Thursday, August 16, 2018

Roadmap of a Trip to Alaska in Motorhome

Alaskan winters are unforgettable. There is nothing like them in the world. Most people have their own idea as to what winter is like, but really, Alaska is in a class all alone. Yes, they are cold. They are also very dry. They also are long! But on the upside are the amazing opportunities to play in the white winter wonderland that it creates. Nothing beats a cold winters night with a full moon shining on the snow and ice. Now that is a beauty! If you want to really know Alaska, you must visit in the winter. It is amazing!

Day 1 - We arrived in Anchorage

Our new adventure begins very, very early. Nothing less than at 4 in the morning. The car picks us up at home to accompany us to the airport, since our flight leaves at 6:50h. Once the bags are checked in and we are boarded, after ten hours, we arrive in Frankfurt. Here we stop for an hour and a half, before returning to our second flight to Anchorage in Alaska.

We have to pass another security checkpoint and this time it is much more exhaustive. In fact, we open the backpack of the photographic equipment and they carefully inspect us. But nothing, they immediately see that we are harmless! Once inside the plane, we were pleasantly surprised, because when flying with a low-cost company, we were a bit afraid of what we could find. Also, the criticisms of the forums were not very good, really.

Flying over Greenland has offered us some good images. What has fascinated us most of the journey, have been the views we have had at the time we fly over Greenland, near the North Pole. Spectacular! It seemed like we were watching a live documentary! The sea is absolutely calm and the sun reflected in the pieces and plates of ice scattered everywhere. It was very pretty! Only the polar bears were missing here!

We arrived tired by the flight but happy to start the route. Once in Anchorage and after doing the corresponding immigration procedures, we take a taxi and go to our Bed and Breakfast. It is simple but it is a small house, with 5 rooms, and a common area for tea and coffee at any time. We went for a walk and immediately we saw the city of Anchorage. It is not very big and neither has anything special to see or highlight.

It has typical wide American avenues, parking zones everywhere and a Downtown that is the only place where you can find a little activity. What we do like is the time it does. A bright sun accompanies us during our walk. And just a couple of days ago they were out of light because of storms and hurricane winds. What luck we have had! We went into a pub that the B&B boy recommended us to have something light since our stomachs accuse the food of the plane, the jetlag and the hours of sleep. It is better not to gamble!

Now we know where the inhabitants of Anchorage were. They enjoy in the bars and pubs! The temperature is low, and we can find steals inside to avoid cold. And we return to the hotel, which for us is already more than 6 in the morning and we cannot take it anymore! We have turned the clock! Tomorrow will be a very special day. We will meet our traveling companion: the caravan!

Day 2 - We pick up the caravan

And today, finally, we can say that our adventure truly begins. We have collected our house on wheels! And once we have the place to sleep, we wanted to fill the pantry. We approached the mega-supermarket in the town of Wasilla. Here they have everything! Of course, we have found that everything here is very expensive. It is normal if we think that almost all products should be brought from outside.

We take the opportunity to buy some salads and we eat them inside the new house, towards the tourist town of Talkeetna, where we sleep tonight. For a moment I am about to change the transport. Lake Willow looks like a real mirror! Everywhere, you see seaplanes. They use them as if they were taxis. The town is full of restaurants and bars. We take the opportunity to have dinner at the Restaurant.

This town is a meeting point for unique characters and the hippie community around the world. For what we have been able to know, in times of maximum affluence, the town is full of parties and the "flower power" atmosphere. We spend the night in the Talkeetna Camper Park where our caravan is one of the smallest. Here are real "mastodons" on wheels! The facilities are very simple and we pay $ 30 per night. It is cold and while we write these lines, the thermometer shows 5 degrees. We only have one day and the three of us have already been very friendly!

Day 3 - The spectacular Mount McKinley

We got up early in Talkeetna after spending our first night on the caravan. It has been quite cold. We realize that we will need heating more often than we thought! At 7:30 the crystals were frozen! And we also make our first breakfast. How we like that feeling of freedom.

We went to the Talkeetna Air Taxi company to request information about air flights to observe Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America, with 6,194 meters. There are different travel options and even offer a landing and a walk through a base camp between the peaks.

We take the simplest one, because although they give us a discount for the low season. But we are pleasantly surprised when on the verge of leaving. They make us put on special boots to walk on the snow. We look at the poor manager in the face of not understanding anything. Well, in fact, we had understood the opposite of what we had hired. We will enjoy a walk through the snows. Phew! Americans talk too fast and we do not get half the stuff!

In total, the excursion by plane takes just over 2 hours and is one of the most incredible experiences of our life. Hallucinatory! The flight is a pass, but we assume that the beautiful day we have is what has made it a special day. The plane is for 6 people and we are accompanied by 2 Japanese and 2 Americans.

The pilot tells us a lot of details but speaks very fast (we cannot stop thinking that we have to go back to English classes). We fly over the summits of Denali, which are very white. Finally, we landed in a flat snowy area, where we went down and enjoyed a half hour surrounded by peaks and virgin snow everywhere. Not with all the photos of the world can we describe what it is like to be up there.

The feeling of magnitude is brutal. We feel tiny and very lucky! Once on land, we face the route to Denali National Park, one of the most important in the country. We drive on Highway 3, always surrounded by trees and snowy mountains. What landscapes!

We often stop to take pictures and, as always, we get distracted by anything and we spend the most rapid time. The day is really spectacular. We had been told that it was very difficult to see the top of Mount McKinley since it is almost always covered. Well, today its vision has accompanied us throughout the journey! And people seem to have thanked it. At one of the scenic spots in the area, the Denali View South, there were a lot of people enjoying the image of the main peaks of this mountain range. What a vision!

It starts to get late, and although we tighten the rhythm a bit, we continue to stop from time to time to enjoy the views. And we spent more than 20 minutes putting gasoline. We have spent half a deposit and do not want to risk not finding gas stations in the area. What we did not know is that the "bug" has a larger deposit than the entire refinery. The bikers and their Harleys cannot miss any route through the USA!

And on the last kilometers, the weather decides that it has already shown us too much sun for today. Very dark clouds appear very fast and a shower falls for 20 minutes. We finally arrived at the Riley Creek campsite, located inside the Denali Parc. It is huge and has no electricity or water in the camping area. We will spend two nights here with everything our caravan can offer us. We are in the middle of the forest and the tranquility is absolute. What a pleasure!

Day 4 - Excursion to Denali Park

We got up very early (06:15h) to be punctual to the excursion that we had organized for today. There is a tour of the Park Road, a road that goes into the Denali National Park, and that can only be done on buses from the same park. We had booked it online from home so as not to suffer since it is common for many people to be there and seats get sold out quickly. But before we leave let us explain the surrealist anecdote of the day and perhaps of the trip.

We left with the camping caravan with all the silence we could so as not to disturb the rest of the campers. And you know the ones that know us, that it costs us a lot to get up and running so early. Before arriving at the center from where the buses depart, we stopped at the campsite reception to go to the bathroom, but I found it closed. Completely asleep I went back to the caravan.

I open the door, I sit on the seat, I take the wheel when suddenly I hear a male voice that says: Sorry! I turn scared and I find a boy, his girlfriend and two grandparents looking at me with frightened faces. I'm slow to react. The hands are behind the wheel, and I do not understand what happens. I have confused my caravan and I have risen to another one! How I can, I apologize and I run. Shame kills me, but I cannot stop laughing!

We arrive punctually at the exit of the bus that will take us to almost the end of the route. We arrive at the Wonder Lake after more than 5 hours of road between mountains. But we are stunned when they tell us that it is snowing in the area and for the moment no bus leaves. The minutes, the hours' pass and each time more people arrive from the later turns.

We ask if they know how the situation is and the answer is always the same: "impossible to leave and we do not know when they will resume service". We waited 4 hours, and before the general uncertainty, we decided to change the excursion for the next day. It's 11 o'clock in the morning and we have to find how to fill the day. No problem.

We take the caravan and drive the 15 miles where you can drive with private vehicles inside the Denali Park. We understand right away why the excursions had been canceled. Snowflakes begin to fall, and the landscape becomes white quickly. The white forests have something special. We stop to eat with our caravan in a large parking lot with the mountains in the background. It's what you have to take the house on! We can stop almost where we want.

It starts to snow! We stop again to do a small trail of half a kilometer between the whitewashed forest. We also reached the Savage River, where we found that there is something cooler than the environment: the river water. It's cold! We decided to go back by the same (and only) way, and as if by magic, time changes radically. The sun rises and the colors of the woods take those typical tonalities of autumn. There are greens, yellows, and browns. Spectacular!

We stopped at the Visitor Center of the Denali National Park. It is very modern and functional. There we see many routes to go on foot excursions. We see a short, the Taiga Trail (1'5 km) and we plan to walk. We met very few people and a lot of tranquility.

We return with the caravan to the reception of our campsite. For $ 4 you have the right to a shower and a towel, which helps us recover. We also connect to the internet for a while, since it is the only point in the area where we can find a connection. We settle in our square and make a good dinner of sausages with mashed potatoes. Let's see if tomorrow we can do the planned trip.

Roadmap of a Trip to Alaska in Motorhome

Day 5 - We see bears and northern lights

At 07:00 o'clock in the morning we are back in the Wilderness Center (place of departure of the buses), to see if today it is possible to make the trip to Denali. It has snowed again during the night and they tell us that they cannot leave at the set time. We already think we'll have to cancel today's start again, but after 45 minutes the bus finally starts. We are very happy, and that the best is yet to come.

The snowfall has left a spectacular landscape and the sun comes out strongly. The day is expected magnificent. Our driver cum guide does not stop giving us advice and directions during the route. He tells us that if someone sees an animal, shout "stop!"

And this is what happens later. A bear walks peacefully through the forest and enters the path to guide us for a few minutes. In silence, we all get hooked on the windows and the shutters of the cameras begin to sound non-stop. What an impression An authentic bear in freedom!

The route is very well prepared. This is how the Americans are. They like to have a good functioning of their National Parks. They feel proud and they make it known. We would like to have the freedom to move wherever we want, but do not allow the entry of private vehicles. Only in certain places, where they let you camp, but as long as you stay a minimum of days and ask for the corresponding permit.

We make about 4 10-minute stops, each at different points. Some with good views. Our route goes to Eielson Visitor Center, a modern information point, with the powerful Mount McKinley in front. By the way, although they confirm that it is difficult to see it without clouds, we have been photographing it for two days! McKinley or Denali, as they like to call it here. And also The Great One.

We have taken 4 h 15min to get to the middle of the route. That is, we will make a total of just over 8 hours. You can also choose a shorter route of 6 hours (Tokla River) and an even longer one of 11 hours (Wonder Lake).

We still have the luck to see more bears (4 in total, one of them with their two offspring) and the truth is that they impress. Although we have come with a lot of photographic equipment, we miss a lot more powerful telephoto. Any compact camera goes further than ours!

We liked the Park so much that I've asked for a job as a Ranger! I already have a uniform! We are tired of the trip but very happy for the perfect day. We are about to stay one more night in the area, but we decided to continue our route. We arrived at the town of Nenana, where we settled in the Nenana RV Park Campground.

The night is very clear and it is cold. We are tired, but we wait for it to be totally at night. Never in life have we seen a sky with so many stars! We were amazed! We can see the Milky Way above us. I freeze, but I spent a lot of time taking photos outside.

I know another camper who spends long seasons here. And he is an expert in night photography. The man is super equipped (and warmer than me). It's a pleasure to meet another freak! I do not feel so alone. I ask him if maybe today we will see an aurora borealis. He tells me that he has photographed many. We spent a long time under the stars. At times trying to understand us, at times in long silences contemplating the sky.

The camera battery says enough, and it's late. I say goodbye to him and go to sleep. I was about to fall deeply asleep when we hear a knock at the door. What a scare! I open the door and I find our friend who tells us that an aurora is forming! He goes shooting. I put on the first clothes I find, and we went outside. We return to hallucinate with the spectacle that heaven offers us.

The aurora is not very powerful, but it looks like a long serpent of green colors that does not stop moving. We stayed a good while under its movement. We would not go to sleep all night, but when it's half past two and we decided to go to bed. Today has already offered us a lot of fun and, above all, a lot of emotion!

Day 6 - Relax on the road. Chena Hot Spring

Today we woke up a little later, and we took everything very calmly. We had breakfast, emptied the caravan's tanks. We take the route from the town of Nenana to the city of Fairbanks. We take advantage of the fact that at the entrance to the cities there are always shopping centers and gas stations to fill the deposit. We also entered a large supermarket to buy more provisions. But when we go to the center, our GPS takes us to the anecdote of the day.

Suddenly we found a military checkpoint and soldiers stopped the vehicle. We do not understand what happens! They tell us that we cannot go there without special permission. We explain that we only want to visit the city, but makes us turn around, without much explanation.

We do not give up, and we search several streets further to try to get there where the map tells us. But again another control! This soldier is kinder, and he tells us that there is no going to Fairbanks. This is a military base, and that we cannot pass. We appreciate the information, and we turn around until we find some signs that guide us to the center.

