Inspiration's Journey Home Page

Malia's Journal Updates

Alaska - Part 7

July 30 -
Aug. 10, 2003

Journal Updates


Columbia, SC
Blue Ridge Parkway
Computer Crash!

2005 - 2006
Happy New Year
Hawk's Message
I'm Published!
Sharing Spring
Ways of Writing
Edmonds, WA
Degenerate Neck
Desert Depression
Post Quartzsite
Grandma Malia

2003 - 2004
Alaska Planning
Alaska 1
Alaska 2
Alaska 3
Alaska 4
Alaska 5
Alaska 6
Alaska 7
BC & Alberta
To Lower 48
2004 Recap
Giving Thanks

2001 - 2002
Inspiration's Off!
To Charleston
N. Carolina
To Orlando
Florida Tour
Back in Austin
Albuq. to WA


On the Way (Canada)

Alaska at Last!

Tok to Valdez

  Mineral Creek
  Lu-Lu Belle Cruise

Russian River

  Misc. Pics

Whittier Road

Portage Glacier

Backyard Bear!

  Kenai Cruise

  Flightsee Denali

Denali Nat'l Park

Kluane Lake

Cassiar Hwy. Bear
  Highway Scenes

  Waterfall Road

Jasper Nat'l Park
  Maligne Lake

Icefields Parkway
  Athabasca Falls
  Athabasca Glacier
  Overnight at Glacier
  Lake Louis Road
  Lake Louise

Banff, Alberta

Johnston Canyon

Misc. Pics

Fireweed Pics

Skagway (side trip)
  White Pass RR
  Return Trip

Alaska Journaling

My Article About
This Alaska Trip

These are misc. journal entries written while in Alaska (besides the ones included with the picture pages)

July 30, 2003 - Russian River Part 2

Our next stop was another return trip for me, to the Russian River Campground, where Carol and Ron welcomed me home again. Besides the warmth of the hosts, I truly enjoy the peacefulness of the surroundings and the Kenai River is still my favorite with its cool blue color and sweet rushing sounds. Mom and I walked the trail to the mouth of the Russian River where it meets the Kenai and once again I was fascinated by the different colors of the waters meeting. This trip was different in that this time the rivers were full of fishermen easily catching their limit of salmon as they made their way upstream. The last time I was here on June 4 was before the start of the season and the excitement it brings.

Just a couple of weeks ago brought a different kind of uproar when a brown bear attacked an angler close to where we walked today. The man is still in critical condition after losing practically his whole face to a sow after he apparently came between her and her cubs. Not long before that, a fisherman shot a black bear he felt threatened by, which left 3 very young cubs orphaned and subsequently euthanized. Definitely a different world here with out of the ordinary experiences to our way of thinking, anyway.

Tomorrow we head out back toward Anchorage where we will stock up again on groceries and supplies and make our way toward Denali. We just heard yesterday that the area has been experiencing flooding and even a freak snow storm just a couple of weeks ago, so hopefully that will calm down in the next few days because that big mountain is a major draw for me, that's for sure.

July 31, 2003 - Spur of the Moment Change in Plans

When we left Homer our intent was to head back through Anchorage on our way to Denali. However, when we got to the junction with the choice of Seward one way and Anchorage the other, we stopped at a roadside pulloff and spoke to a ranger there. I said the weather looked so perfect where we were that if I knew for sure it was that clear in Seward, we'd head back there since we virtually missed it due to the clouds and rain when we were there last week. She said she had just driven from there and seeing Seward in the sunshine was definitely worth the 37 mile trip from that point. So we heeded that advice and all the way kept exclaiming how glad we were that we made that decision.

August 2, 2003 - From the sublime to the ridiculous

On our way back to Anchorage, the skies were still pretty clear, so I decided to drive the 16 mile spur off the main road to the little town of Hope. I was told by several people that it was a really cute little typical Alaskan town and I had just never managed to get there before. The road was not great and by the time we got to the end we had managed to miss the town and by the time I turned around, we decided it just wasn't worth it to try to find it, so we left Hope-less.

By the time we got to Anchorage, mom wanted to stop at Sam's Club, so after shopping there and at WalMart, we decided to spend the night in the parking lot and head out in the morning toward Denali.

August 5, 2003 - Denali

As we headed for Denali National Park, we saw our first grizzly bear on the side of the road and that was pretty exciting, but it was getting progressively cloudier as we left Talkeetna.

