Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wasilla and Portage Glacier

No blog updates for a while because we have not always had a WIFI connection or connection fast enough to upload the pictures.

After leaving Talkeetna we went to the town of Wasilla. It is 70 miles from Talkeetna and about 40 miles north of Anchorage. It is over 300 miles from Fairbanks to Wasilla and there aren’t any grocery stores in that distance. There are a few convenient stores that sell non-perishables and one near Denali that also sells milk and bread (bread is $6.99 a loaf). So our first stop was a grocery store. Raider has many allergies and needs to have a special dog food, we also needed to pick up more of his food.

By Friday afternoon we had taken care of everything and were discussing how long to stay in Wasilla and where to go next, when we notice that all of the lights were out on the refrigerator. A call to the local dealer and another local RV Repair place both said no problem “Bring it by Monday morning and we will take a look at it”. This solved our question of how long we would be staying in Wasilla. I called a mobile RV repair service that came out and after two hours determined that the refrigerator was fine, but it wasn’t getting any electricity. He strung a wire outside the trailer from the power panel to refrigerator to get us through the weekend. We are experiencing the coldest and wettest summer in Alaska since they have been keeping records. So, it pretty much rained all weekend.

Monday we dropped the trailer off at the local Montana dealer and they determined that one of the connectors for the wire to the refrigerator was corroded, they replaced it and we were good to go. We picked up the trailer in the afternoon and decided to stay one more night in Wasilla and leave in the morning. Naturally, it rained all night.

Portage Glacier

Anchorage is by far the largest city in Alaska and almost half of the state’s population live there. Unfortunately, there are no nice RV Parks in Anchorage, which makes it very inconvenient for RVers. During our previous trips to Alaska we have explored Anchorage pretty well and although there a couple of brew pubs that we would have liked to revisit, we decided to just drive through Anchorage without stopping this time.

Our destination was the Williwaw Forest Service Campground near Portage Glacier about 50 miles south of Anchorage. We had driven by this campground on our last two trips to Alaska and knew we would be stopping there on this trip. This is the MOST SPECTALUAR setting for a campsite since we have been on the road. It is very heavily wooded and you can’t see your nearest neighbor. There is a glacier and waterfalls on the mountain just above the campground. For those of you that don’t know about Forest Service campgrounds they tend to primitive, no hookups, and only pit toilets. Oddly enough, although every campground we have been in since leaving Jasper, more than a month ago, have been dirt or gravel interior roads. The Williwaw campground has beautiful smooth asphalt interior roads and pads to park on, this is every important because it rained non-stop from the time we arrived until we left 3 days later. The rain would occasionally slow down, but it never stopped, at times the rain was so hard that it drowned out the sound of the waterfall. I found time to read three books and Kathy read some and beaded a lot.

We did a little hiking in the light rain and went to for a boat ride on Portage Lake to see Portage Glacier. We had our Tour Saver book and it had a coupon for the Portage Glacier Cruise, buy one get one ticket free. It was an enclosed boat that could hold up to 200 people; it would be OK if it rained during the cruise. So we went for it! The glacier is barely visible from the highway; it was a lot more impressive up close and personal!

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