We got about 2/3 of the way towards Anchorage and realized it was a bit too much to continue. So we stopped at an RV park which was really bare ones. No TV or sewer. But, like I have said, being self contained, we don’t really care for just one night.

On Tuesday morning we woke in Trader Creek, Alaska. It was our one month anniversary. We are doing well. I think it will work just fine. The trip odometer read 5806. A lot of time in the truck together. We set out again on the Parks Highway, going south, for the first time.

The Parks Highway runs through Denali National Park and Denali State Park. In the park is the highest mountain in North America, Mt. McKinley. Going south out of the parks, the indications of civilization increase. Towns are closer together, buildings are more substantial. The Iditarod is big business in this area. It is a four season business, too. There are places to meet the dogs, play with the dogs, even sign up to go as a guest on the Iditarod in late February!

Although the official start of the Iditarod is in Anchorage, the unofficial start is the next day in the tiny village of Willow. And, as if to accent this fact, we were driving just outside Willow and spotted a musher on the bike trail along the side of the road, training his dogs by having the team pull an ATV with two people on board.  What a sight!

Going through the up and coming city of Wasilla was a thrill, mostly because it is the home of Sarah Palin. Wasilla may be known for some odd things, besides her: it’s Walmart is the largest in the state. And, according to Anchorage News, this particular Walmart has sold more duct tape than any other Walmart in the world. Wonder what that means for construction.

One of the most fascinating parts of the trip, so far, is a visit we made to Klutna National Park. Half a mile off Parks Highway is another world. There is a small Russian Orthodox church, St Nicholas, in an Athabascan (native Indian) village. Why? How? My sense of history was too hazy to remember. Russia owned Alaska for a few hundred years. By the late 1700s, Russian Orthodox missionaries had come to this area and began to teach the Athabascans, and other natives, that Christianity was the culmination of the pagan beliefs. The teaching of the Russian Orthodox faith is that all is part of God’s plan and must be incorporated into the life of the believers. So, these brave missionaries used the Athabascans’ lifestyle to help them incorporate Christianity into their own lives.

Ah, I digress once more.  Anyhow, we spent almost an hour talking to the young lady who was manning the information desk. She showed us the beautiful little chapel, the old chapel which is over 150 years old.

I decided to make myself a Rosary with souvenirs from the trip. I had bought blue agate and lapis beads from Fairbanks. Then I found a small crucifix at the gift shop here. I will put it together this week. It will be a beautiful work, however, I better never lose it!