Monday, May 31, 2010

Oh What a Day!!!!

Well, today certainly didn't turn out like I thought it would. We figured it would be another day in the campground getting ready to start the clean up after the holiday weekend. We were sitting outside this morning around 8:30 drinking coffee and talking about what we needed to do today when Marc, the ranger, showed up. He said that he had come to help check out the campground and see if anything needed to be cleaned for today. Then he said, "If you don't have anything to do today would you like to go out on my boat?" Well, you know the answer to that question. So, while the guys went and checked out the campground, I straightened up the house and finished up the paperwork that has to be turned in. When Dan and Marc got back to out campsite we told him we would meet him at his house (on Douglas Island) in about an hour. That would give us time to get something to eat and fill the truck with fuel (first time we had filled up since leaving Haines).

So, off we went to Fred Myers to fill up the truck (cheapest fuel we have found so far), then over to McDonald's for a couple of hamburgers. We didn't have any trouble finding Marc's apartment. He was out front getting the boat ready to go. I probably should have taken a picture of us in the "life jacket" they use up here. See, the water is so cold that instead of just a "life vest" the flotation device you wear up here is more like a "life coat". You put it on just like you would a coat - it looks like a coat - but it is filled with floatation and has a whistle on it, a hood - all kinds of things that would help to keep you afloat and, hopefully, somewhat warm.

We loaded into his truck and drove about a block down to the dock and launched the boat. The other reason I was glad we had these "life jacket's" - they helped keep you warm while riding in the open boat - I also took some ear muffs to keep the cold wind out of my ears so I didn't get an ear ache. While the temperature was in the low 70's when you were out on the water it got a little cool!

First we went in toward Juneau and looked at the harbor there - there were only two cruise ships in port this morning but while we were out two more ships came in - two Holland America, one Princess, and one Celebrity. Anyway, Marc told us about the different areas of the harbor before we started south.

These are some lupine that we found on the shore by this really great place that we stopped for a little while.

This waterfall was feeding right into the ocean - it was absolutely beautiful. There was this nice big stream coming out into the ocean from this falls - and out in the water we saw these little --------------------------

seals! There were actually five of them that kept watching us - they would come a little bit toward the boat, but were very skittish and wouldn't come too close. Marc said that they liked to be anywhere that fresh water fed into the ocean - that usually meant that there were some fish around. Anyway, the whole time we were on the shore they just stayed out in the ocean and watched us. As soon as we got back in the boat and headed away from the shoreline they went closer in.

But then we went looking for the main attraction. Marc said that we would try and see if we could find some whales. We continued to head south looking for 'blows' - when they come up for air they blow and they spout water about 10 feet into the air - that's the way to spot them. Well, we were going south about 5 minutes when Marc said there - and sure enough there were two beautiful whales. We headed toward them - of course, you can only get to within about 300 yards legally and we did stop away from them - but WOW!!! We they ever neat!

This is one of them just before they fluked - it was magnificent!!!! One of them actually came straight up out of the water - not really a breach - Marc said they were going after herring. I was watching for them so intently when he came straight up out of the water I didn't have the camera ready - so I didn't get a picture, but it was fabulous. We watched the whales for about half an hour before they started to move on up the channel. Marc asked me if I wanted to chase them, but I said no, I didn't want to harass them - so we sat out on the water and had a snack and just talked about stuff.
Now, those of you that know me will not believe the next thing I am going to tell you, but I swear it is the truth. For a snack out on the water today I ate smoked SALMON - yep, you read that right I ate SALMON and it was good!!!!! (For those of you that don't know me that well, I don't normally don't eat fish of any kind). Anyway, the three of us ate the salmon with cream cheese - now, I didn't eat a lot of it - but I ate a few bites and I enjoyed it.
We finally came back in and once we got back to Marc's apartment Dan and I thanked him very much for such a fabulous treat and then we came home - let the pups out then went in to take the movies back to Blockbuster (we even took the pups with us - feeling guilty for leaving them alone all day!). Then we went over to Safeway grocery store - got a loyalty card - picked up a few groceries and three more movies (actually we got three movies for three days for less than what the two movies from Blockbuster cost) - so now we have something else to watch - not one tonight - I think we are both too tired.
I'm going to close for tonight - I hope that you guys had as good a weekend as Dan and I had - while we were really busy on Friday and Saturday -things really went very smoothly. Tonight we only have 17 camp spots taken down from 69 on Friday and Saturday - A whole lot quieter.
Hope you have a good quiet week next week - just remember it is a four day week! Take care and ---------------------
I'll talk to you tomorrow!!!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Movie Marathon

This is going to be short and sweet again tonight - we are trying to watch both movies in one day - they have to be returned tomorrow and they cost too much not towatch them. Have already watched It's Complicated which was a cute little movie - Dan even liked it and laughed out loud in a couple of spots. We have taken a break for dinner - fish, wild rice, boiled shrimp, salad. While I cleaned up the kitchen and made the coffee - Dan took a ride on the bike and went to check the toilet paper in all the bathrooms/vaults. It is surprising how much toilet paper this campground goes through!

Last night was a good night - as I said we were completely full - but we didn't have any problems. The party over at Skater's Cabin that I talked about broke up about 7:30. Don't know if it was because they were finished or because the Juneau Police Department broke it up. I do know that two police cars came through the campground about 8:00 and stayed in the back for about 30 minutes. So far, we haven't had any problems with us locking the gate at 10. Let's just hope that continues.

Dan came back in and we took a quick trip through the campground in the truck so I can complete the paperwork that we have to turn in to the office. Now, we are going to hunker down and watch our other movie.

I hope you have had a good weekend so far, enjoy your day off work -and remember the end is in sight for all you teachers out there! Take care - be safe tomorrow and -------------------

I'll talk to you then!!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Another day that the campground is full

Today we had all the available spaces in the campground filled by 11 am. We had people lined up to get the spaces as they came available. We will have some open up tomorrow and we already have people who have said they will come back to get those. This is nuts!!! However, I must say that, so far, we haven't had any problems. We lock the gates at 10 and I think that has helped with people just "cruising" through. It didn't hurt that the law enforcement officers sat outside, in their vehicle, from 12 till 2. (We didn't even know they were there!)

We can say that this must be the busiest campground we have even been in - there is a steady stream of traffic going through - between campers, visitors, an just people "cruising" there are cars going through here all the time! It was sorta funny last night at about 9:45 - there was a traffic jam with cars trying to get out before we locked the gates!!! Dan and I talked about that today and there is probably a very good reason there is so much traffic - where else are they going to go??? There are 40 miles of road here in Juneau and the locals don't want to go downtown - that's were all the cruise ship traffic is (and believe, that is crazy when there are 5 ships in port at the same time!). So, you have us - we can just hear the conversation - "What do you want to do?" "I don't know - want to ride down to the park?" "Yeah, let's go see what's happening in the park!" and here they come. Like I said you can't really blame them.

