Lonnie and Sue - Traveling North America

2013 Alaska 2 - Travels to Tok, Eagle River, Soldnota, Whittier, 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 17 to July 1, 2013        [Tab 2013 Alaska 2]

06-17-2013      Mon      Trip Meter:   80.6           

Driving Directions:   Got back on AK 5 south.  At AK 2, aka "Alaska Hwy", good 2-lane pavement to Tok.  At Tok took AK 1, aka "Tok Cutoff", about 1.5 miles to the campground. 

Road  conditions – First 2 miles out of Chicken is good gravel then it goes to pavement. 

10.5 miles out of Chicken there is a half mile break in the pavement, very rough gravel.
12.5 miles out of Chicken there is a 1.5 mile break in the pavement, very very rough gravel.
The rest of the road to the jct of AK 2 is fair to good pavement. 

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 11:40 AM.   

In Tok went to a Tesoro service station, on the west edge of town, that offers free RV wash with fill-up but it was very crowded.  Will return in the morning and fuel the motorhome and pickup and wash them down. 

  • Campsite:   Sourdough Campground, Tok, AK – 2 nights - site E-5 - gravel pad – long pull thru - 30 amp, water, picnic table, WiFi (FREE-available at the office only) - Good Sam Park - Cost $40.50 per night - Saved $9.00.  Rating 5/4 - Got setup at 2:05 PM.  Have 3G service.

Went to the pancake toss at 7 pm.  Toss a pancake into a bucket and win a free breakfast.  We both missed the bucket. 

Our camp site at Sourdough Campground, Tok, AK.

06-18-2013     Tue   

Days Activities:   Had planned on leaving this morning but my stomach was very upset so we stayed over another night. 

Drove pickup 19.3 miles.

06-19-2013     Wed      Trip Meter:   153.6      

Fueled Coach:   At Tesoro in Tok, AK.  $4.429. 

Fueled Pickup:   At Tesoro in Tok, AK.  $4.129. 

Driving Directions:   Headed south on AK 1, aka "Tok Cutoff".  At the end of "Tok Cutoff" merged with "Richardson Hwy" for about 14 miles.  At Glennallen continued west on AK 1, aka "Glenn Hwy". 

The entire one mile street through Glennallen is under construction.  I estimate it will be the end of summer before it is completed, if by then.  

Fuel:    In Glennallen – Gasoline $4.359 – Diesel $4.539 

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 10:10 AM.  Went back into Tok and fueled and washed both the motorhome and pickup.  Got a free wash for fill ups.  Departed Tok at 11:10 AM.   

This is a good place to wash your RV.  The fuel prices are competitive and there are 2 wash bays. 

We camped overnight at a Pullout at MP 174.8 on AK 1, aka Glenn Hwy, AK.

At MP 106.5 I took some pictures of the highway.
At MP 88.6 I took some pictures of the highway. 
At MP 65.5 stopped at a pull for lunch.  Overlooks the Slana River.  Wrangell mountains in the distance.  
Took other pictures of the mountains but the haze was bad in them I just deleted them.  Will try when it is clearer.  Looks like smoke but there are no fires around here and did not
          smell like smoke.

  • CampsitePullout at MP 174.8 on AK 1, aka Glenn Hwy, AK - overnight - asphalt pad - pull-in – no services, no cost.  Rating 5/5, but next to the highway. - Got setup at 3:00 PM.  Real slow 3G Service. 

Did not unhook the pickup.

A view we get while driving down the road.  I will do a lot of these this trip.  It gives you a better perspective of what we see while traveling.
A view of the Wrangle Mountains from our lunch stop on the Glenn Hwy.

06-20-2013      Thur      Trip Meter:   157.5     Sunny  

Driving Directions:   Continued west on AK 1. 

Fueled Coach:   At Carr’s in Palmer.  Price was $4.199 per gal with a 10 cent discount for 25 gal for a final price of $4.137.

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 9:55 AM.  

At MP 129.5 Eukera Summit.  I took pictures of Chugach Mts & Nelchina Glacier.
t MP 125.2 I took pictures of Gunsight Mountain about 6 miles away.
At MP 103.3 I took pictures of pictures of Matanuska Glacier. 

We stopped and helped a German couple get their Class C unstuck.  They were trying to back into a spot for lunch and backed off the culvert and got on high center.  Sue took pictures. 

  • Campsite:   Eagle River Campground, Chugach State Park, Eagle River, AK - 3 nights - site 1 - asphalt pad - pull-in – no services - picnic table, fire ring, grill, State Campground  - Cost $15.00 per night - Rating 5/5 - Got setup at 2:45 PM – Have TV.  Have 4G Service. 

This is a real nice park and convenient to Anchorage, Palmer, and Wasilla.  However, there are not very many level spots.  We were lucky and got one that was perfectly level.

