Lonnie and Sue - Traveling North America

2009 Alaska 2 - Travels to Palmer, Soldotna, Anchorage, and Seward

 My campground rating system is on a scale of 5/5 with the first number being the levelness of the site and the second being the appearance.  A 3/3 would be an average site.

 I have left the prices in for comparison and to give a general idea of what to expect.  Depending on when you read this, factor in inflation.

You can read it through or select specific locations below .

 Travel Log - June 16 to July 6, 2009        [Tab 2009 Alaska 2]

06-16-2009     Tue     Day 63      Trip Meter:   97.4 

Weather:  Overcast in the morning with spots of sunlight in the afternoon.  High today in the high 60’s. 

Driving Directions:   Continued west on AK 1.  

At MP 97 to MP 93 is a construction area.  Has been under construction for several years and probably will not be completed until 2010.  They are blasting away rock and widening the road for about 2 miles.  

The section of road from MP 137.6 (where we stayed the night) to Palmer has been in fair to good condition with the exception of a few short bad spots. 

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 10:35 AM.  

Stopped at MP 123.5 and we took pictures of Gun Sight Mountain. 
Stopped at MP 115.5 and we took pictures of the scenery.  Beautiful spot.
Stopped at MP 103 and we took pictures of the Matanuska Glacier. 

From MP 115 to MP 105 is probably the most spectacular scenery we have ever seen in all of our travels.  The mountains, snow, trees, rivers, and winding road has to be seen to really be appreciated.   

At MP 97 we had to wait about 40 minutes for road construction.  There were flagmen and a pilot car in use.  When we arrived we were second in line so the other traffic had just gone through a few minutes ahead of us.  The actual construction area was only 1 mile but there was 4 miles between flagmen.  They set off a blast while we were there so we had to wait for them to clear the rock off the road.  When we finally got through there were 55 vehicles in line waiting their turn. 

*** Update 9/1 – The construction was completed when we went back through.   

We met at least 25 of the 34 Bentley’s from England that are touring Canada and Alaska.

  • Campsite:   The Homestead RV Park, Palmer, AK - 2 nights - site 41 - gravel pad - pull thru - 30 amp, water, picnic table, WiFi (Cost $2.00 per day) - Passport America Park - Cost $15.50 per night - Saved $31.00 - Rating 4/4 - Got setup at 3:35 PM. 

Additional info:   Have the same site we had in 2005.  Campground is a Passport America Park and Good Sam Park now – only got the Good Sam discount in 2005 because of the Passport restrictions.  Really a pretty park with lots of tall trees between sites. 

The owners both recognized me from 2005.  They have owned the campground for 8 years.  They go back to Colorado to the doctor when they leave here then winter in Arizona. 

06-17-2009     Wed     Day 64      

Weather:  Light rain started early in the morning and lasted several hours.  Overcast all day with light sprinkles in the afternoon.  In the high 50’s today. 

Days Activities:   We drove into Palmer and stopped at the Visitor’s Center.  There is a flower and vegetable garden there.  We took pictures. 

Stopped and had lunch at a Mexican restaurant – it was really good. 

Then we drove out to Hatcher Pass but the road over the pass was still closed.  It was a very pretty drive out.  On the way out we stopped and took pictures of the Little Susitna River.  Since we are planning to return to Palmer for the State Fair in late August we will drive the pass then.

We stopped and took pictures of the Little Sustina River.

Our campsite at The Homestead RV Park, Palmer, AK

At MP 10.8 drove through a state campground called “Government Peak”.  There were 4 sites and all 4 were large enough for the motorhome – 2 were very unlevel and 2 were fairly level.  It was right on the bank of the Little Susitna River.   

There was a large mosquito population both days in the campground.  Drove pickup 56.3 miles .  

06-18-2009     Thur     Day 65      Trip Meter:   190.5  

Weather:  Overcast in the morning and intermitting sprinkle all afternoon.  High today was 60. 

Fueled Coach:   At Carrs in Anchorage.  30 gal @ $3.099 and 12.383 gal @ $3.269.  We got a 20 cent discount for 30 gal from grocery purchases and a 3 cent discount for the remainder for having a Safeway card. 

