Thursday, July 21, 2011

Far From Civilization in Paxson Lake

We drove farther today than we have in awhile – about 184 miles. Along the way, we had wonderful weather and more incredible views of this beautiful area.


We also had to make some tourist stops. First, the Knotty Shop. Someone has very cleverly created animals (and lots of other items in the gift shop) from knotty burls of birch trees.


We crossed a bridge for motor vehicles next to an even more elaborate bridge for the Alaska pipeline.


Rika’s Roadhouse is a favorite tourist stop, as it has been since 1904. This place has quite a history, a beautiful garden and several outlying buildings. I’m only including one picture here, but I encourage you to follow the link to learn more about this place. We really enjoyed walking around the grounds. And the gift shop is one of the best we’ve seen. If we hadn’t already bought Alaska jackets (and if our closets weren’t so full) we would have picked up a bargain $18 one here.


The monument marking the end of the Alaska (AlCan) Highway was a site not to be missed. We’re driving the entire 1422 miles, but not in a continuous line. Still, we had to mark the milestone.


We had lunch in a shady place in the parking lot, then drove on to Paxson Lake. It’s a popular fishing destination, but it’s also a return to the ‘wild’ part of Alaska for us, away from the cities, traffic lights, malls and restaurants. We found sites where we could get our satellite dishes tuned in, then Dennis and Don had to bring out shovels to help Gary get out of a jam. It seems he dug a few holes in the gravel with his wheels and got stuck.


Mary proudly showed off her North Pole shirt. She thought it was Friday and she’d be honoring our military by wearing red. Then she remembered it’s Thursday – oh, it’s her birthday! Oh, well, it’s the thought that counts. And again, Happy Birthday Mary – we celebrated early 2 days ago because Jean and Claudette were leaving, but our wishes are no less sincere.


At happy hour we had to spray ourselves heavily with Deet to avoid the dense mosquito population, but Pat and Jim had a better idea.


Jim had a little trouble eating and drinking through this apparatus but he didn't get any mosquito bites!


Pat had to show off her professional pedicure. Cool toes!


We also had a great time watching squirrels and birds. One squirrel was bold enough to come up on our table to steal peanuts!


Because there are no restaurants nearby, Don planned ahead and grilled a skirt steak with carne asada seasoning we bought in California. Yummy! We’re going to have to find a way to share this with others.

One of our purposes for coming to Paxson Lake is to go kayaking. So I hope that tomorrow we’ll have equally good weather and will be able to report on a paddling experience.


  1. Wow GREAT photos today... well everyday. LOL Glad you're still having a ton of fun. Loved your post today!
    Have fun & Travel safe

  2. Beautiful photo of the mountains! And you can share that steak with us anytime!

  3. Too late now, but did you get a free ice cream at the Knotty Shop? If you took in your Milepost book and showed them their ad on page 235 they will sign your book and give you a free cone. We also learned that the animal display in the back area was done by the son of the owner. No formal training but it was pretty amazing to see the arrangement he had created.


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