We were up early again yesterday morning, but refreshed after a good night's sleep. Breakfast was corned beef hash and eggs, one of our favorites.
Our drive was a long one, but through beautiful scenery.
We turned right at Gakona Junction onto the Glenn Highway. The road gradually rose and we passed over the Tanana River/Yukon River drainage into the Matanuska River drainage,and stopped for gas at Mentasta Lodge.
This guy pulled onto the highway in front of us at Mentastay Lodge, and we followed him all the way to Palmer.
We then started heading west, and to the south we could see the Wrangell Mountains. Several large glaciers were in view--but the clouds were low and photography chances were slim. When we stopped for lunch we were in view of the Matanuska Glacier. This one is HUGE. It comes out of the mountains, and runs for miles and miles before it reaches its terminus, shown above.
As we neared Sutton and Palmer, it began raining, and by the time we reached the turnoff for Elmendorf Air Force Base it was pouring. We made it easily to their FamCamp, but at first we thought it was full. When I got out to ask an attendant, we learned there were two more loops and plenty of sites. He led us to a section of four empty sites, and we chose #28.
The sites here are roomy, and ours is set far apart from our neighbors. For $18 a night we get water and electric, free hot showers, and a dump station. Another plus is that I have not seen a single mosquito. We can get 5 channels of TV using the antenna.
We enjoyed a dinner of roast beef and gravy over rice, with a green salad, and were in bed pretty early.
This morning I thought my iPad died. It went black, and I couldn't get it to come on. Panic-stricken, since we have to have internet for some monetary matters (as well as my email, Facebook, and blogging)' we went over to the base exchange in case I'd have to buy a new mini-computer. I took the iPad with me. I found the electronics section, where the young man showed me how to reboot the iPad: hold both the power button and the round "home" button down simultaneously until the apple logo came up and everything was good. Whew! I told him he'd saved my day.
I then told Don I was going to the commissary. He said he'd thought we were going to wait until we got to Eielson (near Fairbanks). I asked, "can you guarantee that we will go to Eielson? We've changed our plans so many times, I want to take advantage of this commissary just in case we don't go to Fairbanks."
[For my readers who are unfamiliar with military commissaries, the prices are 30-35% cheaper than civilian grocery stores, and a good 50%+ cheaper than the grocery stores we've seen so far in Canada. For example, a can of corned beef hash, a breakfast staple for us, is $1.69 at the commissary. I saw cans for anywhere from $2.99 to $3.50 at stores in Whitehorse, Dease Lake, and Dawson City.]
So, I took my list and headed over to the commissary while Don enjoyed a cup of coffee at the Starbuck's next to the BX. On the second isle, a mumble to myself, "this should last me all the way home," exulted in a conversation with a retiree and his wife from Redlands (near my home in California). They were adamant that we did not need to go through Fairbanks when we left Denali. They said that, contrary to what we'd heard, the Denali Highway will be fine for us to take our trailer on. It's graded regularly, and they said it was in much, much better condition than the Top of the World and the Taylor Highways we drove on Monday. they said they take it 2-3 times a year, and that it's fine for RVs and trailers. Knowing that, and knowing that we really won't be going to Fairbanks and Eielson, I added a couple of things to my shopping cart. I now have enough food to get us back home, with the exception of things like eggs, bread, and produce.
I broke the news to Don, who was glad to hear it, and our plans are set for the next week or so:
Sunday-Don's going halibut fishing out of Ninilchik.
Next week-Denali National Park
Then, head towards home.
Last night this young moose made his way through the campground.
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