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.”
“I almost told you in Dawson City so we could turn around and go back to Whitehorse, but then I remembered the fires closed the road.”
“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.
Our Anchorage campsite at Ship Creek RV Park – nestled within an industrial area with no view other than train tracks – lacked charm and updated amenities …
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.
Also, our Dolphin e-bikes needed a good spin on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail …
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
- Chapter 2 – Malibu to Morro Bay
- Chapter 3 – Morro Bay to Santa Cruz
- Chapter 4 – Santa Cruz to San Francisco
- Chapter 5 – San Francisco to Eureka
- Chapter 6 – The Oregon Coast
- Chapter 7 – The Strait of Juan de Fuca
- Chapter 8 – Victoria, British Columbia
- Chapter 9 – Victoria to Mackenzie
- Chapter 10 – The Alaska Highway
- Chapter 11 – Yukon
- Chapter 12 – Top of the World Highway to Chicken, Alaska
- Chapter 13 – Tok to Valdez
- Chapter 14 – Glacier View to Anchorage
- Chapter 15 – The Kenai Peninsula – coming soon!
- Chapter 16 – Whittier – Talkeetna – Denali – coming soon!
- Chapter 17 – Fairbanks – North Pole – Chena Hot Springs – coming soon!
- Chapter 18 – Tok – Beaver Creek – Destruction Bay – Haines – coming soon!
- Chapter 19 – Haines Junction – Teslin – Jade City – Bell II – Telkwa – Prince George – 100 Mile House – Kamloops – Cawston – coming soon!
- Chapter 20 – Lesson Learned – coming soon!
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.