August 22nd & 23rd...one more day...HOME!
Aug 22, 2008
|August 22nd…Friday. We were able to get a early start on the days’ drive; 9:30 a.m., which is early for us! We entered into the state of Minnesota a few minutes after getting onto I-90 east. Our GPS read 820 or so miles left of our journey. The scenery began to change, drastically. Corn began to grow everywhere. Milking cows were abundant. The dry grass of South Dakota’s landscape changed to green tree covered hills with large diary farms. Dark blue and silver silos were popping up everywhere. It reminded Bob & I of certain areas in Michigan.
Our goal was to make Saturdays’ drive fairly reasonable in length. My mother had called early in the day to inform us that a turkey dinner would be waiting for us when we arrived home, Saturday. I recall glancing at the GPS during the conversation; we were at 792 miles to Grayling. I stated the mileage to her; at that point she asked if we could make please it all in one day! My 83 year old mother misses us dearly, and visa versa.
45 miles after crossing into Wisconsin, we exited off the interstate, and were now traveling upon a two lane state highway. Folks say that if you want to really see the country, “get off the interstate”! We found that statement to be very true this past trip.
This part of Wisconsin offers similar scenery to northern Michigan. Many inland lakes, green landscapes dotted with pine trees, and Lake Michigan. I was anxious to see the big lake. I looked forward to the drive from Menominee to Mackinaw, along US 2. I expressed to Bob that I’d like to stop and swim in Lake Michigan, to feel the sand, and even the cold waters of this beautiful deep blue body of water.
Instead of spending our last night of our trip at a typical off the highway campground, we found yet another casino in Green Bay to camp at. No power, no water, no wi-fi, no cable in the parking lot site…but, it offered a very nice dinner buffet, video poker and slots! YEAH!
August 23rd…Saturday. 340 miles left. The morning was bright with blue skies; the coach was hot and humid since we didn’t start the generator last night for air conditioning. By the way, we lost!
An earlier start yet for our last days drive. We hit the road at 9:22 and headed north on Route 41 from Green Bay, for our last trek of this great trip.
Temps were slightly cooler since we had some needed rain during the night.
Menominee, was our port of entry back into Michigan! Lake Michigan looked great as ever, as we traveled up the coast on MI 35 towards Escanaba.
I began to wonder of how many different RV parks and casino parking lots we had to the opportunity to stay in. Three casino parking lots, and thirty-two variety of campgrounds that offered anything from gravel with overgrown weeds and parked dirty & rusty semi trucks, to campgrounds that offered outstanding views of aged old glaciers, the Pacific Ocean, the Inside Passage, Cook Inlet, the Chugach & Kenai Mountains, the Alaskan Range, the Canadian & US Rockies, and much more. From campgrounds that offered moose, bears and mother-to-be elks, to campgrounds adjacent to rivers of white water rapids and glaciers waters. From camping in the “city limits” to camping on mountainsides, valleys and gulch’s and where you couldn’t hear a car, a truck or any other noise or sound. From camping on the longest day of the year with over 19 hours of sunlight, and in terrible thunder storms through much of Canada, to camping in 50 mile an hour winds on the Homer Spit.
We enjoyed so much, did so much, learned so much, and encountered so much! We filled almost everyday of our trip from Halibut fishing in the ocean, to salmon fishing the rivers; from rafting in the white waters, to flight-seeing over the “great one“. From rugged jeep trekking on Stampede Road, to mountain climbing on Mt. Jasper. From kayaking next to the icebergs at Mendenhall Glacier, hiking, swimming and soaking in natural hot springs in the woods with the black bears. Of course their was an plenty of sightseeing, and trinket shopping, and way too much eating!
We enjoyed campfires, bike rides, disc golf and frisbee, and a lot of rainy day cribbage games. We watched the natural habits of the sea otters and sea lions, the whales, the grizzly and black bears, the elk, moose and baby moose, antelope, caribou, stone sheep and Big Horn sheep, mule and white tailed deer. We viewed many, many eagles, some with their young and a few ptarmigans, along the way; Alaska’s state bird. We talked with Eskimos, and native Indians, travelers, gold miners, commercial fisherman and local sour-dough folks (a person living in Alaska at least one year). We rode on jet boats, state ferries and in old school buses. We were drenched by all the rain, and splashed by the ocean salt waters. We soaked up the sun on the mountain tops, and at the campground pools in the valley. We contributed to filling the hard drive of the computer with over 7,500 digital photos and placed over 850 of them on the journal! We drove the Alfa to the most westerly point on the North American continent accessible by a continuous road system; the town of Anchor Point, just north of Homer, Alaska. I even got to sit on Santa’s lap, while Mrs. Claus crocheted close by, during our visit to the North Pole!
As we near closer to home, driving along Rt. 2 and the shore of Lake Michigan, I sit here typing the end of our journal and reminiscing. The past 81 days has been a wonderful once in a life time trip, one that my husband Bob had dreamed of for a long time! We’ll stop soon for a swim in the lake, and continue on towards home. Once again the Mackinaw Bridge will appear in the distance and we’ll soon find ourselves in the lower peninsular of Michigan. Tomorrow, our great and wonderful lives will resume to our normal day activities, and that’s ok. For Bob, Rob, Jacob, Larry, Darlene and I, will forever talk about, laugh about, and share the memories of this incredible Bonkoski Alaskan Journey, 2008!
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