Fueled Pickup:   At Carrs in Anchorage.  $2.849 

Driving Directions:   On AK 1 all the way today.  The road from the Palmer/Wasilla “Y” was all 4 and 6 lane divided highway to Anchorage.  From Anchorage to Soldotna it was all 2 and 3 lane road in very good condition with the exception of about 4 miles that is under repair. 

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 9:35 AM.  Got to Anchorage at 11:00 AM. 

We stopped at a Carr’s in Anchorage and I called Coast to Coast about a reservation at Edgewater.  I was told that when making reservations less than 72 hrs before arrival I would have to contact the park direct.  The C2C agent did check their database and verified sites were available.  I called Edgewater and was told they had sites to just come on.   

We unhooked the jeep and drove out to several campgrounds and looked them over.  It is our plan to go to Soldotna for 6 days, return to Anchorage for 5 days (to get the refrigerator repaired and sightsee), then go to Seward for the 4th of July.  The only campground we found that we liked was Golden Nugget.  I made a reservation for 5 days and paid 1 night in advance - $40.50.  Regular rate is $45.00 but got a Good Sam discount – this is not listed as a Good Sam park.  Back on the road at 1:15 PM.

  • Campsite:   Edgewater RV Park, Soldotna, AK - 6 nights - site 17 - gravel pad - back-in - 30 amp, water, sewer, WiFi (FREE for 1 hr per day) - Coast to Coast Park - Cost $10.00 per night - Saved $120.00 - Rating 5/1 - Got setup at 4:50 PM.    

Additional info:  Arrived at the campground at 4:20 but the attendant was out and did not return until 4:45.  We selected a site and parked but did not complete setup until we registered.   

I called and made reservations for a 3 hour wildlife cruise of Kachemak Bay with Homer Ocean Charters in Homer for tomorrow.  The cruise is from 1 to 4.  We have a TourSaver coupon.  Cost is $65.00.  We will need to leave home at 10 AM.  

06-19-2009     Fri     Day 66      

Weather:  Overcast in the morning with sun in late morning continuing into early afternoon.  High today was 55. 

Days Activities:   Left home at 9:45 for Homer.   

At MP 137.3 drove through the Deep Creek State Recreation Area and we took pictures.  It sets right on the beach with sites large enough for our motorhome.  Hereafter State Recreation Area entered as SRA. 

We stopped at an overlook about 2 miles out of Homer and Sue took pictures.   

The boat departed at 1 PM.  We toured the harbour and looked at boats before heading out.  A couple of miles out we did a 360 around a rock with sea gules nesting on it.  We continued on up the bay about 4 or 5 miles.  We saw one eagle in a tree and Sue saw several flying. 

Our campsite at Edgewater RV Park, Soldotna, AK

On the return we stopped at Gull Island.  It is just a large rock with an assortment of birds with the common murre and sea gulls being in the majority.  We took a lot of pictures of the murre and gulls floating in the water.  There were a few puffins but didn’t get pictures. 

There was a sea otter feeding in the area and we saw 2 more on the trip back to the harbour.  Did not get pictures. 

I fell on the boat and bruised a rib or 2 on my left side. 

The boat docked at 3:30 PM.  We were suppose to get a lunch but only got a scone for a snack.  The boat was not good for viewing.  It was a really bad wildlife viewing tour but a fairly decent boat ride.

As we were leaving the spit we stopped and took pictures of some old boats that lined the road. 

Had sunshine for all of our boat ride today. 

Went to a winery and bought 2 bottles of fruit wine – one for $18.00 and the other for $22.00. 

Then we went to a meadery for a tasting.  We didn’t like anything they had. 

On the way back to Soldotna we drove through the Ninilchik SRA and saw a moose with 2 very small calves.  We took pictures but they didn't turn out very good.  We also saw 3 pair of eagles flying during the drive back. 

Drove the pickup 176 miles today. 

06-20-2009     Sat     Day 67      

Weather:  Overcast this morning, light rain in mid to late afternoon, then sunshine.  High was 58.

