Posted by: sunnyharvy | September 3, 2015

Rain, Wind, Hail, Snow and Sun (at last!) on the Richardson Highway

Could this really be August? We spent two nights at Birch Lake Campground under wet and windy conditions. Then two more nights at Donnelly Creek Campground where it got really cold (high of 37 degrees) and even snowed a bit!


Does this scene look like August 31 to you? Picnic anyone? I think not.


Morning view. So glad haRVy has a good diesel heating system!


The Valdez-Fairbanks Trail, now the Richardson Highway, has been much improved since it became Alaska’s first road in 1910. It affords some of the most spectacular views we’ve experienced in Alaska (and that’s really saying something). We are particularly pleased we waited until fall foliage season. The contrast of the brilliant gold leaves against the snow capped mountains is stunning.

One of our first stops was at Rika’s Roadhouse in Big Delta, AK. This site was an important crossroad for travelers, traders, and the military during the early days of the 20th century. Today, at Big Delta State Historical Park, one can take a walk through the past.


This roadhouse served travelers on the historic Valdez-to-Fairbanks Trail from 1913 to 1947. It  was a center of activity for gold stampeders, local hunters, traders, and freighters.


This vehicle served the roadhouse for several decades.


As did this outhouse. No indoor plumbing, of course.


Front view of nicely restored roadhouse.


Nearby the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline crosses the Tanana River.

The clouds began to rise as we proceeded down the highway south of Delta Junction, providing a preview of what might lie ahead.





Shot through haRVy’s windshield while camped at Donnelly Creek CG.

We had no internet connection, radio reception, or electricity at Donnelly Creek where we continued our wait for clear skies. Things got a little boring, so I took a few photos inside haRVy.


Our cozy “cocoon” sleeping loft. Skylight overhead for star gazing and opening side windows for a refreshing cross-breeze when camped in warmer climes.


Some of our souvenir postcards on the bathroom door.

I did manage to get out for a few short hikes near the campground. Camera always in hand, of course.



Ooh. Could that be a bit of blue sky? What a tease!



Enough is enough…time to move on! The forecast still wasn’t great, but our patience was wearing thin. It had been over a week since we’d seen the sunshine for any measurable period of time, but we just couldn’t sit around any longer. I believe the following photos show the wait was worth it.









A little side trip down a dirt road for lunch.


Rainbow Ridge.


Gulkana Glacier.



AAh! Have you ever seen so many magnificent mountains in one day’s drive?

And look at that beautiful blue sky!

Last night it got down to 27 degrees (!), but this afternoon it warmed up to 60. Summer is winding down fast in Alaska. Time to get serious about heading south through the Yukon Territory and British Columbia, Canada to Washington State. Piece of cake – that’s only about 1800 miles!


  1. Always thought it would be interesting to spend a winter in Alaska, this might be your chance. What scenery, “magnificent” seems inadequate, pictures begin to do justice to them. You are so lucky to have made the trip, I think we’ll put road tripping to our trip list. Still planning on heading to Great Basin and points west October 1, maybe we can cross paths. Are you planning on staying on the road for…………..?


    Sent from my iPad


  2. I think you again have some award winning photos there! Wow! And when fall sets in with some snow and cold temps, going south gets serious!

  3. I’ve been checking in a couple times a month. Always have enjoyed your photos and writing. If you get to OC again stop by. We have a nice guest room…

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