OUR LIFE ON WHEELS - Jerry and Suzy LeRoy travel blog


NOTE: We are working with a very slow campground WIFI setup, so there aren't any pictures here yet. They will be added as soon as possible. In the meantime, please go back to the "Denali National Park" entry for a picture of Mount McKinley. Suzy took this picture, and is rightfully proud of it.

We were on our way from Palmer to Denali National Park, one of THE places to see and be in Alaska. We pulled off at a so-called visitor center, but it was nothing, and we couldn't get past the other RV parked there to get out again. I got out to ask him to pull up a few feet. When I returned to our rig, I saw a bad spot on our right front tire. Not a BALD spot, a BAD spot. It was cupped deeply.

We drove very cautiously to the next planned stop, Mary's McKinley View Lodge and Restaurant. After lunch, I saw that our Tailender had arrived, and I told him I was concerned about my tire. He was there right now. His first opinion was that it was just a small anomaly, but when he looked closer, he said "Shall we change it now?" We moved a half-mile further to a rest stop with a magnificent view of Mt. McKinley and a paved parking lot. Bob (the Tailender) and Bob (one of our friends on the caravan) proceeded to change our tire for us!!!!! What a blessing! Every piece of what we had done up to that point was planned for us, not by anyone we could see physically, but by those who watch over us. Ordinarily we never even see the Tailender until the end of the day. He happened to arrive while we were eating lunch.

"Denali" is an Athabascan word meaning "The Great One." Nothing in your past can prepare you for this, nothing in your past can compare with this. Estimates are that only 15% to 35% of visitors to Denali National Park ever actually see "The Mountain." The bus driver on our "Tundra Wilderness Tour" told us he hadn't seen the mountain as well for over a year. On the way to Denali, we saw it in its full glory from "the pretty side," and we saw it again on our bus tour. It is AWESOME to a degree that our younger generation could not imagine that word to describe.

The tour took us out far beyond where private vehicles are allowed to travel. We saw three sow grizzlies with their cubs, caribou, and an awful lot of wilderness. On the way back, our driver asked us why we had come to Denali. The typical answers were "the mountain," or "the animals." He countered that we could see mountains in Yosemite and animals in zoos. What were we doing there? And the only answer could be "The Difference." And that is it. This is different. The animals are free to roam, and the humans are confined to moving cages. "The Mountain" is 20,320 feet tall, taller than anything else on this continent. The land is wild, and you and I can't go there. It is "THE DIFFERENCE," the experience.

So here we are in Fairbanks. The group has a city tour and a bunch of other stuff planned, but we're going to opt out for Saturday. We need to buy some new tires, get the wheels aligned, do the laundry, and just spend a few minutes to gather ourselves to ourselves, to keep us ourselves for .... Our Life on Wheels.



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