Some jerks pulled into the campground at 3:30 in the morning. 40 some places to park and they pull in next to me, then leave. I pack up early and head north of town on the Lil Susitna River. It took me a while to find it. The state troopers are also the conservation officers and I get checked and told that the little Su is closed to Salmon fishing. I fish for trout and Dolly Varden without success.
I go back to Wasilla and wash the pickup. I then go to the Alaskan Transportation museum. Itís done by volunteers so isnít very professional but still pretty interesting and fun place and well worth a visit. Well worth the visit. I stop by McDonaldís so I can use the wifi. Itís just an access thing that you have to pay for. I donít think Iíll be going back to McDonaldís anymore (isnít there song called that?).
I go back out to the spot that I fished at this morning. Itís a beautiful place and a few miles out of town so I think it should be quiet. I swear this place is busier than grand central station. There have been kids riding their 4 wheeler through the creek. People coming and going. I was afraid it was going to be the Saturday night party spot. There is someone up the road either breaking wood or shooting a 22. This place is crazy. I guess Iíve got to get farther in the country. 200,460 8 miles
My fears last night were realized. It was the kidís party spot. I think there were at least 3 parties going on around me. Each group was competing with the volume of their music and everybody yelling or screaming over it. I packed up and headed to town. I soon found out Wal-Mart does not allow overnight parking at their store. I ended up back out at Lake Lucille. I was now the jerk pulling in at 3 in the morning. But guess what? There is a group of guys still up, drinking and yelling. They didnít have music and I was so tired I was able to sleep through it.
I talked to Sherri and Stella this morning. They were driving back from Lawrence KS, so had a long day in front of them. I stopped by the visitorís center to check my email. The lady in there was very talkative, since I was the only one that had stopped in. I never did see Sarah. Anchorage wasnít too bad to get through and most of the drive towards Seward wasnít too bad. There was a wreck just past Girdwood that I had to wait on. I think a kid lost his boat trailer on a corner and it had spun him around.
I camped at Ptarmigan Campground. I got set up and took a little nap. The two guys camped next to me were brothers from Arizona. Theyíve been on the road for 2 months just fly fishing all over. They were a couple of characters. It was like listening to the Mackenzie brothers when they retire. Anyway they had some good practical suggestions on the fishing and some good stories. Theyíre headed to Valdez in the morning. I may catch up to them in a couple of days. Theyíre planning on taking the ferry from Valdez to Prince Rupert. 200,687 238 miles
I got a good nightís sleep for a change. I head to the Kenai Fjord Park first and hike up to the Glacier. I am following a dad and his 5-6 year old son. The kid saysĒ dad all we do on this vacation is walk around and look at stuff. When are going to do some hard math? ď the dad and I both crack up and the dad saysĒ what kind of hard math?Ē The kid repliesĒ You know like 200 plus 200Ē Kids keep it interesting.
I drive into Seward and go to the Aquarium. They have some good exhibits and the animals, birds and fish are mostly rescue items. Their job is to continue to research how the Valdez incident is affecting the sound.
I walk around town and the harbor for a while. I enjoy being in Seward. I think it would suck on a weekend, but fairly quiet today. I got a halibut taco. It just wasnít as good as my own. I then headed towards Homer. I stopped about 45 miles from Seward at Quartz Creek to camp and fished for a couple of hours with the usual lack of success. Itís real interesting to watch the red salmon come up and spawn. I accidentally snagged a couple of them, but they broke off. It was kind of exciting for a few minutes.
200,770 87 miles
I got up fairly early this morning and head out. I stop in Soldotna and do laundry. It starts to rain as Iím finishing up my laundry. The wind and rain keep up all the way down to Homer.
The rain let up a little bit and Iím set up camp out on the spit.
I walk over to the boardwalk and look around. There is a sea otter swimming around the docks. Actually it is just floating on its back grooming itself. I watch it for a while then while I was walking away another sea otter came swimming by. I have a couple of beers at the Salty Dawg. While Iím there I have a good conversation with one of the locals about beers, fishing, bird hunting and hunting dogs. All things of importance. I then have supper at a grill on the docks. Good meal. I head back to the camper and watch the tide go out.