There is a big party going on tonight at the Skater's Cabin - we understand the cars are parked on both sides of the street all the way from the campground entrance to the end of the road and people brought their own grills and the music is blasting. We will see how that plays out tonight - should be interesting.

Dan fixed country ribs on the grill tonight and I fixed some corn on the cob with some mashed potatoes. I also fixed a peach cobbler that we are planning on having while watching a movie tonight (we haven't had a chance to watch either one of our movies - maybe this weekend wasn't a good time to get movies). Anyway, we are going to try and watch one tonight and the other tomorrow.

I hope that you all are having a good holiday weekend - remember to BE SAFE and ----------

I'll talk to you tomorrow!!!!

Campground Full

This is going to be short and sweet tonight. We have had a busy day making sure everything ran smoothly with all the campers coming in today. I think we have done pretty well, knock on wood. The campground is full and everyone is where they are suppose to be. Of course, we still have to get through the evening - Hopefully we won't have any drinking incidents or problems in the campground - but only time will tell - keep your fingers crossed. We will lock the gates in about 40 minutes and then see what happens - I will be sure to let you know tomorrow.

Marci, her dad Don, and his wife Georgiana came out to visit for a little while today. Don was our neighbor in North Carolina and I sold his house for him. We were going to go in to Marci's for dinner tonight, but with the holiday weekend it was decided that we needed to stay on site. Marci said that we would get together after the 4th of July as they are going to be out of town for a couple of weeks and then her husbands family is coming in for a visit. It was nice to see Don as we haven't seen him but once since I sold his house about 2 years ago. He and Georgiana are flying back down to Seattle tomorrow so today was the only time we could get together.

Well, other than that things have been pretty quiet - I did three loads of laundry today, so it's all caught up again (I even did the towels). I also cooked a roast in the crock pot for dinner which was pretty good. We have been here a week now ( 15 more to go) and I think that things are going well so far. Let's just hope that things continue to go well.

I think I will sign off for tonight - I am sure that you all are busy enjoying your holiday weekend. Please just take a moment, sometime this weekend, and remember why we have this holiday - thanks to the men and women of all branches of the armed forces who have given their lives so we can enjoy our freedom - too often we forget to say thank you - so, if you happen to see someone in uniform, walk up and shake their hand and thank them for their sacrifice. It will make their day!

Good night all - take care, be safe, and ---------------------

I'll talk to you tomorrow!!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Skater's Cabin

Okay, I give up trying to download more pictures. Between people coming up to the 'house' and the Internet knocking me off I've been on here trying to post for over 2 hours - seriously - I started this at 7:30 and here it is 9:26 and I am just giving up! I hope to post this quickly so I don't get knocked off again.

First, this picture is of a cabin that is right around the corner from the 'house' - it is part of the park and it was built back in 1936 and it burnt in 1986 but with the cabin being made of stone the interior was destroyed but not the whole cabin. It was rebuilt with donations from the citizens of Juneau and it is available for rent and has a picnic table inside and a insert in the fireplace so you can have a fire in it. It is really pretty neat and I imagine it would be a good place to take a break in the winter time.

It also faces the lake and the glacier. I don't think I have mentioned what is in the next picture - on the other side of the lake from the glacier and around the corner where we can't see it easily is ---------------------------

this absolutely beautiful waterfall. When we were sitting outside this morning by the fire pit we could hear the water falling. It is a pretty big waterfall and the sound from it is fabulous!!!

Well, very quickly - the campground is almost full - the only sites we have left are about 8 on the RV loop - most people don't like to take those because they are the most expensive ($26 and $28 a night depending on whether it has sewer connection). Most people around here tent camp - and there is nothing left on the main loop - the auto loop - or the backpacker's loop. We have been told that this is the first year that everything has filled up so quickly - they say that the weather here has just been fabulous all month and people are ready to get out and enjoy - I know that the temperatures during the day get up around 72 and it has been sunny and clear. Wonderful weather that we understand is NOT typical!!!! I'm sure the rain will start soon - but if we can just make it through the weekend we should be just fine.

Speaking of which - we just stayed around the park today trying to keep things straight. We made about 10 trips around the campground and every time we made a new loop more and more campsites would be taken. It was crazy - the only good thing is we will be locking the gates in about 20 minutes and that should cut the traffic, at least for tonight! We will just have to take it one day at a time, as the old saying goes.

Well, I'm going to sign off for tonight before I lose the Internet again. I hope that you guys are having a great week and are looking forward to a wonderful and SAFE weekend! Take care and ----------------------------

I'll talk to you tomorrow!!!!

Bear in the park

Well, today turned into quite a day. It started out with Dan forgetting to turn the alarm off and it going off at 6:30 this morning and waking me up. That was okay sorta - after I got up and got a cup of coffee in me I was okay, but I wasn't real happy at first. Anyway, it sure has made the day long! After we had some coffee and breakfast we both had showers and then we decided that we would walk the park for our morning rounds - Dan swears that he had already made a round before the alarm went off on the bike, but I'm not sure about that. However, we did decide to do another round so I could update the reserved sites for the weekend. Dan got on the bike and I grabbed a couple of bottles of water and off we went. I did fine for probably the first mile to mile and a quarter -then I started to get tired. This really distresses me - it shows how very out of shape I am. It probably has not helped that for the last month all we have done is sit and ride in the truck. Anyway, I did sit down and rest while Dan checked out the auto loop - I ended up having to bike down and write the new dates on a couple of reserved sites - then when we got to the RV loop I only walked part of it. So, I guess I did about a mile and a half today instead of the 2 miles total. I don't guess that is too bad considering - but I would like to be able to do all 2 miles with no trouble. If I keep at it everyday, I'll get it down I'm sure. Dan says that we will be in shape by the time we leave here in September.

After we came home I did some more paperwork - I'm trying to get all the paperwork done for the park - for our stipend and get all the paperwork reconstructed for the trip out here - I had to put everything in the "black book" and I have to have all the receipts ready to turn in for our traveling allowance. That will certainly help, but it won't even come close to covering all the cost of getting here - much less getting home. But, I guess a little is better than nothing, and I shouldn't complain.

While I was working on the paperwork I baked another loaf of bread - Honey Wheat this time. It turned out really good and I have it all ready for breakfast in the morning. I also started a grocery list so when we go into the grocery store we won't forget half of what we need. While I was working on all this Dan decided to go down and check on a campsite that we were a little worried about - there had been stuff thrown everywhere when we had done our walk/ride and he wanted to see if the people were back and had cleaned up. Well, when he came back he said that it was worse than what we first thought - not only was there stuff thrown all around the campsite and stuff burned in the fire pit there was stuff thrown into the lake (like feminine products) and he wasn't sure what we were suppose to do. So, he called Marc and told him. Marc said that he would come out which he did - he and Dan went back down there and were cleaning up the mess when the people finally showed up - well, to make a long story a little shorter Marc threw them out of the park. At least that is one headache we won't have this weekend.

