|Sat, 21 Jul: We awoke to the familiar sound of raindrops on our fiberglass roof. With very thin insulation it is unmistakable. No worries, it wasn't that cold outside so we pulled the covers up to our chinney-chin-chin and cuddled. Eventually we stirred enough to turn on the bedroom furnace. Nice thing about a motorhome, the thermostat is right at hand (in fact, everything is right at hand!)
We took our time getting up and at em as we were in no rush to get anywhere. Nor did we have any time obligation that said we had to be such and such at such and such. Of all the joys of retirement, the lack of such commitments is the greatest.
So, we lingered over breakfast and enjoyed that second cuppa. Even at our relaxed pace we still rolled wheels a few minutes before ten. Bob had the helm and we worked our way north on the Parks Highway (AK 3). The rain was pretty much continuous, mostly a matter of degree. Our new windshield wiper motor functioned as designed, but since we'd RainX-ed the windshield we really didn't need it that much.
We bypassed most of the viewpoints as there was nothing to see but rain, mist, and haze. At some points there were banks of fog, but nothing too bad. There was more traffic since we last came this way in early June. Many, many RVs, some of them caravans. Watching the caravans caused us to again wonder if they would fit our mode of travel. We tend to enjoy serendipity while caravan travel means adhering to a rigid timetable.
At 1220 we arrived at our planned destination, a pullout at Mile 220.8 of the Parks Highway. This pullout lies adjacent to the Nenana River and (if it were clear) affords spectacular views of the Alaskan Range. Alas, we're sitting here sipping tea to keep us warm and running the main furnace. Nevertheless, we're boondocking at a lovely place and watching the play of the clouds on the nearby mountains.
We are just nine miles south of the Denali National Park entrance. We have campsite reservations starting tomorrow and plan to be there early so we have a choice of available sites. Our reservation is for an "A" size site, but not all of the "A"s can accommodate our forty feet. So, we're hoping we'll have a better chance of getting a suitable site if we arrive early.
Depending on the site we get, and the weather (forecast is for a week of rain) we'll decide how long we'll stay in Denali. We'd like to stay a week, but we'll see... If we get a break in the weather we may take another bus tour of the park, but again we'll see...
We do, however, have some very tentative plans: From Denali we'll head north to Fairbanks and spend a few days there getting ready to start back. We're planning to stop at Haines for a few days on the return trip and visit with our friends Mardell and Dez. We're also planning a stay at Hyder to see the bears catching salmon in the river. Our "writ on an Etch-a-Sketch" itinerary indicates twenty some days (3,330+ miles) from Fairbanks to Seattle. Exactly where and when we'll re-enter the US is still undecided. We just know we've got to get the coach in storage and catch the Amsterdam on 07 Sep. Tween now and then???
This won't get posted until we get settled in Denali as there is zero cellular signal here on the highway. Bear with us while we search for the elusive Alaskan Wireless signal. Which begs a rant if you'll indulge us. The Verizon wireless service in Alaska is beyond horrible. It is a major rip-off. Verizon has no infrastructure in Alaska so they contract with the local carriers. The level of service is so bad that we've taken to finding any place with a signal. We've been around the world and found better service in India, Peru, Chile, and other nations. End of rant!
Miles this leg: 122.3
Total miles since Casa Grande: 5,417.0