Day 30: This will do

290 miles
15 mpg
$0: Rufus Creek Wayside, Nabesna Road, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve

I left Bird Creek Campground at 5:45 and drove to Anchorage for my Kendall VW appointment at 7am. It’s a little challenging parking and in-hitching in a dealership parking lot, but…

I appreciated the time in the ‘lux waiting room with WiFi, and made the most of it. I now have ferry reservations (Haines to Skagway). $183 for my 40 feet of car & trailer, and well worth it. It’s saving me 10 hours of driving.

Just for fun, I asked about getting a ferry from Whittier to Haines. It would be over $3,000 to get to Juneau, then I would need another ferry to Haines. And they’re all booked. I guess I’ll drive. I shudder to think what a ferry to Bellingham would cost for 40′.

Next, I made a reservation on the White Pass Summit Excursion (4-hour trip) from Skagway.

There seem to be three trains per day, and the first two are booked for weeks. I got the 4:30pm on Tuesday for $125. Most other days are booked – probably by cruise ships. I’m hoping Julie, Gopher, and Captain Stubing are not on this trip.

My car was done by 9am, so I hooked up the trailer, and headed for Haines. I decided against Homer after realizing just how many miles I had between Bird Creek and Winlock, WA. This will buy me two nights in Haines, where I hear there are plenty of bald eagles and bears to see.

From Anchorage, the Glenn Highway was in great shape, much of it with 65mph speed limits. Some construction and elevation changes, but beautiful. I prefer it to my route to Fairbanks.

And it’s beautiful. You can see glaciers and majestic mountains from the road.

But then, I get on the Tok cutoff. The frost heaves along this stretch are epic, and impossible to gauge as you’re driving. Even at 35mph, I bottomed out a few times. No damage, but no fun.

I also realized, after two or three hours, that I had left my water pump on, which I suspect had been running (with an empty water tank) all that time. I had been stopping at gas stations and state parks for 200 miles, hoping to get a potable water fill-up, to no avail. Happily, the Slana Ranger Station, just of Nabesca Road near the Tok Cutoff has free, delicious, potable water. And an informative CD about the road.

My Allstays iPhone app had a number of primitive campgrounds listed in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve along Nebesna Road. Since I now have running water, let’s see what I can find.

Okay. This will do.

8 thoughts on “Day 30: This will do

  1. I’m not kidding: just last week I heard that there is a trash bin behind the McDonalds in Homer at which the bald eagles congregate.

  2. Enjoy the ferry. Kind of like a moving sidewalk/roadway for your vehicles. There will be more stories to gather. Will you be able to hang out in your trailer during the “crossing”?

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