Just returned yesterday from a great 17 day trip to Alaska. Just wanted to add a few comments and a small report on what we did.
Days 1-3 spent time with son in Anchorage. Went to downtown market, had a great dinner at McGinley's and Bear Tooth.
Days 4 & 5 Picked up motorhome from GAH, visited Palmer and Hatcher Pass. Had several great meals in Palmer, Turkey Red, Rusty's and The Colony Inn. Talked to the sisters at the Colony Museum and bought the DVD's about the Colony Farmers. Camped at Mountain View Campground, average campground with great view like the name says, reasonably priced $24.00 if I remember correctly. Spent the 2nd night at Fred Meyer's because we got back late from Hatcher Pass and planned on leaving early. Ok for free camping but I was uncomfortable with the noise in the parking lot, slamming car doors all night and loud talking.
The history of the Colony Farmers was very interesting. Hatcher Pass/ Independent Mine was amazing. We took the tour which was well worth the $6.00 a person.
Days 6-9 Homer. Enjoyed Hobo Jim on Wednesday night and the wonderful view from campground at the Driftwood Inn. Had a beautiful view of the moon over the bay at 2:00 am. Walked Bishops Beach at low tide and was amazed at the razor clam mounds which we didn't dig. Next day moved to Homer Spit Campground to be closer to marina and fishing. Had great meals at Fat Olives, Lands End for breakfast and The Saltery at Halibut Cove. Loved Halibut Cove, great place for pictures and a nice walk on the boardwalk. Great halibut fishing for the rest of the group, I shopped. Came back with 75 lbs. of fish.
Day 10 Headed back toward Anchorage with a stop at Hope and Double Musky for Father's Day Dinner. Got there later than expected so had to wait 1 3/4 hours to be seated. Hope was interesting to see the other side of Turnagain Arm.
Day 11 Headed north out of Anchorage on the Glenn Hwy not knowing where we would end up. I never get tired of the views on the Glenn. We drove as far as Sheep Mountain and spent the night at the Lodge campground. Good food for dinner and breakfast. Cheap camping at $20.00 a night but couldn't justify the $5.00 a person for a shower so used the motorhome shower. The dog kennel ( home of musher Zack Steer) was a hoot listening to the dogs howl every so often. Kinda spooky to wake up too but we didn't mind.
Day 12 changed our minds on going to Valdez so decided to drive the Denali Hwy. Drove as far as mile 95.6 and dry camped at the most beautiful place overlooking a glacier and mountains. The 25 MPH is a good idea driving a rented motorhome. The rocks were hitting the underside of the vehicle sounding like machine gun fire, I don't know how many times I asked hubby to slow down! GAH said we came close for the prize of dirtiest motorhome. (I did keep the inside clean, lol.) Hatches were full of dust and dirt halfway up sides. We stopped at a gas station in Cantwell where I washed the running boards with the broom and water from the coffee pot. Some washboards and potholes but not too bad. Views of the mountains were great, not much wildlife, several swans, 1 caribou, 2 rabbits and a porcupine.
Day 13 finished driving the Denali Hwy and decided to drive to Nenana to visit a friend from our hometown in Wisconsin. Struck up a conversation with a local and she invited us to spend the night in her giftshop parking lot. Had a great steak at Clear Lodge 25 miles to the South but worth the drive.
Day 14 Left Nenana after breakfast at a small diner there then stopped for lunch in Healy at the Black Diamond. Stopped in Glitter Gulch to do the tourist thing, bought some fudge after talking to several people from Wisconsin who liked hubby's Green Bay Packer's Jacket. Great way to meet people!
Day 14-16 arrived in Talkeetna at the Camper Park. Walked into town for dinner at Wildflower, had fresh king salmon. Son met us there the next day. Walked to the end of the town where 3 rivers meet. Got some great pictures of McKinley from there and enjoyed watching the jet boats and skipping stones. Checked out a few shops then found a band playing at a local watering hole. Next day pretty much the same but another band at the same bar. Amazing temperatures in the high 70's, had to turn on the air in the motorhome to sleep. Enjoyed people and dog watching!
Day 17 back to Anchorage with last meal with son at Nino's Italian restaurant. Great food and a lot of it!
Day 18 Caught the red eye for a long trip back home.
This trip was what we hoped for.... relaxing with no real time schedules. If we sound like foodies I guess we are, we love trying new foods in different areas. Repeated some of the spots we have been to already but still enjoyed the stops very much. We met so many interesting people across the state and saw a lot of everyday things like the lady gardening in Palmer or talking to the flag person on the Parks Highway or the guy washing his boat in Homer or Alex at the Native Center in Nenana. Thanks to everyone who answered questions from me and all the posters who are willing to share their stories. We will never get tired of visiting this great state and who knows maybe we will be a resident someday, God willing. Linda in WI
P.S. Hope I didn't ramble too much!