August 26 to September 4, 2010 - Alaska vacation

Alaska 7th Anniversary Vacation - Blog
Click on the dates to see photos of each day

Wednesday, 8/25 (No photos)
Arrived at Anchorage Airport (American Airlines $1315)
Rented a Ford Explorer (small SUV) from Budge Rental (2 days for $220)
Drove around west side of Anchorage. Looked the house I owned on Marcy Court (looked the same except trees had grown by 25 years)
Stayed at Hilton Garden Inn-Anchorage, 4555 Union Square Drive, Anchorage, AK 99503, 907-729-7000 nice new building (price great due to using points - free)
Ate at KFG (too tired to find any other place)

Ate breakfast Gwennies Old Alaska Restaurant, 4333 Spenard Road, Anchorage, AK 99517, 907-243-2090 - great food, large portions, medium high prices at $30 (this restaurant was one of my favorite places to eat when I lived in Alaska).
Drove around looking for RV available for rent (none available until Saturday)
Ate dinner at Phyllis's Cafe & Salmon Bake, 436 D St, Anchorage, AK 99501, 907-274-6576 - Horrible seafood, lousy service and way over-priced at $90
Drove around Anchorage, couldn't find the first house I owned on Klevin Street (torn down for newer house)
Stayed at SpringHill Suites Anchorage University Lake, 4050 University Lake Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508, 907-751-6300 - nice new building (price great due to using points - free)

Friday, 8/27
Went to Anchorage library for books and Audio CD's (purchased a 30-day temporary card), rented RedBox DVD's at $1 a day
Picked up RV at Alaska Travel / Alaska Motorhome Rentals, 150 Ingra Street, Anchorage, AK 99501-2767, 907-258-7109 - okay prices - office staff not very friendly
   Orientation a little less than needed - will figure it out along the way
   Cost $1060 for 6 days rent
   RV was a 2008 23' Sunseeker by Forest Ridge with around 45K miles
   Smelled okay (no sign of recent smokers)
   Queen bed in back, Double bed above cab and a bed/dining table
   Propane Heat/AC, Frig and Stove
   Miniscule Shower/Toilet (Alan too big to do anything but back into - could hardly turn around)
   2 sinks
We picked up food and trip items at Walmart
Drove to Seward
Camped at City of Seward Waterfront Park (campground and RV park) - cheap at $15/night with spaces right on the bay - no showers

Saturday, 8/28
Had cereal for breakfast (cheap and easy)
Drove to Kenai
Had lunch (sandwiches and snacks) on the way to Kenai
Camped at Beluga Lookout RV Park (origninally right on cliff, but moved back due to sea sickness from constant high winds rocking RV) - average commercial park at $35/night including wifi and C- showers
Ate at Louie's Steak & Seafood, 47 Spur View Dr., Kenai, AK 907 283-3660 - Great food and service, unique decorations (

Sunday, 8/29
Drove to Russian River and stopped to walk to confluence of Russian and Kenai river where I caught my first 3 Red/Soho Salmon (see "the Sushi Story")
Drove to Whittier for ferry ride on Alaska Marine Highway System - didn't make it thru the train tunnel due to 1-one traffic only runing once an hour
Drove to Alyeska Ski Resort to see where I used to downhill ski
Drove through Anchorage, Eagle River, Wasilla and then to Talkeetna
Camped at Talkeetna Camper Park, PO Box 221, Talkeetna, AK 99676, 907.733.2693 - good price at $25/night, changerd $3 for shower 7 minute C- shower (Kathy used $6 Alan used $3)
Ate at Latitude 62deg Motel-Restaurant-Lounge - P.O. Box 478 Talkeetna, AK 99676, 907-733-2262 - Good food and reasonable price around $70

Monday, 8/30
Purchased a few bakery items from "The Roadhouse" 13550 E Main St, Talkeetna, AK 99676, 907-733-1351 - Some were great, others not so much
There were hourly Bus/Train stops, so town was empty then packed with tourists
Thought about taking a flight-seeing trip, but it was way overcast and couldn't see Mount McKinley
Drove to Denali National Park (barely saw the mountain) so continued on thru Nenana and finally to Fairbanks
Ate at Harley's Diner, 2698 Hurst Road, North Pole, AK 99705 , 907-490-2883 - Large portions, great burgers, price around $35
Camped at Riverview RV Park, 1316 Badger Road, North Pole, AK 99705-5052, 907-488-6392 - average commercial park at $25/night including B- showers

Tuesday, 9/1
Drove around Fairbanks looking for downtown, but never found it
Drove thru Delta Junction to Glenn Allen, then to Copper Center
Ate at Caribou Cafe, 187 Alaska 1, Glennallen, AK 99588, 907-822-4222 - okay food, medium high prices
Drove around Copper Center looking for directions to Gary L. Ginn house. Stopped at a store on Old Richardson Highway and a clerk told me Gary still lived in the same house for the last 30 years.
I knew he wasn't there, but living with Tamara, but people are closed mouth.
I saw Gary's old house that he is trying to convert into a 18" thick stone wall (and possible stack tire walls). There is a whole lot of work left to do.
Gary...I have health working with you is out of the question, but supervising would be okay.
Camped at Tonsina River Lodge and RV Park, 79 Mile Richardson Hwy, Copper Center, AK 99573, 907-822-3000 - Cheap at $15/night, $5 for shower C-, nice people at the bar, young Russian owners

Wednesday, 9/2
Drove thru GlennAllen and Tazlina
Ate Blueberry Pie and had Hot Chocolates at the Tazlina restaurant
Stopped at Glacier Park Road (private road with $20/person fee), where we drove near the glacier, parked, then walked +1/2 miles out onto the glacier (see great pictures)
Stopped along the way to Palmer to pick Raspberries
Camped at Mountain View RV Park, 1405 N Smith Rd, Palmer, AK 99645-8605, 907-745-5747 - price at $30/night and okay showers C+

Thursday, 9/3
Drove to Airport to pickup second Budget small SUV rental (2.5 days for $260)
Drove to Alaska Travel / Alaska Motorhome Rentals to return RV (we called to let them know we would be an hour late, said ok, but another staff member was very upset)
Drove to Hatcher Pass to see where I did most of my Telemark skiing (one of my favorite places in Alaska)
Picked around 4 cups of small, slightly bitter blueberries
Drove to Alaska State Fair, huge fair, lots of large vegetables and flowers
There was a booth that painted hair on young and old that were truely artistic (see photos)
Drove to Anchorage
Stayed at Spring Hill Suites again for 2 nights (used points, so only cost us $100 - typically around $200-250/night)

Friday, 9/4 (No Photos)
Laid around the hotel recovering from 6 days in the RV (warmth, hot roomy showers, TV)

Weather -
Typical Fall temperatures - 50 to 70 during the day and 35-45 at night.
Sunny almost everyday, with scattered showers almost everyday - since we where driving most of the time, the weather changed hourly.
Saw snow on the road just north of Denali Park on a 1/4 mile stretch of road, otherwise snow mostly on mountain tops.

Food -
Restaurants cost around 30-50% more than the lower 48.

Gas -
Gas ran from around $3.50 in the cities to around $4.00 in the back-country.
Drove around 1,500 miles in the RV - gas cost around $520 (averaged around 10 miles/gallon).

Plants -
Fall flowers were really in bloom. We watched the trees turn yellow in 1 week (especially the future north and higher elevation we went).

Travel Notes -
Found out you can rent a DVD from any Redbox and return to any (even in another state) for only $1/day. This is way cheaper than the DVD rentals in the airports.
Found out the Kathy likes the hot chocolate mix in decaf coffee.