it is on which one you go to. Not sure how I would avoid them both if I lived here. Come to think about it, not much to worry about there on either count!

It’s Sunday, 10 long years since 9/11 and we still think about it. I am proud to be an american an particularly proud of our men an woman that daily put their lives on the line to avenge the  innocents killed in the 9/11 attacks. As we go about our day here  in Alaska we sincerely hope the bastards that brought us to this day rot in purgatory or their worst equivalent of it!

In a couple of hours we are off on a boat tour that will get us up close and personal with another glacier. Small boats are NOT my favorite things to be on in ocean waters! The good thing, if u can call it that, is that we are also gettin an all u can eat buffet so you can eat and puke, eat and puke for six hours!

We are walking to the pickup spot but depending on how the seas are, Martha might have to hire a taxi or come get the RV to hall my sorry ass back to our RV spot when we’re done.

Well, we had nothing to worry about! Our boat tour took us to Aialik bay glacier where we made it in time to watch it “Calve” which means a big chunk of ice broke off and fell in the bay! Quite a treat since I caught it on film! During the trip we saw plenty of critters, from birds to whales, a good trip for all!

A stop at the Alyeska resort and a tram ride to the top of the mountain was our last stop before heading back to anchorage.

Ok, words of wisdom. If you are in an RV you might not want to try and visit the Crow Creek Mine! Regardless of my distress when martha headed there, we made it in and out of the mine area and headed down the road towards the main highway when Martha saw another road off to the left and decided to try it so we did.  

This one took us to a trailhead That had a mile long trail heading to the river and a “hand tram” crossing. We walked the trail but passed on the river crossing, mostly do to my current vertigo issues. It was still a pleasant two mile hike through a great forest so no complaints. All in all a good day!

Final Day in RV

Last night we stayed on base in the Army RV park at the joint Army/Air Force base at Elmendorf Alaska. This Is one DAMN Big base! It took us half an hour to find the park once we got on the base, pretty neat when we did though, trees, hookups, bears, showers, bears, laundry (dryers not working) and bears! The price was right also, so no bitching here!

The day started like many others, I was up early and had two cops of coffee by the time Martha made foot to floor contact. We only had a couple of things in mind for the day, do laundry so we are starting fresh on the cruise and maybe do a short hike.

Well, the first part of our day went well once we found the laundry – which was a tiny exercise In, “turn right here, no I mean TURN RIGHT HERE -Left, I mean turn left right here!”  that accomplished and the laundry happily sloshing and spinning in their stainless steel barrels we felt like we were on a roll!

Laundry done we were ready to move on to phase two of our day, a short hike to a falls a few miles from the base. We started in the general disagreed direction and kept driving and driving, waiting to see a familiar name on the map I was holding.  As luck would have it, we came to an area that the roads were getting more narrow by the yard and in my most understanding and professional voice, strongly suggested we turn around before we ran into a stream!

In an extremely calm voice Martha said “what now?”
I responded in an equally calm voice, “f**k it, let’s go into town.”

So, off to Anchorage we went. In no time we were driving the busy streets of the States largest city. Within ten minutes I was a wreck even though Martha was driving. She had a walking path in mind and we tried to find it with some what limited success. Meaning the path was easy enough to find but parking for a 26 foot RV was not to be had.

If it’s one thing you can say about my lovely wife, it’s the fact when she gets something in her head, she’s like a terrier, doesn’t want to let go. So, we continued to drive, looking for a spot to park. At one point I pointed out that where she wanted to go was NOT a desirable place to park or even turn around – much to my distress she went anyway. My kind words were as follows, “I told you so, I told you so!” when we finally got out and she asked me “now what?” I told her “time for Popeye’s!” Thus starting the third and most stressful part of our day.

How simple can it be, to find a fast food joint, this being Popeye’s, when you have googled it AND have a Magellan to help guide you to it? Well, you also need some bit of luck a d a husband that doesn’t put his faith in an electronic map! So, at least nine miles and two loops and some mixed laughter and tears we finally found the place about a quarter of a mile from where we started (Martha’s location) when we began the search. Needless to say, over lunch I was not only nibbling on breasts but more than a little humble pie!

We ate, drove to the mall and walked around a bit (btw movies here are $10.50) then we came back to our RV spot to goof off and start packing for our cruise. Life does go on!  Aloha

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