After all that excitement Dan wanted to go to the "mall" and see what was there. Well, guess what - not much! I told Dan that I really didn't understand - this city has really confused me. This is the capital of Alaska - and yes, I know that it is land locked and you have to bring everything in my boat or air, but there is nothing here - no chain restaurants, no clothing stores, nothing. I don't know where the locals go to buy stuff. We asked the ranger who is our 'supervisor' where some good places to eat would be - not the tourist stuff but where the locals eat and he said that Juneau was not know for its good restaurants. Then the mall was just about shut down - probably about 6 stores in the whole place. Like I said, I'm just confused.

After we finished walking through the mall Dan decided he would take me to "Mickey -D's" for dinner since it was right across the street- 2 McDoubles, 2 small fries, 2 senior drinks, and 2 apple pies - $8.48. Not too bad. Then we went to Blockbuster - yes, we found one very close to the 'house' - and got a card and checked out two movies for five nights - It's Complicated and duplicity. Since we have to be here in the campground all weekend we might as well have something to watch.

Then the really cool thing happened. We had to do our night rounds to do our campground report and we got all the way through the main loop, the backpackers loop, and the auto loop. We had just about finished the rv loop when I saw something in the road - at first I thought it was a big dog when all of a sudden I realized it was a bear - a big black bear who was not afraid of us or the truck. We watched him go through a couple of campsites before heading back into the woods, but toward the other campsites. So, Dan and I went back around to tell some of the people who were eating outside of their tents that we had seen a bear and it was headed their way. We needed to make sure they got all their food stuff put away. After we alerted everyone we went back around and there he was again, only now at the RV dump station. We watched him a little while longer and then when we started to drive on down the road he started running right beside us only in the woods. We decided we needed to get home and Dan needed to clean up the grill because he had fixed fish today outside and hadn't washed everything up. After accomplishing that he went down to visit one of the campers while I came in to do the blog.

I've had several interruptions - from running out of camp fee envelopes to the Internet knocking me off line twice now - so it has taken me longer than I thought it would tonight. So, before I get knocked off again I'm going to close for tonight - there has been enough excitement for one night. I hope you guys are having a good week and ----------------------

I'll talk to you tomorrow!!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Touring town

Well, I promised that I would download pictures of the campsite tonight and so I have. This shot was taken from the road looking back toward us - and if you look real close you will see the mode of transportation that the Forest Service has provided for us. In case you don't see it - It's a three wheel bicycle. Yep, that's right - a three-wheel bike. Now, before you laugh too much Dan has actually been riding it and says he likes it. It has three speeds also and it does make the first run through the campground easy to do. The entire loop through the campground is 1.8 miles - so it is good exercise for Dan. What we are hoping to be able to do is start walking the loop to make our evening rounds when we have to do the Daily Activity Log. It will take us longer to do, but it will certainly be good for both of us to walk a couple of miles every day.

This shot shows where we have the "garage" set up - I think that once the rainy season starts we will enjoy having this area under cover - Dan also has the little heater set up inside - more for the dampness than for the heat although I am sure that on days when it is rainy all day long it will be nice to have a little heat inside. Oh, you can get a better look at the bike in this picture also.

I also said that I would show you a shot of what I get to look at outside my window when I am sitting at my desk - well, this is it almost - I took this outside instead of through my window, so the perspective isn't exactly right - I see much more of the mountain and much less of the trees - but you get the idea.
Today was the first day that we cleaned all the bathrooms/shower houses/ vault toilets. It took us about two hours to get everything done and we really hadn't set up a system yet. We did decide that Dan would clean the vaults while I swept the floor and emptied the trash - in the bathhouses and restrooms we haven't quite got a good system worked out yet, but we will get it together. We'll clean again on Thursday before the big rush this weekend and then not have to worry about it - other than to check and make sure there is toilet paper available - the rest of the weekend. Then we will clean again on Tuesday of next week. Then we will get a set schedule down of when and who will do what. (Actually the vaults weren't bad today - only one was a little bit of a mess and it wasn't that bad). I'm not looking forward to this weekend - it should be a mad house and since we are the only hosts on site we will be busy!!! The good thing is Marc (the ranger who hired us) will be on duty so if we have any trouble we can call him or the two law enforcement officers.
This afternoon we went into town - we needed to pick up some stuff for us while doing our job here - Dan got some "Alaska sneakers" which are rubber half boots (really - that's what they are called!) and I just got some regular rubber boots (mine cost $20.00 while Dan's cost $50.00, but his were on sale they were suppose to cost $70.00). Anyway, when it is rainy and when we have to hose down the shower houses it will make sense for us to have this type of footwear - plus, I have set up a footwear changing area in the "garage" so we don't track stuff in the house. We will have a inside shoes and our outside shoes. Hopefully, this will help.
After we bought our footwear we drove into town where we found three cruise ships in harbor - one Princess, one Royal Caribbean, and one NCL (actually the NCL ship was the one that Dan, Neil, Carol J, and I were on in January when we went to the Caribbean - the Pearl - nice ship). Anyway, then we drove out and found our friend Marci's house and then we went out and found her and her husband's business - The Alaskan Brewery. We stopped and went in - Marci was there. She was in a meeting when we first got there, but we waited for about 15 minutes and she came down and saw us. We apologized for just showing up - but Marci being Marci - said it was no big deal. We didn't stay long, but we found out that Marci's dad is still here and we are planning on getting together before he and his wife and a couple of friends from North Carolina leave on Saturday. Marci wants us to come for a crab boil (yummy!). I'll see about baking a fresh loaf of bread to take. It will be nice to get caught up since we haven't seen Marci and Geoffery for three years or Don and Georgiana in about the same amount of time - maybe a little longer.

On the way out to Marci's house we found this waterfall just on the side of the road - there was a little turn out so Dan stopped and let me take a picture - this really doesn't do it justice - it was much larger than this but you couldn't get it all in because of the trees around it. But it sure was pretty!!! I'll take my camera if we go out to Marci's later in the week and take some pictures of the channel that runs in front of their house - it's the way that the cruise ships get into Juneau and it is really pretty - there are a lot of whale's in the channel later in the season - I hope to be able to see some.
Well, that's about all for today - tomorrow we are going to get caught up with some paperwork that we need to do here at the campground. I hope that your week is going well. Take care and---------------------
I'll talk to you tomorrow!!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Quiet day

Okay - it literally took this one picture 45 minutes to download! Come on!!!!! I don't know if I can download that many pictures with this kind of service. Plus, I got knocked off line once. You know, when I thought about being in Juneau I thought I wouldn't have any problems with the Internet or with television. Well, think again! I can't get good Internet service and we have NO television! Dan thinks it's because we are sitting in a valley and surrounded by mountains. That might be it. Plus, everyone around here who gets television gets it off cable - Not satellite and certainly not from an antenna. Oh well, I guess we are back like we were in Idaho last summer - no tv, and no real feasible way to get it. So, we will either read a lot or watch movies. We do have a pretty good collection and we can probably find a place that rents movies here - at least, you would think so. I'll keep you posted.

