Waking up in Cantwell was a little chilly. We tested out the heat pump and covered up the dog. At one point, we must have disturbed him.
Breakfast, shower, sweep the rig, fill with fresh water and dump the dirty stuff… back north to Denali! It was a cloudy rainy day, but in Alaska, wait a half hour and it will change.
We stopped at McKinley Creekside Cafe for breakfast. So fantastic! “Alaska” sized cinnamon rolls, massive caramel nut rolls, strawberry-rhubarb coffee cake, carrot cake muffins… and the espresso… so much yum!! (We are not talking about any food or diet restrictions. Shhhhhh…)
While Sarah paid for the 25 lbs of baked goods we picked up, I went out to the van to walk Iggy. A friendly woman approached me and started asking about the RV, as she was interested in getting one and was curious about our model and how we live in it. I invited her in just before Sarah came out with the food.
It is crazy how chance encounters work out. We ended up chatting for about an hour about experiences and life, and we ended up exchanging phone numbers. How easy is it to make friends in an hour? As long as you meet the right people, pretty easy!
It turns out she had many.. many… many roles in and around Denali, including as a cultural anthropologist and park historian. , and had written a “picture” book about this history of the park. She was adamant about getting us a copy so we could be ready for the park tour, so she asked us to meet her up the road so she could run home to pick up a copy. True to her word, she showed up at the turnout about 15 minutes later with book in hand. We chatted a bit more, and she went on her way. This would not be the last time we met up with this wonderful woman! (I really want to gush and how great she is, but will refrain at this point).
Here is where I plug the book, because it’s a cool reference with a lot of information in perfect format for the ride through the park. If you want some great history about the park, BUY IT AND READ IT!!!
(Jane let us know if we got anything wrong!)
After that uplifting experience, we headed to Denali and our campsite.
We had reserved two nights at Riley Creek, just at the entrance to the park, so we drove around and found a spot that suited us. Here is a glimpse of the skies at our site – 30 minutes condensed to 10 seconds.
We took a walk to the visitor center with the dog since we could all use a little exercise – especially after the bakery incident earlier. As is custom, the skies changed from partly cloudy, to a sprinkle, to a down pour – half way into our walk. Iggy was not amused. But we found a break and kept on. On our walk back the rain finally subsided a bit, and Iggy got a ride.
Early night, as tomorrow we take an 11 hour bus ride into Denali!!!