ALL 50 - Ray’s Journal Entry for: Day 18 - Monday, May 12, 2003

Fairbanks, Alaska to Anchorage, Alaska

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The weather is crappy, 41 degrees and raining. I am sitting in my hotel room reading the Milepost. I find the road information numbers. 

After making several phone calls, I find out that the Yukon Portion of the Alaska Highway has got four sections under repair and "graveled surfaces" totaling about 50 miles. Wet weather, gravel roads, no spare, I decide to pass (on driving back from Alaska through Canada). 

From what I can find out, this is a typical spring road condition after the winter thaw. It is usually sometime late June before the repairs are completed. This road is approximately 1500+ miles from Fairbanks to the lower 48 US Border. Most if it in the frontier. Just going to have to plan another road trip!

I have asked about two dozen people, what is of interest in Fairbanks. The immediate response is "Nothing!"

After stopping at the local tourist stop, "Pioneer Park" I head back towards Anchorage on the same highway. The loop I was going to make has a 20+/- section of road under repair. With the rain and mud, I don't need that. 

Driving south on Alaska 3, the sun starts to break through. By the time I get to Denali, it is gorgeous outside. I stop and get some fuel and ask "how often do you see the Peak of Mt McKinley?". The gal responds "I think we only saw it three times last year!

I purchase some post cards and go to the Denali Visitors Center and write the post cards, hoping that there is a break in the clouds and I can see the Summit.
Realizing that the clouds are there to stay, I move on.

There are several photo opportunities that are here today due to the sun, that weren't here yesterday. Driving in reverse direction, and the change of weather, its a new day dawning! It is requiring, however, plenty of U-turns. I would drive by something, look in the rear view mirror, and realize, I want a picture of that!

As I pull into Anchorage, it is just 7:30 PM. I pull into the Alaskan Native Heritage Center and go back towards Fairbanks(u-turn) to get a picture of the Fort Richardson sign(s). Heading back to Anchorage, I drive by the entrance of Elmendorf Air Force base. I figure I have three hours of daylight left, so I decide to head down the Seward Highway.

I haven't eaten all day, but I remember a place down this highway that I ate at a couple of years ago, but I can't remember the name. I am hoping I will recognize some land marks.

Hitting the Seward Highway, I remember the spectacular views. The tide is just about out, so there is not much current. When I was up here a 3 years ago, the tide change created rapids in the inlet. It looked torturous. The tide change in Alaska can be as much as 21 feet +/-.

There is a sign for ‘Road Construction Ahead’ and indication that the highway will be closed between 10 PM and 4 am. I get to Girdwood and realize that I am close to the restaurant I'm looking for, but that If I go, I will run out of time because of the road closure. Girdwood is 36 miles from Anchorage. U-turn and head into the Midnight sun!

Its 9:45 PM as I pass through the construction zone, realizing I am now safe for travel, I pull into a restaurant along the highway. They quit serving at 9:30 PM...oh well! I am fortunate to this fact, because several miles down the road the setting sun breaks below the clouds and the Scene is Spectacular!

I look for a place to pull off, there are no shoulders, especially for a Corvette. I find a turn out and grab my camera and tripod and cross the highway, over the guard rail to get some pictures and "smell the roses." Within a few minutes, there are several people stopped around me doing the same thing. I'm guessing its been 30+ minutes enjoying the sun set. The sun dips below a cloud at the horizon,,and the show is over. 

Arriving back in Anchorage, I drive down a couple of streets looking for a place to eat. Its 10:30 PM and its still twilight out, even with the cloud cover. I can't find anything open so I head for the Holiday Inn.

While checking in, I ask about any close restaurants, their restaurant is closed and there aren't any others close by. This location is great. I can see the Port from the hotel, but no food. I go to bed tired and hungry.

Moral of the story in Alaska: If you want to eat, eat early!





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