Made reservations at Edgewater RV in Soldotna for 5 nights through Coast to Coast for 6/23 thru 6/27.

Our campsite at Eagle River Campground, Chugach State Park, Eagle River, AK.

06-21-2013     Fri     Cloudy all day 

Days Activities:   Made reservations for a 3 hour float trip at Copper Landing – Jun 25, at 2 PM so be there by 1:30 – cost $64.00 with TourSaver – charged to Visa.  Alaska River Adventures, pg 38. 

We drove into Anchorage and did some shopping.  Bought 2 new bag chairs, a folding table, and a twin air mattress for Patrick.  Our grandson, Patrick, is coming in on the 29th to spend 2 weeks travelling with us.

On the way back to the campground there was a moose calf walking down the road but there was a truck in front of us and the calf went into the woods before we could get a picture.

06-22-2013     Sat     Sunny with clouds 

Days Activities:   We drove into Palmer and had lunch as La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant.  It was still very good; we had eaten there twice in 2009.  Then we went to the visitors center and took pictures of their garden and watched a film on the settlement of the colony in Palmer in 1935. 

Went to Big Bear RV, located on AK 3 just east of Wasilla, and made reservations for July 2 & 3.  Paid for both nights, total of $54.00. 

We ran the generator 5 hours using the microwave and charging the batteries. 

Drove pickup 113.1 miles.

06-23-2013    Sun      Trip Meter:   170.2  Sunny 

Fueled Coach:   At Girdwood, AK.  $4.159. 

Driving Directions:   Took AK 1 south aka “Glenn Hwy” into Anchorage.  In downtown Anchorage continued on AK 1 south but is now aka “Seward Hwy”.   At the jct of AK 1 & AK 9, continued on AK 1 south but is now aka “Sterling Hwy.  In Soldotna got off at the campground. 

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 11:20 AM.  Stopped at Best Buy and purchased Sue a new Kindle Fire HD, 32 mg memory, with protective screen and carrying case.  Got me a new recorder. 

  • Campsite:   Edgewater RV Park, Soldotna, AK - 5 nights - site 36 - gravel pad - back-in - 30 amp, water, sewer, WiFi (provided by Tengo Internet so is expensive), get a couple of channels on the antenna - Coast to Coast Park - Cost $13.00 per night - Saved $110.00 - Rating 3/2 - Got setup at 4:10 PM.  Have 4G Service. 

Additional info:   Coast to Coast price is $10.00 per night but the campground charges a $3.00 per night resort fee.  Regular price for non-members is $35.00 per night until 1 July then it goes to $42.00. 

06-24-2013     Mon           

Days Activities:   Made reservations for 3 on the “Surprise Glacier Cruise” out of Whittier on June 30th.  Confirmation 10583-16.  Cost $320.00.  Used the TourSaver for 1 fare.  Try and made the 9:30 tunnel.  Check-in at 11:15.  Note.  You have to drive through a 3 mile train tunnel to get to Whittier.  It is open to traffic on the half-hour going to Whittier and on the hour for returning from Whittier.

Made reservations for 3 on the “Kenai Fjords National Park Wildlife and Glacier Tour” out of Seward on July 1st.  Confirmation 10150-48.  Cost $429.65, includes 3 buffets.  Used the TourSaver for 1 fare.  Check-in at 9 AM. 

We went to the museum but it is closed on Monday’s.  Will return on Wednesday. 

Stopped at the Salvation Army Thrifty Store and purchased 30 hardback books.  They were 10 cents apiece.

06-25-2013     Tue     

Fueled Pickup:   At a Holiday in Soldotna.  $4.099. 

Days Activities:   Went to Cooper Landing and took a 3 hour rafting float trip down the Kenai River with Alaska River Adventures.  We saw between 25 and 30 eagles and a lot of combat fishermen.  Cost $64.00; used a TourSaver coupon. 

It is about 50 miles from Soldotna to Cooper Landing.

06-26-2013     Wed      

Days Activities:   I went to the library to work on my web page but it is in a temporary location in a mall while the library building is being remodeled.  The internet connection was not very good so I didn’t stay long.  Didn’t get anything done.   

We drove round town a bit and then went to the museum but it closed at 4 PM so will try it tomorrow.

06-27-2013     Thur    

Fueled Pickup:   At a Holiday in Soldotna.  $4.099. 

Days Activities:   We took a tour of the area.  Headed south toward Homer.  Saw 2 moose calves standing in the water but they were next to a long curve and there was not a place to pull off so did not get a picture.  A few miles further saw a large moose cow and did get a picture of it.  