Days Activities:   We stayed in today.  I called Alaska River Adventures at Cooper Landing and made a reservation for a rafting trip for 2 PM on Monday, 6-22.  Need to check in at 1:30 PM.  They are at MP 48 so it is a 50 mile ride back there.

06-21-2009     Sun     Day 68  

Weather:  Overcast with light mist off and on.  High in the mid 50’s.

Days Activities:   We stayed in today and watched the Open golf tournament.  Rain delay and they finished the 3rd round today and started the fourth.

Old boats at the harbour area on the Homer Spit.  Note the tall one in the middle.  Someone was living in it.

06-22-2009     Mon     Day 69    

Weather:  Rain all day with high of 50. 

Fueled Pickup:   At Tesoro in Soldotna, AK.  $3.099. 

Days Activities:   Watched the completion of the Open this morning. 

We went to Cooper Landing and took a raft floating trip, very small rapids, down the Kenai River.  Light rain during the entire trip.  We saw over 25 eagles and 4 large hawks of some variety and a lot of combat fishing along the way.  The trip was 10 miles by road and about 13 by river.  It was a pleasant trip.  Had a TourSaver coupon so cost was $49.00 plus tax for a total of $57.00.  Since it rain all day did not get any pictures. 

Drove the pickup 109.0 miles today. 

06-23-2009     Tue     Day 70      

Weather:  Overcast this morning with sleet and rain in the afternoon.  High today in the low 50’s. 

Days Activities:   Left home at 1:30 PM and drove out the Kenai Spur.  It went through the town of Kenai and ended at the Discovery Campground in Captain Cook State Park.  The spur was 39 miles out.  On the way back we took Bridge Access Road south in Kenai and took a scenic drive out to Clam Gulch SRA.   

Then we took a drive out the South Cohoe Loop Road on Cook Inlet.  At the beach there were fisherman camped and fishing the beach for 4 to 5 miles.  They were using nets and catching Sockeye and Kings.  Sue took pictures.  Drove the pickup 152.4 miles today.  Drove pickup 464.9 miles  

06-24-2009     Wed     Day 71      Trip Meter:   151.6    

Weather:  Cloudy, sunny, and rainy.  High in low 50’s. 

Driving Directions:   Went back to Anchorage on AK 1. 

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 10:30 AM.  Stopped at Tesoro in Soldotna and got propane. 

I stopped at a roadside stand and purchased some King Salmon Jerky – cost $30.00 for 12 ozs. 

  • Campsite:   Golden Nugget Camper Park, Anchorage, AK - 5 nights - site 174 - gravel pad - pull thru - 30 amp, water, sewer, picnic table, WiFi (FREE-but very weak) - Good Sam Park - Cost $40.50 per night - Saved $22.50 - Rating 3/2 - Got setup at 3:40 PM. 

Additional info:   Sites are very tight – majority are pull-thrus but it is not possible to park in one without having to back up.  Ours is 42 feet long. 

Have a pavilion with entertainment 6 nights a week (off on Mon) with free food, and bingo on Sunday afternoon. 

Had a problem getting the bedroom curbside slide out.  Discovered the rollers have chewed up the bottom of the slide.  Will discuss the problem with the tech tomorrow. 

It was raining at entertainment time so we stayed in.  

06-25-2009     Thur     Day 72      

Weather:  Cloudy, sunny, and rainy.  High in low 60’s.   

Days Activities:   We took the motorhome in at 7:30 AM.  Didn’t get much done on it today.  The techs checked it out then we had to let the freezer defrost.  The tech thinks it is the heating element we had replaced in March.   

We had purchased 2 styrofoam ice chests to put the frozen food in.  By 4:00 PM there was still ice in the freezer so we returned to the campground.  The tech were told by Dometic not to put heat in the freezer to defrost it because the heating element would give a false reading.   

We stayed in the motorhome during the morning but took a drive out to the airport in the afternoon.  I took some pictures of a couple of float planes landing. 

