Alaska RVing: Tok to Palmer

Monday, August 3rd, would be one of our longest driving days – 458 km (285 miles) from Tok to Palmer.

Our peaceful forested site at the Tundra Lodge & RV Park in Tok was a really nice place to start the day off, made even better by a little bit of puppy-love 🙂

Puppy love in our RV
We’re not doing early-morning starts unless there’s a very good reason, and this day, we weren’t on the road until almost 11:30. The first 201 km (125 mi) are on the Tok Cutoff, running between the Alaska Range and Mentasta Mountains, as seen in this photo which was shot a couple of minutes after noon, and then along the edge of the Copper River Valley. The road surface varies a lot, with some new pavement and some long, fairly rough stretches with lots of frost heaves and some potholes.

Tok Cutoff Highway, Alaska
For many miles, Mount Sanford, a shield volcano in the Wrangell Mountains, is visible across the Copper River Valley. It is 4,949 meters (16,237 feet) high.

Mount Sanford, a shield volcano in Alaska's Wrangell Mountains
That’s the smile that I’m working to keep on Monty’s face as much as possible. I love driving my own “bus” – driving other people’s buses never felt this good.

Murray and his old husky Monty driving the RV through Alaska
A huge rest area at the Chistochina River bridge, 145 km (90 miles) from Tok, was the perfect place to a very leisurely lunch stop. Being able to get all of us out of the hot sun (it hit close to 80F) was great.

Lunch at a huge rest area at the Chistochina River bridge, Alaska
Mount Sanford and the Chistochina River, from the highway bridge.

Mount Sanford and the Chistochina River, from the highway bridge
A mile from the junction of the Tok Cutoff and Richardson Highway, a viewpoint with interpretive signs offers a wonderful broad view of the Copper River and Wrangell Mountains.

Copper River and Wrangell Mountains from a viewpoint on the Tok Cutoff
Dropping down from 1,013-meter-high (3,322 ft) Eureka Summit, 95 km (59 mi) south of Glennallen on the Glenn Highway, Gunsight Mountain can be seen just to the right. A notch in the peak’s saddle gave it its name.

Gunsight Mountain, Glenn Highway
Whenever I can, I stop at this memorial 111 km (69 mi) south of Glennallen to pay my respects. It reads: “TROOPER BRUCE A. HECK
Gone But Not Forgotten
On a cold winter night, on January 10, 1997, Alaska State Trooper Bruce Heck gave his life in the line of duty near this location.
While on duty in the area of mile 157.9 of the Glenn Highway, Trooper Heck attempted to arrest a suspect who had run into the woods after wrecking a stolen taxicab. In dub-zero temperatures and deep snow, a struggle ensued where the suspect overpowered Troper Heck and took his life. The suspect, who was arrested by other officers who arrived on the scene shortly thereafter, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
In 1999 the Alaska State Legislature designated the Glenn Highway from Mile 128 to Mile 189 as the TROOPER BRUCE A. HECK MEMORIAL CORRIDOR so that his sacrifice will not be forgotten.
This monument is placed in remembrance of Trooper Heck’s selfless act of giving his life while protecting the citizens of Alaska.

Alaska State Trooper Bruce A. Heck memorial, Glenn Highway
We didn’t make as many stops as I’d prefer to have made, but this pulloff was irresistible, to get another portrait of the rigs, but mainly…

RVs at a pullout along the Glenn Highway, Alaska
… to get this shot of the mountain known as Lion’s Head.

The mountain known as Lion's Head on the Glenn Highway, Alaska
Our home for Monday night was the Mountain View RV Park in the hills a few miles northeast of Palmer, which we reached just after 6:30. We got 2 grassed, fairly spacious, fully-serviced sites for $34.20 each including taxes. There are a total of 68 full hookup pull through sites, as well as some partial-service sites.

Mountain View RV Park, Palmer, Alaska
As expected, Charlie was loving his first big adventure. The change in him since MJ and Jim adopted him has been wonderful to watch – from being very insecure, he’s now the most loving little guy anyone could hope for. The park has lots of grass including a large dog walking area.

A look at the laundry facilities – a bit tired but functional. The wifi was quite poor, even right at the office. I had planned to post on the blog while we we travelling, but by now had given up on that idea.

Mountain View RV Park, Palmer, Alaska

The picnic table between our sites was a fine place for a barbecued dinner, and we enjoyed the light until quite late. The next day wouldn’t be a long one in the way of miles driven, but we had lots of activities planned.


Alaska RVing: Tok to Palmer — 1 Comment

  1. It’s fun and informative for me to revisit many past AK road adventures through your travels, though we were always car camping. We would normally camp at SRA sites or gravel pits, as long as there wasn’t a sign prohibiting…and frequently see many others in vans, cars or RVs doing the same thing. Freedom of the road, no camping fees! (no services either!)