Roada’s wheels didn’t move a single inch today. Yep, you read that right – I spent last night and all day today enjoying the constant movement of the wide moss-green Chena River outside my door, but the river was the only thing moving.
I slept late (bless you, Ronni, for being willing to indulge me on this 💗), did a little necessary but light house-cleaning, and generally listening to my body as it told me “Stop! Enough already”.
[Especially] those of you who live with any sort of auto-immune disease will understand the need to pay attention to what your body is telling you. It’s a skill I have had to developed over time. When traveling, I try to be flexible and not force a pre-set travel plan. I never know when (or if) I may need to change my plans to adjust to my body’s needs. Fortunately, this is often my preferred mode of travel anyway, so it’s seldom a hardship. 👍🏼
Living with fibromyalgia; the abrupt weather change yesterday morning was a red flag that a fibro-flare was probably imminent. I wanted to curl up and nap almost as soon as I hit the road, but it wasn’t awful [yet], so I set my sights on Fairbanks and made my way here at an easy pace.
It is also, admittedly, a big reason I didn’t plan (yesterday) to try to drive any further than Fairbanks, and chose to hunker down in the first safe, comfortable RV park I found. It was a good choice.
Since I’m relaxing today; it’s the perfect time to bring everyone up to date on the wildlife I’ve seen on this trip (so far). Again, being solo this trip (Rhonda not withstanding – she’s pretty useless with a camera), I missed most wildlife photo opportunities, darn it. Still, wildlife WAS seen – some of it more up close and personal than is my preference.
In Valdez, we saw several Bald eagles, and more BUNNIES than I care to count. Ronni was in heaven there. 🐇🐇🐇.
On the drive back up Thompson Pass, we passed a wet moose, happily munching browse belly deep in a marsh (no place to pull over, darn it) and a pair of large, long-eared, Arctic hares. Near Paxson, not far from where the Denali Highway cuts off from the Richardson Hwy, a fox bounded across the road, barely squeaking by unscathed by my tires.
Paxson Lake is larger than I expected and has a spacious, shady, black spruce covered State campground that seems to be particularly popular with boaters and hiking enthusiasts. I was curious and considered spending a night there, so moseyed my way carefully around the two large campground loops. I don’t think I’d want to try this with anything much bigger than my 27’ RV, but the campsites were nicely separated, if a bit of a walk from the lake.
Just as I paused, debating between pulling into a nice, drive-thru campsite or getting back on the road to continue on, Rhonda gave a sharp bark. This was not her “I see a bunny bark” – I turned my head to follow her laser-focused gaze just in time to see the large brown rump of a bear disappearing into dense brush not 30’ away! Yikes! We decided to keep driving.
A second bear loped across the gravel road well ahead of my RV on our way back to the highway. Wow, no wonder there were so many signs at the campground entrance warning about bear-proofing your campsite, keeping food in the metal food lockers provided at each site, etc. 😳
I saw two more moose alongside the road on Saturday. The moose themselves were well off the road, the only danger being from looky-lou rubber-neckers stopped along the road (there was NOT a pull-out area there [grumble grumble], taking pictures. I did not join them. I’ve seen plenty of moose.
Here in Fairbanks, we’ve briefly harassed some ducks, robins and one hapless bunny (so far), which has been enough to keep Ronni ever-vigilant on our walks. However, being bound by leash restraints, it’s been a strict “look but don’t touch type of thing.
As evening settles over the campground, bringing with it another bout of soothing rain, I find myself contemplative. Why DO I do this? Why do I go to all this effort? I’m not sure of the answer, other than to say it’s a promise I made to myself. Or I can quote a saying I read a while back:
“My goal in 2020 is to accomplish the goals I set in 2019 which I should have done in 2018 because I made a promise in 2017 which I planned in 2016.”~unknown (Internet source)
So, off we go again. I will be packing up my homey little camping companions in the morning; my two big mosquito-plant pots (citronella, lemon grass, lemon balm and some pretty deep red flowers to add color), my spider-plant (in the macrame hanger I re-learned how to make on my last trip), and my pot of Arizona succulents (they love sunshine, but live on the dashboard if it’s chilly/rainy outside, except on travel days).
I’ll bring in the life-size dachshund statue that sits outside with the plants – “Phred” travels on the bed, cushioned by pillows. I’ll put away several other knick-knacks that only get brought out if I’m staying more than 24 hours …
I’ll store away my big jigsaw puzzle board and strap down the spinning wheel if I’ve had them out, and make sure my knitting bag is out of dog reach.
After that, it’s just the normal; bring in the slide, stow the water hose, electric, x-pens and leveling boards – IF any of those were used. I have to admit, getting set to travel is sure easier when I don’t “grow roots”. 😄 If I just stop and boon-dock for the night, I sometimes don’t have anything at all to do in the morning except potty the dogs and drive away.
These two days of quietude have been perfect. Enough sunshine for several long, campground and river-exploring walks with Rhonda, and just enough rain for afternoon naps and sleeping at night with the drowse-inducing sound of light rain on the roof. There is a robin’s nest in the tree outside my bedroom window here, so I’ve been treated to sweet birdsong in the morning and late at night (keeping in mind, sunset is somewhere around midnight).
All in all, it’s been a delightful stay, even with all the reminders of the pandemic. It saddens me to see campgrounds this empty this time of year, with the gift shop and restaurant closed up tight. Check-in desks have sneeze-guards and are often manned by clerks wearing face masks. Some even ask you to check in by phone.
Fellow campers are still friendly – they stop to say hello, but we all keep a respectful 10’ or so between each other. A strange new world is evolving … all the more reason to get out and LIVE it. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
For me and Rhonda; tomorrow should bring us to the Parks Highway. It’s not time to go home just yet, but it’s time to turn our noses that direction. 🦅