Like most cities in Alaska, Fairbanks is not very pretty. There are many wide streets and low buildings, without any charm. Where we find more life is always the Downtown. There we had a meal and snack at a cafe. We try to visit an ice museum recommended by the guide, but when we enter we are told that the cooling system has broken down the day before. It is better not to see the sculptures because they are falling apart!

We see this as a sign to continue our route. We head for the thermal town of Chena Hot Springs, where basically we only find a thermal water center. We take Highway 2 to the Chena Hot Spring Road detour. The road is very beautiful. As we approach our destination, the afternoon offers us wonderful colors. The green, brown and yellow trees accompany us during the 56 miles that the journey lasts. There are several campsites on the banks of the Chena River, where we can sail and enjoy fishing.

We stop at a small point to pause on the road at Red Squirrel State. It is a small lake surrounded by trees and with several tables to sit and picnic. When we arrive at Chena Hot Spring it is already 7 o'clock in the afternoon. We parked our caravan inside the forest, where we are completely alone.

We take a tour of the facilities. It is a spa with thermal waters, where we can bathe in warm waters until late (from 10am to midnight). We discovered that it is full of Japanese people and they even have many Japanese employees to serve the clientele well. We get a washing machine to keep everything clean.

We dined in his restaurant the first hamburger of the trip. Then we decided to have a hot bath. It has already become obscure, but we do not want to miss the opportunity. The facilities disappoint us a bit, as they are quite old. The hot bath outside under the stars is great. It leaves us like new!

And the best is yet to come. We return to the caravan, which we have left a little hidden among the trees. At night the place impresses much more! It was lonely and dark. We dare to leave despite the cold. It was awesome again! A new northern light begins to form. It is authentic as it is molded. We return at two thirty in the morning, and finally, we go to sleep, but again we close our eyes with incredible memories of the day.

Day 7 - North Pole

We begin to notice fatigue. During the day we do not stop, and we do not sleep much! After the visual spectacle of yesterday, and having slept less than 7 hours, we got up and started walking towards Fairbanks again. We begin to descend towards the south. On the way, we stopped in the bizarre town of North Pole (someone had the brilliant idea of baptizing a town with the name of North Pole).

And guess what is the great tourist attraction of the place. Well, here it represents that Santa Claus has his office and receives the letters of all the children of the world. We do not know how many of these offices he must have scattered around the planet. There is a superstore where we can find all kinds of items related to Christmas.

It seems that the magnificent landscapes do not leave us. After Denali National Park, we headed to Wrangell - St. Elias National Park Reserve. The road continues surrounded by mountains and trees of powerful colors.

We make more than one stop on the way to rest a bit and take pictures, and check what we read in more than one guide. Along the rivers and lakes, is full of small flies. And that in September they say there are not so many, but in summer it's much worse!

The day is still clear (we did not believe it) and we have been able to see with total clarity the 3 most important peaks of the Alaska Range: Mt. Deborah (3,761 meters), Hess Mountain(3,639 meters) and Mt. Hayes (4,216 meters) ). We are also impressed by the pipeline that carries the oil that is extracted from the north of Alaska and reaches Valdez, next to the sea. From there it is distributed in the rest of the country by boat.

We return to put gasoline and clean the crystals in the town of Delta Junction, where we are about to stay for the night. But since it's only 6:30 pm, we decided to continue a little longer and finally, we stopped at the Donnelly Creek State Recreation Site.

They are camping areas, where we only find a plot of land delimited by plots. They do not have electricity or showers or any type of service. The purpose is just a place to spend the night. The good thing is that they are in the middle of nature, and they are very cheap.

We had a good time trying to light the fire to make dinner. But we have to tell the truth, we are not able to keep the flame! Finally, we have to cook inside the caravan. Today we expected a very good night for the formation of auroras, but finally, the sky has been blocked. And to be honest, in the forest, at night, we hear a lot of noise that we do not know very well where they come from.

Day 8 - First week of travel

At 4 o'clock in the morning, we started to hear the rain falling on our caravan. At any other time, being in the middle of the forest, completely alone, absolutely in the dark, could seem like a horror story. But just the opposite! We were so happy. We took breakfast very calmly. It is a sacred time for us!

We start under a gray sky, although it does not rain. However, the temperature remains as in the last days: cool during the day and very cold at night. We take the Richardson Hwy to the south, crossing the Alaska Range Mountains. Pipeline accompanies us almost all the time, and we have skimmed the Summit Lake, before reaching the town of Paxson, and the Paxson Lake just after.

The sun peeks out and accompanies us for a while until we reach Glennallen. We found the nerve center of the town, which would become a gas station, a gift shop and the visitor center. Here we took the opportunity to collect information about the excursion we want to do tomorrow at the Wrangell - St. Elias National Park Reserve.

We have also found two trucks: one that serves as a stall to sell fruit and vegetables and another that sells Thai food to take away. We take the opportunity to spend a little on both. We bought apples and peaches, and Thai Food We stopped a few meters ahead, with magnificent views, and took the opportunity to eat.

Roads like the Edgerton Hwy seem to never run out! We continue along the same road, where we stop for a coffee in the only cafe in town, or at least, the only one that is open. We connect to the internet, check the mail. When we finish, we go to Kenney Lake, where there is a campsite to spend the night, with the same name of the town. It's nothing special but it will be good to settle today.

Even Alaska clouds have something special with the Sanford Mountain at the end. We have a small moment of crisis because we want to book the trip for tomorrow to McCarthy and Kennicott. But when we ask the girls who run the campsite, they tell us that they think there are no longer any buses that go to this area of the Wrangell - St. Elias Park. They tell us that they have a phone from where we can call the bus company and we do that.

For a day, we cannot fulfill our plans! Next, we try to call the company that organizes the trekking excursions on the Root Glacier, which is the important part of the excursion. We talk again with the girls and, luckily, they offer to call people. They explain that they no longer make this trip and they confirm that there are no buses and that McCarthy is already closed for being out of season. It is what has to travel in mid-September for these lands!

So, change plans. Tomorrow we will try to get to Valdez, one of the most important towns by the sea, and we will enjoy the tranquility we have when we know there is no hurry.

Roadmap of a Trip to Alaska in Motorhome

Day 9 - En route to Valdez

Today we have learned something new. In the morning it can become impossible to fill the water tank of the caravan. We have come across the frozen camping water pipe. We leave to Valdez, towards the south of Alaska, next to the sea. Today we can say that time has completely changed. The rain has accompanied us during the day. We already thought it was amazing that during the first week we had the sun that we now do so much less!

But we also have to say that the visual spectacle is worth it, with the air that the fog and the rain give. We stopped to eat at the foot of the Worthington Glacier and we faced the final straight towards Valdez. Before arriving, we stopped at a couple of waterfalls, the Bridal Veil Falls and the Horsetail Falls.

We cross by the Tsaina River and we stopped at the Horsetail waterfall like any tourist. In Valdez, we located the campsite. After having a snack in the caravan (there has been no way to find any decent cafeteria open throughout the town), we headed to the Dayville Road area. We had read in some forum that at the mouth of the river, in Solomon Gulch, you can see bears fishing and white-headed eagles. Let's see, right?

It is no longer a strong season, but we can still see salmon in the rivers and a white-headed eagle. We did not believe it but we went because we had nothing better to do. Our surprise has been to see a sign at the beginning of the road that alerted the presence of bears and warned not to leave the car. We have been driving along the road very slowly, watching both sides, but as the minutes went by and we did not find any sign of any bear, we were disappointed.

We have seen a pair of white-headed eagles, yes, but we were too far away to see it clearly. We have been stuck with the birds and thinking about going back to the campsite when suddenly, we have seen a huge black bear fishing in the middle of the river! We have spent more than an hour observing and admiring this beautiful animal as it ate salmon and scared the seagulls who wanted to steal his dinner. What a show!

And besides, we were the only spectators present! There are a lot of regulations explaining that you cannot get closer than 90 meters from a bear, but we did not dare to move the caravan, and it was getting closer. We've had it about 25 meters! When it gets dark, we go back to the campsite for dinner and go to bed with the background noise of the rain, which today has been with us all day.

Day 10 - Valdez

Another day that we suffer the consequences of traveling in the low season. We got up in the town of Valdez and decided to have breakfast outside the caravan. We chose the bakery. Only by the name, it sounds good. We want a good cake. And for being the only authentic cafe in town (the rest are restaurants or bars) they do not do anything wrong. We have a very good cinnamon roll and coffee with half a liter of milk.

As we said, we suffer the small inconvenience of traveling out of season. It rains during the whole morning, and we did not finish deciding if to do the route in cruise visiting the Columbia Glacier or not. Since the day is very covered, the excursion is a little expensive. Finally, we think that since we are here we must do it. Well when we enter the offices to reserve it, they tell us that due to the bad weather and that they are about to finish the season, they have decided to close the cruise service.

We are already seeing that many sites do not even meet the schedules that we had consulted online before coming. We assume that since there are no tourists, they close early. We will have to return to the mountain, where they do not have schedules.

Change of plans. We undo part of the road yesterday and left Valdez. Before, we drive again on Dayville Road, the road that runs along the coast (where yesterday we saw a bear). But apart from many seagulls and some sea lion, we do not see anything else.

It rains all morning, and until late afternoon does not stop. We take it with philosophy. It is better to be positive, and during our trips, that is enough for both of us. The meter is already over 1,000 miles! (about 1,500 km). We stop the caravan and eat before the breathtaking views of Lake Atna. What more can we ask? We can not do this at home. 80% of the meals are cooked and eaten inside the caravan. No sandwiches or anything. We eat hot every day. We have meat, pasta, soups with creams. While eating in front of Lake Atna we feel who needs a TV.

A family of ducks crosses the road. We have risked a bit with gasoline (well, in fact, it has been my thing). We have hurried a bit and here we do not find gas stations in each town. It is better to be proactive and not rush. Finally, we stopped at a little girl we saw when we were already lying on the road. And the same thing happened to us when choosing the place to stop for the night.

We had planned a campsite in the village of Glennallen, but we found it closed (yes, again the issue of traveling out of season). We did not suffer much because we can stop the caravan in any corner and sleep, but we like to do it to marked camping areas.

And when we say campsites, do not imagine the typical coast or mountain of our country. They are quite simple. The most complete offer current and water in the square where you park, and a small building with showers and toilets. The simplest, usually belong to the National Parks of the State and are simple plots. Nothing else. In fact, there is no one to oversee them. You place yourself in the place you like and deposit $ 10 in a metal mailbox.

We are lucky to see another Bald Eagle. Well, it was getting dark and we do not know where to stop to sleep. Looking at the guide, we read that by Lake Louise we would find the Lake Louise Recreation Area. It is a free camping position. It took us a long time to get there because the road was not very good. But despite being very lost, we were surprised to see many cars when we arrived (well, they were all SUVs, most of them with trailers).

Suddenly, we found a couple of cars standing before us, and immediately we understood that there was an animal in sight. Of course! A group of deer has been planted on the road before our eyes. What an illusion. We are going to take pictures!

We prepare the camera and we are ready to get out of the car, just as the drivers in front of us do and another who has stopped behind. But the surprise has been when instead of cameras, they have opened the doors and have all left with rifles larger than our caravan. My God, they are all hunters. Now we understand everything! Pick-ups are for loading the hunted animals. Luckily, once we reached the camping area, a sign prohibited entry with firearms. We already saw ourselves sleeping surrounded by 20 uncles armed to the teeth.

Day 11 - On the Matanuska Glacier

Yesterday we did well to advance kilometers until we reached the place where we slept. The Lake Louise State Recreation Area has been a good choice. It is the typical camping place that we are meeting these days. Quiet, with lots of space and surrounded by nature. In this case next to the huge Lake Louise, where we have taken a walk before continuing the route. We make the 19 miles that separate us from the Glenn Highway and go to Palmer.

It's raining, and we stop to put gas at mile 128. There we found the restaurant cum lodge. As the universal flood begins to fall and it's been a long, windy day, we decided to start making a very hot coffee. We love the place. It's the typical American town cafe, with the tables and bar that we are used to seeing in the movies.

Only the place is full of hunters, all dressed the same in military clothing, and cap. They are bearded and pot-bellied. I think it shows quickly that we are not from Wisconsin, precisely. We decided to make a brunch and eat something. We order a hamburger and a cinnamon roll.

We continue forward with a full stomach. We are going to visit the Matanuska Glacier, one of the ones with the easiest access. At mile 102 we find the entrance to Glacier Park. It is an unpaved road and with all the rain that falls, it is turning into a bumpy mud. We go down very carefully. We even hesitate when crossing a narrow wooden bridge. We arrived at a kind of wooden building, half store-half park office. It turns out that the road to access the glacier is private, and we must pay $ 20 per person to pass.

We drive another 2 miles until we hit a huge glacier. What a feeling. In front of the caravan, we have one of the largest glaciers in the United States. The pity is that it does not stop raining, and the sky is very covered. What can we do! We decided to do a 1/4 mile walk until we reached the base of the glacier. The road is full of mud and water, and the rain begins to leave us well soaked, but we only look forward, towards the huge expanse of ice that seems gigantic.

