Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Setting Out on The Road

We started the day early. Woke up, had cookies and a morning drink
(coffee or chocolate milk), finished packing, and called the cab that
took us to the RV rental place. The place is located outside the town
in a big industrial park with large stores (Home Depot and such). We
filled various forms, saw an instructional video on operating RVs, and
then had a tour of the RV. There were all kind of operations, but it
seems relatively simple (we hope). We then realized that there isn't
much storage space in the RV, and so we unpacked our luggage into the
various compartments and then left the suitcases as well as stuff we
deemed unnecessary for storage at the RV place.

First look at our RV

Close to 11am we were finally ready to roll. Yael took the driver sit
and I navigated. Our target --- a big store two blocks from there to
stock up on supplies. We took a wrong turn and had to navigate a U-
Turn (which we ended up doing in the parking lot of a Mall) before
managing to get back to the store. The store, Fred Mayers, is the kind
where you can do all (and I mean all) your shopping at, from cars and
jewelry, through furniture and toys, to grocery and prescription

Getting ready to go!

After an hour and a half we finished with two big carts loaded with
stuff, food, BBQ, water, cleaning supplies, and even a Frisbee. We
loaded these onto the car, which also took a while. At this stage we
were all starved, and decided to eat before hitting the road. We drove
two more blocks to Chilies (a chain the kids like from California),
had lunch, and went on the road.

The morning that started cloudy showed signs of clearing up and we
started seeing the impressive forests and towering mountains around
the city. We took the Glen Highway north of Anchorage and drove
through a series of small satellite towns. After half an hour or so,
we stopped for hike at nice trail that went along an impressive gorge
to watch a high waterfall. The forest was very green and wet, with a
lot of mushrooms and various berries. The air was cold and refreshing,
and we all agreed this was gentle hike to give us appetite for more

Berries in the forest

Our first hike

Thunderbird Waterfall

After the hike, we returned to the RV and continued to drive north on
Glen Highway until it split off to the Parks Highway that leads to
Denali. This area is known as Mon-Su valley and is known for its
vegetables. It is also a suburb to Anchorage, and so there we quite a
bit of traffic until we got far enough from the city. The land opened
into a fairly flat forest with a lot of lakes, we kept seeing the edge
of one or another.

Around 6pm we got to 98 mile marker, and took the turn toward
Talkeetna. This a small town located at the bend of a river. It is the
base of many airplanes ride to see the Denali mountain range. When we got toward town clouds covered the sky again, but we were hopping for
a nice afternoon stroll in town. We drove to a camp park, selected a
site in the woods next to the river (very few people around). We
decided to take a 5 minute hike to the town. After some hesitation we
decided that the weather was nice, so we went light without coats. As
we were walking on the wooded trail to town we saw many puddles and
the sky become darker. As we entered town the first drops started
falling on us. We decided to go into stores to see if the rain will
stop. We entered the first shop, which was a company doing air trips.
We chatted with a nice guy about the options and reserved a tentative
flight for tomorrow. The rain outside got stronger and didn't seem to
consider slowing down. Everyone decided to send me to get the RV. I
took Roy's rain jacket (which was left by mistake in the backpack),
and walked to get the RV, and then came to rescue the rest of the
family (who snacked on some ice cream in the meantime).

We returned to the campsite and moved to a spot that had a rain
shelter next to it. After we all rested a bit and warmed up, I
assembled the BBQ and we prepared a simple meal (steak & corn). Since it was still raining, we ate inside the cabin on the dinner table.
After dinner, we cleaned the dishes, and prepared the RV for night.
Roy is sleeping in the bed alcove above the front cab, it is nice and
wide, but very low, so he got his head banged twice before getting
used to it. Lior is sleeping in a bed that we create by transforming
the dinner table and the two benches on its side into a bed. It took
us a while to manage to perform this transformation, as initially it
seemed as though the table leg was screwed to the table, making it
impossible to disassemble. Yael and me are sleeping in the double bed
in the back. Both Roy's bed and ours have curtains to give a sense of
privacy. Lior doesn't :-(

Since it was light outside at 11pm, we closed all the window curtains,
and went to sleep. The rain drops were making small pops on the roof
of the RV.


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