Anyway, the picture above is right across the street from the unit - that is actually 'the' glacier and if you look real close at those white things in the lake - well, that's ice from the glacier. Not too bad a sight to see when you walk out in the morning. Tomorrow, if I'm lucky, I'll post a picture of what I see out my window from my desk and I'll even try and do the campsite.

Today was a beautiful day - sunny with the high around 63 (there was a slight breeze, so the windbreaker felt good). Marc came by again today and brought the bear boxes - these are boxes that we loan to people who walk in to camp to keep their groceries in. We have 8 of them - Dan has already taken one to a camper - he has to padlock the box to the picnic table with a steel cable - does that tell you anything about the area we are in??? Actually, we had our first theft reported today - someone stole a bicycle off a site today. Marc says that because we are in an urban area (you call this urban???) we will sometimes have that kind of problem. We always keep the unit locked if we are not here and make sure all the doors to the basement are locked also. We also have to keep the truck locked. I'm not sure I like that, but there really isn't too much we can do about it at this point.

I woke up this morning with a headache - I took some sinus medicine and laid down for a little while - ended up going hard and fast asleep for about 2 hours. When I work up I felt some better - however, I broke out the big guns this afternoon - I broke down and took an Imitrex and the headache is all gone now. (Thank goodness!) I did work on the accounting stuff today - and it cost us a small fortune to get out here - by my calculations (and these are not finished yet) it cost us $3,850.00 to get here. That is just fuel and camp ground fees - doesn't include the ferry which we had already paid for (but that was $388.00) or groceries, or any eating out that we did. We you get right down to it, it will probably cost us at least $4,000.00. Now, hopefully it will be a little cheaper going home because we won't be doing the interior and Dan figures that added about $1,500 - $1,750 to the total - but it was well worth it. Anyway, when I get everything finalized I'll let you know.

I also called the mail order service today and asked them to send the mail - we haven't gotten any since we left Great Falls the end of April - so this first shipment will probably be pretty big. I set it up for them to mail it to us twice a month - on the 15th and the 30th. That should be helpful.

Tonight will be the first night that we lock the gates at the entrance to the park. I had to call the Juneau Police Department and give them the code to the gate in case of an emergency. I can tell you that we are really busy here - we have people coming to the door all the time asking questions and requesting stuff. It's like Dan said today - we are on duty from 7 in the morning until 10 at night (when we lock the gate) - we have no television - AND we work 7 days a week. Plus, if anyone has a problem in the middle of the night guess where they come. He said he understands why they don't have repeat hosts - between the cost of getting here and the hours on duty (since we are the only host on site) it is just too much. Now, don't get me wrong - we love the park and we are staying, but Dan says that when the time comes for us to leave he thinks he will be ready to go.

Well, I think that I will sign off for tonight - I hope that all is going well with everyone out there who is reading this. Oh, BTW, I forgot to tell you that when we were on the ferry coming over I saw my first whale! When I first saw it I wasn't sure what I was seeing, then it fluked (that's when the whale dives and the tail comes up) and there was no mistaking what it was - I didn't get a picture - but I am hoping that this will not be the last one I see on this trip. Okay - take care and -----------------------

I'll talk to you tomorrow!!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

On the Ferry

Okay - all these pictures tonight are backward - the first one should be the last one and so on - I just wasn't thinking when I was downloading and I thought I had lost it all after spending over two hours getting these four pictures loaded! It is just taking forever trying to get these pictures on, but I will continue to try and post. Thank goodness the draft was saved so when I went off line I was able to still have the pictures - Yahoo!!!

So, let me work backwards and tell you about the pictures - this was taken as we were coming off the ferry yesterday - it was much easier than getting on - all we had to do was drive straight up the ramp even though it was as little steep. However, when we were getting on we entered the ferry on the side which means we had a make a really sharp turn to get in our lane. The people that work on the ferry were very nice and extremely good at their jobs. They helped us load and not a scratch anywhere!

We were the next to the last vehicle to leave the ferry when we arrived here in Juneau (there was one car behind us with some snow machines on a trailer). I jumped out of the truck and got this picture just before we started up the ramp. However, when all the vehicles were in the ferry this is what we looked like --------------

Just a little tighter. When we got on in Haines they put us on first (there were already some vehicles on the ferry - I don't know where the ferry had come from before it got to Haines). Anyway, I was a little nervous, but all went well. The pups traveled well in the truck (but they were sure glad to see us when we got back down to them).

This is the ferry we were on. I was extremely impressed with the passenger area - it was very large, clean, modern, and comfortable. Really nice cushioned chairs with lots of leg room and you could even lean back in the chairs and sleep. (This ferry did not have cabins, like some of the ferries on the Alaska run do.) It was a very enjoyable ride and the ferry traveled at 46 mph (that's moving on the water). You should have seen the wake this thing threw up in back - I took some pictures but you really can't tell.
Anyway, today we met Marc - the ranger who "hired" us and we were checked out on the campground and our duties were explained. In one way it seems like we do a lot, but then we also have a lot of time off during each day. We have to make rounds every day and unlock the gate in the morning and lock it at night (we won't start that until tomorrow). Bathroom duty won't be too difficult and we can set our own schedule. It should be fine.
We went to Fred Meyers (a local department/grocery/pharmacy/liquor/deli). It was a very nice store and a little more upscale than Walmart. It reminded us a little bit of Fresh Market - for those of you who know that chain. Anyway, we decided that when we needed meat we would go to Freds, for all the everyday stuff (bread, eggs, coffee, soup, etc.) we would just go to Walmart. That way we can get good meat, but still save a little on the everyday stuff.
We came home tonight and had chicken for dinner - Dan also cooked some beef ribs on the grill that we will eat tomorrow night. We put the "garage" up today with all the sides on. It makes a good place to put the chairs at night or if it is raining. We did our rounds after dinner and now we are ready to stay put for the evening. We have had quite a few people come by the camper with questions, needing change (which we don't have), and just general stuff. We (or I should say Dan) has met both the Law Enforcement officers that we can call if we have a problem (which I hope we don't, but you never know).
I'll get some pictures of the campground tomorrow - you will not believe how close we are to the glacier! I hope everyone had a great weekend!!!! Not too much longer for those of you that are in education - you can see the light at the end of the tunnel!!! Hang in there, it's almost over! Everyone else, I hope you are doing what you enjoy! Take care and --------------------
I'll talk to you tomorrow!!!!!

