Posted March 12, 2023 – Narrated by Carmen
“If the path be beautiful,
let us not ask where it leads.”
It was time to come clean.
Pulling out of Valdez, heading toward Anchorage (in the rain, as always) my sore tooth throbbed to the rhythm of the windshield wipers.
“I have a toothache.”
The rig swerved slightly on the wet road as Jim turned to look at me.
“How bad?” he asked.
“Pretty bad. Root canal bad, feels like.”
“So, you’re in pain all this time?”
“Well, you know …” I said, calling on past experiences with other ailments which I ignored until almost too late.
Jim sighed deeply, sincerely. He was concerned.
My pain tolerance is extraordinary. I don’t acknowledge pain until it reaches a 9 and even then, ignore it. Due to a non life-threatening allergy to certain preservatives, I manage stitches and most dental work without anesthesia.
“I know. I’m a mess,” I apologized.
Poor Jim. Stuck in Alaska with a canary in a coal mine with a toothache.
I tried breaking the tension with humor.
“Can you even get a root canal in Alaska? Maybe they’ll just get me drunk tie me down and pry it out with an ice ax.” But Jim wasn’t biting. His brain was in disaster mode – silently strategizing solutions.
Clearing the air felt good. Knowing that Jim was fully informed actually cured me – just like Pico instantly recovers when we drive him into the vet parking lot.
I continued with the mixed signals.
“It’s absolutely not an emergency. Wow. This scenery is spectacular. Just thought I’d give you the ol’ head’s up, you know. Oh, look. A glacier. I’m fine, really. Quick! Take the turnout.”
We continued toward Glacier View.
We had planned to hike the countryside here, but rain and fog was predicted to last out the week. Even so, every tiny patch of clear sky held hope.
We take moose crash areas seriously.
Slowing down often pays off with sightings.
We continued to take it slow because this is one of the most beautiful scenic drives in Alaska.
The sky began to clear as we pulled into our reserved spot at Grand View Cafe and RV Park …
where a trailhead led us into a meadow …
through the woods …
and over a hill …
where we spied a peek-a-boo view of Mataneuska Glacier in the distance.
For Pico, the fragrant forest was the real floor show.
That night Jim steamed the remainder of our salmon and spinach on a mountain of lentils – delicious, nutritious and easy on my sore tooth.
With the stars hiding behind the clouds, we went to bed early and slumbered like fed bears.
The next morning, under a clear sky, we followed the Mataneuska River …
for a closer look at the glacier.
Spotting a trailhead, we pulled over …
for a celebration hike with our new friend …
The Mataneuska Glacier, which moves one foot a day through the valley.
The raft tour looked exciting, but whitewater is not for us.
Moving on along the river …
We stopped frequently to behold the paradisiacal beauty.
We were so grateful to be here.
We stayed in the free overnight parking at the Alaska Raceway Park where Jim relived his teenage years rooting for his driver friends, Les and Wes.
We had hoped to view Muskox in the wild, but the roads being what they are, the risk wasn’t worth it. So, to get acquainted with these arctic wonders, we turned to the Muskox Farm in the fascinating city of Palmer.
We took the tour …
and just as we were leaving, Eider, the muskox cow, locked eyes on Jim.
She stood up and steadily moved toward him chortling sweet muskox nothings as she batted her eye lashes like Scarlett O’Hara.
It worked. Jim was charmed. But, alas, it could never be.
Maybe for his birthday I will order him a luxurious scarf or cap made of Eider’s qiviut so they can be together. Qiviut, we learned, is a traditional aspect of Inuit and Yupic culture and the yarn is the ideal Alaska gift for knitters.
That afternoon we visited another nearby rescue farm where, again, Jim was wildly popular with the animals.
Oh, good grief. It’s gotta be the beard.
But Ship Creek was downtown and downtown was precisely what we needed.
The Beast’s tires were due for rotation …
and we were hankering for culture.
From here, it’s all a blur. If not for the photos I wouldn’t remember any of this. I had vanished into the pain.
Fortunately, Jim was looking out for me. He noticed the swelling in my face. While I slept he made a dentist appointment. I can’t recall many details, but evidently the words “dental surgery” stood out.
Within an hour I was at Dr. Anderson D.M.D.’s doorstep …
pulling up my big girl pants.
The procedure went well with no disturbing side-effects from the anesthesia. The thing was done. Reward was in order.
I admire independent solo RVers who manage their own affairs.
But Jim and I – though we as different as night and day – are a team.
There’s an old story about a garden …
and a man …
and a woman …
It all goes well until it doesn’t.