My black and gray water tanks were full enough that I wanted to dump before we got to the campground, so I decided to top off my gas tank at the next Tesoro gas station so that I could use their dump for free. I had been told that all Tesoro stations in Alaska have dumps. So after I had gotten gas and filled my propane tank, and after dealing with it taking two of their dumb and dumber employees to ring up my propane purchase 3 times because of mistakes in pricing, I was informed that this particular Tesoro had no dump. Perhaps it was because I was so miffed at this turn of events that I didn't see the end of the curb as I was pulling off and didn't pull out far enough. Thank God I was going slow enough to feel it immediately as the tire was squashed into the curb and I thanked God even more when I saw how close I came to squashing my outside storage bin doors.

I wasn't particularly thanking God when I had to get out and unhook my car, tow skirt and all, in order to back up out of that precarious situation, and by the time I was set to go forward again, I thought that tire looked like it had lost air and I wanted them to check it out for any damage. Of course, this "service" station could not handle that and referred me up the road to a place that serviced tires along with selling everything else anyone could want or not want in Alaska. This junk/treasure yard was called "Wal-Mike's" and he pronounced my tires competent to hit the road.

The next treat was lots of road construction and in some spots we were led by pilot car when only one lane was passable and that one lane was in pretty sad shape. After all these delays, by the time we pulled in to register in the campground, it was pouring rain. I wasn't happy at the prospect of backing up and setting up in the rain, but I was glad I had reservations, as I assumed that meant I had a reserved space for the size RV I had reserved for. When I finally got through the check-in line, they gave me a sheet of paper with several highlighted campsites to choose from for RV's my size.

Again, I foolishly assumed that one of those spaces was actually reserved for me. But by the time I got through driving around 3 different loops, all of the highlighted spaces were occupied and it seemed no available spaces were large enough for me, much less that I wanted to attempt backing into in the driving rain. I stopped at the camp host's spot and it was here that I discovered the absolute worst camp host I have ever encountered in 2 years of full-time RVing. I told him of my predicament as I stood outside getting wetter by the minute. His only response was that the park overbooked the larger spots all the time. This was informative, but not helpful, at 7:00 at night when I was exhausted trying desperately to keep centered in peace and happiness about being in Denali National Park in Alaska with my mom.

When I trekked on back to the visitor's center, a ranger said they would check all the sites to see who had maybe parked in a spot too large for them, a process she said would take about 15 minutes. 40 minutes later, she led me into a spot that was not intended for the big RVs, so my front window was right at the front of the road, which made it so convenient for those coming down the road to splash through the muddy puddle onto my house.

August 7, 2003

The guide said wolves are not as plentiful as bear and are rarely seen. That day we saw a big one circling a grizzly with a kill he was working on, but finally gave up and headed off into the woods. He also said the rarest animal seen in the park was the fox. That night on the way back from extending my stay, I saw one right at the side of the road. As I stopped, he crossed in front of me, then loped unconcerned alongside my car as I drove slowly beside him. That was the first and last time I ever leave the house without my camera!

August 10, 2003 - North Pole

Today is my mom's birthday and we spent it at the North Pole. We had originally planned on spending a couple of days in Fairbanks before getting serious about heading back south, but those plans didn't pan out. Since my mom has military base privileges and the one in Fairbanks has an RV park with full hookups at a cheap price, we tried to call for reservations, but never got through. So we drove up to the gate to ask about it, but were told they had no spaces big enough for me. The guard at the gate looked about 12 years old holding a big old machine gun, and it was all I could do to ask him how old he was and if that gun was really loaded. Then I remembered how I felt when some little old lady told me I looked way too young to have children and that's when I felt older than my age. I've never felt like more of a little old lady than I did at that moment. My mom didn't want to hear it because she can't believe she has kids as old as us, anyway.

So we're only 10 miles north of Fairbanks at the Santaland RV Park in North Pole, Alaska. It's been nice to have quiet electricity again and full hookups. I don't know how it works mathematically, but I have proven that if you put 2 women in an RV, even when they're trying to conserve, the usage of water quadruples, not just doubles. So I'm having to dump old water and get new water almost every other day just to keep up, so full hookups are especially appreciated now.

Mom was happy to hear that her two newly adopted children, Chuck & Kalyn, called to wish her happy birthday. I have so enjoyed meeting and getting to know them - I wonder if we'll hook up again before we get out of Alaskaland. They're in Anchorage again now and we're both headed to Hyder, but timing does not put us there together. Oh, well, since we're family now and all full-time RV, I'm sure we'll meet somewhere down the road again - a happy prospect already.

Tomorrow we head to Tok, which was my entry city into Alaska way back then on May 15. Then on to a couple of places along the Alaskan Highway that were closed when I first drove up, then on to Hyder, Alaska. That will be the last place we'll be in Alaska before heading back through BC and the Yukon again. I'm excited about taking a different route down than I drove up and about seeing Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada enroute back to Austin. Too soon to start thinking about Austin too much yet, though, so think I'll just end this here for now.

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