When we got parked we purchased 2 bags of ice, loaded all of the frozen into the frig, then put both bags of ice in.  Will return the motorhome to the repair shop in the morning.  They did not get to the slide. 

We went to the entertainment tonight.  It was pretty good.  Dinner was corn chowder and rolls.  I took pictures of the entertainers and purchased 2 CD’s for $10.00 each. 

06-26-2009     Fri     Day 73      

Fueled Pickup:   At a Tesoro in Anchorage.  $2.899. 

Weather:  Cloudy, sunny, and rainy.  High in low 60’s. 

Days Activities:   Took the motorhome back at 9:45 AM.  The heating element tested bad.  The tech called and got approval for repairs.  Dometic will supply the part and extended warranty will cover labor less deductible.  Part had to be ordered so next appointment is July 13th. 

They checked the bottom of the slide and checked with extended warranty but the damage is not covered.  I will have to repair it myself.  Got back to the campground at 11:45 AM. 

We worked on our trip schedule this afternoon.  Will go from here to Seward for a week, then to Talkeetna for 6 days, back to Anchorage for the appointment on 7/13, head towards Fairbanks for around a month, then to Valdez for 7 days, then back to Palmer for the State Fair on 8/27.  The schedule is fairly loose but we did buy tickets to see the Beach Boy at the state Fair on 8/30 at 7:30 PM.  I ordered the tickets online at a cost of $119.50 ($55.00 +$4.75 processing fee per ticket). 

Went to the entertainment – not bad – I took pictures.  For dinner they served Irish stew and a variety of breads.  Sue just had the bread.  There was a Cinnamon Chip bread that was great. We are going to the bakery tomorrow and get some. 

06-27-2009     Sat     Day 74      

Weather:  Beautiful sunny morning and afternoon, in the low 70’s, then it rained at 6 PM. 

Days Activities:   The refrigerator/freezer is working OK for now.  I unplugged the solenoid that controls the water supply to the ice maker yesterday when we got back. 

We went to the farmers market in the morning but there was not much there.  One place did have 1½ dozen eggs for $9.00.   

Went to an RV supply and purchased a 22” replacement wiper blade for my side of the motorhome.  It is to replace the 32” that is on it now.  If it works will replace the one on the passenger side. 

In the afternoon we went to the crafts show in downtown.  One booth had vine ripen tomatoes for $6.99 a lb – we didn’t buy any.  We did buy a new visor for Sue and a new hat for me.  Sue bought a new fanny pack and we purchased beaver ear muffs for Vicki, Geoff, and Patrick and silver fox for Claire.  I bought a very large bag of kettle corn. 

We stopped at the Great Harvest Bakery and bought a loaf of Cinnamon bread and a loaf of White Chocolate and Cherry bread. 

I made a reservation for the 13th and 14th of July for here.   

We were supposed to have an auction at 6:30 with hamburgers and hotdogs at 7 PM with Irish dancers.  The 6 PM rain caused them to cancel everything for this evening. 

06-28-2009     Sun     Day 75   

Weather:  Sunny in the morning and early afternoon.  Rain in the late afternoon.  In the mid 60’s. 

Days Activities:   At 2 PM we went to the pavilion and played Bingo.  We sat at a table with another couple.  There were 6 games, Sue won 1, I won 2, and the lady next to us won 3.  The other tables all came up empty.  Drove pickup 107.7 miles.

06-29-2009     Mon     Day 76      Trip Meter:   67.2     

Weather:  Sunny in the morning and early afternoon, rain from 3-4, and cloudy in the evening.  In the mid 60’s. 

Fueled Coach:   At Carrs in Anchorage, AK.  $3.269. 

Driving Directions:   Took AK 1 south. 

Days Activities:   I called the UPS Store in Lubbock and asked them to forward our mail to the UPS Store at 645 G Street, Anchorage, AK 99501, 907-276-7888.  Departed campground at 9:25 AM, headed for Seward.   

