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Halverson Happenings

We are Ken and Alice Halverson from Minnesota. We have been married for 43 years and are retired. We are traveling in a 20 foot travel trailer. We plan to travel around 7,000 miles going from Minnesota through North Dakota and crossing into Canada via Calgary, Alberta, driving through Hinton and up to Dawson Creek AB. We plan to go to Watson Lake BC, Whitehorse YT, Tok AK then on to Fairbanks, Denali National Park, Anchorage, Seward, Kenai for some halibut fishing, Homer, Wasilla, Glennallen, Valdez and then return home.

Click on the points on the map to see what we did at each location.

Jul 10, 2013

Halverson Happening for today: Alice survived Alberta's Rocky Mountain Route!! This trip up the mountain is not for the faint of heart. But we wanted to stop at Banff and Lake Louise. The only way is to go through Banff National Park and you have to pay the park entrance fee which was $19.80 for the two of us. We arrived at Banff early in the day so we did not stay long. It is a lovely town, however, but we drove on to Lake Louise. We got off the exit at Lake Louise and drove up the mountain pass to a spectacular view of the lake which is very green (aqua) in color. Lots of people canoeing and lots and lots of people from all over the world. We spent some time in Lake Louise and then Alice took a deep breath and went up the mountain via highway 93. To Alice's dismay about half way up the mountain right on top of a very, very high mountain there was road contraction and there was only one lane of traffic. We had to wait 93 seconds at the stop light but it seemed like ten minutes. Said a quick prayer and on we went. Ken had filled up our tank with octane gas before starting the drive up which was a great idea as for some reason we got great gas mileage!! Who would have thought!! We saw some big horn sheep and a small black bear on the way up. Finally arrived in Jasper and the mountain traveling for today was done!! Jasper is a great little town for shopping, etc. It was a great way to wind down after a stressful day!! Drove to Hinton on Highway 16 and stayed at the Hinton KOA. It is a treeless campsite, but okay for the one night. Staff was very helpful.

Jul 15, 2013

Started driving and then just had to stop at North Pole AK which is only 12 miles from Fairbanks. This is Santa's house and has lots of Christmas things for all ages. Sometimes the reindeer are there, but we didn't see them today. This is where thousands of children write to Santa each year. It was a fun place to stop. The street lights in town are painted to look like candy canes. Fun, fun!!
Then on to Fairbanks and set up camp at River's Edge Resort. It is at the end of town, but close to Discovery Tours where we had reservations for a 2 o'clock paddle boat river cruise. The cruise is three hours and was very well narrated. As part of the cruise you get to see the cabin and the dogs of the late Susan Butcher. She was the only woman to win the Iditarod Sled Dog Race four times. She died of cancer a few years ago but her husband continues to train dogs. The tour guide talked with him via radio and we were able to watch them harness a team of ten dogs and then they took off pulling a four wheeler through the yards. They can go really fast--about 20 miles per hour. We were able to watch the dogs for about ten minutes. See the attached picture which shows the cabin and the dogs and their kennels. We traveled on and then the next stop was to learn about the Athabascan native tribes. We disembarked the boat and had a one hour guided tour led by native young women who talked about what their ancestors had to endure to live in this harsh climate. It is a great tour and we would recommend it to anyone going to Fairbanks.

Jul 19, 2013

Anchorage is awesome!! We started out about 9:00 a.m. and walked about two blocks to the bus stop and bought day passes for only $3.00 because anyone over 60 gets a reduced rate. It was about a 25 minute ride to downtown. After walking around through downtown we stopped at Town Square Park. There are hundred of different kinds of flowers throughout that are absolutely gorgeous!!! They have so many hours of daylight that their flowers just grow huge. We then found our way to the Coastal Trail that follows Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet. The tide was out so it is mud flats. As we were walking we met three Anchorage policemen on bicycle patrol. They were very friendly and talked with us so we asked when the tide came in and they said around 5:25. We walked about three miles along the Coastal Trail and it is so serene and beautiful!! After our long walk, we worked up an appetite so we walked around until we came to a quaint little pizza place called Uncle Joe's Pizzeria. The pizza was very good, and the service was great. The manager came out to each of the customers and said hello. He recognized Ken's Cabela's cap from Minnesota. We would recommend Uncle Joe's Pizzeria if you are in Anchorage. After lunch we headed to Ulu Factory that makes Alaskan knives, since behind the factory is Ship Creek where the salmon run. There were lots of people standing in the water fly fishing for salmon. We watched for about one hour and saw people catching salmon. It was cool! We stood on the bridge that crosses the creek, and you can see the salmon as they pass by. After we got done watching the salmon fishing we had some homemade Alaskan ice cream in front of Ulu Factory. I had Fireweed Blueberry and Ken had Denali vanilla. Great!! Next we hopped on the free trolley and headed back downtown for more shopping and walking around. At 5:00 p.m. in Town Square they have free concerts in the park. We listed for about 10 minutes and then headed to Elderberry Park to watch the tide come in. Got there and saw the tide roll in and then headed to the bus stop for a return trip home. Got home about 7:00 p.m. A very interesting and fun day.

Jul 23, 2013

Left Seward and headed toward Soldotna. Stopped along the Kenai River and watched lots of kids, men, women all salmon fishing along the river. The salmon fishing has been great according to the locals. After watching them for a few hours, we drove down to Ninilchik and will be staying at the Angler Resort so Ken can go halibut fishing tomorrow. After setting up our camp site we walked about 1 1/2 miles to a historic Russian Orthodox church and talked with an elderly Russian woman who happened to be vacuuming the church which is still in use today but only a few members. She told us Ninilchik started out as a Russian retirement community where the men who had married local women and had families wanted to remain because they could go back to Russia, but their families were not welcome. So that's how it got started way back in the 1800's. After a great visit with her, we started walking and saw a sign for boat harbor so we walked on and came to the harbor where commercial fishermen park their boats after a day's catch. When we first got to the beach, there were lots of boats out on the river, but around 3:30 all the boats come in to the harbor at about the same time. What a madhouse! It was great fun to watch them all scramble to find a spot to park the boat. They don't have docks, just hook up to each other. Then they unload their catch (salmon)and pack them in coolers and head home. It was a great time watching them. Then headed back to camper about five miles from when we left but a great way to see Ninilchik.

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