We got a late start out of Valdez as we knew we would likely not be staying in a campground and no reason to hurry. We drove back up the Richardson Highway to the Glen Highway where we headed toward Anchorage. The road was paved but had some quite rough spots as we have come to expect. Traffic on this section of road was the heaviest that we have seen we were in southern British Columbia which is many miles ago. We were starting to look for places to buy fuel and surprised to find that they were very rare on this busier road. We pulled off at Palmer to fill our fuel tank which we did at $3.45/ gallon. Even though it was a bit early there was a Taco Bell next to the station and it sounded good so we had dinner there. We had been thinking of staying at the Walmart at Eagle River but had found that they don't allow overnight parking, so we called a Sam's Club in Anchorage as we heard that they did allow overnight RV parking in their lot. The person answering the phone put us to the manager who said that he would love to have us stay but that he couldn't because of a citywide ban on RV overnight parking in parking lots. We didn't think we felt like going past Anchorage so we found a nice overnight spot near the Matanuska River Bridge about a mile from Palmer and spent the night there. It was a pretty parking spot with the rapidly moving river and the mountains in the distance. Ironically, we found a message the next morning on Barbara's phone from friends from Texas that they were staying at the Sam's Club in Anchorage. So we missed seeing them but staying at what was certainly a nicer spot.
This picture is just before midnight, June 21, 2009
Nice morning view
The next morning we continued on toward the Kenai Penninsula. We delayed our start long enough that we would not hit rush hour traffic in Anchorage as we felt that driving in the unfamiliar city might be difficult. It turned out that going through Anchorage was a breeze. We enjoyed the pretty drive south from anchorage on the Seward and Sterling Highways. While driving along the scenic Turnagain Arm we ran in to our first extended rain which continued for the rest of the drive and most of the rest of the day. We have perhaps been lucky as we have had only a little rain here and there so far on this trip. The only large wildlife that we saw on this 2 day trip were 2 bear that were far out on the shore of the Turnagain. We were caught in our longest traffic delay of the trip on the Seward Highway. We waited in line for a pilot car at least one half hour and they spend another 15 minutes or so going through the one way construction area. We got to our destination, Soldotna, in the early afternoon. We had planned that we would stay in the parking lot of the Fred Myers store as it had been reported to welcome RVer to overnight there. That was quickly confirmed when we arrived. We read a sign indicating in what areas RVs may park. The easily accessible spot on the outside edge that we had pulled into was in one of those areas. So we were parked for the night. They had some reasonable rules and stated that RVs may park in the lot for up to 3 days. We have a reservation for the Edgewater RV Park in Soldotna for a week starting tommorrow, so we only plan to be here overnight. We spent some time shopping in the store which is similar to a Walmart, perhaps a little more upscale. It felt like we were back in civilization.
We have a good cell phone connection here and we returned a call to our grandchildren. They asked us about the earthquake. We did not know anything about it. We later found that the earthquake center in Willow, Ak. and felt in Anchorage had occured sometime when we were on the road near Anchorage. We laughed and said that if we felt anything we probably just attributed it to the rough roads.