200,922 160 miles
Rain is coming down when I wake up. I lie in bed and watch the sport fishing boats go out in the channel. I get up, have a quick breakfast and decide to use a lull in the rain to get going.
I had talked to Sherriís brother last night and I will try to meet up with him and their dad over by Whitehorse Yukon in a few days. We might be able to fish together over there. Weíll play phone tag for a few days.
Itís drizzling on me all the way to Soldotna. I stop in and get a shower at the Laundromat.
Clean clothes and a clean body I feel pretty human again. Itís still raining most of the time and very overcast. I decide to head on through Anchorage and then accidentally go on through Palmer. I should find a place to change the oil in this rig. I get a little longer drive in today. It wasnít pleasant to stop and do anything and I couldnít see much due to the low clouds. I come close to having a wreck today. A double truck was swinging wide for a corner in Anchorage and I didnít even notice it. I just about got ďpinchedĒ at the apex of the turn. I have cussed a few boneheaded drivers on this trip, but was I the one this time. I really pissed the truck driver off. I felt really stupid. I usually stay very aware of these types of situations.
I stay in a pleasant state campground called King hill. Itís finally stopped raining so I get a little walk in and clean the camper out. I will head for McCarthy/Kennicott tomorrow.
201,215 308 miles
August 6, 2009
At 3:30 in the morning I awoke to the sound of rain. It was still raining when I woke up the second time at 6:30. It was pretty chilly and damp feeling so I turned the heat on (I fixed it again yesterday) for a little bit and started the morning coffee water and went back to bed for a little bit.
Itís foggy out and light drizzle coming down as I packed up and took off. Visibility is down to a ľ of a mile or less most of the morning. There is no sense is in stopping at all the viewing areas. I stop in Glennallen and return a phone call from a friend of mine in Anchorage. We had missed each other when I went through. Iíll call him when I know Iíll be in Valdez and he might fly over. The weather starts to clear up while we are talking. I stop near the Tazlina River for lunch. It is flowing pretty fast. I then stop at the Wrangell-St Elias National Park visitorís center. They have a good introductory movie and some nice exhibits.
The day is turning out pretty nice. I head down the Edgerton-McCarthy road. There are some beautiful views of the Copper River. At Chitina I start on the McCarthy road. It was originally an old railroad line that served the Kennicott Mine. Itís pretty narrow and rough but not any problems; that is until I got to the Kuskulana River Bridge. Itís an old railway trestle that has been converted to a car bridge. Itís one lane, 525 feet long and 286 feet above the canyon. I donít know which was worse. Looking down or driving with my eyes closed. I survived it.
The superlatives have all been used up by now to describe this area. There are the ever present fires so with the smoke I donít go on total scenery overload. I find a nice place to camp about 30 miles from McCarthy.
Iíll go on to it in the morning and take a look around. I will probably catch one of the rides up to Kennicott mine and look at it also. I might get a glacier hike in also. Weíll see how the day goes.
201,525 208 miles
I woke up to a light rain again. I drove into the parking area west of McCarthy and walked the mile into town. I caught a shuttle up to Kennicott and hiked around there. It drizzled and light showers the whole time. I couldnít see the mountains at all and could sometimes see Root Glacier a little. I decide not to hike up to the glacier. It is raining pretty hard and the trail is brushy with a lot of bears. All the bears are coming to this area for the soap berries. One of the trails the locals call ďbear alley
The rain lightened up and I decided to take the old wagon road back to McCarthy. Itís a 5.5 mile hike. The rain quit by the time I get to McCarthy. I walk back to the truck and decide to head out. There is another music festival here and a lot of young enthusiasts are coming in.
I drive all the way out to the Richardson Highway and go a few miles towards Valdez before camping. I get to see a cow moose and her calf. This is the first calf I see. They are really ugly. They are all legs and head. Itís like a moose head with 4 legs sticking out of it. 201,525 118 miles