I think we’re actually beginning to prefer the Alaska names instead of numbers for the highways. Even though along the highways there are numbered signs, locals use the names, such as “the Richardson” or “the Glenn.” Somehow, the names seem to be better-suited to the independent nature of this state. Regardless, over the past week or so we’ve covered about 400 miles going south on the Parks, Glenn, Seward Highways and north on the Hope Cutoff.
In general, the vast wilderness, the glacial mountains and wild-river scenery continues. But also generally, our weather turned from sunny to gloomy. The rain that we heard was to be expected as summer weather in southern Alaska became our companion on this part of the trip. But, the rain seems intermittent and hasn’t restricted us at all.
There are still “Random Highway Happenings” to share:
June 11 – From Denali to our overnight, roadside pull off near Trapper Creek, we traveled the Parks Highway south for about 150 miles. About midway through the day, The Milepost (the road guide/bible that gives us mile-by-mile information, maps and all kinds of good stuff) let us know that the Alaska Veterans Memorial was a few miles ahead. Sounded like a good time and place for another sampling of the state. We found the memorial impressive. There are histories of each branch of service in the state and specific tributes to the Alaska Medal of Honor winners. The state did a notable job in paying respect to veterans at this site that is situated at a Mt. McKinley viewing point. We appreciate.
June 12 - Continuing south on Parks Highway, we stopped in Wasilla, attempting to find cell and Internet service with our Verizon accounts. No luck. But a few miles further, in the small town of Eagle River, we had service. Why so important right now? Our reason: To find dental care for my (Nancy) lingering gum problems. Not a welcomed reason to go anywhere, but a must. Our first stop was a convenient and roomy Fred Meyer store that allowed overnight parking. Later, we found a pleasant state park campground on the edge of town. No need to go into details. I now have a stronger antibiotic. Here’s hoping it works. Oh well, we experienced another small town that we might have missed otherwise.
June 15 - We got back on course, making our way south on the Glenn, then onto the Seward Highway, dubbed “scenic byway.” There is very good reason. The scenes were fantastic, even though our time on that road was gray and wet. We watched for Beluga whales at the point and enjoyed seeing the glaciers towering over Turnagain Arm. Here the Cook Inlet makes a cut inward, taking a slice out of the state. This portion of the inlet has one of world’s highest tides, that can surge to a 6-foot foaming wall, called bore tides. This results in mud flats along the coasts that create interesting designs where the water cuts swirls in the mud. It’s a great ride along this stretch of highway that edges the bay, sharp cliffs on one side and the clapping sea on the other. When we came through the area the winds were tossing the seas so that they looked like blades slicing across the channel. No whale viewing for us today. But we did stop to take a look a closer look.
Coming around again on the Seward you swing back toward the west coast, but before reaching that point there are a few choices of cutoffs. Hope, Alaska, called us. So we took the Hope Highway cutoff, traveling about 20 miles north. Besides, we could always backtrack. If we found the place to be interesting and attractive, for whatever reason, and there was a good-looking camping location, we would stay. We drove into the tiny town and saw the tiny campground at the end of the road – there next to the inlet, the roaring creek, the green flats and the mountain backdrop. Where else would we want to stop? More later……