Part 1 of this recap is here.
Surprisingly, the locals snubbed their noses at us visiting Fairbanks, but we spent a week there and enjoyed the town. It was very touristy, but we enjoyed the well done Discovery Riverboat Trip on the Chena River.
The folks in Fairbanks are a hardy bunch, sharing tales of surviving -60 degrees below Fahrenheit temps during the winter months. The common local advice is to get out and be active in spite of the weather. Sorry, it would be just too cold and dark for me.
One thing that Alaskans will tell you is to be sure to visit the Kenai Peninsula. This is great advice and one of the places you will want to visit. Probably the top two places are Seward and Homer which are located on opposite sides of the peninsula. They are very different locations and both have their own appeal. Both towns are on the coast and are are subject to rainy weather, especially Seward. Because of this, there are also copious amounts of winter snow in the surrounding mountains.
One of the highlights of Seward in the Kenai Peninsula is the ranger-led Major Marine Boat Tour to the Kenai Fjords National Park. It turned out to be our only rain-free day while we were in Seward, but the glorious trip made up for the other wet days. We had both of our girls visiting with us that week and that was wonderful.
In Homer, on the western edge of the Peninsula, we caught up with our new friends, Mark and Judie of Cagefree, and enjoyed sampling the local halibut tacos together. That make it worth the trip! We took the ferry to Seldovia and enjoyed a short hike there, plus the experience of being in a small Alaskan community that is not accessible by road.
Before we left the Peninsula we went to watch the Alaskans do some dip-netting during the prescribed time it is allowed for them. It was an experience just to see the hundreds of people in “fishing action.”
Our next stops were to some of the other coastal towns in Alaska that are accessible by vehicle. We enjoyed visiting Valdez, Skagway, and especially Haines. These are all small isolated towns that are great to visit. Haines is beautiful, not overrun with tourists, full of wildlife sightings, and friendly folks. The drive to Valdez is not to be missed as well and is perhaps one of the most scenic in Alaska. A return trip to Alaska would have to include Homer, Haines, Denali, and Seward.
On our return to the lower 48 we again traveled much the same way as we had before with one big exception. We took the Cassiar Highway which allowed us to visit Stewart/Hyder and enter the US in Washington. The only negative were the horrible wildfires that are prevalent especially in the later summer months.
We entered Washington state and immediately faced traffic and traffic lights. In spite of traveling hundreds of miles, had not seen a traffic signal in almost a month!
We had a difficult time finding a place to park near Anacortes, WA. When we finally did, we found out to our surprise that our friends Judie and Mark were headed our way. We enjoyed touring an area that numerous people in Washington had recommended to us.
After Washington state we headed to Portland to take a break for a while and visit our daughter. We ended up doing more repairs, one on the Silver Fox because a car hit us in Anacortes and the other replacing the built-in microwave at the Curtis Trailers RV dealership. We love visiting Portland and the weather this September was marvelous. In between projects, we did several things including visiting the Oregon coast. We visited the beautiful Lan Su Gardens in the city, plus we visited a chocolate factory and met Bob at his Red Mill facility. Our adventure activity for the month was parallel parking our one-ton dually on the downtown Portland streets!
We were delayed in getting the microwave fixed so we needed to make tracks to the East Coast for the winter. There was already a chill in the air so we quickly headed south and east. We did visit some of our favorites places along the way which included Moab, UT. Also, numerous RVers had recommended that we visit the “Hill Country” of Texas so we stayed several days there. We normally are piddlin’ around so this pace was challenging for us. Before we arrived in Florida, we had outrun a tropical storm that was coming through Texas and Louisiana. We purposely did not plan to stop around the Florida panhandle area due to the damage caused by Hurricane Michael. Even as I write this, there are news stories of the tremendous damage to the timber industries of that region.
We had put the little coastal town of Cedar Key, FL on our bucket list from the blog posts of Technomadia. We stayed at the Sunset Isle Campground for the month of November and enjoyed it immensely. We made several new friends including Wayne and Anna and Steve and Pat. Celia was able to paint outside many of the days that we were there so that was a definite plus.
It turned out that after we had made the decision to winter in Florida, our oldest daughter moved to Tampa. That was great as we were able to visit and have family time. This is the perfect time of year to visit as well. We do not have plans to remain in one Florida location for the winter but rather to visit several places and explore. After Cedar Key we parked at the Sumter Oaks Escapees campground in Bushnell, FL. The friendly folks there made us welcome at a peaceful location that has a tremendous canopy of oak trees adorned with Spanish moss.
Wow, what a busy and exciting year for us. We could not have imagined nor anticipated all the wonderful experiences we would have. Looking over some of our posts for 2018 I realize that you really do need to record your adventures as it is easy to forget many of the details. While the RV full timing lifestyle is not vacationing, we have truly had a great year.
Recently we parked the Bighorn for multiple weeks and are headed north in the Silver Fox to visit family and friends in the Carolinas and Virginia before returning to Florida in the New Year.
We wish you and yours a Happy New Year!