Funky Talkeetna

talkeetna 12After our fabulous time in Homer, we prepared to drive towards Denali National Park & Preserve.  The plan was to resupply in Anchorage and then spend a day in funky Talkeetna along the way. But we almost did not get going as planned, because I had a horrible night with what I believe must have been food poisoning. Hector and I both ate pork chops, and he did not get sick, so I am not sure what did me in.

Stomach-PainIn any case, I was exhausted by morning, not having slept much. But we decided that I would sleep and Hector would get everything ready and drive to Anchorage. It was the first time that I did not help with setting up for a travel day and I felt terrible about it. But I had stowed a lot of the inside stuff the previous night so it was not too bad for Hector.

So, indeed, I slept while Hector drove. By the late afternoon, I was feeling much better and was able to help out with a couple of chores in Anchorage. We dry camped at Cabelas once again; easy in easy out.

The next day we got a bit of a late start as both of us were pretty tired. But we made it to Talkeetna in the late afternoon. This time we just dry camped in a gravel pullout on the side road that leads to Talkeetna (yes, we are so glamorous sometimes).talkeetna 1

talkeetna 49Alaska Day driving days 6 and 7 recap:

Homer to Anchorage

Road Name: Sterling Highway to Seward Highway

Road Type: 2-lane

Miles: 221

Driving Time: 5:00

Anchorage to Talkeetna

Road Name: Glenn Highway to Parks Highway

talkeetna 47Road Type: Mostly 2-lane with some 4-lane sections near Wasilla

Road Conditions: Very good throughout, some construction. This is a very heavily travelled road connecting Anchorage to Fairbanks so it is kept up as far as we have travelled.

Miles: 134

Driving Time: 2:30

Total Miles in Alaska: 1583

Total Miles since entering Canada: 3577

talkeetna 10talkeetna 6talkeetna 3Talkeetna is the starting point for Denali climbing expeditions with lots of outfits that can fly you up to base camp high on the mountain or simply take you flightseeing.

We stopped at a scenic float plane base to ask about flightseeing over the glaciers. Years ago on our first visit to Alaska, we booked a flight that included a landing on a glacier – very expensive! We waited three days, but the flights were not taking off because of weather up at Denali, so we never got to do it.

talkeetna 9talkeetna 5This time, we were thinking it was too expensive to land on a glacier – so we checked out the slightly shorter flights. Since we only had the next morning), and it was forecast to be cloudy, it was dubious.

Denali can be very shy and does not show herself easily.

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talkeetna 8talkeetna 7And indeed once again the flights did not take off – which is okay by us – you cannot do it all.  But we sure loved those beautiful airplanes!

Perhaps someday.

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talkeetna 11We took an evening stroll in the town, a trip down memory lane as we spotted the little inn we stayed at, the famous general store where we first saw the “mayor of the town” – a cat named Stubbs, and the restaurant where we had several breakfasts.talkeetna 15talkeetna 20

Stubbs is showing his age a bit.  But the sturdy cat has been reelected several times and is still the mayor. There was also a cute little dog who obviously has the run of the tiny town, Dolcie.  She must be the vice mayor we can only assume 🙂 I loved Dolcie.talkeetna 21

Though Talkeetna is a touristy town, it retains its charm, with charming structures and art galleries.

talkeetna 72talkeetna 22There is a mountaineering flavor to the town.  It caters to the climbers coming from around the world to Denali so there are some cool outfitters of outdoor gear and clothes as well.

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talkeetna 32talkeetna 36And of course, it has a number of restaurants and bars including the Fairview Inn, a place that has seen its share of climbers over the years and is very atmospheric.

Hot Tang ??!!

Hot Tang ??!!

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talkeetna 61We returned to town in the morning and had breakfast at the famous Talkeetna Roadhouse.

It is a hang out for climbers and there are banners and pictures from Denali expeditions over the years are everywhere.talkeetna 69talkeetna 71

talkeetna 70We first ate here years ago and the food is still fantastic. Their sourdough pancakes transported Hector to a happy place. It was crazy busy with family style tables and not much order.

You can order your eggs any way you like but per long tradition they always come out perfectly scrambled!  We were joined by some nice tourists from the midwest and a couple of cute young ladies spending their summer working here.

talkeetna 41As we strolled through town, we spotted a bunch of Model Ts; a Model T club trailered their automobiles to Alaska and were driving them around.talkeetna 43talkeetna 42

talkeetna 44And we found a photography gallery, Aurora Dora that featured images of the Aurora Borealis. Dora had some stunning photos. Hector immediately started to chat with her (as he does in all photography galleries) and asked her about how to best photograph auroras. talkeetna 46

Dora, a charming Brazilian lady far from home, was very generous with her information and not only gave him tips on photographing auroras but also gave us tips about a few of the places we plan on visiting next. She also offers winter workshops on astro photography that sounded really interesting.

And we found out that we just might be in Alaska long enough to see the aurora borealis – exciting!

talkeetna 50We are really fond of this charming little town, and glad that we got to spend a day there. But it was time to head to Denali.

~ Brenda

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  1. The pull out you parked in was one good spot to view Denali if she is not hiding in the clouds. We enjoyed our stay at that little charming town. We were lucky there was not much cloud when we did the glacier landing, the highlight of our stay in AK.

    We stayed in Healy near Denali yet she did not show herself until a week later. So I hope you will be there long enough and the clouds would pave the way. Im looking forward to Hectors photos at the National Park especially since he has the proper permit to go where we ordinary folks can’t go 🙂

    • The glacier landing must be incredible. We did hike on a glacier in Norway so not the same, but pretty great.

      We’re going off the grid to stay in Teklanika just now, haven’t seen Denali yet, but have seven more days – fingers crossed!

  2. And oh about Aurora Borealis, one spot that you can also see it is in the Yukon. We saw it when we were at Cottonwood RV Park in the Yukon sometime late August between midnight and 2AM. Good luck on the sighting.

    • lol. I had to go back and look at the photo. Hector shaved his beard so he will have to grow it again and wear a bandana on his head to compare.

  3. Oh, I am definitely bookmarking Talkeetna for our hopeful inland trip to AK next year! We’ve done AK by ship but would love to take our motorhome there for the summer. I might be thinking too big, though, as we don’t actually start our fulltiming adventure until next month. Eep!

  4. I’m sorry the flight didn’t work out for you. The weather is so fickle and does not always cooperate with our schedules. We are really looking forward to making it to Talkeetna later this week. Of course, we have to meet Stubbs. We would also like to take a flight there, but the weather forecast isn’t looking promising.

    • You never know, the weather forecast changes all of the time, just keep checking. And i think the flight seeing outfits will take a reservation but only take your money once they know they are flying. Best of luck!