Had a blowout at 11:15 AM on the driver inside rear at MP 64.2.  Drove the coach a ½ mile to MP 63.7 and pulled in at the Johnson Pass Trail Trailhead.  No phone service here so unhooked the pickup and drove back toward Anchorage about 10 miles – got a signal.  Called Good Sam Emergency Road Service.  Called at 11:45 and was on hold for 40 minutes.  Had 45 minutes on the phone call when I finally hung up at 12:30.   

The representative said she would make arrangements to get a service truck dispatched and call me back as soon as she had an ETA.  She did not call back until 2:55 and said she was having problems getting someone to come out.  ***Note – we were setting at a pullout 10 miles from the coach getting hungry and thirsty***.  She finally called again at 3:45 and had located a service company in Soldotna, Alyeska Tire.

I talked to the owner and gave him directions – we are 90 miles from Soldotna.  We got back to the coach at 4 PM and the service truck arrived at 6 PM.  It only took him 30 minutes to remove the blowout, mount the spare tire, and replace on the coach.  

Good Sam paid for the service call and mileage but we were supposed to pay to have the spare mounted on the wheel.  The driver did not charge me anything so I tipped him $20.00.  He also hauled off the blowout. 

We decided to stay where we were for the night and go on into Seward tomorrow. 

  • Campsite:   Johnson Pass Trail Trailhead, MP 63.7, Seward Hwy - overnight – Pullout on the side of the road - Got setup at 6:45 PM.  Drove the pickup 36 miles . 

06-30-2009     Tue     Day 77      Trip Meter:   197.4     

Weather:  Sunny all day and in the upper 60’s. 

Driving Directions:   Took AK 1 back to Anchorage, then AK 1 back toward Seward.  At the Homer jct AK 1 turned west and we stayed on the Seward Hwy and it became AK 9. 

Days Activities:   Had a bad air leak when we started the coach and I could not find it.  We decided to return to Anchorage to get it repaired.  Departed campground at 10:05 AM.    

In Anchorage we went to Peterbilt to schedule the repair.  Instead they had someone look at it right then.  He found the leak, a broken 1/4 inch plastic air line, and spliced it.  We were there about 20 minutes and there was no charge for the repairs.  It was lunch time so I gave the mechanic $20.00 to buy his lunch.   

Back on the road at 12:05 PM headed back to Seward.

  • Campsite:   Seward Municipal Campground, Seward, AK - 6 nights - site H3 - gravel pad - pull in – No services - Cost $15.00 per night - Rating 5/3 - Got setup at 4:10 PM.  Just a large parking lot next to the small boat harbour. 

Made reservations for the Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise tour for tomorrow with Kenai Fjords Tours.  Check in time is 7:20 AM with an 8 AM departure.  It is a 6 hour cruise.  Cost $166.43 – had a coupon so the charge was for one $139.00 ticket plus tax and fees for 2 people. 

We drove out the west side of the bay to Millers Landing.  I made a comment about it in 2005.

07-01-2009     Wed     Day 78      

Weather:   Partly cloudy with some sun with the high in the mid 60’s. 

Days Activities:   Took the cruise on the Orca Voyager.  Saw the following animals: 

  • Eagles
  • Orca whales
  • Humpback whales
  • Steller sea lions
  • Sea otter
  • Harbour seal
  • Horned and Tufted Puffins
  • Common Murre
  • Kittiwake 

The captain tried to get to the Aialik Glacier but it was iced in so we went to the Holgate Glacier instead.  The captain stopped the boat in front of the glacier and we ate lunch.  It was a really nice view for lunch. 

We took a lot of pictures.

We got back at 2 PM and I called Prince William Sound Glacier Cruises in Whittier and booked a cruise for tomorrow.  It departs at 1:30 PM and is 4 hours long.  Cost $124.95 – had a coupon so the charge was for one $109.00 ticket plus tax and fees for 2 people.

I called Talkeetna Camper Park and made reservations for 6 days starting 7-6.  We have to be back in Anchorage on Sunday the 12th.  

Our next door neighbor is from Anchorage and has his boat here for the summer.  His brother and assorted relatives came down this morning and they went fishing and caught 20 salmon.  He gave us a large filet.

