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We left Savage River Campground to dump and fill our tanks. While we loved our short stay at Savage River and wanted to spend more time there, our next campground would really take us into the park.
Teklanika (tek-la-NEE-ka) River Campground, called “Tek”, is a special campground with a set of unique privileges and restrictions unlike any other campground I’ve ever experienced. This is because it is the only campground in Denali past mile 15 that you can drive to. (There are tent-only campgrounds past mile 15, but you must ride a park bus to them.)
By morning, our beautiful views of Denali had disappeared into clouds and light rain as we left Talkeetna. The Parks Highway up to Denali National Park has several viewpoints for seeing the mountain when it is inclined to show itself, but there were absolutely no views today. Visibility was so bad we did not even consider stopping to look.
We arrived at Denali National Park after about 2½ hours, and after our obligatory picture at the entrance sign, we followed the signs to check in to our campgrounds at Riley Creek Mercantile. (A concessionaire runs all the campgrounds, stores and bus services, so you go through them for almost everything in the park.)
We have reservations in Denali National Park for August 1st. These were the only reservations that we had made in advance for this trip. We’ll be staying in the park for a week without services. So we needed to do a little planning to ensure a good time.
Our first stop would be in Anchorage to do a little more grocery shopping at Costco. After that we headed for Talkeetna Camper Park for two nights. This would bring us at a nice distance from Denali without driving too much and give us a last minute chance to get laundry done, waste tanks emptied and fresh water filled. And I wanted a little time to check out the town and search for a possible “Denali” view.
After a lovely and restful weekend at Crescent Creek campground, we got back onto the Sterling Highway. We connected to the Seward Highway and traveled north to Whittier / Portage Glacier Access Road, then headed to the Williwaw USFS campground.
What a beautiful campground! This campground has spectacular views of several glaciers and lots of fantastic trails to walk. There is even a fish viewing platform for viewing spawning sockeye, chum, and pink salmon.
We continued along the Sterling Highway with hopes to get a site in the Quartz Creek USFS campground along Kenai Lake near Coopers Landing, a very popular area. It was a Friday early afternoon when we arrived. We circled the beautiful campground but all the sites were already either reserved or occupied. No surprise since it is fishing season and tourists and locals were all out in the area fishing. After circling the campground, I also didn’t notice any sites on the water as I had expected. So not a huge loss to me to move on.
After we left Homer there were two things I really wanted to do. One was to drive to the end of the most westerly road in North America. The other was to watch the tractor launch / retrieval of the fishing boats in the Inlet.
We headed to Anchor Point and took the Old Sterling Highway to the Anchor Point Beach Road that in turn took us to the the end of the road of the most westerly highway point in North America. It was just one of those “we’re close, so you’ve gotta do it” things. And a bonus was that at the end of the road was one of the tractor boat launch/retrieval operations.
We had heard mixed reviews about Homer before we ever got there. Some people absolutely loved it and some people told us not to waste our time. On that note, we had to go and see it for ourselves.
We had stayed at a beautiful RV park over the weekend which set us up great to arrive on the Homer Spit mid morning. Laundry was done, and we were ready to spend some time dry camping on the beach in one of the city campgrounds. We heard that Mariner Park was nice and it was close to town for us to walk into. So we drove and got there about 11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. I almost thought that we were in the wrong place because it was so deserted. We had a great choice of spots and moved in. By the end of the day, the campground was full once again and getting front row spots on the beach for the remainder of our time was more difficult.
After two nights on Kenai Lake, it was time to get closer to Homer. We had made reservations for the weekend at Scenic View RV Park near Ninilchik, which would make for a short drive on Sunday to snag another first-come, first-served campsite on the water.
Oma got a wonderful Mocha coffee at a tiny coffee express after Moose Pass, and then we headed down the Sterling Highway. There were tons of fisherman all along the way in/on the Kenai River.
We left Seward and our great campsite on a bright sunny morning knowing that we needed to top off the groceries, fuel, and propane tank. And then we noticed that our motorhome steps would not retract. Well, you can’t drive like that.
Our steps had been a little flakey before, although the issue had been that they would not extend when we opened the door sometimes. Opa had tightened and adjusted some electrical connections which eventually seemed to at least temporarily resolve the issue. But having the steps not retract was a bigger problem.