After exiting the tunnel in Whittier, we drove past Bird Point on our way to Anchorage to check out the bore tide. Dan got to surf the bore tide at the start of our tour through the Kenai Peninsula a month ago and he was hoping to the same again today.
But unforently today was a no go. The winds were howling, causing so much chop on the water, making it almost impossible to catch. The local surfers were not either, but in their place were the wind surfers.
Even though Dan didn’t get on the wave this time, it was still amazing to watch this lone wave make its way past us. We were also joined by our new friends Caleb & Ariana who were hoping to see it (and Dan) in action.
We both ended up back at the Anchorage for a night at the local Moose Lodge. We ended up just hanging out together, grabbing some delicious food at Bear’s Tooth and meeting up with Tim & Kerri.
Shawn the Sheepdog was a fan of hammock. This photo cracks me up. He’s like a real life muppet!
After replenishing our food in town, we ended down the Glennallen Highway at the end of the day. Driving down that highway, we realized that not seeing it in better light was a mistake. Look at this photo I took out my window as we were driving by!
We think it’s ridiculous to pay for a campsite when just driving thru for a night, especially since we have no need for hook-ups. These waysides along the highways here make the perfect spot for us to spend the night. I get a little freaked out by the denseness of the forests here. Not knowing what lies or hides behind the first few rows of trees scares me enough to start clapping and singing tone-deaf songs. Luckily, no bears have come close to our campsites (as far as we know).
We are now officially on our way to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the largest national park in the US. We decided to stop at the Visitor’s Center before actually entering the park to collect some Junior Ranger books for the kids, watch the introductory film and learn a few things about the park.
The park had free treats for visitors which we were all excited about. Coffee for the grown-ups and hot chocolate for the kids.
Since the drive into Wrangell-St. Elias was going to take us most of a entire day to drive due to the roads not being paved, we choose to spend a night at Liberty Falls Campground outside of Chitina and get an early start the next day.
Lucky for us, Dave and Ann of ADVO DnA just happened to be here after their exit from Wrangell-St. Elias and saved us a spot. This place fills up quickly and there’s only 2, maybe 3, spots that will fit our rig.
We got to finally get a tour of Dave and Ann’s custom interior, the kids made bracelets together and the adults enjoyed some chit chatting near the river’s edge.
Before we took off for our long drive, we made sure to fill up all of our water jugs in case the campground in the park didn’t have water. Better be safe than sorry… and plus Luka loves filling up the jugs.
The road to McCarthy, the town on the outskirts of Wrangell-St. Elias, is a long one. 60 miles each way, most of it dirt. We’ve heard horror stories of this road, knew the Airstream probably shouldn’t go down it, but it was calling our names. Loudly. So we listened.
The infamous McCarthy Road. 60 miles of tumultuous washboard dirt road full of pot holes. Actually we didn’t think it was that bad. To tow a trailer in here you have two choices: 1. Drive under 10 mph to lessen the teeth-chattering bumps and hope you get there before dark. 2. Float over the washboards at above 35 mph and watch the awe-inspiring Alaskan landscape and historic roadside artifacts like this wooden trestle zoom past your window and get here in no time. (The way out was a WHOLE other story!)
After arriving at the campground outside of McCarthy, we opened the door to put Yoda inside the Airstream and found a little bit of a mess. Cushions all over the floor, gaucho couch turned itself into a bed, bathroom cabinet doors fell off their tracks, cat food bowl shimmied its way into the hallway and a thin layer of dust on every surface of the inside of the trailer. Not bad considering that we were expecting for our black tank to fall off. I guess there’s always the drive back out of here.
And here’s our stop for the week. SO WORTH THE TROUBLE!!
Our good buddies, the Bodeswell crew, pulled up right after we arrived. Perfect timing.
I really doubt it’s 5 o’clock but I really needed a beer after that long bouncy ride. Cheers to us!
This is the outhouse here at the campground.
When you pull a string inside of it, a little window opens up and you get to look at the glacier. Haha.
From the campground you can walk into the town of McCarthy via a few bridges and dirt paths.
People keep talking about a reality show currently being filmed here but we know nothing about it. We are here to grab a bite to eat.
We happened upon their funhouse prom night here. The kids were really amused by the staffs’ costumes. Someone forgot to smile when I said cheese. (DAN!)
The tents set up at the other side of the campground belong to a tour company. We had a few drunk New York pharmacists come over to our side and drink some of our wine. The funny part of the evening happened when they proclaimed they were taking the Bodeswell’s plastic cups with them as souveniors. Ummmm, we are not part of the attraction?!?! Give those cups back!!!
The cloudy weather here isn’t keeping us from enjoying some campfires.
Huge slingshot time!
Luka’s turn! I better watch out.
The kids have really bonded with Bode over the course of the summer. Ans thanks to him, Ava has really started to love reading books. Here they are reading books under the picnic table to avoid the drizzle.
And when the drizzle turned into rain, they moved their reading party indoors.
This post is getting long. I’ll have to make a separate post for the actual national park. So this one will focus on McCarthy only… and Dan with his pink guitar.
The weather has been a little crappy this week again. Summer is coming to an end. The fireweed blooms are all spent and fall is approaching.
But we’ve got a roof over our heads and plenty of blankets to keep us cozy.
And bacon. Plenty of bacon.
During our stay here in McCarthy, the girls had their official first day of the school year. Special outfits were picked and photos were taken.
The first thing we did was an ‘About Me’ page to commemorate the start of 3rd and 1st grade for these two.
Mila was a little sad that Ava didn’t pick her as a best friend as she did. We had one sad middle sister and one confused older sister that didn’t realize that she could write her sister’s name. Oops.
Luka got into the school action too. We drew french fry monster together.
Our dining table got messy fast with our new school supplies that we picked up back in Anchorage. Sorry Dan, you’ll be working on the kitchen counter today. Stand up desks are all the rage, I hear!
The fish that Dan caught in Hope, and that we didn’t eat, were thrown in the freezer for a rainy day. Well, today was the day.
Instead of cooking the fresh fish, we opted to make sushi.
Not the prettiest sushi we’ve ever made but probably the most delicious.
Even Yoda the cat tried to get in on the sushi action.
Luka happened to find a clean rolled up pair of socks near our site. He soaked them with water and had the best time.
HI-YA! I’m a ninja!!
The other kids didn’t think it was very funny to be chased around by a ninja.
Just kidding. They loved it.
There are no trash cans at the campground of McCarthy. All trash must be carried out. Well, these two tried their best to burn as much trash as they possibly could to lighten our loads. Overheard by me: “This is the most homeless I’ve ever felt.”
In town, there was also a cool breakfast and burger joint called The Potato.
Boxes of potato heads to pass the time.
After days of off and on rain, we decided to make our escape out of McCarthy on a semi-clear day.
This 60-mile road coming out of McCarthy is barely recognizable as the same one we drove in after 3 straight days of rain. Earlier in the summer, they would have re-graded the dirt to make it easier to pass. It now too late in the season for that.
Don’t worry. Luka was there to help.
We had to take it much slower on the way out and all that bouncing around caused one of the electric trailer brake’s adjustment nut to loosen. Fortunately we heard it and caught it in time so the only damage we had was to the electric brake hardware.
Less than a half hour later we were back on the road asking for more.
By the end of the road, we had a few more problems. Our camper top bounced forward so it was touching the cab of the truck.
Causing the back of the camper top to stay open. We lost a bag of rain gear. The Airstream took a little more of a beating too. Broken light switches. Four to be exact. But at least we still have our black tank!!
Was all this trouble down the dirt road to McCarthy? For us, it was! We’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Thanks for reading,