There comes a point where it indicates that continuing is everyone's responsibility because it can be a bit dangerous. We walk a little on the ice until we see that it starts to slip too much. In fact, I am about to fall on my ass, and the truth is that the contact of ice on the skin is not very pleasant. We enjoy the views for a while, but we go back, soaked to the bone!

As always, we must have a photographic memory of our step. We make more road, with much attention, since the rain causes small rock slides on the road. Finally, around 6 pm, the clouds open and the sun appears. At last! We were waiting for it with so much desire that it seems like a magical vision.

We arrived in the city of Palmer. It's a little bigger than we were used to lately. As we see that there is a supermarket and they have a gas station, we take advantage of purchases and fill the deposit up. The first day of travel we took out a customer card and we have to take advantage of the discount they give us!

We searched the campsite Mountain View RV Park, which we had read was fine. We arrived just as it begins to get dark. They have electricity and wifi so we can load the pots. Very often we have to look for a library or a bar that has wifi to connect us.

Day 12 - In Palmer, with a little social life

We needed it! After so much nature and seeing very few people, it has been good to return to the city atmosphere. Well, the city is a saying. Palmer is small, but at the moment it is the city that we liked most of the trip. Typical wide streets and space everywhere, separate the buildings with huge tracts of land. As you can tell we have plenty. We ask for information at the Visitor Center. We look at gift shops, and we eat at the cafeteria cum restaurant that we love. Eating with other people from time to time is not so unpleasant.

How are these Americans? They even take money from ATMs without leaving the car. In Palmer we find a sculpture marking the distance in miles to many parts of the planet. Today it has not rained all day, and that has helped us a lot. We still have a lot of clothes drying from yesterday's flood.

We cover kilometers and go back to Anchorage, the city where we started the route. We do not stop. We will return to step on the last day. We continue along Highway 1 until we enter the Turnagain Arm, a long tongue of the sea inland.

There are plenty of viewpoints and places to stop for walks. At mile 111'9 we find the McHugh Creek Picnic Area. There we left the caravan and we went through the forest by one of the several treks. The trails are well marked and the forest is dense and full of vegetation. The posters that warn of the presence of bears create a strange sensation to us.

It is a mixture of wanting to meet one and at the same time not crossing any. Some hikers carry bells hanging to make a continuous noise. We will have to buy one! We circled a small river until we reached the starting point. It is a simple walk, but you can choose longer and more complicated trips.

Further on, in Birds Point Scenic Overlook, we stop to see the rise of the tide. It is pure mathematics. On the internet, we saw that at 17: 32h the sea level would rise, and we would match it to see it live. This is one of the best spots in the world where you can see the rapid change of the tide. It's amazing. At the time you see how a small wave goes into what was beach until a moment ago and gradually floods the entire length.

We enter the Kenai Peninsula. It was getting late and we do not know where to spend the night. We decided to do it in a free camping area, but due to some works on the road, we passed the point of entry. Every day we find some area of works. They do not stop to fix the roads and they have everything super well organized and signposted. Finally, we see a couple of moose, but we cannot stop and take pictures.

A little further on we find a campsite that looks good, and although it is already 8:00 pm and it starts to get dark. We find a friendly receptionist who tells us where to stand. The place is small, but we are among the mountains of the Kenai Peninsula.

Day 13 - Exit glacier

Today is the second day we visited a glacier, and again we enjoy seeing so close a huge mass of ice. After leaving the Renfro's Lakeside Retreat campsite (as these Yankees like the long names), we start the caravan towards the city of Seward (one of the most important on the Kenai Peninsula). Before, we deviated from Highway 9 (mile 3.7) in Exit glacier direction, located in Kenai Fjords National Park. A small road of just over 8 miles leads to a parking area from where different trekkings to approach the ice.

The rain again accompanies us, and on the way along the road, we meet a hiker who made the route on foot towards the glacier. He looks at us with a sad face and lifts his finger hitchhiking. We stop to pick him up. The poor man is soaked and he has a huge backpack. But how do you want to do more than 12 kilometers walking? He's from Boston and he's making a route through Alaska alone. We share a caravan until we reach the parking lot.

He tells us he wants to do the longest trek, the Harding Icefield Trail, but we settle for a shorter walk. We want to reach the point called The Edge of the Glacier. It is a very beautiful route, with a slight slope that leads us to find you close to the huge piece of ice. We see some signs that mark the extent of the glacier in different years, and we quickly realize the retreat suffered by the ice.

The rain does not help much to make the journey, but we do not care! We had a good time in front of the huge mass of ice, which has such characteristic bluish colors. When we return to the caravan it has already been more than 2 and a half hours.

We take advantage that we have the caravan parked to visit the city. The main street with restaurants and shops and the port on one side. We went to eat something light in a mix of pastry and coffee shop.

We go in the motorhome to the campsite where we will sleep. We have it written down on our list, and it is on the outskirts of the city. Looks very good. When we arrived, we made a mistake and that allows us to see all the facilities. Hell, in addition to the camping area has cabins and wooden buildings, hotel type. We entered the reception decided to stay. The answer of an intriguing lady to our question of whether there is a place tonight is: "Are you from the military? It turns out that we have gone to a camping area and only military rooms.

We return to Seward, and camp just in front of the sea, in an area that the city has ready for campers. It's not bad at all. We move the caravan so that the window of the bed hits the water. It is very true what our friends told us, who visited Alaska a few years ago. The best views, if you visit this territory, are always from the campers!

Day 14 - Seward

Surely we exaggerated, but today it has not been raining precisely what has fallen in the city of Seward, but a good storm! In the middle of the night, we heard how a monumental storm was falling. And we were next to the sea. To be honest, more than once I wondered if I had put the handbrake well.

Already in the morning, we have seen that it would be impossible to go sailing through the Kenai Fjords, which was what we had planned to do. What do we do? Are we waiting for another day in case the weather changes? Do we continue the route?

It is best to decide while we make a good breakfast. We take a walk under the umbrella and go to the coffee shop in the center of the city. They have a nice atmosphere and wifi. The receptionist told us that a good storm is coming to the area, and when we explained that we wanted to go out by boat, she laughed and let go of the typical phrase: This is Alaska, guys!

A heavy rain begins to fall and a lot of wind is blowing. The storm is approaching. We decided to visit the Sealife Center, a kind of small oceanarium where they have several species of fish, birds and other animals in the area. But as I had the great idea of going to breakfast on foot, we have been soaked. The streets seemed like streams. The water came down hard and crossing the sidewalk was an impossible mission, apart from breaking the umbrellas! We have entered the Sealife thinking that they confused us with seals and closed us in the pool.

The place is not very big, but you can see several aquariums with many species of fish. The pity is that they are doing several renovations and have some exhibitions closed. But we must also say that, consequently, they have charged us half the price of the ticket.

The movement of the jellyfish hypnotizes the eyes. After extending the visit as much as we could, I had to go find the caravan, which was on the other side of Seward. We have been watching the street for a long time from the doors of the Sealife Center as if someone had to disconnect a switch and make the rain stop. I went out to look for the caravan. I have arrived at the campsite as if I had done a marathon, and it was soaked up and down. The gusts of wind were brutal, and it cost to drive the caravan.

We want to find a good restaurant to eat. We deserve it. The light of the city has gone. We surround in a caravan through the streets, but nobody has light. Does not matter! We have the house with wheels, and the fridge full of stocks. We stop between two streets to not notice the wind so much and prepare a good meal. In fact, now that we think about it, we even needed it. We are very tired, and we do not stop doing things every day. A little rest is fine.

The light returns, and we want to make a coffee, but many places have not reopened, and others close too soon for us. We go to a supermarket. We take advantage and buy meat to make dinner. We re-installed at the same campsite last night, the Waterfront Park, but this time we moved a little further from the water.

Day 15 - We left Seward

What a strange day. Normally the holidays have it where we do not have anything reserved nor do we know where we will stop. But this route through Alaska still accentuates it more. Having the motorhome to travel, allows us a freedom of movement so great that sometimes it is difficult to decide where we are going. And that's what happened to us today.

It was seen that our stay in the city of Seward must be through the water. We get up raining, and we will have breakfast again in the center, but this time with the caravan. We do not want to get soaked again. We synchronize the breakfast with a laundry (we wash and dry the clothes while we make a good breakfast!).

In the area where we camped, we found a white-headed eagle that flies through the fog. And we already thought that we could not leave Seward because the road was practically flooded, but it has been leaving the city behind, and the rain has stopped.

We take the Sterling Hwy, a very beautiful road. We return to enjoy the colors of trees, rivers, and lakes, such as the Tern Lake. We assume that it is time to finish the fishermen, as we see a lot of picking up on the banks of the Kenai River, with wonderful turquoise waters. We have a hard time deciding where to stop, where to go, where to turn. Not because we do not like what we see, but quite the opposite. We want to see everything and discover every corner.

We stop in a corner, next to the river and we eat some salads. In supermarkets, you can prepare it to your liking and buy them by weight. At night we arrive at the city of Soldotna. Like all of Alaska, when entering we find the gas stations and generic stores. We stopped in a very curious mixture of the pastry shop and gift shop. I enjoyed like crazy of shirts, pajamas, hats, stickers, pins, key rings. Everything with the face of these animals.

We fill the gasoline and again we doubt where to spend the night. Most of the campsites that we have in the guide are closed by the end of the season. But since many are not on the main road, we have entered the forest area of the town of Kasilof. There, we met a mother and a baby moose, and of course, we love a good time. We stop the engine and let them eat very close to us.

Finally, and almost without knowing how, we arrived at a free camping area, but it seems closed. Still, it's very late and it's almost night. We decided to camp, although we are not entirely sure. The place is too far apart, and at night, it seems more disturbing than it surely is. And above we found another moose, eating by the campsite. And the colors of the sky take a force.

The light goes away, and the forests have a ghostly air. Alone, totally at night, and the typical sounds of the forest.

Day 16 - From Kasilof to Homer

It was not the lion as fierce as he painted. We have spent the night without knowing where we had gone, and with the feeling of being lost. But this morning the day has started splendidly, and we have seen that we had camped at Crooked Creek State Recreation Site, next to the Kasilof River. We took the opportunity to stretch our legs and go for a walk. And we have also found out that all these camping areas seem deserted and closed. This week the official fishing season has ended!

Every day it is harder for us to get up. The batteries are no longer charged. The next stop, continuing on Sterling Road, has been at Clam Gulch. From a camping area we can go down to the beach. The vision is fantastic. A small river reaches the sea. The low tide has allowed us a long walk, and all the time we have been accompanied by the perfect view of the Redoubt and Iliamna volcanoes as a background.

Today's route promises. Another picturesque spot: the Russian Orthodox Church and the cemetery next to it, next to the small town of Ninilchik. We approach the Old Village (the old part) of this town, a unique enclave, where the Russian community was established when Alaska belonged to Russia. They knew what they were doing. Surely they were very cold, but what views they had.

Precisely we continued a little more but decided to stop to eat at the restaurant with Michelin stars, with the volcanoes in the background. The day is so clear that the peaks are perfectly visible. Ah! We already missed days like these!

We want a photo of the 3 with Redoubt volcano in the background! The clear day allows us to see the top of the Iliamna volcano. We continue along the road until we reach the tourist city of Homer. Well, let's say it again, tourist should be in summer. But we found different restaurants, shops, and open services. We started by entering the information office.

There they explain to us what to do and see in the city. We try to burn a last cartridge of excursion. We hire a plane flight to reach the Katmai National Park since there are no roads. We want to see more bears. But most companies (and there are many) have already closed, and those that do not want to fly because the weather forecast is not clear.

To compensate, we will have a snack at the magnificent Bakery. We settled in the Driftwood Park campground, overlooking the sea. It is one of the most complete services, but also the most expensive. The average price during our route goes from $ 10 in the simplest camping areas, to the 35 in the most complete, passing by not paying anything in different free zones. But it's still early and we cannot stop.

We drive through all the streets of the town to see what it offers us. We pass by the beautiful Lake Beluga, where are the different companies that organize excursions. It is full of seaplanes. The town has another area of activity, full of restaurants and shops, the Homer Spit. It is a land language that juts out over Kachemak Bay. Pretty. A narrow road with water on both sides (more or less high, depending on the tide), and where we can see some marine animals. They tell us that it is a good place to see eagles, but we did not find any.

Since we are there, we reserve a table for tomorrow, what they tell us is the best restaurant in town. We decided that tonight we will only eat something light but in the village. It's time to dine out of the caravan. We take a walk and we are attracted by the cafe, where we see people waiting. It must be good! We have no reservation, but they offer us a good table right away.

We want some sandwich and salad, but when we see the letter it has nothing to do with this. The dishes that we see in the rest of the tables are huge. Everything seems magnificent. Fresh fish, good meat, great dessert menu. They forced us to eat like gluttons! A few salads of first, and ribs and fresh fish of the area. And we finished it off with a cake that we did not understand what it was made of,

We arrived with the bellies too full in the campsite. What a feast. Now we do not know whether to cancel the restaurant tomorrow night. We were behaving well in our caravan and now we will eat all the stocks of the town of Homer!