We're home in Juneau

We got in this afternoon about 6:00 - the ferry was an hour and a half late getting into Haines - so we were late leaving (that was a Duh! moment, huh??). Anyway, it was quite a treat loading us on the ferry, but it was accomplished without too much fanfare. Right now I'm a little concerned about the Internet service. I'm only getting about 1/2 of one bar and I have the booster plugged in. Let's hope it will continue to work!

I'm not going to try and post pictures tonight of our adventure getting here - we'll do that tomorrow night - right now I just wanted to let everyone know that we are here and we didn't have any real trouble.

Dan and I are both tired and we are thinking about heading off to bed and reading for a little while until we both unwind some. We'll get everything set up tomorrow and I'll get pictures posted (at least I'll try!). I hope your weekend is going well - take care and --------------------

I'll talk to you tomorrow!!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Siteseeing in Haines 5-21-2010

Today was an absolutely beautiful day! However, let's start at the beginning - I have been telling you all about the unit and how dirty it is - well, here is proof. I took this picture today as we were driving in. I'm not really sure if you can really tell how very dirty it is soooooo --------------------
I'll show you the back window - Dan had taken a razor blade and tried to scrap the dirt off the window - just so he could see out. As you can tell, it didn't work. Tomorrow, before loading on to the ferry - we will wash the whole unit and see if we can't get this sucker clean! It will probably cost us a small fortune, but we have GOT to get this thing washed!!!!

Now, Dan is "chopping at the bits" to get over to Juneau. To tell you the truth, I am too. I'm really looking forward to getting all set up - everything put away where it belongs- the grill out so we can fix some chicken (tomorrow night's supper), the awning up and the screen room up. It will be nice to be able to just sit in the same place longer than a day or two.

Now, I told you that we were going to play tourist today and we did - we drove out to the Chilkoot State Park and to the Chilkoot Lake early this morning. This picture was taken or some ducks on the river that empties out of the lake into the gulf.

However, I would have to say this is one of my favorite pictures from today. This was the lake early this morning. It was foggy and quiet - a little drizzle. I just thought it was beautiful!

This is the same lake just a little later in the morning - I like this one too!

Now, we walked down on the harbor today and this great dog was just wondering around - He would just walk up to you and want to be petted. A really cool old dog!

Now, this was later in the day - at Chilkoot State Park.

Between going from one side of Haines to the other we would come by the "house" and let the pups out. I know that I talk about them all the time, but I don't think I have really shown you a picture of Sam (I think I have put pictures of Jessie on before but not Sam) so ---------------

This is Samantha Ann. Isn't she a good looking puppy dog!

Okay - let's change gears a little ( sorry about this - it just seems like I am just jumping around on the pictures, but I took three different batches today - and trying to get them in any order - well, I just didn't do a good job!)

This is another of the pictures I took today that I really like. Who would have believed we would have tulips in the middle of May. Aren't they beautiful???

This one was taken out at the State Park. You know, I really like this area. The first time we were here on a cruise six years ago, we ferried over to Haines from Skagway to do a jet boat excursion. To tell you the truth, I was not overly impressed; but we didn't see much of Haines - just from the ferry dock out to the Eagle Preserve. This place has much more to see and, hopefully you can see, that it is really a very beautiful area.
There is going to be quite a few pictures that I will want to actually print out from this trip - this entry on the blog has quite a few of them (I hope that I will be able to enlarge some!) Now, we didn't see any wild life on any of our adventures - but we did see something out in the bay - I'm not sure what it was, but it had a fin (now, I thought at first it was a dolphin, but they don't have dolphins up here - so maybe it was a young Orca although I never saw a "blow"). I can't wait to get on the ferry tomorrow and see what kind of sea life we can see.
Well, I'm going to sign off for tonight - I hope you enjoyed the pictures - I'll be sure to post what ever we see and the new campsite tomorrow. In the meantime - you guys have a good weekend and ---------------------
I'll talk to you tomorrow!!!

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

5-20-2010 Haines, Alaska

Today was a busy, productive day. It started out waking up really early (7 am) when we didn't go to bed until about midnight last night and then I read for about an hour before actually turning out the light and going to bed. (Yes, we do still need lights inside even though it doesn't really get dark here.) After a couple of cups of coffee and a shower we went in and had breakfast at a restaurant that was recommended to us (really good home fries). Then it was back "home" where I cleaned up the dishes, made the bed, and got the laundry ready. Down to the laundry room where I had four washing machines filled (at $3.00 a load). While the laundry was going we went across the street and washed the truck - we actually got the top layer of dirt off and you can actually tell the truck is white (this only cost us $5.25)!

When we came back over to the campground we talked to the workcamper couple here - they are from Crystal River Florida and she went to the same high school in Lakeland that Dan and I went to. (She was actually born in Lakeland as was I.) We also compared notes on their Montana and ours as well as our Ford diesel trucks. Interesting conversation.

Then it was back into the laundry room and put our laundry into three dryer (they were really big) but it cost a quarter for 3 minutes! So for 36 quarters and 36 minutes later our laundry was ready to fold. Yahoo - all the laundry is finally done.

Back to the house where I spent some time on the computer investigating some job possibilities in Virginia and Vermont. Got the applications filled out and will get them in the mail tomorrow! While I was working on that I was also baking some bread - which turned out VERY good - Caraway Rye - would recommend it to any one with a bread machine! Oh, I also made egg salad for lunch, fixed dinner, and we went to the grocery store. Like I said, a very productive day!

Tomorrow we will play a little - after going out and checking in with the ferry we plan on playing tourist for the day- visit a few museums, go out to the Lake and check it out - go out to the Eagle Preserve - you know - just be a tourist.

I almost forgot, while we were at breakfast we talked to some people who sat behind us in the restaurant - they were from Idaho and are out here on vacation. They had camped at Mendenhall for a couple of days earlier this week - they were talking about how great the park is. So, we are even more excited to get there. We also spent time talking to them at the car wash - while we were there washing the truck they came to wash their car. Interesting couple and we enjoyed meeting them.

Well, I guess I'm going to sign off for tonight - Dana, glad the doctor's appointment went well - please keep us informed (sorry the phone was turned off - we did that when we were in Canada yesterday). Crystal, yes I'm getting used to sleeping in the daylight - although I may still get an eye mask just to help with the sleeping situation. Hope you all are having a good week. Take care and --------------------------

I'll talk to you tomorrow!!!!

