The trip to Anchorage from Tolsona Saturday only took about four hours for the 158 miles. The 40 MPH average was due to 20 mph through a five mile construction area and then doing 30 to 40 mph through the 25 miles past the construction on a very curvy, hilly section of highway. But it still wasn't a bad drive. At least the scenery got better again. One thing we have found out: taking the inside passage has ruined us for scenery. It can't get much more scenic than it was during the 3+ weeks we were in the inside passage. Now that we are in Anchorage we are back with mountains around us and I imagine the Kenai Peninsula will also have great beauty but I doubt any of it will beat the inside passage.
We had planned on staying at Ft. Richardson FamCamp but it was full and there was at least a two day wait to get in so we tried the Elmendorf AFB FamCamp and found a very nice site. We have 30 amp and water but no sewer, however they do have two dump stations so we will manage nicely. We even have our own resident moose mom and calf that comes traipsing through the campground most days. I thought Doris was having a conniption when they came through our site this afternoon!
Sunday was laundry day - three washers, three dryers, eight loads, almost four hours and $17! We don't think we will let it get this backed up again. I was also able to give Libby a well needed bath. She was starting to look pretty rough after eating all that dust on the gravel roads.
Monday was spent taking care of business. Insurance had to have claims filed and appointments made for damage assessment. I managed to get another haircut. The one I got in Phoenix has now lasted two months. This one will not last as long! Other than that we spent the day getting ready for Misty's arrival tonight. She should be here a little before 10:00 p.m. and will be amazed at how light it will still be. Sunset is 11:39 tonight wth sunrise at 4:28 in the morning. The five hours in between is what is called "civil twilight" where the sun is less than six degrees below the horizon and the light only dims slightly from when the sun is up. It will be that way the whole time she is here.
Misty came in almost on time Monday night and Tuesday morning we all went to the commissary to restock. We had let our supplies dwindle as we were crossing USA/Canada borders and this is the first chance since then to visit a store with lots of groceries at a more reasonable price. The insurance adjuster came out about noon and looked over the damage. It was about what I had figured - he thought the rear cap would have to be replaced if possible. I have contacted Four Winds and since they don't do that kind of repair, they directed me to a good body shop that is close by and will have access to needed parts. If all works out we will drop by there on the way home for the necessary repairs. Tuesday afternoon we headed for the Musk Ox Farm just outside Palmer. It may have been too late in the day since most of the Musk Ox stayed a good distance from where we were able to view them. We did learn all about the organizations efforts to domesticate this ancient animal. They harvest the wooly undercoat the ox puts on each winter for warmth. It is called Qiviut
and, once it is processed and spun into yarn, is knitted into various hats, scarves and other small items by the native women throughout Alaska. Each area of Alaska that does this knitting has their own pattern that they weave that is distictly unique. The resulting items are softer than cashmere and several times as warm as wool.
Wednesday we went to the Alaska Zoo, Wildberry Park and the ULU Factory. Wildberry Farm was a big disappointment and just a big tourist trap but the zoo and knife factory were both interesting. The zoo had almost all of the animals that are common in Alaska. They had two sets of Brown Bears (Grizzlies) that were just huge. We finally got to see a bull moose though he wouldn't cooperate and come out into the clear as much as we would have liked. His horns were getting a good start and he will have a nice rack by fall. I have included a few pictures of the zoo but I didn't take many.
The ULU knife
is the main cutting tool of the native Eskimos. It is curved and instead of having the handle at the end of the blade, the handle is at the top of the blade. I, of course, had to have one, even if I never learn how to use it.
Thursday we ate a late breakfast and took a trip to Thunderbird Falls. It is a state park and involves a one mile hike to the overlook and back. The trail was pretty easy excpet for being very hilly. It was a nice walk and provided us with some needed exercise. The rest of the day will be spent getting everything ready for the trip tomorrow down to Seward.