Day 17 - Homer

We woke up at Homer's Driftwood Park campsite. We began to intuit the end of our route, and today we have had that feeling more than any other day. Homer will be our last town to visit on the route through Alaska. Then we will make our way back to Anchorage, from where our flight departs. But to celebrate, we went to have a brunch, this meal that Americans have "invented" for the weekends. It is a mixture of breakfast and lunch.

What they do not know is that we already did this when we woke up on Sundays after the Saturday night party. But hey, we repeated at our favorite bakery of Homer. I have eaten a fantastic Moroccan soup with chicken and vegetables and a Sticky Ban. You can imagine what it was like!

After the brunch and since it was a great day we have walked everywhere. We have visited the Farmer's Market that they do every Saturday morning in Homer. They set up stalls where they sell local products and craftsmen. It is tiny but quite authentic.

We are approaching the Split of Homer, a tongue of land that enters the sea, and today we have been able to see eagles! As the tide was low, we have been able to get close enough to one of them, who has been photographed for a long time. Although we have not dared to go further offshore for fear of getting stuck in the mud! And I have once again missed missing a more powerful telephoto lens.

We also take a walk around the port of Homer. It is full of moorings and boats. Many bars and restaurants are also concentrated here.

In Homer Spit there are bars decorated with one dollar bills. After the wildlife session, we climbed up a mountain of about 300 meters, which is next to Homer on the East Hill Road. From here there are great views of the whole town, the mountains on the other side of the bay and even the Dixon, Portlock and Grewingk glaciers.

And to finish off, we have taken a walk around the shops of the town. We've hung out until dinner time and we've finally decided to dine at the restaurant we had booked. Yesterday we ended up with full bellies, but today it also promises.

We almost arrived late at the restaurant. We sit at a table overlooking the sea, and the girl who attends us is super-friendly. We decided on a small starter, salads, and fish. It was the salmon, a kind of cod and the Rockfish. We have riddled the girl with questions. They have many kinds of everything, fish, sauces, accompaniments. She asks us what sauce we want for the salad, and we want her to explain each one. She has brought us a sample of all with the name pointed.

For us, it is very early (we have just had dinner at 9:30 p.m.), but we are the last to leave the restaurant. Although we understand that it is better for everything. We will miss the town of Homer.

Day 18 - Homer

We recognize it today we have broken one of the unofficial rules to try not to repeat restaurants, cafeterias, and services, to see the maximum possible number. But we have returned to breakfast at the Bakery in Homer. We liked it so much that we could not choose another one. We have passed in front of a pair that looked good, but they treat us so well. We have even bought provisions for the snack we will make during the route.

This route has consisted of undoing much of the road already made before to get closer to Wasilla, the place where we will return tomorrow our beloved motorhome. By the way, maybe we have not said it, but everywhere we see caravans like ours. It seems enormous to us, but you have to travel in authentic transatlantic with wheels. For much of today's journey, we have remembered times and places where we had stopped to make the road for the first time. We realized that we were talking as if we had been in Alaska for 3 months, and today is the 18th!

We put gasoline back into the bug (when we finish the route we will count expenses). For the first time we filled the propane tank (we must return the caravan with all the tanks full). It is the gas that has served us to cook, operate the refrigerator and heating. The truth is that we thought we would spend more, but it has not been bad. We have eaten, like most days, in a very nice area. We have calculated quite well the stocks that we had.

In the area of Russian Lake, we have seen a huge bear on the road and fleeing into the forest. We have not had time to open the mouth that has already shot, but this has excited us. We have entered the secondary roads of the area, hoping to see some more animals. We see monkeys! But apart from getting lost, we have not seen anything (well, only beautiful landscapes, that as they are the daily bread and we think it is the most normal thing in the world, as we have become so spoiled).

The waters of the Anchor River came down with red tones. We see another of Alaska's many lakes, the Arc Lake. Later we stop again to also make the last snack in the caravan. How we like these moments. The day ends and we stop at the only campsite we have found open. We have preferred not to make camping area to have internet and look at things that we need to book to continue the route.

But we have gone to a pretty place, without any service or wifi. We will not be able to dismiss our caravan with the place it deserved. But we suppose that it will not take it into account, after sleeping, like us, in places that have seemed spectacular to us. We started to collect things, which we have distributed throughout all the cabinets and we ordered a good part of the luggage. Last night with our beloved motorhome. We will miss her very much.

Day 19 - Goodbye to our caravan

Today has been a sad day. We must say goodbye to our traveling companion during this entire route through Alaska. The day comes to return the motorhome. How difficult it was to collect all the things that we had scattered through drawers and put them back in the suitcase. And that we try to travel with the minimum possible! In addition, we have left it super-clean!

We drive to the city of Wasilla, where is the caravan rental company (well, in fact, it is the owner's house), and we are already on time. As we love everything, we have hours left. In addition, we need to look for a Dump Station (the place where to empty the water tanks of the caravans), since the camping where we have slept did not have, and that has annoyed us the plans. Finally, we found one at the entrance to the city of Anchorage.

The Milepost guide is great to find everything we need during the route. We are unable to make a trip. We continue stopping in forests and lakes to take a photo. It is very difficult to say goodbye to so much nature.It is understood why it is called Mirror Lake.

Finally, we meet the girl in charge of the caravan business. She returns us with her car to Anchorage, the most important city of Alaska, and where we will spend one last night. The trip lasts almost an hour, but we fill it out explaining our anecdotes of the trip.

We arrived at our Bed and Breakfast, and after leaving the suitcases we visited, as we did the first day of the route, downtown Anchorage. The city seems another! We see it bigger and more full of life, but we know that it is due to the route we have taken for the rest of the State. Now to see 5 people together and we think it is a crowd (we have been so alone). We even entered a shopping center, and visited shops of all kinds. Among them the Apple Store, where we love to play with the latest iPhone model.

We eat in a Chinese restaurant and have a snack in the cafe. We approach the sea and visit a gift shop. If we got to know that this store existed, we would have traveled with less luggage and a good part we would have bought it here!

We go back to our B&B, and we put on a washing machine. But we do not calculate that we want to go to dinner and we only have the sweatpants clean (the rest is still washing). It may seem silly, but we dare not enter the restaurant where we had planned to dine and say goodbye to Alaska. It is a little "elegant". So we entered F Street, more "bar" type, where they watch a football game on TV, and the atmosphere is great.

Filled full, we found a couple of places in the bar just in front of the cook. It's quite a spectacle to see him prepare a lot of different dishes. We chose good American cheeseburgers to end the day, a glass of wine and beer from Alaska. And how easy it is to establish a conversation with these people!

Let's sleep with our typical knot in the stomach before catching a flight. Tomorrow at noon we fly, but not home yet. We will visit the other American state that is also separated from the other states: Hawaii.

Day 20 - Goodbye Alaska, Aloha Hawaii

And today comes the day to finally say goodbye to Alaska. Our plane leaves at 2pm. So we decided that it is not worth leaving the B&B. We got up a little later than normal (we went to sleep very late) and we make a good breakfast. The owner of the house, already said goodbye yesterday (today had to leave early), but has left us a good banquet prepared. We take it very calmly. Too much maybe! A little more and the taxi driver to take us to the airport catches us preparing the bags.

It has been 20 days of a great experience, visiting the so-called Last Frontier, and we perfectly understand this definition.

We have plenty of time to avoid suffering (something strange in us), and this time we have no problem when passing security checks. We carry the minimum possible luggage, and in the same queue, there are people with a lot of bags and packages. Some with boxes and boxes of frozen fish that they take home after fishing days. Here they seem to have everything under control.

When we arrive at our boarding gate we lower the average age of the flight by about 40 years! Of course, Hawaii is one of the preferred destinations for American retirees to spend a few days relaxing. The flight lasts about 6 hours, and we landed without any problem in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu. We are already in another dream destination.

We have already reached Waikiki Beach in Honolulu! But this will be another story. It has been many sleepless hours to explain our trip through Alaska, but we are very happy with the result. In fact, our initial idea was to complete the route with maps, routes and more information, but we did not have more time. In short, we continue with the good life, and soon we will add more detailed information about our route through Hawaii.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Travel to Liguria and Genoa in Italy

Today it was time to say goodbye to La Spezia to go to the Ligurian capital of Genoa in Italy. As a curiosity, apart from the rich history that Genova had, the invention of cowboys is attributed to it. Apparently the word jeans to indicate the famous fabric, originated here around the year 1500.

With the name Blue De Genes and the distortion to English blue jeans, indicated a type of blue fabric very resistant to the weather. It was perfect for the sailors of Liguria, and was used for candles and to cover merchandise. It was manufactured in the French city Nimes, from which originates the word denim.

Day 1

About 9:30 am we we gave the keys to the apartment to the landlady. We had breakfast for the last time in the cafe and we headed to the train station. We had taken the ticket online with what we saved something in the rate with respect to take it out at the time.

A lady announced by public address that the train from Roma Termini to Genoa will arrive 20 minutes late. So we have to wait more on the platform, where we entertain ourselves watching the movement of passengers. There are enough tourists equipped to visit, probably, the cinque terre. We see a group of pigeons that flutter on the tracks trapping small pieces of biscuit that a man has purposely crumbled for them.

We ride on the float, as the Italians call the wagon, and we settle on the left side to go to the sea. The journey lasted an hour crossing the villages that we already knew in addition to Sestri Levante, or Deiva Marina among others. Through the window we could see the calm sea, with people bathing and the sunny day.

We got off at the Brignole station and, in 10 minutes we arrived at the hotel. Thanks to a rewards promotion we got a good price for this hotel in Genoa that was in a quiet place and at the same time close to the center. It is on the Via Corsica, in a residential neighborhood, located on a street that looked more like a Parisian boulevard. It is very different from the characteristic Genoa caruggi or alleyways.

After check-in they gave us a genoa map and, after leaving the luggage in the room, we went out to wander around. We found the layout of the streets marked on the map with black arrows indicating the different heights that exist. Genoa is built on levels. It has been growing around its great port in a disorderly way and adapting to the irregular orography that surrounds it, towards the hills.

From Via Corsica we went to the Dante square. After going down some stairs we found an enclosure full of motorcycles. There are many throughout the city. In the background stand out the two towers of Walls of Genoa that was once the main gateway to Genoa. It is one of the medieval works that are preserved, very close to the central Piazza De Ferrari. Just next door is the house museum of Christopher Columbus, whom the Genoese consider their countryman. Although his origin is not very clear, as it is disputed between Spaniards, Portuguese and Italians.

The house can be visited but we only see it from the outside and we stop at the remains of the Cloister of Saint Andrea. Here only part of the arches of the cloister remains. These were absorbed, like the towers of the door, by the subsequent development of homes in the area.

From there we go to Piazza De Ferrari, where we find an open space with a huge fountain in the center which is a meeting place for young people. At the beginning of the nineties the area was rehabilitated and paved for the celebration of the V centenary of the discovery of America.

At one end we find the Ducal Palace, one of the main historical buildings. Inside, we can find different exhibitions and activities used as a cultural center. The lunch hour was approaching and we headed to the Vico Superiore del Ferro, where I had located a restaurant that was not far from the square. We moved between the alleys and soon found a kind of tavern where they serve typical dishes and others. The place is decorated and they have used the chopping boards of the butchers in the tables.

We take a dish of the day to choose among several, water or glass of wine and a coffee. With caffeine in the body we go uphill to the Spianata Castelletto, after climbing a lot of stairs. It is a panoramic point, an esplanade from where we get a view over the roofs of the city, with the port, the sea and the lantern or lighthouse in the background. We sat for a while in the shade while we observed the houses crowded with manifest disorder that, in surface, formed a labyrinth of narrow alleys.

We resume the march in search of the D'Albertis Castle that hosts the museum of the cultures of the world. It was built on a fortification of the sixteenth century by Captain Enrico D'Albertis. He donated it himself to the city along with all the ethnographic, nautical and archaeological material he had collected during his travels around the world. Access to the gardens is free so we decided to go and see them.

After resting for a while in the area we went down to the center making a stop at the botanical garden near the university. Here they have some greenhouses and plants with their names on posters.
We continue with the descent until we find ourselves side by side with the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata del Vastato. We found it quite ugly on its side facade.

We entered to see it. Its interior completely erased the first impression after discovering the artistic splendor of the Genoese baroque. The church dominates in an imposing way on the Piazza della Nunziata. The ambitious project that entailed its expansion and maintenance was partly financed thanks to the families of Genoese noblemen. We sat for a while looking at the paintings on the ceiling, the solomonic columns and the ornate decoration of his style.

On leaving, we headed for the Via Balbi, which comprises the junction of the square where we were with the Piazza Acquaverde. Here the other great Genoese railway station is located, that of Principe.

Via Balbi was built in the early six hundred by a member of the Balbi family, rich Genoese bankers. Here we find a good number of prestigious palaces, many of them inscribed in the Genoese rolli and declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. The street is the seat of the university specializing in Law, Political Science and Philosophy. The university library is also present, a building of the six hundred that belonged to the Jesuits.

