We are getting close to our half way point of the trip, and this is the first morning that looks like what I had prepared myself to see in Alaska. It rained all night and there was only one train roaring by at 5 this morning and I slept well, and actually didn’t wake up until five. Guess it is getting a bit darker as the days begin to get shorter, as we get farther south, and just maybe I am getting used to it.
When we left our camp yesterday, it was cloudy but not raining. The road south toward the Talkeetna turnoff has two formal viewing sites for Denali that are part of the Denali State Park, and many other places where the mountain is visible on clear days. With the next few days of predicted heavy rain, I am more and more grateful for that brilliant morning leaving Fairbanks with Denali in full view.
Talkeetna is a popular place it seems. There are lots of cute little rustic Alaska style shops, two visitor centers, with one geared to folks planning to climb Denali. After my four hours doing laundry with one dryer, we drove the short distance to town to check it out. It was raining fairly hard by then, but folks were still walking around the little town, doing the shops and eating in the several restaurants. I didn’t take photos, but if you want to see the town, Dennis and Carol did a great job on their blog when they were in Talkeetna a couple of weeks ago.
The Princess and Holland America buses are here, right behind the RV Camper Park. When the train whizzes by in that same vicinity, you see railroad cars labeled Princess and Holland America since this is a stop off/pick up point for transfers from the train to the buses. If you have a ticket for this 115 mile stretch for the train, you can get on and off at will and the train will stop for you. There are lots of trees and thick vegetation, which seems even thicker in the drippy, dense rain. Last night I was feeling a bit claustrophobic, but if you look at the header photo and then today’s photos, it might be understandable.
We walked to the park on the edge of the Talkeetna River and laughed at all the tents and campfires in an area heavily posted with “No Camping” signs. We caught the aroma of people smoking pot, and saw a lot of youthful activity around, and garbage. Wet sleeping bags draped across tents, boots sitting outside in the rain, that sort of thing.
The river itself looks scary. The current is fast and the water is milky from glacier melt and filled with debris. Not a place I would want to launch my boat, that is for sure! We heard a loud noise going upstream and it wasn’t until I re-read Dennis’s posts about Talkeetna that I realized that it was a jet boat tour, one of the many local tourist activities available. I hear there are some good restaurants with good food and service, but we are saving our eating out bucks for salmon and halibut on the peninsula, so we will skip the local spots in spite of the good reviews.
Today we plan another fairly short drive of less than 100 miles to Anchorage and the Elmendorf AFB Family Camp. Since Mo is retired military, there are no reservations, so we are hoping for a site since the camp is so accessible to Anchorage and it’s time for a MoHo oil change and some city stuff. I won’t have internet at the campground, but if so inclined I am sure I could find many places in town. There is much to do in Anchorage as well, but I’m not really interested in city sight seeing for some reason. Yes, I know, I will probably never drive here again, but this is our big road trip, and the city stuff, even the town stuff just doesn’t trigger my excitement button. I do really want to see the Earthquake Park. I had an old friend that lived through it, and her stories were terrifying.
The rest of the photos from yesterday and this morning are linked here