About 20 miles south of Soldotna is Clam Gulch State Recreational Area.  It sets on Cook Inlet.  We drove on the beach and took pictures of fisherman running their nets.  The tide was out and they were wading in the mud to remove the fish trapped in the nets.  They were catching Sockeye Salmon, aka “Reds”.  

Then we headed back toward Soldotna and in 2 miles took the South Cohoe Loop Road back to the Cook Inlet.  We drove out on the beach and through a half mile of really heavy sand to get to where fishermen were using dip nets to catch the salmon.  We took pictures and I talked to one of the fishermen.  As an Alaskan resident he is allowed 25 salmon as head of household, per year, then each member of his family is allowed 10.  He had been in Lubbock last year visiting his wife’s brother, then they went to Friendswood, TX, to visit his brother.  He gave me a salmon that weighted about 10 to 12 pounds. 

We returned via North Cohoe Loop Road and at Bridge Access Road took it into Kenai and did some grocery shopping before returning to Soldotna.  The trip today was about 100 miles.   

Never did get the museum visit in. 

Drove pickup 232.1 miles.

06-28-2013  /    Fri      Trip Meter:   73.1      

Driving Directions:   Took AK 1 north.  At the jct of AK 1 and AK 9, took AK 9 east, AKA “Seward Hwy”.  In 13 miles got off at the campground. 

Days Activities:   Departed campground at 10:20 AM.   Stopped at a Holiday in Soldotna and got propane.  Filled both the motorhome tank and the grill bottle. 

It started to sprinkle as we left the campground and was a hard drizzle while getting propane.  My back got soaked.  It cleared up about 30 miles out of Soldotna. 

  • Campsite:   Trail River National Forest Campground, Moose Pass, AK - 4 nights - site 48 - gravel pad - pull thru – No services - Cost $9.00 per night - Saved $36.00 - Rating 5/5 - Got setup at 12:40 PM. 

We went into Seward for dinner at a Chinese restaurant.  It was in the old downtown area and was very good.

06-29-2013     Sat      

Fueled Pickup:   At Tesoro in Gridwood.  $3.949. 

Days Activities:   Left at 10:20 and drove into Anchorage to pick Patrick up at the airport.  Waited at the float plane landing strip since we were a little over an hour early.  I took pictures of a float plane taking off.

After he arrived we stocked up on groceries before returning home.  Stopped at the tunnel to Whittier and checked the schedule.  We will be there tomorrow for the 10:30 AM passage.  Will need to leave home at 8:45 AM since it is a 65 mile drive. 

06-30-2013      Sun   

Days Activities:   Departed camp at 8:45 AM and drove towards Whittier.  Got to the tunnel entrance at 10:10 and had to wait until 10:30 to go through.  Toll through the tunnel was $12.00.  There was a light sprinkle all during the drive.  Parking in Whittier was $12.00. 

We looked for a place to eat before boarding the boat but didn’t find anything.  Sure, there are some places, but the only ones around the harbour were closed.  So when I checked in for the boat I added the buffet to our ticket for another $57.00. 

Boarded the boat “Fairweather Express II” at 11:45 am and we departed at 12:15 pm for the “Surprise Glacier Cruise”.  The buffet was served right after departure and it consisted of “all you could eat” prime rib, salmon, salad, rice, and bread.  Then they waited about 3 hours before putting out the “all you could eat” desert buffet of cheese cake and brownie.  It was all very good.  We all went back for seconds.

There was a light to moderate sprinkle all day.  It really effected the picture taking.  I also took some video. 

We saw: 

  • Sea Otter – When we started out of the harbour we were only seeing one or two at a time.  The captain didn’t stop for pictures because she said we would see a raft of sea otter and have a good photo opportunity.  However, we never saw more than two at a time so never got a picture.
  • Eagles – got pictures
  • Stopped at a fish hatchery – got one jumping fish
  • Sea lions – got pictures
  • Black bear – got pictures
  • Birds
  • Glaciers 

Even with the sprinkle it was a nice trip. 

07-01-2013      Mon           

Days Activities:   Departed camp at 8:30 AM and drove to Seward.   Light sprinkle as we left camp.  Parking was $10.00.  Boarded the “Spirit of Adventure” at 9:30 AM and departed at 10:00.  The buffet was served around noon and it was the same as yesterday – same tour company.  Still good and we all went back for seconds again. 

It rained steadily all during the cruise.  I got soaked on several occasions as I tried to take pictures.  Nearly all of my pictures had to be deleted because of rain spots.   

We saw: 

  • Sea Otter – I got a picture
  • Eagles – no picture
  • Hump back whales – one mama and one baby – no pictures
  • Puffin – got pictures
  • Orca Whales – no pictures
  • Glaciers 

The water got very rough today.  One passenger fell and was injured and quite a few were seasick and vomited.   

Would not want to go through another trip like the one today. 

Drove pickup 500.7 miles.

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