5-19-2010 Tok to Haines

I think some one forgot to tell Mother Nature that today was May 19th - this picture was taken on the Haines Highway at Chilkoot Pass. It was absolutely beautiful but it was also very cold. When we stopped for a puppy potty break the wind was blowing and the temperature on the truck thermometer said 39! That's a little cold - I don't care who you are. Poor little Jessie was just shaking while she was trying to find a place to go potty.

This looks more like a winter picture doesn't it - not the middle of May! Beautiful but COLD!!!!

This is a picture of King Mountain and if you have the new Milepost and you look on page 749 you will see this mountain with NO snow on it - I don't know when the picture in the Milepost was taken but it wasn't in May!!!
Today was a long hard day - we didn't make it in to the campground until 8:50 and by the time we got set up and I fixed dinner it was 10 our time. The road was not as bad as it was before - or maybe it was because we were prepared for it and knew what to expect. I packed the unit differently and I don't think we broke anything other than the shelf under the desk. I think I already have it fixed, but we will see. We will be here for three glorious days - time to get the truck and unit cleaned up (there is a car/rv wash right across the street from the campground) and I can get the laundry done. Yahoo!!!
I'm going to sign off for tonight - I still have to make the coffee and then I'm going to go in and read until I relax some. Hope you guys are having a good week and ---------------------
I'll talk to you tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 18, 2010 - Happy Anniversary!

Well, today was our 1 year anniversary! We left Dowling Park Florida one year ago and headed west on I-10. Destination - Island Park, Idaho and our first assignment. It is hard to believe that we have been doing this for one whole year. In some ways it feels like we just started and in other ways it seems like we have always had this lifestyle. Sometimes people will ask us how many jobs we have had and I have to stop and think - we have only had three jobs heading to our fourth (Island Park, Highland Hammock State Park, Unicoi State Park, and heading to Juneau). I think this next year we will stay on jobs a little longer than two months at a time and then taking so much time off in between. This first job of this new year will be for a little over three months. We will probably take the rest of September off after we leave Juneau just to get back down to the lower 48. I hope to have a job lined up for us at least from the middle of October to the end of December (I'm going to try for Highland Hammock again) and we already have Unicoi again for January through March. I'll start working on trying to get a position in Virginia for April and May then Vermont June through Labor Day. IF I can get that set up I will feel really good about our next year. Then we will sit down and figure out what we are going to do next (remember this is renewable one year at a time and if we go through Labor Day of next year we will be working on year three - Wow!)

Now, let's go back to the present - we left Palmer, Alaska this morning heading back to Tok on the Glenn Highway and the Tok Cutoff. The Glenn Highway was pretty good road, but once we turned onto the Tok Cutoff the road turned bad real fast. Now, it's not as bad as what we will face tomorrow but it had a few bad places. We fastened the chairs down this morning as a test run - and we will need to tighten them up some more for tomorrow's ride. I'm going to see if I can use some dish towels to wrap around the candles I have left so I might be able to save them. We are just going to get an early start and take it slow and easy. Just not rush it. We know getting started that it is going to be a rough road and I think we are better prepared for it. I'll tell you tomorrow night.

Well, as you can probably tell we did not go down to Deadman's Lake to camp tonight - I told Dan that if he wanted to do that we could - but he decided to stay in town tonight so we could both have a good hot shower and a good hot meal. He also wanted to go to bed early tonight so he would be well rested for tomorrow. I'm really pleased that we stayed in town - but I would have done Deadman's Lake - I mean it would have just been one night.

Now the entire time we have been in Canada and the interior I would tell you that we had seen moose, but I don't think I ever posted a picture of any because they were always off the road where we only saw them as we were going by. Well - today I caught this one on the camera as he was galloping into the woods - this guy was really getting it. I think it is only the second time I have ever seen a moose run but he wasn't letting any grass grow under his hooves trying to get away from us. I know that it's not a good picture, but I just had to post at least one moose picture.

This is a picture of the Matanuska Glacier where it heads into the Chugach Mountains. About 18,000 years ago it reached all the way down into Palmer (which was about 75 miles from where it is now). The glacier's average width is 2 miles; at its terminus (which is what you are looking at) it is 4 miles wide. They say it has stayed fairly stable for the last 400 years.
Well, Dan is already in bed reading and I'm ready to follow him. Some people have asked me about the time showing on the blog - well, I haven't changed the time on my computer yet so I don't know if that is why - when we get settled in Juneau I will change the time and see if that changes the time stamp of when it posts. I hope that you guys are having a good week - I imagine that time is getting short for those of you that teach - so just hang in there you can see the light at the end of the tunnel!!! Thanks to those that are leaving the comments - it's good to hear from you!! Take care and -------------------------
I'll talk to you tomorrow!!!!

The Kenai

Today was our last day in the interior of Alaska - and what a day it was. We decided that we would drive down to the Kenai and Seward. It was an absolutely beautiful drive. There was so much to see and such a diverse amount of scenery.
One of the places that we went was out to the Kenai Fjords National Park where we saw the Exit Glacier. This is the only glacier in the park that you can usually get close to. You notice I said 'usually' - not today. The ranger at the park told us that in March and April they received ten feet of snow (yes, I said 10 feet!) and that they used their entire year's budget for snow removal just to get a one lane road into the visitor's center. They opened at 10:14 this morning. We couldn't get back to the base of the glacier but it was beautiful anyway.
One of the other places we went was to the Alaska Wild Life Conservation Center. They take orphaned or hurt animals and keep them - these animals are ones that could not survive in the wild any longer - but one of the things that I thought was neat was where the center was located.
On Good Friday in 1964 there was an earthquake in Anchorage - I knew about this earthquake because I had a cousin that was serving in the Air Force at the time and was stationed in Anchorage. Anyway, during this earthquake the bay in Anchorage completely emptied and the entire shoreline was changed. What I didn't know was that the small village of Portage was also affected ----------------------------

This cabin was destroyed in the earthquake - the village of Portage had to be moved because the earthquake caused the land to drop 6 to 12 feet and during a high tide much of the town was now underwater. Anyway, the center was located in an area that had been part of the village - many of the trees around were dead due to the saltwater on the roots.

Now, this is one of the animals at the center - it is a coyote that had been injured and was blind in one eye - there is no way it could survive in the wild. However, it was in the enclosure with three brown bears (which we didn't see because they were out in the brush). Anyway, we saw moose, musk ox, caribou, reindeer and wood bison (which are smaller than the bison down at Yellowstone). I enjoyed going through the center, but I get much more excited seeing the animals in the wild.