But the old dystopian story hits a wall in Alaska …
where everything …
from what’s beneath your feet …
to what is beyond your grasp…
all of it …
Chapters in the “Airstreaming to Alaska” series
- Chapter 1 – San Diego to Malibu
- Sun Outdoors San Diego Bay – Chula Vista, California
- Malibu Beach RV Resort – Malibu, California
- Chapter 2 – Malibu to Morro Bay
- Morro Bay State Park – Morro Bay, California
- Chapter 3 – Morro Bay to Santa Cruz
- Santa Cruz Harbor RV Park – Santa Cruz, California
- Chapter 4 – Santa Cruz to San Francisco
- San Francisco RV Park – Pacifica, California
- Chapter 5 – San Francisco to Eureka
- Vinnie’s Northbay Airstream Repair – Wilton, California
- High Water Brewery (Harvest Host location) – Lodi, California
- Harmony Wynelands (Harvest Host location) – Lodi, California
- Van Ruiten Family Vineyards (Harvest Host location) – Lodi, California
- Four Fools Winery (Harvest Host location) – Rodeo, California
- Lawson’s Landing – Dillon Beach, California
- Mia Bea Wines (Harvest Host location) – Redwood Valley, California
- Johnny’s at the Beach – Eureka, California
- Chapter 6 – The Oregon Coast
- Harris Beach State Park – Brookings, Oregon
- Bay Point Landing Resort – Coos Bay, Oregon
- Blue Herron French Cheese (Harvest Host location) – Tillimook, Oregon
- Seaside RV Resort – Seaside, Oregon
- Chapter 7 – The Strait of Juan de Fuca
- Washington Land Yacht Harbor Airstream Park – Olympia, Washington
- Salt Creek Recreation Area – Port Angeles, Washington
- Chapter 8 – Victoria, British Columbia
- Weir’s Beach RV Resort – Victoria, British Columbia
- Chapter 9 – Victoria to Mackenzie
- Riverside RV Resort – Whistler, British Columbia
- Big Bar Rest Area – Clinton, British Columbia
- Walmart Parking Lot – Prince George, British Columbia
- Alexander MacKenzie Landing – Mackenzie, British Columbia
- Chapter 10 – The Alaska Highway
- Northern Lights RV Park – Dawson Creek, British Columbia
- Former Prophet River State Park – Peace River, British Columbia
- Hay Lake – Fort Liard, Northwest Territories
- Northern Rockies Lodge and RV Park – Muncho Lake, British Columbia
- Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park – Liard River, British Columbia
- Chapter 11 – Yukon
- Watson Lake Visitors Center Parking Lot – Watson Lake, Yukon
- Teslin Rest Area – Teslin, Yukon
- Norsemen RV Park – Atlin, British Columbia
- Hot Springs Campground – Whitehorse, Yukon
- Real Canadian Superstore Parking Lot, Whitehorse, Yukon
- Gold Rush Campground – Dawson City, Yukon
- Chapter 12 – Top of the World Highway to Chicken, Alaska
- Downtown Chicken Cafe and Saloon
- Chapter 13 – Tok to Valdez
- Tundra RV Park – Tok, Alaska
- Gulkana River Rest Stop – Gulkana, Alaska
- Bear Paw RV Park – Valdez, Alaska
- Chapter 14 – Glacier View to Anchorage
- Grand View Cafe and RV Park – Glacier View, Alaska
- Alaska Raceway Park (Harvest Host location) – Palmer, Alaska
- Ship Creek RV Park – Anchorage, Alaska
- Chapter 15 – Kenai Peninsula
- Heritage RV Park – Homer Spit, Alaska
- Marathon RV Campground – Seward, Alaska
- Chapter 16 – Whittier to Talkeetna
- Williwaw Campground – Whittier, Alaska
- Talkeenta Camper Park – Talkeetna, Alaska
- Chapter 17 – Denali
- Riley Creek Campground – Denali National Park, Alaska
- Chapter 18 – North Pole to Chena Hot Springs
- Riverview RV Park – North Pole, Alaska
- Chena Hot Springs Campground – Fairbanks, Alaska
- Chapter 19 – Tok to Haines
- Fast Eddy’s Restaurant Parking Lot – Tok, Alaska
- Gravel Turnout – Beaver Creek, Yukon
- Gravel Turnout – Destruction Bay, Yukon
- Haines Hitch-UP RV Park – Haines, Alaska
- Chapter 20 – South to the Lower 48
- Gravel Turnout – Haines Junction, Yukon
- Teslin Rest Area – Teslin, Yukon
- Jade City Parking Lot – Jade City, British Columbia
- Mehan Lake Rest Area – Bell II, British Columbia
- Fort Telkwa Riverfront RV Park – Telkwa, British Columbia
- Walmart Parking Lot – Prince George, British Columbia
- 100 Mile House Municipal Campground – 100 Mile House, British Columbia
- Mt. Paul Golf Course (Harvest Host location) – Kamloops, British Columbia
- Crowsnest Vineyards (Harvest Host location) – Cawston, British Columbia
- Final Chapter – Lessons Learned
- Mileposts (the book)
- Cash and Currency
- Dump Stations and Potable Water
- Internet Connectivity
- Canada Border Crossing
- US Border Crossing
- General Observations
- Final Thoughts
- Our Camp Sites
If you want to see our exact route, click here.
*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.