We went first to the Palazzo Reale, from which we saw only the gardens with free access. At the entrance there is an exposed carriage and, on the other side, the sculpture of a huge foot. In the background a garden opens with a fountain where a child, accompanied by his grandfather, spills coca-cola in the pond because he says that the fish like soda.

The university is not very busy but what we do see is a large number of announcements in a bulletin board regarding the search and offer of accommodation during the course. We left via Balbi, after having seen its palaces with decorated facades we went down the alleys to the port. There we ran into the Chiesa e Commenda di San Giovanni di Pre.

It is a monastic complex consisting of two Romanesque churches and a three-story building, the commenda. It has undergone numerous restorations and is located in Via Pre, one of the oldest streets in Genoa. In this area we can breathe the atmosphere of what port cities were in the past. There are people from different parts of the world, small workshops, typical buildings with painted facades and narrow alleys.

We soon go to the promenade located in the Old Port, which for several years has been converted into a cultural, tourist and service center. It was renovated on the occasion of the 500th centenary celebration of the discovery of America in 1992. We first see the Galata Museo del Mare.

It is the largest maritime museum in the Mediterranean where boats, armory of the dock, atlases and fishing objects among others are conserved. There is also a room dedicated to emigration.
Very close we came across the boat that Roman Polanski used to shoot his movie Piratas and it is a museum that can be visited. Around we met a lot of people selling handbags on the sidewalk that mimic the most exclusive brands and models.

We leave the ship behind and see the entrance to the Genoa Aquarium, the second largest in Europe after Valencia. As we knew this one and in March we visited several in the Emirates, we did not enter to see it either.

Another of the main buildings of the old port, is the Bigo, a panoramic elevator that turns on itself. It was built for the cargo cranes that were in charge of lowering the merchandise that arrived at the port. The structure rises allowing to see a view of the city and the rest of the port.

We continue with the walk along the pier and we find the Bolla, a kind of glass and steel sphere inside which live exotic plants, reptiles, insects and some birds. We approach to see the interior and we can only distinguish between the plants an orange bird.

Both the sphere and Il Bigo were designed by Renzo Piano, well-known Italian architect, in charge of remodeling this area of ​​the port. After resting for a while in the port, watching the people on a sunny afternoon, we approach a market where they sold all kinds of food under the painted facades that once had to look splendid.

Strolling we arrive at the San Lorenzo Cathedral, in the square of the same name. It is a medieval church on which later additions were made. The initial project included two towers but, as it happens in other places, only the right was finished housing the only bell tower of the temple.

The decoration with black and white strips of the facade was a symbol of nobility typically used in Genoa. As a symbol of the struggle of Christ against evil, two lions appear on the sides, with a curious sad expression on their faces.

We took the opportunity to take a refreshing gelato sitting on the steps of the cathedral watching the incessant movement of people from one side of the square to the other. Nearby is the Chiesa del Gesu e dei Santi Ambrogio e Andrea. We went to see the interior, where we discovered a lot of paintings.

Upon leaving, we decided to end the day by going to the hotel. We take advantage of the fact that it has a small wellness area with spa, which is comforting after the intense day in Genoa. We dined at the hotel restaurant because they offered us with a voucher to use in bars and restaurants. We took advantage of it, although there are numerous options outside. We have an aperitif and dinner with the pinchos and a rich pizza.

Day 2

Our second day in Genoa dawned clear, with splendid sunshine and pleasant temperature. After breakfast at the hotel we stopped at the first kiosk that we saw to buy tickets for the urban bus. As we had planned to make several trips, we opted for a one day ticket and allows unlimited use of the bus for 24 hours.

We went to the Via XX Settembre. In front of the eastern market, we took bus to Prato. Our goal was to visit one of the most outstanding cemeteries in Europe. It is famous for hosting an important collection of funeral sculpture and having outstanding figures such as the wife of Oscar Wilde or Giuseppe Mazzini.
Although cemetery tourism may sound a little strange, it is well worth a visit, because it is an authentic open-air museum. The extension is considerable and we spent three hours traveling it and they flew by us.

The monumental cemetery of Staglieno is for the Genoese people a place of remembrance and commemoration. It also represents a fascinating artistic and historical testimony of the city of Genoa. The municipal administration, aware of the cultural importance has, has undertaken initiatives aimed at the restoration and enhancement of the numerous works that have made this cemetery famous. In one of the main doors is the statue of the Faith, a work in white marble of 9 meters high, made by the sculptor Santo Varni.

We got off next to the flower stalls and, at the entrance, a man came to offer us a plan of the whole. Later another one appeared offering its services like guide but we decided to make the visit by free.
We started with the less monumental part, and already here the decoration of the tombs seemed surprising to us. We move between sculptures and niches and soon we cross an aqueduct leading to the part of the English cemetery. Two sculptures of a perfectly dressed couple draw our attention in the middle of a forest of trees.

A little further up were the tombs of the Orthodox. This cemetery welcomes people from different confessions, reflecting the cosmopolitan character that Genoa has always had. The Lutheran tombs looked more austere and those of the Jews wore their symbols such as the Star of David and the 7-branched candelabrum, along with the name of the deceased written in Hebrew and Italian.

We had climbed stairs and, from the top we saw the central temple. We accessed without ceasing to surprise us with all the sculptures that are there. Here the dust has accumulated over the years and where silence reigned, only disturbed by the curious steps of some visitors. In the interior of this pantheon the remains of illustrious citizens are conserved.

Along the perimeter walls extend the galleries, authentic chests of sculptural works. There are several thematic itineraries such as the Risorgimento, the Angels, the Charity and Charity and the Emotions. We began to walk the galleries to the west and up, below and at the top. The themes of charity are represented by female figures.

As for the emotions, in Staglieno art and nature merge, creating an alliance of exclusive beauty in a context of thick vegetation. In the Ammirato tomb the dramatization is exalted, which prevails over the melancholy, evidenced by the singular pose of the young woman, with her head tilted, letting her hair fall.

Empress Sissi, visiting the Staglieno Cemetery in March 1893, stopped for a long time before the monument to Giacomo Carpaneto. It is a notable work of Scanzi. This tomb was commissioned by Francesco Oneto, a wealthy merchant and president of Banca Generale. The angel who holds the trumpet of universal judgment with his right hand, offers no gesture of consolation, for he seems distant and imperturbable.

The sensuality of this statue profoundly shocked the contemporaries, but it enjoyed great success as it was repeated countless times, both by Giulio Monteverde himself, the author of the work, and by the imitators of the artist. It can be found in several versions in many cemeteries in Italy, France, Germany or England.

In the Erba edition of the Genoese sculptor Saint Saccomanno, the female figure sitting on the tomb with her eyes closed and holding the poppy seeds in her hands, the pagan symbol of eternal oblivion, also shocked her contemporaries, partly because the sensuality that emanates from the naked shoulder of the woman.

From 1860 Realism had a rapid diffusion in Staglieno that can be seen in the representation of human figures and their surroundings, treated with great precision and attention to detail. The expressions of pain are recreated, the gestures of the hands, the dresses and the hair seem tremendously real. In the Pignone tomb, by sculptor Giuseppe Benetti, a representation of death appears on its own. The young wife discovers the veil, a symbol of long illness, which covers her late husband, rich businessman, owner of a large shipping company.

In the tomb of Rivara, by Giovanni Battista Villa, the brother, the sister-in-law and the nephew are represented. The sculptor captured his clothes with maximum detail, as can be seen in the boy's shoes or corduroy trousers. It also represents on their faces their state of mind and the wedge of the stylistic precepts of bourgeois realism.

The tomb of Caterina Campodonico, the walnut seller, may be the best known monument in the cemetery. This woman saved all her life to make a sculpture in Staglieno and is represented with the necklace of nuts in his hands and a thread of bread. Caterina managed to get Lorenzo Orengo, a sculptor of the Genoese bourgeoisie, to make this sculpture for her.

At times, the sculptures take on a more macabre tint and we cross corridors with a ghostly atmosphere, with the cobwebs hanging from the ceiling, the walls with humidity and a sepulchral silence, perfect props for a horror movie.

After the long walk through the cemetery and, overwhelmed by the amount of sculptures we have seen and those that have yet to be discovered, we take the bus to the center of Genoa. We eat again in Taggiou and after resting for a while we go to Via Garibaldi, very close to there. In this street there are several mansions and manor houses.

Formerly known as Strada Nuova, Via Garibaldi is one of the most visited places in the city, as it contains that representative set of the commercial society of the sixteenth century. The numerous works of Renaissance architecture are surprising, with sculpted facades, stuccoed and medallions.

Along the street are lined buildings with atriums, steps, patios, rooms with frescoes and hanging gardens. Here we find outstanding art galleries such as the Red Palace, the White Palace and the Spinola Palace.

We leave via Garibaldi walking through the Caruggi, the narrow alleys that lead to the port. We cross the Via de la Maddalena, a curious street that the Genoese do not frequent at night or during the day.

We arrived to the cathedral and took the opportunity to visit the interior, since the previous day we found it closed. In the Dante square, right next to the house of Columbus, we took the bus to Boccadasse, the fishermen's neighborhood a short distance from the center. In 25 minutes we got out and saw the silhouetted silhouette of the coast with a group of houses near the sea.

From the church we go to a pretty busy square. There are people walking, fishing, taking a gelato in front of the sea or enjoying the afternoon in this quiet place. Boccadasse is a small neighborhood that opens around a small port and a pebble beach. There are people lying down and others bathing, because of the temperature.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Journey through Glacier National Park

Our idea was to enter the Glacier National Park and go through what gave us time on the road that runs through it. Although the sky remained quite covered, but at least it stopped raining. When we arrived at Radium Hot Springs we made a technical stop and took the opportunity to buy some sandwiches. To recover some time, we were eating them along the way. Slowly the miles were falling and we realized we were arriving at the border with the United States. As you can imagine, we left the camera in the back seat so there would not be any misunderstandings.

When we arrived at the Roosville border crossing there were not many cars so we did not have to wait long. Of course, we had time to read all the notices that were on the posters. The one that put us most nervous was the one that said that everything that had been bought outside the United States had to be declared.

The agent asked us where we came from, where we were going, if we had bought something. We explained that we were going to spend a couple of days in Montana and then return. The police looked surprised. We clarified that we would first stop in Minneapolis. Regarding the issue of purchases, we said that we had only bought gifts. And the truth is that we were not lying.

We continue on US93 through Whitefish, Columbia Falls and finally we reach Coram, the small town where our lodging was for the next two nights. In addition to single rooms and individual cabins the site has a huge place to park caravans. At the reception we were met by a very nice man who explained where our room was. He also asked us about our trip and what we were going to see in Montana. When we told him we were just passing through, he told us that the Glacier National Park was very good.

Finally he recommended a couple of places that he knew for dinner and breakfast. We went to locate the site for dinner and it was on the same road in the direction of Columbia Falls less than 3 kms away. We were back in the United States with the food, the atmosphere, and the people!

Day 2

We started to regain consciousness at 7:00 am accompanied by the sound of rain hitting the outside of our little cabin in Twin Butte. With the prospect of a breakfast at 8:30 and the almost total assurance that today we will not be able to visit practically anything due to the severe weather over Glacier NP, we are in no hurry to get up, not even to start preparing our luggage.

Through the windows, in addition to the expected drops of water glued to the glass, we see an unknown car that must belong to our neighbors, although we have not heard their arrival during the night. We stretched and reviewed photographs and videos with special attention to those of the bears a few hours ago while the interior of the cabin is lit up slowly by natural light.

When we planned the trip, we thought it was not a good idea to cross the border the same day we had the flight, just in case there was something unforeseen. That's why we prefer to spend the last part of our trip in the United States. The planning for today was very simple and quiet.

We knew that we were not going to be able to go through it as we had read on the park's website that from September 21 they close the Logan pass to fix the road. The first thing we did was go to breakfast where they had recommended us at the typical roadside bar. What a breakfast!

We were not aware of what we had ordered until they brought it to us. For breakfast today we have some spectacular french toasts. With maple syrup and, for those who tolerate it, a little bacon or butter on top, are a first bite of the exquisite day. Our new neighbors and dinner companions are a nice couple on honeymoon from Texas.

Once we had breakfast and with a full belly, we went to the park entrance. When we arrived at the port, the person who answered us told us that the National Public Lands Day was celebrated. The entrance to the park was free, so we saved the entrance cost.

Although we were warned at the entrance, a few kilometers there were signs that warned of the works and that the road was cut 50 km later.

The truth is that the weather did not favour us as the sky became increasingly gray with clouds that did not bode well. In addition the temperature was at 3 degrees.

So we continued forward and when the road allowed, we stopped to enjoy the scenery and take some pictures. One of the photos that follows is from the Bird Woman Falls (293 mts). The glacier that is just above is one of those that provides water to the waterfall.

And as announced, upon arriving at Logan Pass, we found the road closed. Also, since we were already out of season, the visitor center was also closed so we could not do much.

From this point a lot of trails come out, but as the weather was so bad (at the top the fog was quite thick), we did not try to do any trail.

