Friday, June 27, 2014

June 20th through June 27th, 2014

Firstly, the last week has been very interesting, fun, and somewhat miserable. We have not had very good internet until today so I will try to catch up.


We left Anchorage for Homer the morning of the 21st. Again very windy and pouring the entire trip down. The road was very narrow and rutted from the trucks leaving two rivers of water. But we made it.

We stayed and Bay Crest RV park on the bluff above Homer and the Homer Spit. After setting up camp, we went down to the Spit to arrange a Halibut fishing trip. The Spit is definitely old school Alaska. It is pretty much a fishing village with a few restaurants and gift shops. Even though that was where the action is, I am glad we camped up on the Bluff.

We decided on a 6 hour trip to fish. I am really glad we did since we limited out within just a couple of hours. Two fish for each of us.

When we got back to the Motor Home, we processed the fish and vacuum sealed them for the freezer. Thank goodness Chris brought along the vacuum sealer. We think the total weight must be around 30 pounds after fillet.

That is great eating fish.

On the 22nd we had hoped to take a float plane from Beluga Lake to tour some glaciers, but we were socked in with fog. So we decided to tour the Spit one more time and take a nature walk.


On the 24th we took our time getting back on the road to Seward as the trip was not going to be that difficult...or so we thought?

When we got around 5 miles from the Stoney Creek Campground, the engine light came on and the engine went immediately into "Limp Mode". I pulled over and shut it down and restarted thinking that might help, however, no go. We made the decision to finish going to the campground as we could not possibly drive up to Anchorage at 15 miles per hour at best.

We immediately began making calls to see if we could get someone to look at it in Seward. That was not going to happen, However, we were able to convince one mechanic to read the error codes. I called a few Chevy dealers in Anchorage & Wasilla. I found the Wasilla "Alaska Sales & Service" would be able to help us out.  The bad news...those codes meant there was no way the Motor Home could be driven to Anchorage or anywhere very far.

We tried to arrange a tow through the Good Sam Roadside Assistance Program. What a waste! They would not provide but a few miles of towing even though we had found the only dealer that would or could work on it. The advertising says unlimited towing. I guess that only applies if you are a few miles from where you need to be. They basically don't care if you have a warranty or not. This means they pay the tow to the nearest shop and you work out the repair bill. I bet ours is going to be thousands if not covered under the warranty.

The Alaska Sales & Service GMC dealership is 163 miles from the campground. We decided to call Geico our insurance company. They came through 100% and agreed to pay the tow all of the way. Thank goodness. Since we were already down at the campground we delayed the tow for two days giving us some time to see Seward, the Exit Glacier and take a Fjord tour.

We arranged a 6 hour Fjord tour for the next morning.

Getting up early, we decided to take the short hike to see the Exit Glacier. Pretty cool.

The Fjord tour was absolutely awesome. I have never seen so many whales, sea lions, otters, etc. in my life. It was worth every penny. To top the trip off, we went up to the Aialik Glacier. That thing was more than a mile wide. While there, several large pieces calved off. As we were leaving, this huge chunk calved off. It must have made a 10 foot wave.

As a highlight on our return to the dock, three humpback whales decided to do a 15 minute series of full water breaches. I have never seen anything like that in my life. That was a highlight.



On the 26th, (our anniversary), we got up early to make sure the tow truck was on its way. They said it left at 8:30am. This stressed me a little as I thought they would be loading us up by then.  Well that just kept building as he did not show up until 2PM. He showed up with a flat bed without any help. So he asked me to drive the Motor Home on while he guided me. There had to be less than one inch on the side of the tires. I thought I was going to melt down.

Well we made it up to the dealership right as they were closing. They (Wallace) was great and very reassuring. He got it up on the large vehicle lift and let us plug in so the fridge would stay cold. Thank goodness as I did not want to lose that Halibut.

We went out to dinner and got a hotel for the night....$200 for one night. Not as nice as a Motel 6. Yikes.

So, the next morning we get a call from Wallace. He said there was a hole in the turbo exchanger or something like that. The name did not matter as he told us it was covered under our warranty. Yahooooo! The bad news was that it would take 3 or 4 days to get the part from Reno, Nevada.

We decided to go out to breakfast then look for a cheaper hotel. After breakfast, Wallace calls us again and he suggests we "limp" across the street to Big Bear RV Park. What a guy. That was genius.

We hope to have the new part in by Monday or Tuesday.

Not such a bad outcome for something so serious.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 18 & June 19, 2014


The trip down from Denali was pretty miserable with pouring rain and high winds. However, we had perfect timing. When we were 5 miles from the Golden Nugget RV Park, the change oil light came on. I suspected that it would be somewhere around Anchorage or Homer.... Perfect!

We setup camp and of course went downtown to get a lay of the land. We found that downtown Anchorage is a little confusing as there are three one way streets in a row that all go the same direction. These are all right downtown near the visitors center and the Federal Courthouse. Interesting; the same building.

We had to show ID's and go through metal detectors in order to go into the visitors center. Kinda weird.

After that we had to go down to Wild West Guns where they film the Animal Planet Wild West Alaska. I did not know what to expect, but we decided to go in (Chris & I) as Heather stayed in the jeep because she was afraid to go in if they were filming.

Well guess what? They were getting ready for Season 3 and the film crew was there performing wardrobe preparations. We got to meet Hans and Ken of the cast. Chris had both of them sign the back of a tee shirt she purchased.

On June 19th, we got up early and changed the oil in the motor home. As usual, it is pretty easy as there is so much room under the chassis. Now for the weird stuff. Right across Debarr Rd. is an O'Reilly Auto Parts. We drove the jeep over to it and took the oil in to recycle and purchase another gallon of oil as the Motor Home takes 4 gallons and I wanted a little extra. Well, they informed me they do not recycle oil and no one else does in town. I really could not believe it as everyone in the lower 48 does. But, they were correct. The only way to recycle used motor oil in Anchorage is to take it to the land fill. So we got to visit the Anchorage Land Fill up near Eagle River. It was pretty easy, but not what I expected.

Anchorage Land fill
After that adventure, we packed up the jeep and when down to the Portage Glacier. We drove the Seward Highway along Turnagain Bay to the Portage Highway seeing the Kenai Peninsula on our right. Wow it that a beautiful drive.

In order to "really" see the Glacier, you either take a boat or go through the 2 mile train tunnel to Whittier.

Youtube video of Whittier Tunnel

Once in Whittier, there is a straight up hike (700 feet in under 2 miles) to the Portage Pass. Wow Again!! Not only was the drive through a train tunnel cool, but the Glacier is absolutely awesome.