Motorhome Experiences of Lyle Dean and Judy Lebsack
The longest day of the year seems longer here in Alaska, but even the amount of daylight varies in this huge state. By the time we get to Fairbanks in about three weeks there will be no night, that is no darkness. Tonight, however, the sun is to set at midnight here in Valdez.
The trip today from Tok, was not the roughest we've experienced, but it seems these roads are creating new rattles in the coach. The scenery became increasingly beautiful at every turn, even in construction zones. The RV park in Valdez is surrounded by snow-capped peaks. A magnificent view.
A native fish ladder on display at the Wrangell National Park Visitors Center.
Lyle doesn't care if he never sees another muskox. Our visit to the non-profit musk ox farm was an educational event, as Alaska officials try to rebuild the herds of these ancient animals. But they are ugly!
After that event, we visited a reindeer farm which also had a bison and moose. It is the first moose we've seen in the hundreds of miles of traveling Alaska's roads--and based on reports, the best way to see a moose is not in the middle of the road. A baby reindeer took a liking to Lyle or the pocket zipper on his pants. It followed him around for awhile. Judy posed with a male reindeer with a full rack. Then, on to the Iditarod Race Center near Wasilla. We held two-week old pups and watched sled dog teams pull overweight tourists around a course. Seems inhumane on a warm summer day, even if the sleds were on wheels. Oh, we found Sara Palin's house in Wasilla--fenced and gated. Did not climb the fence.
Right: Moose-kissing. Do not try this in the wild!
4 a.m. in Valdez looks pretty much like it did at 12 a.m.--daylight.
Outside and inside the Palmer log church
Lazy sea otters and shy puffins.
Panorama of Newmar Caravan Motor Homes and the snow-capped peaks surrounding the Valdez RV park.
We took time off to travel yesterday from Valdez to Palmer. Again, wonderful scenery, including several water falls, heavy mountain fog (or clouds), with a section of winding road that rivaled Colorado's Big Thompson Canyon! Road conditions were not as bad as previous days--yay! Today, while Lyle recorded To Your Health, Judy went on a walking tour of historic downtown Palmer. The community began as a way to get farmers from the Midwest to try this agricultural section of Alaska. It had mixed results, with some people ill-equipped to handle the Alaska winters and/or the land they were given by the federal government was not suitable for farming. To the right, the colony started with just one church, still in use. That didn't please everybody, so Roman Catholic and Lutheran Churches were built and still used today. We grilled steaks tonight--splurged!
Tomorrow's schedule includes touring a Musk Ox farm just outside of Palmer. Neither of us has ever seen a real musk ox, so it should be another experience.
A free day in Valdez! We slept in, except for Lyle getting up at 4 a.m.to photograph the sunrise. With mountains all around, no sunrise was evident, but it sure was light. Later we cleaned the coach, removing bugs from the front and dust/mud from the rest of it. Then, a trip into downtown, such as it is, to view the small boat harbor and have lunch. We spotted a "wild" animal outside a gift shop (photo to the right). Lunch was at a place called The Potato--chicken fajita pita and rosemary garlic fries. Awesome! Unlike the clear visibility of yesterday, today has been cloudy with light rain at times. Tomorrow, we are scheduled to take a long boat ride to view glaciers, fjords and wild life.
Wow! What a day! Our caravan boarded the Valdez Spirit at 8:30 and returned at 4:30. We cruised the Prince William Sound home of several glaciers and, of course, the Exxon Valdez disaster. We spotted several humpback whales, dozens of sea otters and hundreds of sea lions. We enjoyed a close encounter with the Meares Glacier and miles of fjiord shoreline. A long, delightful excursion. Plenty of photos to show for it.
Distant view of the massive Matanuska Glacier and some of the glacial melt.
Above: Colony of bachelor sea lions.
Right: Fluke of humpback whale
Looking forward and backward in a long construction zone..