Wednesday, July 3rd-A Take It Easy Day

Today we mainly recovered from eight hours of jarring bus rides and 1,100 elevation change hikes. I got some school work done by spending 2.5-3 hours in the Black Bear Coffee Shop-with their free wi-fi! I was starting to get some stares from the employees before finishing.

One thing we did today was use our porta-potty to empty part of our gray tank. This campground only has a few sites with full hook ups. The site we have has electric and water but no sewer connections. There comes a time when those tanks get full and then what do you do? Well, we take our  porta-potty out of the front basement, empty 20-25 gallons of gray water in it, hook it to the back of the truck, drive slowly to the dump station, and empty the gray water. The gray water comes from the sinks and shower while the black water (that we DIDN’T empty!) wasn’t nearly full yet. We can wait to empty it when we leave Denali on Saturday. So we’re back to Navy showers!

If I haven’t explained Navy showers yet, they are when you get in the camper shower, run just enough water to get yourself wet, turn the water off and scrub yourself clean, and then turn the water back on for 30-40 seconds to rinse yourself off. Why not use the showers in the restrooms? Well, I could give you about $5.00 reasons why-yes, you have to buy a $5 token to take a seven minute shower! So Navy showers it is! Most campgrounds don’t charge for showers but supply and demand here allows it.

We took a walk tonight through the Denali Princess Resort, where we are NOT staying, and found it curious. First, the huge resort of maybe 15-20 buildings were built for passengers on Princess Cruises taking excursions. Second, the entire resort is only open from about May 15 to Sept 15-when Princess cruises are coming to Alaska. The Princess Cruise customers pay for the use of the entire complex in only four months while the buildings sit vacant eight months a year. Third, there was a sign that explained the construction of all the buildings. Apparently, the permafrost was removed before the buildings were built. Then the buildings were built to be adjustable as new permafrost forms. In other words, engineers re-level the buildings before they reopen for the Summer season. Pretty amazing!

There was a carved wooden bear in one of the gift shops (Junque Joints?) that summarizes our trip to Alaska. Whaddya think?

We also saw another one of those T-shirts with an outline of Alaska and Texas on it. I think I posted a picture of this from our drive to Skagway. Here’s another for your viewing pleasure:

This started me thinking (Did you smell anything burning?) about the size of Alaska compared to the entire USA. Alaska is almost 2.5 times the size of Texas with a population of only about 700,000 (TX is approaching 30 million!) The two biggest cities in Alaska, Anchorage and Fairbanks, have about half of the state population. We were watching a video about AK the other day and it said (?) if Ketchikan was in the lower 48 state of Georgia, the end of the Aleutian Islands would be in California! To further bore you with information about this massive state, Alaska is larger than all but 18 sovereign nations! I’ve driven to and from every corner of TX and know about long distances. You can’t compare AK in the same way because most of Alaska has no or very few roads. The longer we’re here, the more amazed I am at this vast, wild land.


  1. So glad to hear there is plenty of wild, open space left in our world.


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