We got to Anchorage on Wednesday and started looking for a place to stay for a few days. We tend to
use “Mileposts”, a reference book, for all our decisions on where to go and what to see. The first place we
looked for was right in the center of town. Great location. Until we saw it. All the trailers and RVs were
jammed up against one another, with laundry draped over any horizontal surface. It looked like a place for
poor itinerants to stay. So we left. The next spot, right off a busy four-laner, was named Creekwood Inn
and RV Park. The whole was surrounded by trees and had a number of spots available. This turned out to
be a very accommodating spot. It’s name comes from the creek that runs along the property. As a matter
of fact, there is a chain link fence with a gate for those who which to walk down the somewhat slimey,
wooden stairs to the path along the creek. But we needed to be careful because the path was narrow
and the creek was swift.
We noticed that ever since we got the tires rotated in Fairbanks (plus oil change and overall review of the
undercarriage of the Suburban) the trailer had not been driving smoothly. So we went to American Tire
Wholesale to get it looked at. It turns out that, industry-wide, trailers are somewhat underbuilt. Axles are
rated at 3500lbs each. Two axles, 7000 lbs. But the chassis is 7500 lbs, before you fill the tanks and put
in supplies. So the axles are carrying 1000 lbs too much. This is considered a minor problem for those
who drive on smooth roads, like four laners. We haven’t seen much like that the past few thousand miles.
Building a hybrid axle takes weeks. So all we can do is be careful!
On our Thursday haunts, we have visited the biggest used bookstore in Alaska, Title Wave, where I found
a few books I just had to have. All that book hunting made us hungry. So we spoted a place across the
street named Pizza Olympia. So we decided to try Alaskan pizza. The minute we walked in, we realized
this was no ordinary pizza place. The decor and music was definitely Greek. Ah! Yes! The Olympia part!
An elderly woman came up to us and took us to our table. We were the only ones there! She introduced
herself as Athena, shook hands, asked our names, where we were from. All in a distinctive Greek accent.
She left us for a while as we perused the menu: Dolomata (stuffed grape leaves) and other wonderful
items made me forget the pizza. We ended up with dolomata, a giant cold sandwich of thinly cut beef in a
thick version of pita with cucumber-yogurt dressing. And a gigantic calzone for Dear Hubby. We could
only eat half! So we waddled out with our take-out boxes and stored them for another day.
We saw the cathedral on Friday. Dear Hubby asked me, is this where the bishop stays? Yes, I
responded. But it is so small! he answered back. Yup. Big mountains, small buildings. Anyhow, we went to
the gift shop, where more books were purchased, this time by Dear Hubby. I wanted a little history lesson,
so we drove out to the bay where we could take pictures of Anchorage from across the water, and read
about the earthquake of 1964, which did so much damage. Anchorage was torn up, but only 4 people
died. Other places, like Valdez, the harbors disintegrated. Where we were standing, the houses
disintegrated, the land was torn out from underneath people and the landscape changed. Today, no
houses are build there because of the instability of the land. This is a continuing saga in Alaska, that the
land is unstable. Roads heave easily, walking in places is odd since the ground gives. Coming back to Anchorage, we
We discovered that ice cream shops are not all that frequent in Alaska. We had to look for one. I wanted
to find the one I read about that had a flavor: pecan Palin. We ended up at Baskin Robbins instead.
Jamocha almond fudge is good, too!
We also learned facts about Alaska: The state capital of Juneau is the only capital in the 50 states that
can not be accessed by car. That whole area needs ferry service to get around. And…the state of Alaska
is as big as all of the midwest!
Saturday morning we were up and at it again, on our way to Tok, where we planned to spend the night.
Tok is the only way in or out of Alaska. So, everyone has to go down to, or up to, Tok to get out. It was
about a six hour drive, if all went well. We were out of Anchorage at 9. Including stops, we figured 5pm we
would be there. We took our time, stopping on the side of the road to cook bratwurst for lunch, and
stopping for photos every so often. About 4pm, there was a big bang followed by metal hitting metal.
Hubby pulled into a convenient turnout (numerous out here) where we stopped. The drive train was
dragging on the road. A number of phone calls to OnStar and AAA made our afternoon flustered, since
they all wanted us to get towed to Fairbanks or back to Anchorage, but a 300 mile tow is expensive and
frustrating. We finally found a tow truck in Tok. The man said he would come get us, 65 miles away. Less
than an hour later, a young man with a king cab truck hauling a flat bed trailer pulled up. Boy that was
quick! He said he thought we needed help. He had two little boys with him. While I plied them with cookies
and chips, he and Hubby figured out the problem, took the drive shaft off and examined it and
contemplated the solutions. An older man came along, offered us a safe place to park the trailer.
So, being able to drive the Suburban in 4WDlow at 20-25mph, we took the older man’s suggestion and
drove the two miles to a hunting camp. This is the epitome of Alaskan hunting camps. It was on a lake,
airplanes buzzing in and out returning weary men, hunters coming in for the night after bagging a moose,
to relax while someone dressed the animal. A downed moose is worth 300-400lbs for the freezer. The
manager of the camp, a 60ish woman who could probably hold her own with any of the men, buzzed
around on an ATV, shouting orders. She was very accommodating and found us a place to park the thing
for the night. Finally able to get the truck up on the flatbed, we realized it was a few inches too short, so
the young man proceeded to take apart the front guard rail to get it safely on. A few of the hunters had to
drop what they were doing to push the truck up the last few feet. Finally the truck was up in place on top
of this trailer and the young man got out the chains to latch it. That’s when the OnStar phone rang and
the man on the other end said he couldn’t find us. It turns out the young man was not the tow truck driver
we ordered, but just a Christian man who thought he should help! I am glad he didn’t have to go all the
way into Tok with those two little boys! But he was willing to! Hubby offered the young man money, which
he was unwilling to take, but he was persuaded to take a lower amount! We never got his name, but I
hope the father of Arthur and his brother will know we thank him!
We drove in the crowded old, well beat cab with the tow truck driver, Kenny James. He was a talkative old
man who knows a lot about Alaska, having lived here since age 8. We talked mostly about his childhood
and moose hunting. It made the hour plus go by quickly. He drove us up to the first motel in Tok and we
were able to get a room. Then he promised to go back and get the trailer in the morning, because, by
now it was 8pm. Those sandwiches from Pizza Olympia sure hit the spot for dinner!