Adventure Caravans / tours by RV to Alaska and the Canadian Rockies in 2008
Adventure Caravans / tours by RV to Alaska and the Canadian Rockies in 2008
Day 42 - 43 in Palmer, AK
We woke to a beautiful day at the Diamond M Ranch. We were told the children of the owner would be selling coffee and sweet rolls in the double decker bus from 8:30 to 10:30 AM. So, wanting to support young entrepreneurs we went up and had a coffee and sweet roll breakfast. These are great kids and it was nice to help them make some money.
While we were having breakfast, Charlie, Loren and Larry were down at the beach enjoying the view and digging up razor clams; these are a local favorite. They filled their limit of 20 apiece and brought home 60 clams. Of course someone had to also clean 60 razor clams. Charlie and Loren are showing off their catch (or dig as the case may be).
On the way back they encountered this moose walking across the road. Susan and I got underway and stopped at a couple of spots along the road. However, at this last spot when we went to leave, the motohome would not start.
Our tailgunners, Spence and Madi Schaaf arrived shortly after that and we continued to diagnose the problem. I finally created a work-around by hot wiring the RV to get it started.

That worked fine for about 30 miles when the motorhome suddenly slowed down, so I pulled off the road thinking the wire had come loose and the engine had stopped. Unfortunately, the engine was running, but the Auto Park light was on which meant it was automatically applying the parking brake. After I realized this, I overpowered the parking brake to pull into a turnoff about 50 yards ahead. Since we did not have cell coverage, we drove about 2 miles north and found an emergency phone where we called a tow truck. It came from Anchorage so the motorhome was towed to Anchorage where we spent the night in front of the the towing company's building.

The picture on the left is the tow truck driver's feet sticking out from under the motorhome as he disconnects the drive shaft so the transmission does not turn. On the right, it is being towed out of the turnout at about 10:00 PM. He had to make a short stop to give a police report and then he continued to Anchorage, arriving about 12:15 AM.

Spence and Madi Schaaf stayed with us until they were sure we were being towed and on our way. They arrived at the Homestead RV Park in Palmer about 12:30 AM. Thanks again to both of them for all their help and support today.

Day 43 - Palmer, AK
This morning we woke up to the beautiful scenery in front of the towing company's impound lot. After numerous phone calls we found a company willing to work on it today. So it was hauled to Dean's Automotive and they started working on it about 10:00 AM. By 2:00 PM it was fixed and we were on our way. Gratefully the part they needed to replace was in stock in Anchorage.

We were not able to make it to Palmer for the city tour or for lunch. However our wagon masters, Phil and Sue Schaaf, were kind enough to buy two take-out lunches for us which they presented to us when we arrived about 3:00 PM

I received pictures of today's activities from Dave Wilson, Rocky McEwan Tom Wentling and Loren Mulkins. They all knew I wasn't there to take pictures, so they made sure I would have enough to put on the website for today.
Thanks very much gentlemen!

Palmer began in 1916 as a railway station on the Matanuska branch of the Alaska Railroad. In 1935, during the Great Depression, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal projects, established the Matanuska Colony. From Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, 203 families traveled by train and ship to reach the fledgling colony, arriving in the summer of 1935. Upon their arrival they were housed in a tent city during their first Alaskan summer. Each family drew lots for 40 acre tracts and their farming adventure began in earnest.

Each family had a standard house built for them as seen from the house and the plans above. Originally designed to be a log house, the logs in the area were too small, so it was redisigned as a frame house.

The failure rate was high, but many of their descendants still live in the area and there are still many operating farms in the Palmer area, including Vanderwheele and Wolverine farms. While the colonists had varying degrees of success with farming, Palmer is the only Alaskan Community that developed from an agricultural lifestyle.

The reason for all this generosity by the government at the time, was the government wanted to build a military base here and under the Alaska purchase agreement we purchased Alaska from Russia, we could not build a base unless there was an established colony first; so the US established a colony so they could build the base.

If you were a farmer, you also had a barn built for you. The barn on the left has had two additions since it was originally built.
The garden they had at the museum was fantastic. Look at the size of those... whatever they are. The piano in the Colony House Museum got a lot of attention as our piano playing members entertained others by playing a few tunes on it.
They also visited a musk ox farm. These musk ox were far more friendly than other farms we have visited. As can be evidenced by this one standing on the fence with it's front legs.
Here is one being fed by someone as Loren Mulkins looks on. I'm not sure what is going on in this picture taken by Rocky, but "Dancing to one's own tune" comes to mind.
A number of our members went up to Hatcher Pass this afternoon. As you an see the road is a long and windy one getting up here. But they were rewarded with wonderful views.
Tom Wentling photographed this little marmot as he was searching for food. This is the parking lot at the top with a thick band of snow in the background.
Tonight was the halibut fish fry we were all waiting for. On the left Phil Schaff is using two pots to deep fry the cut up halibet filets as Sue Schaff and Minnie Proctor prepare them for cooking.
Our soup course was a delicious clam chowder that Millie Proctor made from the razor clams the guys dug up yesterday. She is serving Rick Farquhar as Carol Hancock passes her another bowl. We had a wonderful room to serve the food and eat it. Again, we had more food than we could eat; thanks to all the excellent cooks in the caravan.
Days 44 - 46 in Valdez, AK

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