Van chronicles — Palmer, AK 5.15.17

The other night we ended up in Tok, Alaska. Crossing the border back into the States was at least partly entertaining. We watched a old man pulling a large camping trailer go through the commercial truckers lane which won him a search of his rig. The agent that finally left that scene to deal with us was nice, as nice as border agents are allowed to be at least, and he gave Trill-dog a treat as she pushed her face over my shoulder to greet him. And then there were more forests and more road that resembled the ripples of bacon.

And we drove and drove. Until we gave up on a free site and paid $18 for a state camp site outside Tok, that we realized was on top of an old pit latrine. Seriously gross to find that out by looking down an old pipe to a pile of crap and toilet paper. But the site was otherwise clean unlike most of the free sites we have to clean up before we camp.

Days really do seem to seep into each other. Was that also the day we stopped in Haines Junction at the Cultural Center to weigh ourselves verses bears and wolves or learn about the tanning of moose hides? And did we make it through Whitehorse too, the dirty unhomogenized miss mash of derelict streets and industry with suburbs and sidewalks. Everything had a layer of brown winter grime but after that many miles without a town, you kind of like Whitehorse.


There’s more large peaks here. More mountains and receding glaciers, both still awesome despite their changing. The incidence of both population and sunshine is growing too.

It took about six tries to find a decent campsite and we finally found a free site about 20 minutes before Palmer. We got sun, and a fire, and cell reception too but there were bads mixed with those goods. Pterodactyl sized Alaskan mesquitos and a pile of hair and odd debris like shat-in underwear and bags of shit hidden in the woods. Rob’s convinced someone was killed and buried there. Who knows? This is Alaska. And people are foul, especially the ones who use free campsites (this goes for those outside of Alaska as well).

We cooked up hot dogs over our fire and then I sat down to work. I did some transcription, $20 worth, while hiding from the bloodsuckers outside our homemade screen.

The sun didn’t set until 10:30 and the sky never grew truly dark. But we sleep so soundly in the top of this van, despite the thin pad, the rough thrash of cars on the highway nearby, and the constantly dusky sky.

We’re about 20 mins outside Anchorage now though. Listening to calm mountain ballads and laughing at Trill whose wedged herself on top of all our belongings in the trunk. It’s about 11 and the sun is bright and high in the clear sky. I think this is the first time the clouds have gone on strike for this trip.

We stopped for breakfast at the Vagabond Blues Cafe in Palmer. There wasn’t much for me to eat but Rob got a Reindeer Breakfast Burrito. I got a taste of the deer so I could say I tried it. Yep salty.

As we get closer to the city construction increases. As do cars, and roads, and stores, and airplanes. And guess what. Smog too, even here. As we get closer the streets seem to constrict. Lights turn red or yellow or green and congestion starts with the stumbling whistle of breaks and red tail lights.