We were up at 7:30 this morning. We uploaded pictures. It was “cloudy with a chance of rain” in Valdez. We got quite a few recommendations for Peter Pan’s Seafood so we stopped in and bought fresh halibut and shrimp. We left Valdez on the Richardson Highway. At Glennallen, we turned SW onto Route 1 (Glenn Highway) toward Palmer. It was a better road, but still a few killer frost heaves. One thing we noticed is that there was a huge ATT tower and station at Glennallen so quickly we checked our phones. Yep, we had service so we called home to find that everything was fine. We drove through Copper Center, an old mining town with a roadhouse dating back to the turn of the century. We then stopped at Wrangle - St. Elias National Park to get our NP book stamped. They have a beautiful Visitor’s Center (log buildings built in 2002) with a theater and exhibit hall. We stopped frequently to take pictures along the way of the Wrangle and Chugach Mountain Ranges and the Nelchina and Matanuska Glaciers. The views were spectacular. We are pretty sure our pictures won’t do it justice. We arrived at King Mountain State Recreation Site (no services for $15) at 7:00 pm AK. It is about 40 miles from Palmer. For dinner, we had fresh halibut and wild rice. Ed is really getting the hang of “grilling to perfection!” We visited with folks from North Carolina staying in the campground, and headed to bed at 11:00 pm AT. Today, we have driven 243 miles for a total of 5,016. We called Ron and Carol McNaughton (hosts at Quartz Creek) tonight to let them know that we will be arriving tomorrow afternoon. We can’t wait to see our friends again.
Day 18, Tuesday, June 15 – Chickaloon, AK to Cooper Landing, AK
We got a call first thing from home. This week Tracy’s family moved into a larger apartment. We weren’t there to help and Amy was out of town as well. But everything went fine. It is comforting to know that our parents are fine and our adult children can actually do without us…who knew?? We also got a call from Ron, the camp host, who told us he was saving site 38 for us. We left King Mountain State Recreation Site at 11:30 am and drove to Palmer where we got groceries. We drove through Anchorage and down around Turnagain Arm where we did not see even one eagle. Last year we say many!! We arrived at Quartz Creek at 4:00 pm and found that site 38 was right on Kenai Lake. We watched the loons playing and eating dinner. Ed was happy and kept repeating “life is good”…and “this is what I am talking about”!! Today we drove 157 miles. Since leaving home, our GPS said we had driven 5,111 miles in 95.5 driving hours with an average moving speed of 53.8…not too shabby. We were relieved that we had finally arrived. Had soup and grilled cheese for dinner, watched the DVD “Up in the Air,” and sacked out.
Day 19, Wednesday, June 16 – Cooper Landing to Soldotna and back to Cooper Landing, AK
When we got up this morning, the temp outside was 50 degrees and inside was 51…chilly. It rained all night. We haven’t seen the sunshine now in about five days. We drove to Soldotna, 97 miles round trip, to do a few housekeeping chores. We got a few groceries, got gas, did laundry, got an oil change, got propane, back to Cooper’s Landing to get a fishing license for Ed at Gwin’s Store. Fishing licenses are pretty hefty up here...two weeks for $85 and $145 for the season. The Gwin Roadhouse hasn’t been opened since the owner killed himself several years ago, but opened again for business on Memorial Day. It is an old time bar and restaurant in a log cabin, very quaint. Back at the campground, Ed grilled tenderloin with asparagus...yummy.