07-02-2009     Thur     Day 79     

Weather:  Partly cloudy with some sun with the high in the mid 60’s

Fueled Pickup:   At an Essential in Seward, AK.  $3.249.

Days Activities:   We drove to Whittier for our cruise.  Passage through the tunnel was $12.00.  We had time for lunch and a drive around town before the cruise.  Not much there – has a winter population of less than 200.

Didn’t see much wildlife – a couple of whale blows, one sea otter, and 2 eagles.  We did see several glaciers – one large one I missed the name on but got pictures of, Beloit Glacier, and Blackstone glacier.  It was a real nice day for a boat ride.  We took a lot of glacier pictures and I took some video.  Drove the pickup 193 miles today.

Out campsite at Seward Municipal Campground, Seward, AK.  No services.

Holgate Glacier.

07-03-2009     Fri     Day 80      

Weather:  Sunny all day with high in the upper 60’s. 

Days Activities:   We drove out to Exit Glacier.  We had to hike in a half mile to see it good.  We took pictures.  Then we drove out the east side of the bay to the dry dock area.  We took some pictures of Seward from that side of the bay. 

For dinner we went to the high school and had pasta.  It was a fund raiser for the local ski club – cost $9.00 each and was fair.  A young married couple from Kenai sit with us.  She is running in the race for the first time.  He has registered for the past 3 years but has not been selected yet.  We had as nice visit.  He went to the university at Longview for a couple of years. 

We set around our neighbor’s fire and visited.  There was a fireworks display at midnight.  It was right in front of out coach.   

07-04-2009     Sat     Day 81      

Weather:  Sunny all day and in the low 70’s. 

Days Activities:   I went to downtown and watched the juniors race this morning at 9:30 AM.  Got a few pictures.  Then I picked Sue up and we went back to watch the women race at 11:15 AM.  Got more pictures.  We had lunch and watched the parade at 1:30 PM. 

A note about the Fourth of July Mount Marathon Race.  In the early 1900’s a couple of men were drinking in a bar and got into an argument about how much time it would take to scale Mount Marathon.  A bet was made that it could be done in 1 hour.  It took 62 minutes.  Even though the bet was lost it set in motion an event that has been run since 1915.   

The race starts in downtown, they run to the foot of the mountain, climb the mountain, run down the mountain, then back through town to the finish line.  For the men and women the race is 269 feet short of 3.5 miles.  For the juniors it is 3.1 miles.


  • Avg angle of the mountain is 38 degrees
  • Steepest slope is 60 degrees
  • Elevation at starting point is 30 feet
  • Top of mountain is 3,022 feet
  • Records:

Juniors age 7 to 18 – 24:34 minutes – 1973
Women – 50:30 minutes – 1990
Men – 43:23 minutes – 1981 

07-05-2009     Sun     Day 82   

Mount Marathon in Seward.  Every 4th of July there is a race up the mountain.

Weather:  Sunny all day in the mid 70’s.

Days Activities:   We went to the Alaska SeaLife Center.  Not much but we didn’t have anything else to do and we had a coupon.  We got a few pictures of birds.  Cost $20.80 with the coupon.

Went out for an expensive seafood dinner.

Ran the generator 12 hours total while we were here.  Drove pickup 330.4 miles.

07-06-2009     Mon     Day 83      Trip Meter:   241.7     

Weather:  Sunny all day in the low 80’s.

Fueled Coach:   At Carrs in Anchorage, AK.  $3.269.

Fueled Pickup:   At Holidays in Wasilla, AK.  

Driving Directions:   Took AK 9 north.  It merged into AK 1 north and continued on it.  At jct of AK 3, aka “Parks Hwy” (north of Anchorage) took it north.  At MP 98.7 took the Talkeetna Spur Road to the campground. 

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 9 AM. 

  • Campsite:   Talkeetna Camper Park, Talkeetna, AK - 6 nights - site 27 - gravel pad - pull thru - 50 amp, water, WiFi (FREE) - Commercial Campground - no discounts - Cost $34.00 per night - Rating 4/3 - Got setup at 3:55.


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