Everyone in Anchorage we met said "We lost winter!" It seemed to be true. There were only spots of dirty snow along the road and you could even see grass. Of course when we went to go hiking on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail we found it covered in hard pack and ice a good three inches thick and slippery as goose guts on a doorknob. We went for a hike anyway.
On the drive down we were astounded to find that the '89 Camry got 38 mpg. We drove over 350 miles on ONE tank of gas! This was extremely good, since we wanted to do a strictly budgeted trip. We packed a cooler full of sandwiches and fruit and darn near spent NO money yet had a great time.
Staying with relatives in Palmer, we heard the "We lost winter!" refrain more than once. While in Palmer we took it easy. Scott showed me where he used to go to school, we and we did what we always do when in a place that is either new or we haven't seen for a while: we looked for old cars and trucks parked in the bushes, behind buildings, in junkyards, anywhere they might lurk, we try to check them out.
We planned on leaving Sunday so I could be back to work on Monday. We woke up Easter Sunday to find snow! It had snowed all night and was still snowing. You know, it always snows on my way home whenever I go to Anchorage, and I always have to stay an extra day. Well, I've only been to Anchorage two times in the last year, but we got stuck at Paxson Lodge the last time because of the first snowstorm of the year. Hrrrrmmm. This could be the LAST snowstorm of the year. That is, until I go to Anchorage again!
So we stayed an extra day, thinking they wouldn't plow on Easter Sunday.
As it was, the road was do-able on Monday, though it was a frustrating mix of wet pavement and thick layers of slushy snow that threw the car around. We had an adrenaline moment when Scott decided to lean over and adjust the heater and when he did that he turned the wheel slightly and suddenly we were in a huge skid going about 55 mph. I said AAAAHHH loudly, he said SONOFABITCH even louder, and pulled it out of the skid. It was afterwards that the adrenaline rush got both of us. It wasn't long before we pulled over and bought candy bars. Besides, both of us really needed to use the bathrooms.
After that Scott drove much slower. Imagine that!
I took over driving in Cantwell and took us home, but not until having to deal with pavement that was sometimes wet and sometimes frozen, and through one mountainous area was nothing but a thick sheet of ice. Luckily I'm used to ice.
We saw a bald eagle in Palmer and two moose in Denali on the way back.
I have yet to see Denali, the mountain. It was blindingly beautiful both times I drove down recently, but both times the mountain was covered in clouds. If you come to Alaska as a tourist and see Denali, don't tell me about it. I live here, and I've never seen it!
We came out of the clouds and snow south of Nenana and had beautiful pastel skies all the way home. We out ran the storm, and figured most of it would hang up on the mountains that are between us and Anchorage.
As I write this I am looking out the window at several inches of new snow, with lots of snowflakes coming down yet. It snuck up on us in the night!
Congratulate me, yesterday was my two-year anniversary moving to Alaska. I don't mind the snow. I was sad that it was melting! Now we'll have fresh snow for more snow machine rides for a little while longer.