Seeing that things did not improve, we decided to go down to the lower altitude areas to see if, at least, there was not so much fog. And although we had some downpour, we were able to make several stops to take pictures of what most caught our attention, like the little waterfall from Logan Creek.

While we were going down we came across one of the attractions of the park: the famous red tourist bus. As we did not have another plan until lunchtime, we stopped by the lookouts that we found on the road. Most were spots where there was some waterfall.

Lunchtime caught us near Lake Mcdonald, so we took advantage of it to buy some refreshments and eat the sandwiches we had bought in the morning.

After lunch we made another attempt to climb Logan Pass to see if the weather had improved somewhat, but just the opposite. The fog had become even thicker and the traffic on the road became a bit dangerous, so we decided to go back to the room and gradually prepare our bags.

Although we had to do an engineering work, in the end we got all the suitcases closed, although some little thing had to stay there. After going out to dinner (we repeated the same bar as the day before), we tried to check online to confirm the flight.

Day 3

We wait from the window for a small break in the downpour that does not stop dropping us to take the luggage to the car without getting soaked. But far from dying, the number of snowflakes that land on the lawn per second increases more and more. So there is no choice but to collect waterproof layers and optimize the travel necessary to bring our bags, backpacks, isothermal bags and shopping bags to the trunk of the Chevy.

While we update the family and social networks, time seems to be even more violent. It does not snow but the rain is strong, which advises driving with great caution. We do this, bypassing the detour to Waterton Lakes and taking the route that will take us, some 40 kilometers later, to the Chief Mountain border crossing.

Fortunately it seems that we are getting ahead of that Canadian storm that promises to wreak havoc in the next few hours, since according to the black clouds are left in our mirrors the driving becomes much more pleasant. Of course, the charming alpine landscape that characterizes this union of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is hidden behind the thick clouds.

We reached the control by which to leave Canada after having discovered and explored it for two weeks. After a mere process of a few seconds with a robust border agent we are already back in the United States of America, nothing more and nothing less than in the first hours. We circulate at 3,000 meters high, not bad for a reunion with the country of the stars and stripes. And during our first kilometers moving south we came across several herds of cows roaming freely on the road.

At a much better pace thanks to a simple rain much less dangerous than the flood with which we started, we reached the scattered houses that form the town of Babb and after passing it we reached the cabin. We found the office closed and some vague directions on how to find the management, but after a couple of laps we managed to find it.

The woman in charge of the complex regrets that our room is not ready yet, because with a storm like today, late departures increase. We pay the remaining half of the reservation and receive the key to the cabin anyway in case we want to leave our luggage, but we decided not to go and have a look until it is ready.

Without much to do due to the storm, we go to the nearby town of St. Mary where one of the two entrances closest to the National Park is located. We reached the visitor center of this access to the complex.

Together with the receipt of our payment they already give us maps and a park guide, a good summary of very useful information during the visit and something that we have missed in the access to Canadian parks. And from the minute zero the difference with the National Parks of Canada is abysmal. The care for the detail, the investment of the American government and the pride for its network of National Parks.

It's something we've never seen anywhere else. We receive a nice room with all kinds of details such as a large screen with the weather forecast, a detailed model of the entire surface of the park, a small museum on the history and fauna of the place and, most surprising, an auditorium with capacity for more than 200 people where every 30 minutes an introductory movie is shown with the benefits of the Glacier National Park.

We take advantage of the Internet connection to reassure the family about the trance on the road that we had to pass. Once the process is completed, we inform our plans and preferences to one of the always willing Rangers before asking for advice about how to distribute the hours that the weather allows us to enjoy the park.

Finally, we look for nearby self-service laundries in order to take advantage of today's circumstances and free ourselves from tasks and messages, thus trying that the next two days are entirely destined to take advantage of the scenario. The predictably charming Ranger who serves us at the counter confirms what we thought was our best option is to reserve for a possible sunny day what we are most interested in seeing at its peak, Hidden Lake Overlook.

We trust that when tomorrow at noon the worst of the storm we can attend our second most priority option Grinnell Glacier or Iceberg Lake, with her sharing our opinion that, although it is worthwhile to travel both. We approach the St. Mary Falls after a moderately short walk under a rain that will not disappear in the next few hours. We will follow your advice but before that you have to eat, which has already passed 13:00.

After a couple of failed attempts stopping next to coffee shops that turn out to be closed we tried our luck in the cafe. It is located door to door with a hotel with similar prices to our cabin that once ruled out by the horrible reviews it has received on Tripadvisor.

We entered the premises, which in reality is more a family restaurant than a cafeteria, and a rustic interior awaits us with nothing that seems forced or artificial thinking about tourists. Two waitresses are on duty, one urging us to take a seat and one that takes our order.

We ignore the Sunday special of fried chicken dish with soup and several sauces and we decided on a hamburger with cheese and what they say here as banana peppers, which is a very powerful type of pepper. The burgers are delicious as my mouth burns. The potatoes taste good and the enigmatic soup does indeed carry everything, including meat that gives it the appearance of stew.

There is no choice but to accompany it with soft drinks and water since alcohol is not served locally. We ended up satisfied and paying, including the tip. Now, let's try to get something out of this decaffeinated welcome to Glacier National Park with a short and accessible tour. After about 10 miles behind the wheel with how nice it was to think about kilometers we found the parking lot from which the path leads to St. Mary's Falls, a route that crosses mostly a forest that year Last burned after an incident in a picnic area.

However, as we would know later, the incident apparently had positive consequences for the ecosystem since the nature of the forest was dead anyway. Among the charred trees, the low visibility due to the rain and fog and the sleet that at times tightens strongly, is one of the most grotesque excursions of our trip.

Covered up to the eyebrows with supposed waterproof clothes some pieces more than others and after about half an hour dodging puddles and slippery stones we reached the bridge and the natural viewpoint in front of the falls. And they are not bad, but circumstances do not invite us to enjoy this goal more than about ten minutes.

From this bridge and adding another kilometer and a half more the road leads to other waterfalls, but as we know nothing about them. We decided not to take the risk. It's time to go back to the car, dying to get rid of a layer of clothing that is already completely soaked and that has not completely isolated our inner clothing from the ravages of the rain.

It's 4:00 pm when we're back inside the vehicle, and we take advantage of the fact that it's about an hour before we close the St. Mary's Visitor Center to make a new stop during which we reconnect to the Internet and request a brochure specific with information about all the excursions of the park.

Something before 5:00 p.m. is the time to discover at last how is our cabin number 5. It is not hard for us to find it following the indications that its owner gave us hours before, and what awaits us there is a construction much wider than that of Drywood Creek with a sofa accompanying the large bed, a bathroom with a slightly smaller prefabricated shower of the desired thing and, first time in the whole trip, without television in sight.

The interior is somewhat cold, so we put the heating with the dual function of warming up and helping us to dry the soaked jackets and boots. The trick works wonders and in just 10 minutes are ready for a new adventure. It's time to buy time for future days by washing clothes at a nearby service, even though the initial intention was to do our last laundry within two days taking advantage of the washer and dryer included in our next accommodation.

The best option that we have found online is a campsite near the entrance to the park by St. Mary's. It costs nothing to find it thanks to the good signage from the main road, and welcomes us with exactly what we needed. There is a room with about 15 washing machines and almost the same dryers, needing for the whole process a total of about five dollars in coins.

In a corner with sofas and TV a few elderly people are enjoying Casablanca in its particular version of neighborhood cinema every Sunday. Attached to the laundry is the gift shop and small grocery store of the camp, modest but enough to get out of a hurry in case of emergency.

In what we wait for the appliances to fulfill their function, Casablanca says goodbye with its titles of credit and the veteran division of the laundry leaves the place. A few minutes later the countdown of our dryer reaches zero and we are ready to pack our things and leave the campsite.

In doing so we see how the weather has improved slightly, stopping the rain at last and slightly increasing the visibility on the horizon, where the countless frozen mountains that make up the Glacier National Park are already sensed. The thing promises and a lot, and it makes us want even more strongly that tomorrow the sky opens and lets us see that wonder that is surrounding us without being aware of it.

We only have to go back to our cabin number five and prepare dinner, which this time will rely mainly on our particular microwave since the cold, humidity and muddy ground do not invite to make round trips to the common hut with full kitchen and dining room. We just stopped by her to get a can opener and a couple of cups and spoons for breakfast tomorrow, and found inside a London girl who immediately guesses our origin.

We dined pasta with tuna and a canned clam chowder, that cream of clams typical in the two coasts and that can be consumed in a low cost version in the rest of the country thanks to the supermarket preserves. Along with a couple of beers, a coffee with milk and a cookie for dessert we closed the dinner service.

It is 9:30 pm when we are ready to see one or two episodes of Masterchef before turning off the lights. Tomorrow, if everything goes as we expect, at noon the sky should give the starting signal to finally enjoy Glacier NP in all its splendor. We do not see the moment of that happening.

Journey through Glacier National Park

Day 4

It seems that an eternity has passed since that good night when we rested surrounded by the comfort of a room of the inn facing the Athabasca Glacier. Things have changed a lot since then. Much more ground travel, many more wonders seen and here we are, after 22:00 in a mysterious cabin. It is the same cabin that we arrived yesterday. This part of the mystery does not make much sense. B

It is a quiet and clear night outside with the threat of frost during the night. Our feet beg for a bit of rest, and that has been a hard day. Not that we expected a path of roses, but the truth is that the effort has been somewhat greater than we imagined. Of course, the effort has had a reward according to its magnitude. What reward is that? Let's start from the beginning.

The Visitor Center of St. Mary receives us much more solitary than yesterday despite having been open since 8:00, but as the minutes pass with us sitting near the heater and laptop in hand begins to populate visitors. The forecast is good, again indicating that at 12:00 the sun will begin to appear.

Our reentry to the park has informed us that the Going to the sun road, precisely the road that starts in St. Mary and crosses Glacier National Park, has a section closed by the storm a few miles ahead. However, it does not affect us since our planned excursion for today is born in Many Glacier, another nerve center of the park which is accessed by another entrance a few kilometers to the north.

We spent more time than expected inside the visitor center, watching with hope as the clouds are rising little by little and even begin to show the snowy mountains. We take advantage of the discreet but sufficient Internet connection to gather new episodes of television, starting with the premiere of the last season of Masters of Sex. Evenings without television or Internet in the cabin can be very long and all entertainment is welcome. Loosely passed 10:00 we decided that it is already good and we set course.

About 30 kilometers separate us from the car park we are looking for. Going through them takes us a bit longer than expected because the road that enters Glacier on this side presents several sections that urgently need a review, with potholes that will end up being expensive one day to a car rental company. We arrived safe and sound and around 11:00 we left the car sheltered until the eyebrows to face the challenge of the day. We're going to Grinnell Glacier.

Until the last moment we kept open the debate about which excursion to use today's day. The Glacier National Park has itineraries to give and take, enough to justify staying in its surroundings for more than a week. Unfortunately the budget and days available for vacations are limited, and that conditioned our passage through here to only three days. One of them, yesterday, was almost completely ruined by bad weather.

Another of them, that of tomorrow with guarantees of good weather, is reserved for what is our most priority excursion. That leaves us today to dedicate it to another great excursion, meaning anybody that passes more than 10 kilometers and requires ascending several hundred meters along that distance.

Two candidates came to the grand final after our research on Glacier National Park: one was Iceberg Lake and the other Grinnell Glacier. Both began their journey from nearby points, accessing the park through the access of Many Glacier that we have just crossed. Both had respectable distances and ascents, although Grinnell was winning by an additional three or four kilometers between the round trip and something more to overcome.

And most of all, the big difference is that while the trip to Iceberg Lake consists mainly of visiting the glacier lake at the end of the road, which is no small feat, with the Grinnell Glacier Trail we were going to have the complete package. It also awaits us at the goal a glacier lake with the corresponding mass of ice on it, but its itinerary seems to be willing to other sights and attractions that give it more variety than its competitor.

So after weighing pros and cons and after verifying that even a Ranger from the visitor center provided the same reasons as we did, the Grinnell Glacier proclaimed itself the winner. And there we go with nine kilometers to go, another nine to return, and between one thing and the other a difference of over 500 meters that we must overcome to reach the end of the road.

The first four kilometers take place around the lake Swiftcurrent first and leaving behind the Lake Josephine to our left. The landscapes that it presents are already noteworthy although we hope that on our return the sky, still covered at this time, will have been uncovered and that will improve still more the postcard. But the worrying thing is the little, almost null rise of those first 4,000 meters.

That means that the more than 500 meters of height to be won will be concentrated in the second half of the route, and greater problems are already pending. Meanwhile, the clouds finally decide to start ascending, clearing the view and giving us more reasons to continue. The temperature begins to rise, so that layers of clothing begin to be left over, which we must either keep in the backpacks or tie at the waist.

We passed by the detour that would take us to Grinnell Lake, a lake fed by the waters of the glacier that should not be confused with the real glacier lake, that which lies at the foot of the frozen surface collecting its mass in the form of liquid. When we passed the milestone of the five kilometers, small concentrations of snow began to appear on the vegetation that we left on both sides.

