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Diary Last Updated: Aug 6th, 2008 - 11:44:17


Stage 1 - Day 1
By Dick & Pip Smith
May 8, 2006, 12:59

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Day 1  Monday 8 May 2006

 

It is the first day of our great adventure.  Will we get around the World? We really have no idea but at least it is a plan. We were up early and had a good breakfast with our friends Wilbur and Barbara O’Brien (where we were staying) and departed at 9.13am.
Waving goodbye to Barbara & Wilbur O'Brien as we backed out of their driveway
It snowed overnight so the Earthroamer was sprinkled with snow.  Last night we drove to Captain Cook's statue at Resolution Park in central Anchorage and gave our farewells to this great explorer.
statue of Captain Cook in Anchorage
As we headed north we drove over the route of the Iditarod Race where we sponsored Australian Glen Finlay many years ago.  To the right were the Chugach Mountains and the mountain called Flat Top, the popular daily climb for fit Anchorites, (if that is what they are called).  We cruised at 60mph (96kph) at 2,000rpm at about 12 statute miles per US gallon. Signs showed that diesel is US$2.95 per gallon and petrol $2.90 per gallon.
Chugach Mountains as we left Anchorage

 

The weather closed in as we got to Palmer and headed towards the Independence Mine on the Hatcher Pass Road.
Snow falling
As we climbed into the fog with ice and snow on either side of the road, the weather got so bad that we decided to give it a miss and turned around.
Snow and ice as we climbed up Hatcher Pass Road
As we headed back towards the Glenn Highway we passed a sign "The World's Best Ice Cream"
World's Best Ice Cream
but it was too cold to be tempted.  Shortly after we stopped at the Chickaloon River where we had rafted with our daughters Hayley and Jenny a decade before.  In fact Pip nearly lost her life there.
Chickaloon River
We stopped the Earthroamer on a shingle bank just above the river with the water rushing below us, we made a good Aussie cup of tea and watched "How To Marry a Millionaire" DVD on the LCD.  Dick was disappointed that so far north the 198 channel satellite TV is not yet working!!
Magnificent scenery

 

We were on the road again with a 35 degree F outside temperature, magnificent scenery with snow on the trees.
We had the road to ourselves
The snow stopped falling and we had the road almost to ourselves, it’s good to be this early in the year.
Occasionally a big truck passes however it is obvious that most of the freight to Alaska travels by sea.
the scene became black and white with the snow covered landscape
Pip standing on the Glenn Highway surrounded with ice and snow
We crossed the Alaskan Oil Pipeline at Glenallen without even seeing it - must be underground.  As we turned right at the town of Gulkana Dick reminded me that he flew over this town in his Solo World helicopter flight in July 1983 and on the sound track of his film you can hear Flight Service mentioning aeroplanes at Gulkana. 

 

We climbed towards the Mentasta Summit and at 6.40pm stopped for the night hidden in a road side gravel quarry.
Travelling along the Glen Highway
Matanuska Glacier National Park
Dick driving beside the Siana River
Heading for Mentasta Summit
The sun was still shining and we put on the electric frypan (powered by the inverter and battery bank, no noisy generator required.) Dick got on the Iridium phone and found out that the Tasmanian Miners were out at last. Great rejoicing!  Very cosy inside our vehicle with the diesel powered heater humming away.  Altogether a fantastic day with every weather condition possible
!
Pip cooking dinner
Parked in the gravel pit

 

546km for the day – 546km total.

 

Next day

 


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