Birthday adventure: Mumms tour to Seward, Alaska, because Ken is from Seward, Nebraska

If Ken Mumm hadn’t been born in Seward, Neb., perhaps he wouldn’t have wanted to spend his seventy-fifth birthday in Seward, Alaska. But he changed into, and he did, so for that milestone birthday on June 5, he and his wife Bonnie drove four,135 miles to Seward, Alaska, to have fun among puffins, seals, sea otters, and fishing boats on a windy sightseeing cruise on Prince William Sound. The journey becomes a year in the making. Planning for the nine hundred and fifty-mile, seven-week journey commenced properly after Ken’s 74th birthday a yr ago. “I’m a planner, a researcher,” Ken, a retired educator, stated. “It was fun.” He and Bonnie, a former administrative assistant at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, were now strangers to Alaska; in 2012, they’d visited Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Seward and sailed down the Inside Passage. They wanted to move returned; however, this time, they would pressure.

First, they bought an RV, a singular item for the Mumms, who, as soon as we became avid tent campers. Doing research online, Mumm was stunned at the “implausible” selection of trailers he discovered online. After giant studies and talking to an RV expert in Longmont, Colo., they located a 2015 Winnebago in Lincoln. They tried it out for two nights of ultimate fall at Fort Kearney State Recreation Area. They hoped to camp in it again this spring. However, bad weather avoided that.

Then they pored over The Milepost, a 768-page Alaska tour planner published yearly, the bible for motorists sure for Alaska. It shows each gas station and inn at the 1,390-mile Alaska Highway — nicknamed the Alcan Highway — from Dawson Creek, Yukon Territory, to Delta Junction, Alaska, simply southeast of Fairbanks. They’d hoped to drag their new Winnebago with their SUV, but they bought a pickup.


Hitting the road

They took off on May 15. With no firm itinerary, they could forestall whenever and anywhere they wanted. Their first prevent became Chamberlain, S.D., where they toured the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center. Next, got here Badlands National Park close to Interior, S.D. It became clouded using fog, but they stayed for some days.

“From then on, how do we want to move the day after today?” Ken said. They were hoping to go to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. However, 33-degree temperatures and snow changed their minds. They stopped there at the way domestic as a substitute. “The weather became cold, but our camper turned into heat,” Bonnie said.

“Our intention turned into to get up there earlier than all of us else came up,” Ken said. Instead, they headed throughout Montana to the Canadian border. This early in the travel season, they encountered few northbound visitors. They were concerned about crowds in Banff National Park and Lake Louise; however, they determined each “viable.” Lake Louise nevertheless turned frozen.

At Dawson Creek, British Columbia, they picked up the Alaska Highway. The surroundings changed into jaw-dropping. “Every turn in the street becomes a picture opportunity,” Bonnie said. “The clouds were fabulous. Sometimes we took pix of clouds.”

Memorable sights

There is a lot to see. In Skagway, they saw five docked cruise ships. “It became wall-to-wall vacationer stores, but the history became captivating,” Bonnie stated. “The avenue to Chilcoat became the take-off point for the Gold Rush parents.” They saw Haines, too, then got lower back on the Alcan Highway via Tok to Delta Junction, went directly to Fairbanks, then grew to become south.

Talkeetna, they stated, changed into “a groovy ancient metropolis,” in which Denali-sure climbers begin their treks. The town of Chicken boomed with gold miners a century ago, but simply seven human beings live there now. The biggest traveler appeal is a massive chicken statue with signs and symptoms pointing to locations with bird-themed names worldwide, like Chickabooga, Australia; Roosterberg, Belgium; Barnyard, Ky., and Cluck, N.M.

Seeing Denali

The Mumms camped simply seven miles north of Denali National Park. For six consecutive days, a rarity, they had seen Denali, North America’s tallest mountain at 20,320 feet. Due to Alaska’s common rain, many site visitors to Alaska don’t get to peer it in any respect. “They told us best 33 percent of vacationers see it. However, we saw it six days in a row,” Ken stated. They took an unforgettable sightseeing flight from Talkeetna to Ruth Glacier, internal Denali National Park. In Soldotna, they camped in a provincial park alongside the Russian River. By then, nicely into June, travelers have been flocking to the nation, but the Mumms found out they had to begin lower back so they might attain Longmont, Colo., by using July 1 for their grandson’s seventh birthday. Regretfully, they gave up plans to pressure north to the Arctic Circle.

Heading domestic

Driving home, their route took them through the wide plains of Japanese Alberta and Saskatchewan. “We ought to see as a way as our eyes should see. It was stunning, too. We were curious about the big cumulus clouds. They have been constantly there, and they have been beautiful,” Bonnie stated. The plains of North Dakota had been memorable, too.

They were given a chunk street-weary as they headed towards the U.S.; however, as they stopped at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, then ran through South Dakota and Wyoming toward Longmont, they talked about all they’d visible.

Take Alaska’s length as an example. “You consider Alaska as large, and it’s far, but while you examine maps, you mayn’t consider how large it is and how it miles to get from one vicinity to another,” Bonnie stated. On the trip, they had seen an image of Texas superimposed over a map of Alaska. The sign stated, “‘Say hi to our little buddy Texas.'”

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