Speaking of animals in the wild - when we got back to the unit today this bald eagle was sitting in the trees. Pretty cool huh???
Well, tomorrow morning we leave for Tok. Dan wants to stay at Deadman's Lake tomorrow night - we'll see - I'm not sure, but I guess I can do anything for one night. Plus, guess who we meet today here at the park we are staying - our replacement hosts at Deadman's Lake. Isn't that a hoot - such a small world. Anyway, we talked for awhile - they left today to head on up to the campground and then they will be in Juneau the middle to end of August waiting for their ferry down to Bellingham, WA. We'll see how the summer went (this is their first camp hosting job!). Should be interesting.
Now, tomorrow is our one year anniversary of this whole new lifestyle. That is very hard for me to believe - May 18th of last year we pulled out of Dowling Park, Florida and started on our way to our first job in Idaho. Tomorrow we will start on the last part of our journey of this summer heading back toward Haines for our ferry trip to Juneau. So begins the next year of our two year journey (let's see if Dan sticks to the agreement).
Let me take a couple of minutes to give my thoughts on the interior of Alaska. This is probably some of the most beautiful scenery and country I have ever seen - the beauty of this place is unmistakable. However, ruggedness and vastness of this land is also unmistakable. Everywhere you turn you are stuck with beauty, but you realize that this land can be very unforgiving if you are not careful. Would I have missed the opportunity to see this land - no I wouldn't. Maybe you could say that the horrible road coming into the interior is the price you pay to experience all this beauty - if so, it is a very small price to pay. I hope that some of my pictures have shown some of this beauty.
Okay, enough of all that - I hope that all is going well with you - I don't think I will have Internet again until we get to Haines - so, if you don't hear from me in a couple of days don't get concerned. We will be set up in Juneau by Saturday afternoon - yahoo!!!! Take care and ------------
I'll talk to you in a couple of days!!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wasilla Alaska 5-16-2010

On our way down to Wasilla/Palmer we had to drive right by Denali National Park again, but it was probably about 100 miles down the road that we stopped at a rest area and I got this picture. Isn't it amazing??? I have to say that this is one of the most awe inspiring sights that we have ever seen. Hope you enjoy the picture.

Now, we are about 36 miles from Anchorage and about 3 miles outside of Wasilla in a small town called Palmer. Now, I thought that Wasilla was a small little village or something but it's not. Now, it's not Atlanta or even Anchorage or Fairbanks but it is a good size town - it actually has a Target, Sears, Walgreens, and, of course, a Walmart Super Center. We went to the super center and picked up some milk, coffee, and Dan a pizza for dinner. (Actually it was pretty good pizza)

We have decided to stay here a couple of days also - we'll drive down to the Kenai tomorrow - it's a three hour trip from here - so that means it will be an all day event. Of course, since the sun never sets here I can still do stuff when we get back. You think I'm kidding??? Well, it is almost 9 pm here and the sun is still up and looks about like it looks at 4 back east. The biggest problem I have seen is - I have to be really tired to be able to go to sleep - it is really hard to go to sleep when the sun is still shining. Dan and I have talked and if things get really bad, once we get settled, we will look at putting some additional darkening shades in the bedroom.

Now, after we got set up today we went back into Wasilla and went to the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Headquarters which also had a museum that you could go through.

It was pretty cool - we actually met the son of the man who is called "the father of the Iditarod". He had a team of dogs and you could go on a 1/4 mile ride on a training sled for $10 each. So for $20 we rode around the track which ran through the woods. To tell you the truth, I was surprised that Dan wanted to do that, but he was the one who was all gung-ho - which was fine. It was cool and something that we will never do again. We were very surprised to see the size of the dogs. I would have thought that they would be big and muscular, but they weren't. Just normal size dogs that weren't that friendly (which was hard for me since I just love dogs - any size or shape). He also had a 7 week old puppy there which was friendly - cute little pup with beautiful blue eyes. The museum was cool - had pictures of all the people who have ever won the Iditarod - I can't say the men because a few women have also won. Anyway, it was a nice little side trip.

Here is a picture of my man the "musher" he was just missing the dogs!!!!

And I would just ride - seems like that is all I am doing lately is riding!!! That's okay - we have to be in Haines by next Friday as we catch the ferry on Saturday. Then we can get set up and stay put for awhile - I'm looking forward to that!
Well, I can't believe that I only got one comment on my first every grizzly, but then I guess most of you don't read on the weekend. Oh well. Anyway, we didn't see many animals today - just a couple of moose and about 6 caribou - Dan says that he saw a porcupine - but I didn't see it so I can't verify that. Well, we'll see what we see tomorrow - would love to see another grizzly or two!
I'm going to sign off for tonight - I'm sorta tired and I think I'm going to go in and read for a while. Hope your weekend went well and ---------------------------
I'll talk to you tomorrow!!!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

May 15, 2010 Denali - Day 2

Today was a day of wildlife viewing in Denali. The day was overcast and cool - 42 to 47 degrees. There was a pretty good clip of wind so it was a little chilly out - but with a sweater and a sweatshirt you were okay as long as you weren't out in the wind too long. Of course, you can tell this is a little bunny rabbit. He was being a little shy and didn't want me to take his picture, but I think it turned out okay. BTW, this is not the bunny I saw yesterday - the one yesterday was larger and had a lot more white on it than this one. Anyway, I thought you would appreciate this little guy.

I told you yesterday that the Visitor's Center was going to open today - which it did. We were able to go in and see a short video of the four seasons in Denali - if I had to describe the time frame we are in now, I would say it was after winter but before spring. For those of us that have actually lived in an area of the country were we have the four seasons you will understand this statement - it's before anything buds out, but it's not snowing all the time (In the North Carolina mountains it was the month of February - the blah month). Anyway, the snow has not all melted, the rivers are not thawed yet, and the temperatures are still on the chilly side almost all the time. In other words, we are about a month too early. I bet that if you were here in the middle of June or the first of July it would be beautiful. The only thing I can say now is, the mountains are wonderful and the lack of vegetation does make spotting the animals a little easier.

We saw a lot of caribou today - probably three or four groups of at least 6 to 8 in a group. They are starting to get their antlers - as you can tell from this picture- and they are still in velvet. I am amazed every time we see these animals how much lighter in color they are than the ones we saw last year in Idaho. They are still pretty awesome animals.
This is another group that we saw crossing the road. We first spotted them up on the hillside but I couldn't get a good shot due to the foliage - but I could tell they were headed for the road -so, we just waited a few minutes and there they were.
Oh, before I go any further - I said something yesterday about riding the bus into the park - well, we were not able to do that today because the buses are not running yet - at least not all the way into the park. We could actually drive back further into the park in our vehicle than the buses were running. The park service does not shut down private vehicles from the park until the 20th of the month and they had the road closed after mile marker 33 - they are still doing construction of the road. Anyway, we just drove in again today and took our time looking around.
Actually that paid off - because look what we saw by taking our time and really looking around

Can you see it??? Do you know what it is???? Well, if you said a grizzly bear you would be right!!!! A real live, in the wild, grizzly!!! And he was HUGE!!!!!!! My camera was not able to really pick up how big he was, but by looking with Dan's binoculars you could really see him - and he was beautiful!!!!!

