15 March 2015

Yukon and Alaska Bound, Part 32. Glennallen to Palmer - to Anchorage, Alaska



Glennallen to Palmer Alaska

Alaska, Drive From Glennallen to Palmer


Glennallen is at the Junction of Highway 4 ( Fairbanks to Valdez)  and Highway 1 (Glennallen to Anchorage), the Glenn Highway.
Northern Nights RV Park, Glennallen





We stayed at the Northern Nights RV Park, a typical highway stop-over..
Driving west on the Glenn Highway







On the morning out of town we passed the Tolsona  Wilderness Campground, that looked really good, right on Tolsona Creek.





The Glenn Highway climbs westbound. Ah, we are back on frost-heaved roads. The scenery is beautiful. This area is the Ahtna Country, private native lands.

Eureka Summit

Eureka Summit, elevation 3.322 ft. or about 1012 m, is the highest point on the Glenn Highway. There is a great turn-out with wonderful views to to Chugach Mountains.

There are also interesting information panels about the Gold Rush of 1898. Captain Edwin F. Glenn ( hence Glenn Highway ) had orders to find the best suitable route from Prince William Sound through Cook Inlet to the Tanana River.

This part of our journey was jam-packed with ever changing vistas. Just before Glacier Point this oddly formed rocky dome mountain was straight ahead of us.


We stopped at the Matanuska Glacier access, but decided that the entrance fee was too high to go and look at the glacier closer up. Even from the road it looked huge.

Matanuska Glacier

The Matanuska Glacier starts in the Chugach Mountains. It is currently about 27 miles ( 43 km )long and up to 4 miles ( 6.5 km ) wide.

We enjoyed the drive along the glacier and later the Matanuska River with views to King Mountain.

At the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer we relaxed and had lunch at the pic-nick tables. Then we were ready to see the big beasts. These Musk Ox are farmed for their fine under-wool, the Qiviut. The Qiviut wool is way warmer (9 times warmer) than sheeps wool and ever so soft and cuddly. Hard to believe it comes from these fierce looking beasts.

Musk Ox
We took a tour and visited the young and baby animals. Annemarie had lots of fun feeding them grass.
Annemarie feeding the Young Musk Ox
Musk Ox Farm














We settled down at the Mountain View RV Park. We were not impressed. But after a good supper and some wine we were fine.

The Palmer and Wasilla area is called the Mat-Su Valley. The Athabascan Indians lived here until George Palmer opened a trading post in 1890.

Mat-Su Valley

In 1935 Palmer became the site of a US Federal New Deal created by Franklin Roosevelt. The plan was to create an agricultural area by relocating farm families from Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. These dirt poor families, many of Scandinavian descent, were moved here to the north. Many did not stay, but some stayed. Today, Palmer is the only Alaska area which is manly agricultural.

This morning, July 25th 2014 was Farmer's Market in Palmer, famous for their giant vegetables. The growing season here is only about 115 days, just over 3 months. But with the extended daylight during the summer, these area farmer grow amazingly huge vegetables. The market showcased not just vegetables, but baked goods and handicrafts of all kinds of the Mat-Su Valley. Nice event - nice people.


Lisbeth, Hansuli and I visited the showcase gardens next door to the Palmer Visitor Center. All kinds of beautiful flowers welcome us. Even in the rain it was well worth the visit.

After picking up some more Diesel additives, we were on the road toward Anchorage. All of a sudden we were on a freeway chuck full of cars. After days of leisurely driving, we had to sit up and pay attention to the traffic and less to the vistas. Specially on that day, it was raining.

Just before Anchorage we passed an accident scene. The first and only one on our entire trip.

We checked into the Golden Nugget RV Park on 4100 Debarr Road. It is huge, and a typical city park. Some nice sites, but also some not so nice permanent tenants.
Rainy Anchorage, Alaska

After setting up the campers, we drove downtown Anchorage. Unfortunately it was raining. Typical tourists, we were disappointed. We walked in and out of tourist shops, bought a few souvenirs, and walked down to overlook the huge harbour area.

Shopping in Anchorage

Some of us went to see "Aurora", Alaska's Great Northern Light video at the Sydney Laurence Theatre. Very nice show, especially, because in the summer is not the time to see the Aurora on the night skies ( it is too bright out).

Annemarie and Christian invited us for supper. All good places downtown were booked out for the night. We ended up at Jen's Place on 36th and Arctic. The food and service were excellent. We all had a good time. That was a great finish to an interesting day.

More pictures from this trip on line.


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