Alaska 

Days 11 - August 21, 2009

Miles Traveled:

Notable Stops:

Daily High:

Daily Low:

Notable weather: Cold in the wee morning hours. Didnít get dark until after midnight (remained twilight for hours). Clear, sunny and beautiful all day. Warm by Alaska standards from mid-morning to evening.

 

Last Nightís Campfire

 

Last night we sat around the community campfire roasting marshmallows, making smores and talking with other guests here at the campground.

 

We heard reports that the chances of seeing the northern lights last night were moderate. So, we tried to stay up just in case. Around midnight I went to bed. Matt reported in the morning that he did not see the northern lights last night.

 

This Morning

 

We awoke this morning to brisk temperatures but crystal clear blue skies. We were very excited because weíve been looking forward to the flight seeing tour around Mt. McKinley today and landing on the glacier.

 

Before he headed to the airport for our flight we went back to the lookout just out of town. Mt McKinley and her friends (the other mountain peaks) were showing bright and clear so it made for a pretty good picture with the Speedster in the foreground.

 

The Flight

 

The airport that K2 Aviation (the company we had our flight seeing tour with) is just one or two streets down from the campground we are staying at.

 

We arrived at the airport and checked in for our flight a little early. (We were eager.)

 

The plane we flew in was a de Havilland Otter Ski-Plane. It was built in the early 1960ís and later retrofitted with skies to land on glaciers and snow. It was also retrofitted with a Pratt-Whitney engine. I think the plain held 8 or 10 people plus the pilot and co-pilot.

 

We flew around Mt. McKinley and the other peaks accompanying her (Mt. Foraker and Mt. Hunter). We landed on the Eldridge Glacier. It was awesome. The landing was unbelievably smooth.

 

There was another flight seeing tour further down the glacier from us. We all just walked around the plain and admired the towering snow covered peaks, the deep blue sky and the fact that we were standing on a glacier and yet warmer than we were in the plain. It was so warm I took off my ski jacket and fleece jacket.

 

Taking off from the glacier was also incredibly smooth.

 

After leaving the glacier we continued to fly around the mountains in Denali National Park then headed back to the airstrip in Talkeetna.

 

Matt asked our pilot where he was originally from. The pilot told us he is originally from Hawaii. Apparently he does summer flight-seeing tours up here in Alaska then he spends the winters in Hawaii doing flight-seeing tours around volcanoes. What a job.

 

When we arrived at the Speedster in the parking lot it was surrounded by interested bystanders eager to ask questions about the car. Matt and I answered questions but when Matt tried to crank start the car it would not cooperate. He had to resort to using the starter. Matt reported that the car needed some work when we returned to the campground.

 

Lunch in Town

 

After the flight seeing tour we went into town again and ate lunch at a pizza place. The pizza was good.

 

When we tried to sit in the patio of the pizza place we discovered the flowers in the patio were covered with little black gnat like insects that are very attracted to the color yellow. Matt was wearing his yellow NorCal Regional Group Horseless Carriage shirt today. This caused the gnats to swarm us. We had to eat inside.

 

While we were enjoying lunch people in town were enjoying taking pictures of our car. An old man even explained to a younger man with a video camera what the peddles in the car did.

 

On her way out the door of the pizza parlor a lady who ate her lunch on the patio of the parlor reported that she and her group enjoyed watching all the attention our car drew.

 

When Matt and I arrived at the Speedster a couple on a motorcycle stopped to visit with us. It was one of the couples that were on the Columbia with us. They said that they recognized us as we drove down the street. It was neat to run into a couple from the ferry here in Talkeetna.

 

The Car Gets Some Work

 

When we returned to the campground Matt worked on the car. He fixed the choke. It was stuck half closed, making it difficult to keep the car running. Matt also fixed the shimmy by tightening the king pins in the front end. He also adjusted the rocker arms and tightened the rocker towers. Number one sparkplug was coming loose so he tightened that too and he filled all the grease cups.

 

While Matt worked on the car and happily answered many questions from occupants of the RV Park I knit and napped.

 

To the River

 

After Matt finished the maintenance on the car we drove back to town. This time I drove and Matt was the passenger.

 

We went to the end of the road in town, parked and then walked to the river for an awesome view of Mt. McKinley and the other peaks with wisps of clouds curled around them.

 

A Productive Evening

 

This evening back at the campground, Matt finished putting together the video of the trip up to the second day in Juneau. I finished knitting the second sock in the pair (photos to follow at a later time) and I sewed the rest of the pieces of the pink shrug together. Now I just need one more skein of Lion Brand Microspun Blush yarn to do the trim on the garment, add the caribou button I got for it yesterday and it is ready to wear too.

 

Hopefully when weíre in Fairbanks Iíll be able to find the yarn. There is a Jo Anneís Superstore there but the blush yarn can be tough to find. My fingers are crossed.

Speedster at the Lookout Just out of Town Speedster at the Lookout Just out of Town
Building at the Airstrip  Mt. McKinley with the Ruth Glacier In Front
Jess and Matt with the Plain on the Eldridge Glacier Matt Displaying NorCal Regional Group Horseless Carriage Club of America Pride In Front of the Plain on the Eldridge Glacier
View of Mt. McKinley and the Other Peaks from the River at the End of the Road in Talkeetna, Alaska Matt and Jess
View of Mt. McKinley from the River at the End of the Road in Talkeetna, Alaska
Alaska 2009

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