Here he has his head down in a hole in the frozen river - he must have been looking for fish ,but we didn't see him get anything. We must have watched him for at least 15 minutes. At one point, we thought he was going to cross the river and come up toward us, but then he turned and went back over to the far side again. I know that this will not be our first grizzly bear this year, but it was truly exciting to see and watch this big guy. I hope you enjoyed seeing the pictures of our first grizzly as much as I enjoyed taking them!
Well, I'm going to sign off for today - we will leave this area tomorrow and head down toward Anchorage - I think that we will be going through Wasilla tomorrow also. We might stay a couple of days in Anchorage and just drive down to the Kenai instead of taking the unit. It will be a good day trip and we can take the pups with us. I don't know if we will have Internet service down there - right now it's sorta a hit and miss type thing. (I was surprised that I got service here on my air card - even if it is National instead of Mobil broadband. At least I have service!)
Hope you are having a good weekend! Take care everyone and keep the comments coming. Oh in case you are interested, see yesterday's blog comments for the answer to the bird question! In the meantime - have a good day and -----------------------------
I'll talk to you tomorrow!!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14, 2010 - Denali National Park

Denali - what can I say - other than awe inspiring - beautiful - COLD - words just can't explain the beauty of this place. But let me back track a little and start with this morning.

We woke up this morning and drank our coffee (the drink of champions!) then decided to go to Walmart and pick up just a couple of things that we were out of (like bread and butter), and since we only had 15 amp service I couldn't cook anything so we went to McDonald's for breakfast and then over to Walmart where we picked up the bread, butter, potato chips, grape juice, donuts, John Wayne movie McLintock, Alaska scrapbook stuff, and Dan a couple of shirts that were on sale ($3.00 each). Heh - I never said we ONLY buy what we need! Anyway, we didn't spend that much (about $75.00) AND we can use our debit card again! then we headed back to the unit and got packed up and ready to head out. We only had to go about 150 miles today and I called this morning, first thing, to find a campground that was open with water AND sewer. We were on the road by 11.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I got confused this morning and almost had Dan driving in the wrong direction - I wanted him to stay on Alaska highway 3 North, while we were suppose to go on Alaska highway SOUTH. Dan caught my mistake before we really messed up and all was well. Now, in my defense, we have been heading north for so long now I just figured we still needed to be going in that direction - hard to believe that we are actually heading south for a little while!

We get to Healy, Alaska about 1:30 our time and found the campground (with only a little difficulty) and we were set up by 2:00. We actually have electricity (30 amps, not 50 - but heh, you can't have everything! and no, Dan can not use his 'cheater' box - they don't have the electrical boxes set up so he can do that - but I'm not complaining!), water AND sewer! Life is good! We ate a little lunch and then it was off to the park!

Now, Denali is open - sorta. The visitor's center isn't open yet (but they open tomorrow) and the buses aren't operating yet - but in one way that's a good thing - that means we could actually drive 33 miles into the park in our own vehicle. Now, I'm not sure if the buses will start running tomorrow or not - and, if they do, I'm not sure if we will take a bus tour or not - you see, the shortest bus tour is 6 hours long round trip and I don't know if Dan will want to leave the pups for that long but we'll see. I would love to get further into the park and get closer to the Denali (which is the actually name for the mountain we all call Mt. McKinley), but I'll let you know tomorrow. We are staying here two days - so maybe we will.

Anyway, as I was saying - we went into the park and started driving down the park road when what should appear on the side of the road ------------------------

MOOSE! For those of you that have followed my blog since last summer (when we first started our new lifestyle) you know that I have an obsession with moose (and bear, and really any type of wildlife, but especially moose). Anyway, I have noticed that the moose in Alaska are bigger than the moose in Idaho, but they are much lighter in color. They are almost a cream brown while the Idaho moose are a brown/black. I don't know if these will darken up as the season goes on, but right now they are a real light brown.

Now the weather today was beautiful - mostly clear with some clouds, but not enough to hinder your view of the mountains. This is The Denali - I can tell you that this picture does not do it justice - but if you can imagine - this picture was taken with the mountain 75 miles away (yes, I said 75 MILES - that would be like standing in Lakeland, Florida and looking at something in Orlando, Florida - that is pretty amazing!) Anyway, IF we go on the bus tour tomorrow we will get closer.

We were very lucky in that we were able to see the top of The Denali - most of the time the top is obscured with clouds or it is raining (it is suppose to rain here a lot in the summer time). Now, while it was pretty clear - we did have a slight wind - so the 45 degree day was a little cool when you were standing outside the truck taking pictures. Anyway, we drove as far as we were permitted to - then turned around and started back. We drove through the one campground that is opened (they actually have two host sites - but let's not give Dan any ideas, okay!). Then continued on our way out. I look out the window and up on the side of the hill were three moose grazing. We stop and I take pictures (but I didn't post them - still having to wait forever to upload to the blog!) then we drive on. One of the pictures I wasn't able to upload was a picture of a snowshoe hare - he was right beside the road and he hopped inside the bushes, but was close enough that I was able to get some pictures. Once we get to Juneau where I will have better service (I hope) I'll upload all these to the web and then post links so you can see all the pictures.

However, I did want to show a couple more -----------------------

Look what just walked out right in front of us - how could I resist showing you??? Just beautiful (okay - maybe not beautiful, but an amazing creature all the same!) And then we saw something that I have no idea what it is ------------

If any of you guys out there know what this little bird is please let us know. It was beautiful. I'm calling it a bird, but it did not fly. It has red around it's eye and had brown, black and white feathers on top and snow white under its body. Like I said, I don't know what it is, but I thought you would enjoy seeing it (and maybe someone out there knows what it is and can tell me).
Well, I'm going to close for tonight. I hope that you all have had a great week. Thanks for all the comments yesterday - Heh I'm glad to see someone new making a comment - Yes, I learned about moose last year (I don't get too close - and I stay in the truck if they are close to me). Thanks for the info on the bears - that is the one thing we really want to see that we haven't yet - a grizzly! I'm sure that we will get a chance - if not here, then certainly when we are in Juneau. I hope that you enjoy the pictures - we hope to stay warm tonight - oh, by the way - when I went to bed last night at 11:00 pm the sun was still up - didn't need any lights on to find my way to bed - amazing!!!!!
Oh, I guess I should explain the first picture. This was taken where we had to turn around in the park - we walked out to the river (yes, that is the river) and I took the picture. I think it is pretty amazing and it sorta lets you know just how COLD it is here!!!! (but we're loving it!)
Take care guys and -----------------------------
I'll talk to you tomorrow!!!

Rainy, Dreary Days

Well, I don't know what the weather has been like where you live but here it has been warm, overcast, and rainy.  We are having temperat...