When we have overcome the six kilometers the shy snow has become a complete protagonist of the landscape, invading treetops and branches of trees and accumulating in thicknesses of between three and six centimeters. We spot several specimens of goat in the distance Big Horn. Also called ram of the rocky and characterized by huge horns in the form of ensaimada on his head.

We met a photographer with the appearance of a professional, equipped with a camera and telephoto of those that cost several months' income and showing a calm and tranquility that only someone who has spent hundreds of hours in solitude waiting for the moment to take the perfect snapshot can get.

When the count is over seven kilometers and we have even started to leave Grinnell Lake from above, the glacier begins to appear on the horizon beyond the timid but extensive waterfall that connects both points. At eight kilometers, with many meters already at the back of unevenness and uneven terrain full of roots and rocks with slippery aspect, one begins to wonder how much more you must tighten your teeth before reaching the goal.

The snow covering everything has stopped surprising, being assimilated into the landscape. And finally, after a final 600 meters that put your energy reserves to the test, the steepest slope of the day and a zig-zag finish ready to break your legs, there we have it.

A lustrous example of an ice block that rises beyond the horizon until it reaches almost to our feet, only interrupted by a precipice in which the ice turns into water and this precipitates into a lake completely calm. Grinnell Glacier is considered a modern glacier since it was not discovered until 1887, and yet it suffers like all the unstoppable advance of climate change with its icy surface receding several meters year after year.

We have been successful with our decision that relegated the visit to Glacier to the last days of the trip. To witness this during the first days would have reduced much impact to the rest of the nature attractions visited, which, although admirable, can not be required to compete with this monstrosity.

The untainted white of snow and ice not as in Athabasca, where we almost saw more brown than white from the exploitation of the glacier.The setting with snowy trees where only the sleigh of Santa Claus pulled by Rudolf are missing of the three lakes to overcome before reaching this goal in the heights. Everything contributes to the arrival at Grinnell Glacier from the minute one well, after recovering the breath for the final ascent.

Reaching the top of the Grinnell Glacier Trail is not synonymous with reaching the end of the road. There are still about 200 meters that now seem like a walk to reach the very shore of the glacier lake. And it is then, when it expands before you, when you realize that more than half of the lake remains static for a reason. It is frozen, covered by a very thin layer of ice, surely unable to bear the slightest weight on it.

This is the place to drop the backpack, look for a relatively comfortable stone and observe in silence. And after doing it and before moving on to the submachine gun of photos and videos, take hold of those sandwiches that we have loaded on our backs and so deservedly we have won. We recover the layers of clothing lost during the climb, and it is that the thermal sensation is not the same stopped that in march.

It is not cold that makes us want to go back indoors, but this amount of snow and ice does not stay solid for no reason. While we savored both the views and the food we heard the crunching of some piece of ice that has broken in the distance and that none of the seven or eight visitors present dares to interrupt with his voice.

Between the climb and the visit to the finish line, it was already past 4:00 p.m. We better start to return if we do not want the sunset, and therefore the perfect time for bears to roam the areas with vegetation, reach us in full return. We allow ourselves one last look with which to leave the scene engraved on our retina and we turn around.

As always, the return becomes heavier after disappearing that feeling of approaching the unknown. And with nine kilometers ahead there is a lot of time to start getting bored, although the sky and the sun are much more optimal than during the ascent, it brings some incentive to the way back. We try to cope with it in the best possible way, making a photo here and there, chatting, joking.

We almost forgot that constant warning that must be had when walking through the area until we come across something. In the exact center of the road a mass with the appearance of vomit but of improper dimensions to come from a human being rests on the ground. In addition you can clearly distinguish in it dozens, almost hundreds of those small red berries that apparently both attract both black bears and grizzly.

We would remember perfectly having come across something like this during the climb, so the animal indigestion may have passed through here four hours or four minutes ago. Needless to say, from that moment we increased the pace and began to speak at a much greater volume and with a tension in the voice unpublished until now.

Following the recommendations of the park we alternate the chat with slaps. I even clap my hands singing the first song that comes to mind, in this case one of the Beatles. Spotify in special version for bears, very soon available for long nights of hibernation.

We passed the section with the highest probability of bears sighting and we allowed ourselves to begin to relax again. We reached, and it is getting very long back at this point, the pier of Lake Josephine where a boat passes the day crossing the water from shore to shore for those who want to shorten slightly the distance on foot to the glacier although the height to win remains the same.

The boat has been parked for more than an hour without any sign of moving again until tomorrow, but the lake offers us one of the best mirror effects of the trip reflecting with almost total precision the snow-capped peaks before it.

We complete the nine kilometers back looking sideways at the huge façade of the hotel, on the other side of the last lake that borders. It's 7:20 when we can finally get rid of almost half of the costumes and get back into the car, with a temperature of four degrees that is hardly a difference compared to two degrees Celsius with which we started the tour six hours ago.

We do not have time for more and, although we had it, probably we would not consider going any further. We knew it was going to be a tough stage but being a linear route without as many stops as the circular itinerary of Lake Louise has made it more tired than the effort of that day. We said goodbye to the area and therefore to Many Glacier under a sky that, now,

I would still like to give us access to Many Glacier with two presents before we finally said goodbye. First with a new sighting of a bear in freedom, this time about five miles from the entrance to the park and without possibility of immortalizing it with a camera that rests in the trunk.

Shortly after our arrival the bear decides that there has already been enough function and starts to gallop downhill, in the direction of one of the countless lakes that accompany the road. Second, the last rays of light of the day coincide with our last miles before reaching the main road, giving us the excuse for a last stop in which to contemplate the different shades that the sky adopts before the watchful eye of the Many Glaciers, literal translation of Many Glacier.

It is 8:00 pm when we have left Many Glacier behind, and we do it to park at the supermarket open until 10:00 pm between the four buildings that make up the town of St. Mary. It is not a Walmart but it has enough to cover basic needs such as precooked food, drinks, snacks or protein for cooking.

Once the process is completed, we return to the parking lot of the Visitor Center of St. Mary, where several dozen cars rest despite the fact that the center has been closed for three hours. Why then so much public influx? Well, because the Internet connection has no schedule and from the parking area closest to the entrance can still be detected. Unemployed in a somewhat precarious way we invested about 15 minutes in updating the networks and knowing about our families. And now,

We reach it just before 9:00 p.m. and with the right energies. Today's dinner, which consists of two separate chicken dishes with different preparations and microwaved noodles, tastes great despite the austerity of its preparation. The shower ends up sinking us in that need of rest after a day that has demanded the best of us, but that has given us in return something that has made it very worthwhile.

It's 23:10, an hour too late for a country like the United States where the prime time of television has already ended, and our only remaining goal is to turn off the lamp and rest to face tomorrow another day. No, I'm not talking about one more day. It is our last day at Glacier, and therefore our last day in the heart of a natural park. After him, only a small tip will remain in the form of roads, shopping centers and urban parks, but nothing comparable to scenarios capable of giving us shows like today.

Journey through Glacier National Park

Day 5

It's seven in the morning in our cabin number 5 in Babb, Montana. We start the day with a new domestic breakfast that this time includes a breakfast burrito with egg, cheese and sausage heated in the microwave and that fills as much as its composition suggests but is not as tasty as expected.

We look out the window and the sky is blue, blue that amazes. We can already see among the trees some snowy peaks of the environment and it seems that it will be an unbeatable day. But there is something that we overlook and do not remember until we see the state of our vehicle. Tonight a strong frost was predicted and it seems that the prediction has been successful.

When we look at it, our Chevy looks like the Delorean after returning from its first time trip in the parking lot of the Twin Pines Mall. It is completely frozen, with a coat that glows in the sun covering crystals and bodywork. We have to use hot cloths to melt the worst part of the crystals and we must push some doors from inside to get them to open. When we started the car the thermometer marked -3 degrees.

We collect our things. We load them in the trunk which also needs a bit of insistence to open up. We left in the communal hut the cups and spoons that we had borrowed for breakfast. It has been a nice accommodation, with somewhat expensive rates but according to the prices of the area.

We head back to St. Mary's where after four miles we refuel what fits in the half-full tank before entering Glacier National Park predictably for the last time. The Ranger of the gate informs us that the Going-to-the-Sun Road is still cut during a stretch that prevents reaching the starting area of ​​excursions from Logan Pass and let's not say our next Columbia Falls lodging on the completely opposite side of the park.

That means that, unless we give considerable detour through the south of the park, for now we are trapped without being able to continue our route. Fortunately we have the already familiar visitor center of St. Mary by our side to offer us shelter and Internet connection while we wait. The sky is still completely clear and in this short period of time the temperature has already risen to one or two degrees above zero, so there is hope that the cut of circulation does not last too long.

It is 10:00 when the park agents update the warning signs of the visitor center, indicating now that it is possible to reach Logan Pass but from there the traffic is still cut. For now it is enough to satisfy our plans, so here we go.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road is, being brief, an animated one. With a totally clear sky that makes the conditions are optimal to drive through it, we are unable to pass by not even one of the dozens of viewpoints that happen every few meters. The rodeo that gives the road to a huge valley surrounded by high mountains, including the one we expect to see in a few hours from the Hidden Lake Overlook, make any other route that has the audacity to be called scenic route must rethink if it deserves Title.

We rediscovered the snow despite the fact that the temperature has already risen to a perfectly bearable six degrees Celsius. After about 15 miles from St. Mary reached the huge parking lot of Logan Pass where there is a new visitor center of the park and signs and more signs indicating the large number of routes that hikers can take from here. Indeed the road remains open only here, preventing us from continuing to drive west and truncating our plans to link from here with access to the park by West Glacier that would later take us to our next accommodation.

The traffic is not the only one sacrificed by the frost. The Visitor Center also remains closed, we do not know if for having destined all the personnel to inform of the precautions to take throughout the park or for not being able to guarantee the security in their accesses, since it is built on several floors and the steps to reach the upper floors are completely covered by several centimeters of snow.

In its surroundings the snow becomes ice in the shaded parts, being very inadvisable to try to continue walking on it. The beginning of the road towards Hidden Look Overlook, however, seems to have already been subjected to the efforts of the employees of the park since it is possible to distinguish perfectly a freeway of snow and ice opening hollow along it.

Hidden Lake Overlook is one of the most visited points of Glacier National Park. To reach it requires traveling the two and a half kilometers that separate it from Logan Pass, during which it gains a height somewhat higher than 150 meters. This climb is concentrated in the first kilometer, helped by a series of long stairs and wooden walkways that now present the additional risk of ice waiting for the smooth soles of an unwary.

As we ascend the landscape that we leave behind becomes colossal and the one in front of us does not detract, with Bearhat Mountain towards which we are heading growing more and more in perspective with each step we take. I am delighted with the change of scenery, because of our habit of starting our trips at the end of August.

Due to the state of the terrain and the precautions against the ice, the two and a half kilometers are slow to travel, which in normal circumstances would be doubled. In doing so, we reached the viewpoint at Hidden Lake. While still magnificent, the landscape is flattened by being covered in snow everywhere.

The photos we saw during our research they showed, along the lake, accumulations of flowers of different and vivid colors on a mantle of vibrant green, giving an amazing amount of nuances to the landscape. However, all that gift for the eyes has been covered by snow, which also threatens to cover parts of the mountainside that normally allow to distinguish its texture.

The viewpoint consists of a wooden walkway of about 10 or 12 meters above which the snow is still far from disappearing despite being constantly trampled by visitors. From here you can continue and descend to the shore of the lake, but this implies two kilometers and 260 meters of descent to advance, which must be overcome, a challenge that does not sound very appetizing knowing the state of the surface.

We begin the return to Logan Pass, still more careful on the catwalks since when tilting the weight forward due to descent the possibility of an untimely slip is even greater. Approaching 14:00 when we reach the parking and both the Visitor Center and the extension of the road are closed to our misfortune. After eating in the car rolls of chicken caesar salad I ask a Ranger what he thinks about waiting a little longer in case he opens the road or starts the long detour to the south.

He informs me that the cut area is only three miles, but the ice that is parked there is resistant to melting and, if at this time of noon it has not yet done so, there is a high probability that it will not do so until the day in the morning.

Highline Trail, another star excursion that is born here and that although we did not plan to complete. We return to our departure point of St. Mary and from there start the route to the south. We say goodbye to Logan Pass a very remarkable 12 degrees that make the experience of stopping again in viewpoints along the Going-to-the-Sun is very pleasant, and something almost mandatory now that the sun is higher and allows us Enjoy the views in the opposite direction to this morning's.

During the march, a new black bear with the appearance of being quite young crosses right in front of the car after which we circulate. We can only see him galloping for three seconds before getting lost in the woods to our left, but with this one there are already five bear sightings in the wild during the whole trip.

Coming from three previous trips where our expectations were not met to be able to see these animals in freedom, it seems that all the luck that we lacked then has been concentrated on this occasion. We made our last stop along the scenic route in the viewpoint to the small islet of the Wild Goose Island, which actually offers much more thanks to the lake that surrounds it.

