Alaska 2014

NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}.  Comments added AFTER coming back to San Jose are in [square brackets].

Report 36. Day 36. Mon, June 9. Anchorage to Tolsona Wilderness Campground. Reindeer Farm. Muskox Farm.

So we’re doing great stuff in our trailer here. Shirley sent email, her mind goes bonkers, she asks me how do you spell common mirrors, and I spell ‘mirrors’ and she laughs and says no it isn’t.  And I don’t know what she’s laughing at then she says, those black and white birds, those 'myerz,' and I say oh, murres, and she says yes, those. So I spell 'murres.' And she says what did you think i said, and I can't stop laughing.

We're on our way to JC Penney's now, to try and find an electric blanket since our old one has finally died. We pass through the clothing section, and Sharon says "I like this melon colored shirt," only then she says "melon collie", under her breath. Shirley comes up the escalator and looks at the store dummies and says, "Oh, you must be mannequin depressive."

No electric blankets. It seems they've gone out of season. The helpful lady offers that Christmas would have been a fine time to buy one. Thanks, Lady {They do have electric "throws" Bob doesn't want one because he wants a real electric blanket with dual controls but I buy one so that I can at least be warm on my side.}.

It's noon. We've got a full tank of gas, a half a pack of cigarettes and we’re 50 miles from Chicago. Wait, that was the Blues Brothers.

This morning, we're on our way to a musk ox farm, and Shirley just saw a funeral parlor right next to the Medi-Cal office and we agree that that's a keeper.

But a funny thing happens on the way to the musk ox farm. Sharon notices a sign pointing to the right saying Reindeer Farm 6.9 miles. How can we turn that down, and we're off on a side trip.

They give you food to feed the caribou with instructions not to touch their antlers in velvet because "they are very sensitive and it hurts them." Then how come this big male keeps bumping me with his antlers? They push you around a bit to get the food but recognize if you hold out an empty hand that you don't have anymore and they go after someone else.}

Is that a reindeer nose in my pocket?

"Whatcha got in there?" the reindeer asks Jerry. I'm the shooter and shootee in this picture.

Bob makes a friend of one of the caribou.

Feeding time, oh I don't know, any time the youngsters feel the urge.

They have elk also, and we move over to that pen, where there lives one male and all the rest harem females.

The farm is surrounded by gorgeous mountains, and there are clouds all over. Beautiful. This broken down windmill looks like a big dragonfly on a stalk.

I like the big hay rolls they use.

After taking in the reindeer farm, we have lunch, then we go into Palmer to get some beer for Jerry, and look into a quilt shop for Shirley. Ah, it's great to have a focus when you're travelling.

Jerry just got his beer in the Fred Meyer grocery store, and Shirley is in the quilt shop. We are about three miles from the musk ox farm. We take off for it, and make it there about 4 pm.

First a big stuffed one to admire, while we wait our turn.

I'm disappointed because we can't approach the fence to shoot through the squares. Our guide says the females will charge full force and smash the fence, defending their babies.

Here's little Pearl, and I figure out that I can go to the NEXT pen, and shoot back into the one I want to photograph, shooting over the gate, but there is no fence here in the next-door empty lot.

Pearl decides to lay down in the grass, and we move over to the males, who are docile and won't charge. So we stick our cameras right up to the fence openings. Good ol' boys.

One of our guide's favorites (Samson? Hmm, not quite right) comes ambling up a path that heads him right to us. They cut off the pointy tips of his horns so he can't hurt anybody or other oxen. Sharon gets in some feeding and petting.

Our guide's favorite likes to mouth her arm.

They have had 7 newborns this spring, the latest one being Pearl, who is cute a a button. We get video and photos and then we're off for our evening's destination - Tolsona Wilderness Campground. Wonderful with a stream wandering through it, terrible because of mosquitoes.

We see a sign that says we're five miles from the superbly named Chickaloon.

Six pm, and we are at the Matanuska Glacier now. Beautiful to see.

We pass another of the many moose signs, and somebody has painted 'Kill me' above the moose, and 'now' below. Pretty funny in a macabre sort of way because collisions with vehicles takes a huge number of moose per year, like a thousand or so.

6:20 and we are just crossing Jackass Creek. We continue on but can't find any sheep on Sheep Mountain. Then we cross Yellowjacket Creek.

Sharon offers that when we're in Canada and the distances are in kilometers, that it's like the distances are on sale. Because if it says 50 km, then it's 30 miles, and you feel like you got 40 percent off.

725pm, and Jerry is the first black bear spotter. We're kind of on a raised highway, and the bear was just coming up the embankment on our right. I slap on the brakes, and as we slow down, the bear turns back and heads into the woods where he just came from. As I back up, I can see that he has run away from us, parallel to the highway, and I see him lope across the road in the side mirror. A very cool jog. But no photos.

Ten minutes later, and we're at the stop where they have been making new pavement up ahead. This slows us down by only five minutes, and at a little before eight, we are checked in and parked in Tolsona Wilderness Campground. The mosquitoes are horrendous, but they don't stop the ravens from having their squawk-ument high up in the trees above us.

Sharon is sick with a cold. We have spaghetti, then a couple of rounds of three-handed Rummikub. Shirley wins, then Jerry and Shirley get into mosquito netting to walk down to the showers.

That's it for today, a pretty quiet day except for the reindeer and musk ox, but great photos.

Bob and Sharon

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