The drive home from Fairbanks was a mixed bag, weather-wise. I had mostly blue skies overhead with clouds building off to either side as I drove south towards home.
What clouds there were stayed high and were polite about not obscuring the spectacular views of tundra, forest and mountains as I meandered along the Parks Hwy towards Denali National Park. What a great day for a drive!
I was surprised and a bit amazed at how much the colors had changed in the mere week since my previous passage along this same road.
There was no lingering at DNP though. Much as I would have liked to spend a night there on my way home, the last week before Labor Day is a busy one, finding the park jammed with tourists – and OK, probably Alaskans too. One last good camping trip, don’t you know.
Almost as soon as I started down the pass leading south from Denali’s central tourist center, with its bright lights, shops, restaurants and other bling, the weather abruptly changed.
The dark clouds that had seemed thus far fairly high and further away, suddenly closed in, encasing me in a wet, sodden blanket of fog and rain.
It seemed as though the dreary weather I’d happily left behind me after passing through Denali National Park driving north towards Fairbanks last week – was waiting patiently for my return. Oh joy.
I turned my windshield wipers on, braved the increasing rain, and rolled on.
I had been enjoying the drive home earlier in the day, but by the time I reached Cantwell, I was no longer having any fun.
I soon realized I was in the same general area as the rest stop I’d slept at the previous week, and I decided it was an omen when I almost immediately passed the big blue “Rest Area Ahead” sign. Without hesitation, I pulled right on in.
My timing couldn’t have been much better. I’d no sooner rolled to a stop and turned off my engine before the skies opened up with an absolute deluge. Yep, this was a fine spot to spend the night.
An hour later, I’d finished dinner and was settled in over a jigsaw puzzle when I noticed the silence. It seemed the storm had finally wrung itself dry, leaving the woods around me sparkling and fresh smelling.
The sun even made a brief appearance, which Rhonda appreciated no end, since it meant she could have a semi-dry potty walk. I took the opportunity to snap some pictures – I hadn’t even known there were mountains over there!
The sunshine only beamed through the roiling dark gray clouds about long enough for Ronni to do her business, but that was OK. I had witnessed the stark but very real beauty of wild Alaska after a drenching rain, refreshed and standing tall.
It reminded me how much I love this glorious state I call home – rain or shine.
All was well with our world. Ronni and I were happily buttoned back up inside Roada before the rain started back up. The rest of the night was peaceful, with regular patters of rain, but no more major downpours.
The following morning dawned damp but relatively rain-free, allowing me a relaxing final leg to my journey. By early afternoon, I was once again back where I had started.
Parked in my own driveway … listening to the rain on the roof.