2017 – Our Drive North to Alaska

Be sure to read all the latest in the 2017 SUMMER BLOG

From Our Drive North to Alaska to  2017 SUMMER BLOG – Bob’s Birthday, and a Wrap to the Season


Our Drive North to Alaska


We decided this year to bring the 5th Wheel back up from Kansas to the Park.  The harsh summer sunshine in Kansas was not doing the camper any good (we had to replace the rubber roof) and we weren’t using it much.  So we decided to use it as a rental in the Park.

We left Lawrence on April 12th headed north to Seattle with a stop in Scottsbluff, Neb. at Debbie and Paul’s.  Then after a couple of minor break downs (2004 GMC truck!), we made it to Christine and Mark’s in Kirkland, WA. On the 18th, we crossed over into Canada and started up the Frasier River Valley to meet the ALCAN highway just north of Fort St. John, BC (British Columbia).  I still think it is the prettiest and quickest way from Seattle to the ALCAN.  The weather was cool and sometimes rainy, but no snow and such a beautiful drive.

By the 20th we arrived in Fort Nelson, BC and stayed at our normal campground north of town.


The next morning we woke up to 5 inches of wet snow. 


 

The roads were clear and the forecast was good although we had to climb over the crest of the northern Rockies that day.  It turned out that the sun came out, the snow melted and we had a beautiful trip over the mountains.

It is always a joy to see all the wildlife on our trip north.  We soon came upon a herd of Mountain Sheep grazing along the Highway.  We slowed down and crept up along the side of the two out in the highway.  They were so busy licking the salt off the road (used to melt the snow), they didn’t even move out of the way. So we stopped and took their picture.

North from there before you get to Watson Lake, Yukon, we began to see Buffalo grazing along the side of the road.  At first there was quite a bit of snow on the sides of the road; however, as we drove further to the west the snow had melted and soon the sun came out. That night we stayed in Watson Lake, Yukon.

The Alcan Highway from Watson Lake runs west along the southern border of the Yukon toward Whitehorse.  We saw a black bear at the edge of the woods, but it went back in the woods before we could get a photo.  It is a pretty drive especially along Teslin Lake and the Tlingit village of Teslin.  There is an interesting Museum in the town about the Tlingit Heritage.

That evening we stayed in the town of Haynes Junction where the Alcan heads north along the St. Elias Mountains seen off in the distance.  This range of mountains extends along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska all the way from Glacier Bay to the border of Alaska and the Wrangle Mountains.  Mt. Logan at it’s northern end is only 619 feet lower than Denali, the tallest in North America.

The next day, April 23rd we travel north past Kluane Lake and cross the border into Alaska, just above Beaver Creek, Yukon.  The roads between Beaver Creek and Tok were really bad with lots of broken surfaces and frost heaves.  We stayed the night in Tok, AK, then onto Anchorage the next day.  With a stop at Costco to buy our supplies for the summer, we drove on down to Kasilof RV Park the next day.


It was 4224 miles in 13 days with partial day stops in Scottsbluff, Kirkland and Anchorage.


 

2017 SUMMER BLOG – “Summer” Begins in Alaska

The old Moose Sign was more than 10 years old and it was beat up and worn out.  We decided that it was time to move the old guy into the shop, where we glued him back together and repainted him.  Then we placed him on the front porch of the Lodge under the roof where the weather wasn’t so hard on him.  He had served us well and we wanted to preserve him.


Besides there was going to be a big change in the Kasilof RV Park this summer.


We had decided to change from an overnight RV park to an Extended-Stay Campground where you could relax for a week, a month or the whole summer. That way we would have a chance to get to know you and you would have time to meet the other campers in the Park.  We have found it was impossible to get to know people when then only stay one night, plus all the coming and going of campers was about to wear us out.

So we made the change and by golly it worked out great!  We only had 43 separate campers this summer instead of the 183 in 2016.  We got to know everybody, had lots of fun and actually got to eat our evening meal regularly without having to check a new camper into the park.  We had several campers that came to spend a week and enjoyed themselves so much that they stayed the entire summer with us.


Getting Ready to Open


 

Mark and Christine decided they wanted to come up to help us open up the Park this year.  They had helped us close the Park several years ago so they wanted to find out how to open it up.  The picture shows them helping me put up our canopy tent where we store some of our tools and vehicles during the summer.  Christine cleaned all the bathrooms and the Lodge for Jan and Mark replaced a lot of our old florescent lights with LED lights and put up a new outside night light for the Lodge bathrooms.  Then he helped install our flags on the Lodge roof.

 

As soon as the Park was up and running, Texas John and Kim arrived for the summer.
Our major improvement project for the summer was to be the addition of sewer lines to three more of our campsites.

 


But First We Fish


HALIBUT FISHING  – Bob and Sally took Texas John, Jan and me on a Halibut trip in late May.  The day was beautiful, sunny skies, no wind and a beautiful day on the Inlet. Our first stop looked good with two other commercial guide boats in the same area, but all we could catch were sharks so we left for another of Bob’s spots.  Although we got trapped in the sea week once, the fishing was great and we caught or limit of two apiece although two are already on the cleaning table.  Jan caught the biggest at 60#.

 


SEWER LINE ADDITION


Since we are reducing the number of people in the Park in the future we decided to add three of the back row campsites to the sewer system.  However, campsite #14 was at a lower level than # 15 and #16.  Although the specks for the original sewer system indicated that the sewer level was 8 feet below the surface, we decided to check the sewer connection at campsite #8.

John and I dug around the sewer outlet on campsites #8 and #4 to determine how deep the main line was below the surface at each campsite.  Much to our disappointment, we found that the line was only buried 3 feet below the surface of the ground and the main line was only 12 inches below the surface at campsite #4 where we wanted to connect the third sewer line to campsite #14.  The result was that we had to eliminate putting a sewer line into campsite #14.  We realized that **IT doesn’t run uphill!

 

We rented a backhoe to dig a trench from campsite # 8 to campsites # 15 and #16.  John had experience running a backhoe so he became the digger.  Richard Pierce came over to help and we gave John a lot of suggestions and moral support (headaches) as he dug the ditch.

 

As John was digging, he found a layer of clay that was frozen like permafrost.  It was a layer about 6 to 8 inches thick that was used to keep the upper surface of dirt and gravel from penetrating into the old glacier rock and soil beneath.  He dug it all out below the area where the pipe would be laid so the permafrost would not freeze the water in the pipe early in the spring when the  ground was still cold.

We then tamped down dirt in the bottom of the ditch in a gental rise such that the pipe would drain without any low spots and glued all the pipe together.  Then John came back with the backhoe and pushed the dirt back down on the pipe to cover it.  The Tubbs Gravel Company came in a week later and put fresh gravel over all the campsites in the park and leveled them out.  We have to do that every 3 or 4 years because we get sink holes and bad spots in the campsites.