Plan to head down toward the Kenai Peninsula today. Will stop along the way to visit various small towns and maybe see Denali Mountain. It is supposed to rain most of the day today so the chances of Denali being seen today are slim. We will do our usual meandering pace travel and see what we can see.
The temp. this morning in Fairbanks was 47 degrees F. and it was broad daylight when we woke. Left our “boondocking” spot in Walmart and went to Fred Myers to buy some new throw rugs for the Lazy Daze. Alaska has lots of places to boondock with little restriction. We’ll boondock south of Healy, Alaska tonight.
Took care of the RV essentials this morning before taking off south on Parks Highway. Many places offer free dump sites and free potable water. We just call a nearby gas station and ask. If they don’t offer the service they almost always know which business does offer the service. So we dumped, filled with fresh water, got gas and ordered our mail to be sent to a town further down the road that we will get to in a few days. We called the post office in the small town that our mail will go to and asked how long they will hold the mail if we are very slow in getting there. They hold the mail for 30 days, perfect. Paid $4.24/gal. of reg. with the 10 cent discount for having a Fred Myers “rewards card”. As for the rugs, we never seem to hike in “clean” places so usually return with plenty of dirt on our shoes. Don’t usually take our shoes off when we enter the RV so the throw rugs play an important role in keeping the place clean and the pale gray carpet we have stain free. The throw rugs we started with almost two years ago have been beaten, vacuumed, spot cleaned, and washed repeatedly. They were starting to look really shabby, especially after all the Alaska dirt roads we’ve been on and tracking in dirt and mud, despite our best efforts. So their time was up; out with the shabby ones. Now, with the new ones, the place looks presentable again. There’s no sales tax in most places in Alaska and today was senior discount day so we paid less for the rugs than we thought we would. I noticed the checker didn’t even ask if we were seniors, just went ahead and gave us the discount. Hey, we resemble that assessment! I know, I know. Lots of people don’t get to be old, so I won’t complain, too much.
We are driving slowly down the Parks Highway and have gotten just passed the “town” of Healy. The Parks Highway offers beautiful views and we are quite enjoying just moving along slowly. Not too much traffic to contend with but we just pull over and let everyone that comes along pass us by.
We spent the night in the Walmart parking lot (along with about ten other RVs) and woke to a temp. of 51 degrees F. It just doesn’t get dark at night so our schedule is way off. We always feel like we should be doing something when it is still daylight. For example, we really need to get the Lazy Daze clean. That Alaska dirt just doesn’t rinse off. It needs a good scrubbing. Also, having the store so close has caused me to use it as a pantry and just run in when I need something.
University of Alaska Museum Of The North. Fairbanks.
Spent a good part of the day touring the museum at the University of Alaska. The university campus is huge and beautiful and the museum building is tastefully done. It costs $9/senior admission and an additional $5 to see the films they show. We opted to see the films but when they put you in a warm room, in comfortable seats and it is the first time you have seen it turn dark as night in weeks…well, let’s just say it was all we could do to stay awake for the films. The films were actually very good and we did watch them, albeit with an occational nod off. The museum is well laid out with wonderful art and nature displays. The tour books say it is a “must see” in Fairbanks and we quite enjoyed it. They’re open daily and parking is free on the weekends. Also, they have RV parking. Very nice.
Robert G White Large Animal Research Station, University of Alaska.
Near the campus, and run by the university, is the Large Animal Research Station. They say you can see musk ox, caribou and reindeer from the parking area but we only saw some reindeer laying down near the fence. We think they would look much better in the wilderness. There are also guided tours at the research station Tuesday through Saturday. I’m told that they are just doing genetic testing and no animals suffer there. It’s good to know no one is hurting “Rudolf”!
It stays almost full daylight well into the night now so you feel like you should and could be doing something when you usually would be settling down for the night. So last night, around 10:00pm we went to Northern Energy and used their free dump, the free hose to wash down the Lazy Daze and filled the tank with gas. The #1 pump works with a credit card after the station is closed and gas was $4.60 per gal. reg. and the dump plus car wash was free with fill-up. Next, we drove north of town and found a boondock site near a pond. Though just off the Alaska Highway, the road is very lightly traveled and we slept well. The GPS location N 63.36375 degrees W 143.41366 degrees. We found it by just reading the MilePost book for that stretch of road. It was 45 degrees and overcast when we woke this morning. Driving along the road from Tok to Delta Junction we saw black bear and moose just grazing along side the road. Got our moose sightings in but have yet to see grizzlies or eagles.
Delta Junction, Alaska
This is the end point of the Alaska Highway and at the visitors center there’s a milepost for that. We had lunch at the visitor center in our RV though there’s a grassy area and picnic tables next to the visitors center. Just up the road is the Historical Rika’s Roadhouse. It is a very interesting museum and period buildings to tour. We spent a few hours poking around and stopped to have a piece of their freshly made strawberry/rhubarb pie that we heard so much about. Oh, yes, it was good. Heard their soup was also good but we had just finished lunch. As soon as we were leaving, in drove a whole tour bus full of people. Glad we missed them.
Arrived in Fairbanks this evening and spent a few hours touring the visitor center and talking with the knowledgeable staff there. Planned the next few days of touring with the visitor center’s help. Will need to get gas here but it looks like it is running around $4.30 per gal. reg. Not too bad after what we paid in Canada.
This will be Memorial Day Weekend, so if any readers served in the military…THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.