Sunday, July 10, 2011

Riley Campground, Denali National Park

We moved this morning about 8.5 miles to the first campground inside the park. Last evening Don and I drove over here to see if we could pick out a possible site – it’s first come, first served for specific sites, even though we had reservations. We talked with the camphosts on duty, Dave and Emily Penner. It turns out I had met them in September 2005 at a Montana 5th wheel owners rally in Nappanee, Indiana! They helped us out a little by putting our name on the site we wanted before we arrived with the motorhome this morning. Our site is really nice and we were able to get the Internet satellite dish tuned in quickly.


We’re on the Bear Loop, one of three, and all the other members of our group are nearby. A path through the woods connects us to Pat and Jim, the Olsons and Hills. The Fradettes are just down from them, and the Forbes are down from us.


Everyone was able to get a site they’re happy with. Even the 43-ft. motorhomes fit into the sites intended for a maximum 40-ft. rig. This is Gary and Mary’s 43-ft. Allegro Bus, with Carol and Dennis’ car in front as Carol was waiting for their site to be vacated. The people were taking all the time allowed to depart – they had to be out by 11:00 a.m. and it was exactly that time when they pulled out.


When they left they almost discarded the permit Carol and Dennis had placed under theirs on the post last night. Carol caught them and snagged the site before anyone else could claim it. As she pulled the car out, Dennis came in quickly to park their 43-ft. Dutch Star motorhome.


Backing in sloooowwwwly! As all RV Driving School graduates are taught to do!


The Olsons and Fradettes joined us at the Overlook Bar & Grill for “Alaska’s Best Hamburger.” We enjoyed the food and the view of the tourist area below.


After lunch, Don and I did a little shopping at the McKinley Chalet Resort and checked out the Courtyard Café to have dinner some night.


We found the road about a mile long on a steep incline with 10 mph switchbacks to a large hotel, the Grand Denali Park Lodge. We could see the hotel from several places below, but weren’t sure how to get there.


It offers beautiful views of the valley below, but it might become tiresome driving or riding a bus up and down the road.


Mary and I finally found time for me to show her how to crochet. We had a beautiful warm afternoon to sit outside.


Later we all gathered at our site for happy hour.


Marilyn and Larry invited their new neighbors in the park to join us. Rod Challenger…


…and his wife Kathryn, from Florida.


Some of us ended the day by attending a Ranger presentation on raptors. (Nice scarf, Pat!)


The ranger used animal puppets to help illustrate how raptors capture their prey.


He passed around various talons and feathers. Here’s a wing from a Great Owl. It’s incredibly lightweight, and makes hardly any sound, allowing the owl to approach his prey without being heard. This is the top.


Here’s the underside.


We were divided into 4 groups to learn about specific raptors. Each group had a few statements to read about their raptor, then they simulated the raptor’s flight.


Dennis and Carol were doing different versions of their bird.


What a fun way to end the day!


  1. Did Don get to pretend to be the squirrel?

  2. I wondered how difficult it might
    be to park all those rigs close
    together like you are often able
    to do. Takes alittle 'thinking
    ahead' and occasionally some
    'attitude'.........ya think!!!
    Very interesting!


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