Larry & Cheryl's 2019 Travels travel blog

Wasilla to Tok

Part of the Alaska Range to the north

Islands created by the silt of the glacial Mantanuska River

Hello Mama

North side of the highway, Alaska Range

South side of the highway, Wrangall-St.Elias Range

The highway climbing from lower left to upper right of photo

Glaciers to the south

Mountains all around us

Spectacular vistas

Mantanuska River & Wrangall-St.Elias Mountains

Mantanuska Glacier to the south

I zoomed in close from the viewpoint

The very end or "Toe" of the Glacier

It stretches for miles

The beginning of a very long curve in the highway

The curve is now behind us

Looking back at Mantanuska Glacier

North-East the tops are above tree line

Looking south at mountains and glaciers

Mt. Sanford 16,237' of majesty, and not one of the tallest

First telegraph laid for the Gold Rush and the US Army

Another glacial river

This reads: Pavement/Gravel Road

It was correct

More of the Wrangall-St.Elias Range

A lesson in how highways are built, one lane at a time.

Dirt on top of the thick rock bed, then later paving.

Compacted dirt under the rock bed layer

Below that, plastic sheeting on the compacted dirt

Taking dirt from one area to where it is needed elsewhere

New highway area, trees cleared, sides leveled

This is where we should be seeing Moose, but no

Fireweed is almost fully showing its seed fluff

Never-ending views of the Wrangall-St.Elias Range

The Tok River, almost there.

Arrived very dusty & dirty in Tok


Back to Tok. We left at 8:30 am and arrived 3:15 pm, traveling 5.75 hours to go 282.7 miles with a brief scenic stop.

After all our distress from the breakdowns, the financial and emotional drain, we are done. We are in going home mode. The others will continue on their own.

By 10:00 am we climbed to 3,300’ with spectacular views of the huge Wrangell-St. Elias Mountain Range and the Matanuska Glacier to the south and the Alaska Range to the north.

Naturally we came across lots of road repairs and delays. We got to witness the building of the roadbed at one point. Packed with new dirt to fill in where it washed away (brought in from another area or from the sides of the highway), packed down, then a layer of plastic sheeting rolled out. Then very thick layer of rocks and boulders, more dirt packed and then the road surface. The area we passed must have had one heck of a wash out to build the road base up this high. They have to put several culverts in first before building the roadbed, to allow for drainage.

We stopped at a viewpoint for some shots of the Mantanuska Glacier; at 27 miles long by 4 miles wide, it is the largest glacier accessible by car in the United States. Its terminus feeds the Matanuska River. It lies near the Glenn Highway about 100 miles north-east of Anchorage. Matanuska Glacier flows about 1 foot per day.

Interesting factoid: The English place name Matanuska derives from a Russian term spelled in various ways, but all meaning "copper river people", perhaps referring to an implied route from Cook Inlet to the Copper River.

When we arrived in Tok we went to the Tesoro fuel station were we filled the motorhome and power washed the road dust from the coach & car for an hour and half. When we checked into Tundra RV, we were bushed. Time to do lots of laundry then relax in the bar and enjoy the locals.

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