If there is a downside to oceanfront camping, it is the salt. It's in the air all the time and exacerbated by the wind and rain. It leaves a film on Scoopy, Toadie and our solar panels. When we camped in California on the Rincon Parkway, everyday Steven had to go on the roof to clean off the solar panels. At Deep Creek, he had to go uptop twice a day. Each time we would get in Toadie to go somewhere, we first had to clean off all the windows so we could see!
While it is a very small price to pay for the beauty and peace we experience, the question we constantly ask ourselves is, "how are we going to get all this off once we leave?" It's easy enough with Toadie, but Scoopy is another matter entirely.
I don't like high pressure washers at the car washes, they chip away at Scoopy's stripes. I prefer to wash and dry her by hand. It's a massive chore, to be sure, but it is best for Scoopy and she looks great when we're finished. By now we've done it enough times that we have the process down pat. The issue is finding a place that will allow us to do it. Lots of RV parks have washes, but again, those are high-pressure wands.
The Kenai Princess RV Park in Cooper Landing where we had camped when Zac was visiting allows RV washing right at your site, with your own hose, no extra charge. How cool is that? So we booked two nights, one of which we would spend bathing Scoopy and the other with Bill and Kelly, our last supper, so to speak. But before we got to that point, we wanted to spend a little time in Kenai City. We had laundry, shopping and a few other chores to get done, and that seemed to be as good a place as any. Plus we liked the vibe of the place.
I also wanted to visit with our new RVillage friend Mary Davidson, who is working at the hospital in Soldotna, just a few miles away. While Mary works in town, her husband Rollie works as a camphost just out of town at an Alaska State Park. Mary stays in town at her three-bedroom duplex and drives her rental car to work, all perks of her job. Though her job is temporary, they have asked her to stay and so Mary and Rollie will now put their rig in storage and spend the winter months on the Kenai Peninsula! Pretty cool gig, right?
During one of our excursions into Soldotna and Kenai City from our base at Deep Creek, we had checked out the Elks Lodges, both of which offer RV parking. The one in Soldotna was packed, but there were only two rigs at the Kenai Elks, one of which was the camphost and the other was empty. Perhaps its owners had taken an extended trip somewhere. We figured that was due to the lack of hook-ups in Kenai, but since we were prepared to boondock, it was fine for us.
So after 11 glorious days in Deep Creek, we moved north to Kenai City. When scouting the parking situation, we hadn't thought to look for hookups, we just assumed there were none, as stated in our Elks Lodge guidebook. To our surprise, the sites at the Kenai Elks Lodge have been upgraded to 30 amp electric and water! Better yet, the camphost said we could wash Scoopy right there!!! So we cancelled one of our two nights at the Kenai Princess and stayed four nights at the Kenai Elks Lodge. Scoopy got her wash-n-dry and we got a ton of chores done. Mary and I met for lunch, then I went along as she picked up her CSA share at one the local farms. She got a ton of great looking produce, which we then dropped off at her duplex before saying our goodbyes.
When we look back on our trip thus far, one of our favorite times was traveling north from Bellingham and on the Alcan with Bill and Kelly. We were all so excited, everything about traveling to Alaska was new and epic to us. It was so wonderful to share the experience with them, it's hard to imagine it could have been more perfect. And then we spent the 4th of July holiday with them in Seward. It was all really so enjoyable. So with our one night in Cooper Landing, we had a wonderful dinner and yakked for hours, then said our goodbyes. Sad! We're not sure where we will meet up with them again, but we know it will happen.
The following morning, we said goodbye to the Kenai Peninsula. What a glorious five weeks we spent there, and the time went all too quickly. Our next planned stop was to Stevens Glass in Wasilla to have Scoopy's new windshield installed, but we had three days to kill before that appointment. We thought we'd stay at the Eagle River State Campground, which really appealed to us, but it was full. So we ended up camping for three nights at the Fred Meyer parking lot instead!
I like how people always refer to store parking lots as "free" camping. LOL! It is anything but free! When Walmart or Fred Meyer is steps away from your rig, believe me, there is some shopping to be done! I haven't had any retail therapy for a long time, so a few trips through Fred Meyer helped scratch that itch!
The Fred Meyer parking lot in Eagle River is a nice one, and even though we had permission from the manager to park there, we were the only rig to overnight the entire three days we were there. It was even more surprising because the nearby Walmart doesn't allow overnight RV parking at all. I guess Eagle River isn't much of a stopover for travelers. In any case, we enjoyed our time and while there, we celebrated our second anniversary of fulltiming! We toasted our amazing travels with a bowl of chili in the Fred Meyer deli. It doesn't take much to make us happy. :)
The drive into Wasilla early in the morning for our 8:00 am appointment was just spectacular. After dropping Scoopy off, we went to have breakfast with the understanding they would call us when she was ready. Though we knew we would need to wait overnight before driving, we didn't anticipate that it would take what ended up being 8 hours to install the glass.
Scoopy's windshield is in two large sections and it was the glass on the driver's side that needed to be replaced. But we had also asked that they take a look at the passenger side pane as well, and what they found was shocking! (How's that for a clickbait headline?!) The passenger side windshield was completely dislodged and was just floating around. The owner of the glass company said it's a wonder it hadn't fallen into Steven's lap! So I guess all that duct tape really was helping after all! Who knew?
We overnighted in the parking lot of the glass installers, then hit the road early the next morning, destined for a quick stop in Glennallen to say hello to friends Tracy and Lee at Northern Nights RV Park where they are working for the summer. Then on we went to Tok, where we regrouped and prepared for yet another adventure, a sort of last hoorah in Alaska. It was great to see Tracy & Lee, even if just for a few minutes. Of course, we spent all our time yakking and forgot to take a selfie. We didn't get one with Bill and Kelly on our last night together, either. What's up with that?
We had no sooner arrived at the Chevron in Tok when Steven unhooked Toadie and promptly backed her right into a huge garbage burner. Ouch! She was also quite filthy from the drive. The road from Glennallen to Tok ranks right up there as one of the worst in Alaska, although it had improved somewhat from our first trip on it in May. The improvements are ongoing and include plopping down hot and gooey black tar mixed with pebbles to fill potholes. A good portion of that goo ended up on Toadie, so we had a bit of scrubbing to do.
For now, we have one more stop in Alaska and then we're out. It's sad to see our epic adventure coming to an end, but we've done and seen so much, and we have a lot to look forward to, so we're ready to go.
UP NEXT: Chicken & the Top of the World Highway - Do I really want to do this?