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Trip Start Jun 01, 2009
Trip End Sep 22, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Alaska
Tuesday, August 4, 2009


August 3, 2009 (Monday) – Tolsona, AK (165 miles)

Before our departure yesterday, we gathered at the Kilcrease family's home for a farewell breakfast of migas and pancakes. Jessica provided the ingredients; I did the cooking and everyone was stuffed.  We did the round of goodbyes, hugs and kisses, then returned to our trailer in the FamCamp to hook up.  We have enjoyed our stay at Elmendorf so much; not just because of the kids, but just being around a bunch of military folks…both younger and older.  Hearing reveille at 7 AM and the "Star Spangled Banner" played at 5 PM each day couldn’t help but make me feel so proud of our wonderful military.  It wasn’t until a few days ago that I was in the car at 5 PM and witnessed something I’ve never seen before…..all the cars pulled to the side of the road and waited until the national anthem was played.   It’s too bad we don’t do that all over the United States; maybe it would help some folks remember what patriotism is all about.

Another thing I liked about being on base were the “garage sales”.  Every Saturday morning, starting at 8 AM, different housing sections hold their annual garage sales.  In addition, occupants in other sections can apply for a permit and also have their own sale.  The addresses are published on the base website and Jessica discovered it was very handy to have Dad’s truck available for her purchases.  The nice thing here is that you never have to leave the base and can hit anywhere from 10 – 20 sales in a few hours.  Jessica got a double stroller the first weekend, bar stools another time, a table & chair set for Riley last weekend, and tons of baby items at all of them.  I also picked up a few small items but with our small space, I had to limit my selections to a few movies and a card shuffler.  Riley is a garage sale enthusiast and loves tagging along.  The nice thing is that generally you can park in one spot and walk to several sales so we were not constantly getting her in and out of her carseat.  After a while, though, she grows weary and is ready to head for home, usually with some prize possession to show off to Dad.

We pulled out about 11:30 AM and had a pleasant enough drive to Tolsona.  Shortly after leaving Anchorage, we saw a moose on the side of the road and several smushed porcupines on the road, but no other wildlife.  The weather in Anchorage was fair and upon arrival in Tolsona, we found it very nice.  We are camped in the very same site we had two years ago at Tolsona Wilderness RV Park.  They have added more sites and now have wifi, so we are pleased.   At many parks, we find we can receive email but can’t send; this one is the same way.  If we need to send or respond, we have to use our Web Mail account with GVTC. The internet connection is good, and email comes in just fine.  It’s beyond my guru capabilities but if anyone has any ideas… me.

The temperature dropped to 42⁰ last night but by the time we finished breakfast the bright sunshine was warming things nicely.  Nitchie and I took a long walk….to scout for fireweed….and my windbreaker and sweatpants soon became a lot more clothing than I needed.  Don’t worry; I didn’t shed them until I returned to the RV.  Most of the fireweed is blooming all to the top, and if theory holds true, that indicates that winter is only about six weeks away.  I was able to pick the 8 cups of blossoms I needed to make “Fireweed Jelly” and spent the next several hours cleaning the flowers and removing stems.  After that, I boiled the fireweed blossoms in water and lemon juice and strained the liquid.  I’ll save it until we reach Whitehorse and can get jelly jars.  The fireweed makes a tangy jelly that is fuchsia in color.  The flavor is quite unique and I can’t wait to have some on my homemade English Muffin toast.

Wendell has spent most of the day doing battle with a squirrel.  When Nitchie and I returned from our morning walk, we heard “thumping” under the hood of the truck.  Upon investigation, we found some of the insulation on the firewall vigorously chewed and witnessed the little bugger running up a nearby tree.  Wink, our camp host, suggested we try Bounce fabric sheets as she had heard that might work.  It didn’t!  Mr. Squirrel returned to gnaw some more and even ate the Bounce.  Wendell used duck tape to seal the affected area, then sprinkled red pepper on the surfaces.  Knowing that squirrels are indeed rodents, he also tied a bit of rat bait to a string and attached it under the hood.  So far, we’ve not seen further evidence of Mr. Squirrel.  By the way, Nitchie is NOT a squirrel hunting dog.

We planned to leave tomorrow for Tok, but Wendell just came in and said maybe we should spend another day.  Fine with me!  I love it here.  Our pull-through is only a few feet from the creek so we get to enjoy the sound of the babbling brook.  If you are looking for a place to camp where you can truly enjoy a wilderness feel, but still have amenities like electricity, potty and/or showers, this is the spot.  The camp is located almost a mile off the Glen Highway so there’s no traffic noise.  It’s not overly crowded, very serene and has lots of trails to explore.  Wendell and I walked most of them this evening.   There doesn’t appear to be a bear problem, but I’ve seen lots of moose evidence. 

August 4, 2009 (Tuesday) – Still in Tolsona

Wendell awoke to the flashing of the freeze alarm on our indoor/outdoor thermometer.  At 6:30 AM, it was showing 33⁰F.  In cool climates, we have a small electric heater that we put on the “low” setting to keep the trailer from being too cold in the mornings.  Even with that, Wendell still had to turn on the propane furnace to get the place comfortable.  Under the covers, it was quite pleasant but the trip across the hardwood floors to the bathroom was “burrrr”. 

The winds picked up slightly during the night and we noticed a distinct haze in the trees.  Outside, you could definitely smell smoke and it wasn’t from campfires.  When Wendell went to the office to register for another night, the owner told him it was from one of the wildfires but we weren’t in any danger.  Later, we drove 15 miles to the post office in Glenallen and the smoke was quite dense.  Upon arrival, we found the post office closed for lunch and had to kill a few minutes so after a brief tour of the town, we stopped for shakes at the local “Freeze Café”.  Wendell had a butterscotch malt and I opted for a blueberry shake.  All I can say is, “it sure wasn’t Blue Bell.”

The rest of the afternoon was leisurely and even included a short nap.  The camp owner had given Wendell a small pellet rifle to “take care” of the squirrel….who is still around….but he has been making himself pretty scarce.  We discovered another big chunk of insulation chewed and the rat bait missing.  We were so in hopes Mr. Squirrel had met his demise, but alas, not so.  Later today, I did observe him jumping from a tree into some tall grass but there was not enough time to grab the gun.  I’m sure we’ll leave here tomorrow and Mr. Squirrel will still be around to torment the next camper in site 17.
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garyposs on

PC Infor and More ...

In reference to the email not being able to send, except through Webmail, try setting the SMTP Port to 587 (in Outlook, Outlook Express, or Windows Mail)rather than the default - which is 25. Not all ISP's allow Port 25 for security and spam reasons. Then Re-launch the mail application.

Let the Squirrel Be - He is a Survivor - entitled to a full life! He might end up being the 'Gate Keeper' at the Pearly Gates ... :)

Interesting observation about people in their cars pulling over at 5pm in respect for the national Athem. I assume that was On Base???

Looking forward to more tales along your return trip.


dlpool on

Re: PC Infor and More ...
Gary,you are a genius! It took me a while to figure out how to get there but I changed the port and it worked. Early in our trip, I sent an email to GVTC's support and asked them about the problem. Their answer was 'just use Webmail'.

Don't worry about the squirrel; Wendell's not a very good shot.

Thanks for the help.

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