We arrived at our favorite Visitor Center in St. Mary, where for the umpteenth and last we took advantage of the free Internet connection. Now, yes, there is no choice but to start the unexpected detour. What was going to be 63 miles crossing the park becomes 97 surrounding it from the south, but since it is 3:30 we believe that we still have time to make a raid to the park from that side before moving away in a southwest direction to Columbia Falls.

The landscape of ice and snow immediately gives way to green and brown wastelands with the only trace of white tones on the horizon thanks to the peaks that continue to lean to our right.

The alternative route crosses several towns consisting almost entirely of motor homes with fences to delimit the farms and all kinds of improvised outdoor furniture in what are supposed to be tables, slides and others built with loose pieces. Cars and vans with abandoned appearance can be counted by tens. Of course, perhaps they will be inhabited by charming people, but the appearance of these small towns does not invite you to stop and greet them.

From this side and at this distance, Glacier National Park looks like a theme park. We see in the distance a dense concentration of snowy mountains, but all perfectly delimited by a natural wall of lower mountains and without any relationship with the rest of the landscape, which is rather desert and autumnal. It's like getting close to Port Aventura and seeing the silhouette of the Dragon Khan or the Shambhala surrounded by the absolute nothingness.

Did I say five bear sightings in the wild? Well, there are already six. During the second half of the detour to West Glacier, a couple of black bears try to cross the road seconds before us and the previous truck pass through it. We are surprised that the truck driver has been able to see them from his cabin and stop in time, when the first of the two bears takes advantage of his goal to cross the road and get lost in the vegetation of the left shoulder.

The second one seems to flinch when he sees the traffic and returns to take refuge among the bushes on the right, waiting for the next opportunity to meet with his brother, gang colleague or, you know. At last we reached the signal of West Glacier after an hour and a half of driving that has become heavier than we imagined. We do not waste time and we enter the park on this side, reaching first the south bank of a huge Lake McDonald that accompanies us to our left for nine miles. However, the forest between him and us gives us few opportunities to appreciate its magnificent dimensions.

We continue the march with the intention of reaching the cut of the road from this side and from there start to descend. For this we still have about 20 miles, only three less than it would take us to reach the Logan Pass again on this side if the road was not cut. The tour becomes monotonous.

Well, there may be someone who is passionate about it, but to us more than two miles with only forests on either side of us bores us after the spectacular eastern half of the Going-to-the-Sun of the that we have witnessed this morning. The road takes time to start gaining height but when it does, it does so with a steep slope. Those snowy peaks that are already familiar begin to appear in the distance, but now they seem to be turning their backs on us. We make a single stop before reaching the end,Bird Woman Falls from the car window.

We finally reached that fence with the text of Road Closed which confirms that hours later the stretch that remains to reach Logan Pass continues cut. The closure takes place at the height of the Weeping Wall, a vertical stone wall that for several meters becomes dark due to the fall of water on it, giving it the name of weeping wall.

We have here, next to the parking lot with a lot more people than we expected, a shy but elongated cataract that reaches us from the heights in several sections. However, we are among the few who seem to pay attention to it, since most of those present are more attentive to several rams of the Rockies that are grazing a few tens of meters above our heads. We already saw several of these copies yesterday and a better distance, so we are not as excited as the others.

We started the descent back to West Glacier and unfortunately the time of day is the least suitable for the views that the route could offer us. At 18:33 the sun is already preparing for its farewell to the west, so the viewpoints to the valley, with the river meandering several meters below us, are totally tarnished by the resol. It makes no sense to stop to see the Lake McDonald, since the light would blind us equally if we tried to look at it. We arrived in a short time to West Glacier, where we entered another failed gift shop.

We are already going to Columbia Falls, a small town 17 miles from West Glacier where we can find the room we have rented through Airbnb . Yesterday we contacted the hosts to let them know that our arrival time would be quite late, to which they responded with facilities to access even though they did not return until 9:30 pm. and a list of restaurants in the area could interest us.

Among them was one specializing in meat and, importantly, barbecue pork ribs. That is one of the favorite dishes that I have been waiting to taste since we landed in Seattle, so the decision is almost immediate. Since it is already 8:00 PM we decided to stop in it first and have dinner before discovering our home for tonight.

What we find is a local with a rustic look, something old, and a price list that seems acceptable. We both ordered small portions of ribs, which are more than enough and worthy of their name. The surprise of the dish is a kind of fried bread exclusive to the house that looks like Chinese bread on the outside but inside it tastes like a donut. We went with everything including black beans, coleslaw and baked potatoes with a Pepsi and a Moose Drool for me from Missoula and that is exquisite.

Now we go to the Airbnb house, just six blocks from the restaurant. Despite the difficulties due to the almost complete darkness of the street we managed to locate it but when we tried to enter it we found the surprise that the door is closed despite the fact that the hosts assured us that they would leave it open. It is 21:10 and according to your answer they would be back at 9:30 pm, so we can only wait in the car until at 9:35 p.m. there is a vehicle that stops in front of the house.

Once the question of what had happened was cleared, we can finally enter and reach our room. It is huge, with a bed of an amplitude as we had never seen before, a carpet at his feet and all kinds of tables, drawers and chairs as well as a refrigerator and a microwave. A good router gives us an Internet connection while they leave the bathroom on the ground floor, which is exclusive for us since they use the basement.

It's 22:00 when we can finally shower and lock ourselves in our room to start storing clothes in the depths of our suitcases, since after today our particular winter is over. Tomorrow we have a hard, hard day, as hard as driving about 1,000 kilometers west until we reach the Pacific. Today nature has ended. The scenarios have been up to the task, and now it only remains to think that the end is near. We are almost in it.

Day 6

There is a risk that you always have to evaluate when you enter a road trip. When cities, parks and other itinerary stops trace a circular route on the map, everything goes smoothly. The search for flights is simpler, the available days are optimized and the rental car does not present any problem as it is returned in the same office (or at least, the same State) in which it was collected. Unfortunately that is not always the usual case, and an example is this trip. Travel the distance from Seattle to Glacier National Park.

Crossing Canada has been a joy, but it presents us with the small problem that we are now almost a thousand kilometers away from the starting square and we must head back towards it. And we have to do it because the alternatives did not work out. Getting our return flight to leave from Montana not only limited the air supply a lot but also added a considerable surcharge to the rental of the transport. So today there are no great landscapes or efforts for the legs. Today it's just about driving for hours on Interstate 90 heading west.

The room rented in Columbia Falls through Airbnb. It has been correct although quite uneven. The stay has already started turbulent because of the misunderstanding that we had 20 minutes waiting in the car the night before. Let's add the impossibility of using the shared kitchen to be affected by the reforms underway inside the house.

And let's finish it with several ambient noises during the night that do not help guests with a light sleep, being especially annoying the sound of the trains that pass a little distance from home. It has not been the best rest of the trip, but some forces have been able to recover.

The objective for this morning was to start up as soon as possible and we achieved it with flying colors. When the clock still shows 7:20 and the car returns to present some ice on it although not in such dramatic amounts as last night we turn on the heat to clear the windows and we hit the road.

Previously our host has recommended some detours and places to visit along the way, but I must admit that we did not pay much attention because we were still stretching and our listening comprehension had yet to wake up. We only have one mission to get to Everett as soon as possible, the city several kilometers north of Seattle that will welcome us on our last two nights of travel.

We began to travel along the first hours of light the state of Montana in the direction of the west. And what does Montana have to offer us one Wednesday morning before they have even opened the shops? Because of the highways that force you to slow down from time to time to cross small villages, meadows, tractors and more meadows and watch cows resting, small deer crossing the road and a small fragment of the Lolo National Forest, the latter being the most attractive our last moments in the state that houses Glacier National Park.

At last the highways of a single lane in each direction end and we connect with Interstate 90, the one that crosses the country from coast to coast very close to the border with Canada. The speed limit goes up to 75 miles per hour and that encourages us with the prospect of being able to discount miles to the destination with greater speed.

We said goodbye to Montana and began to shoot about, according to some license plates of our fellow travelers, the status of the Famous Potatoes. We are in Idaho, the American corner that we already travel on our way to Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park.

The virtues of the interstate are sometimes interrupted due to the numerous road work, those sections where cones appear, lanes disappear and, what affects us the most, the speed limit is drastically reduced. It is impossible to get rid of them as there are everywhere. Given how numerous these road construction zones are and how difficult it is to distinguish what they are improving or maintaining exactly, I still do not discount the theory that they are excuses that states manufacture to generate employment.

We drive for several kilometers within walking distance of a car that needs a good wash and has a sticker on the back that reads choose Hillary Clinton. It brings us a certain sense of relief, because so far all the posters we had seen circulating in the United States were supportive of her political rival in the presidential campaign, a Donald Trump that needs no introduction.

We made the first stop of the day after a good first pull of something more than 200 miles traveled in more than three and a half hours. Rest is the excuse to drink coffee in the city of Coeur d'Alene. The exterior welcomes us with about 15 degrees that already predict that the temperatures of previous days are a thing of the past. Only nine miles later we make a second stop, this time longer, to settle accounts with the supermarket chain Walmart.

And ah friend, now yes. The establishments of the franchise in the United States are exactly what we remember and were looking for, and not the constant disappointment that their equivalent of the neighbor in the north implied. Not only do we find things of which there was no trace in Canada but also the prices are noticeably lower, even using a stronger a priori currency like the US dollar.

We have to take yes or yes a couple of those chicken BBQ Wraps that made us salivate in previous trips. I fall into the temptation of a pair of t-shirts, one from Star Wars and another from The Avengers. We renew our stock of earplugs, so useful on difficult nights. And we took a whole load of ChapStick lip balm bars. We take them of several types like apple, cake or pumpkin.

We resume our mission to travel on Interstate 90 heading west. There are 320 miles left when we arrived at what was our first and will be our last State of the trip in Washington. We won with the change one hour to the clock, since we return to the Pacific time zone after several weeks in the Mountain Time Zone.

We refilled, probably for the last time fuel at a gas station, which does not allow us to indicate in advance how much we want to authorize on the credit card. 13:30. We overcome the barrier of the remaining 200 miles. We are still surrounded by farms and tornadoes. That our discography for travel has reached the selection of themes of Mumford & Sons comes to hair for this landscape.

What separates Seattle from the eastern border of the state of Washington in which it is located? Well, the absolute nothing. Miles and miles of farms guarding huge plots only interrupted by countless small tornadoes that remove the earth. We stopped a few minutes in a service area in the middle of nowhere to eat one of the two barbecue chicken wraps and take turns again at the wheel.

Again running after the meal, using the huge coasters of the vehicle to let a Dr. Pepper Diet bought in the service area. The 26 degrees outside remind us what it is to live in short sleeves. 170 miles to the destination. We overcome the psychological barrier of the 100 miles to arrive. We enter a new National Forest that gives us some views of a beautiful lake before crossing a long bridge.

We were doing a great time. Ten hours after starting the march we were barely 30 miles from the destination, which was quite an achievement as we expected the trip to take us about 12 hours including intermediate stops. But then Seattle had to arrive. And his hellish traffic. We spent half an hour trudging through to finally reach exit 26 that will take us to Everett.

We finally take the exit. Fret the record time to reach the destination. We still do not arrive because the damn detour did not mean the end of traffic jams. And now we must add eternal traffic lights and a multiple accident that has left two cars in deplorable condition for the enjoyment of the onlookers who consider it a good idea to almost stop altogether to take a look.

I thought we were never going to say we had arrived, but here we are. We parked in front of Everett's house, and go home. Three floors of which we will only occupy the living room, bedroom and private bathroom of the basement, although we will have access to the kitchen on the ground floor and the laundry room on the top floor. Allison receives us, a Canadian lady who is all kindness.

More effusive than his two cats, who well, like good cats, prefer to opt for the step of you instead of giving you a warm welcome. But less effusive than his three Golden Retrievers who go crazy and jump for joy, especially the two males. There is still the tour of the facilities. The bedroom and bathroom are more than right. Who knows, a lot. And connected in a timely manner to an Apple TV with which we have access to countless channels and even the Netflix catalog.

Very satisfied after the welcome tour to the house we started to download the car for the last but one time after a fairly long and lively conversation with Allison. Their dogs do not stop playing around us and demand attention and pampering from time to time. After freeing ourselves from their harassment, we showered and went upstairs to make our last washing machine for the trip.

It's 8:00 pm. After a 25-hour day, let's remember the time change when we made the decision to postpone our food for tomorrow at noon. We will have a local of the franchise two miles from the place where we will spend all day and it is more advisable to kick the stomach at noon than at night, with less room to seat the banquet. Tonight we take advantage of some of the meals that we have left and that surely we can not exhaust before returning home.

After a chapter of Braindead in the best home theater that we have ever enjoyed, at 10:10 pm and despite having no need to get up early the next day, we decided that the day is over. What's up tomorrow? Why the hell are we in Everett and not near some remote park or national forest, or even near the airport to leave the next day?

The reason is very simple. Our trip to North America is ending and we have not yet covered a mandatory milestone. We have not yet made the traditional visit and consequently busted the stores of a shopping center. Tomorrow does not happen.