What Does my Alaska Work Kamping Day Look Like?

I thought I would take a few minutes to walk you through my average day, since many people who are contemplating work kamping may wonder about that.

I get up around 7:30am and take about an hour in the morning to drink my coffee and relax with some computer games or Facebook.  During this time Lee (who works 8-5 generally) is getting his shower and finishing up his morning so I tend to just hang out on the couch until he leaves.  After he is gone, I make some toast (occasionally I will throw in some bacon for a protein kick) and then take a shower and get dressed.  This whole routine is complete by 9am and then I have a decision on how to spend my free 1-1/2 hours until I start to prep to go to work.

Some days I blog, other days I clean the house, and I try to get out as much as I can.  1-1/2 hours isn’t a lot of time to work with so the activities need to be short in duration.  I have done a couple of cool things though.  One day I planted some herbs and a tomato plant in a Topsy Turvy that I found at the local “everything” store.  Tomatoes don’t grow well in this soil so I bought the hanging kind to plant and then, bonus, saw it had additional holes for herbs.  I have always wanted a fresh herb garden, so I thought let’s give it a try and when Lee was in Anchorage getting the brakes done he bought me some herbs.


The only two topsy turvy’s in the store, but the price was good at $9 each

The finished product

The finished product.  Looks great…let’s see how it grows!

Another day when I was feeling particularly antsy I drove down to the Tazlina “mall”. Now don’t get too excited.  It’s called a mall because it actually has multiple stores in the same building.  There is a liquor store, hardware store, hair/nail place, and Casa de la Arte which was my real destination.  I met the owner at the Chamber of Commerce meeting and really liked her, and since she has products made by local artisans I wanted to check it out.  It’s a cool little store filled with Alaskan made products, and I enjoyed my chat with the owner Naomi.  She is in the process of moving up to Glenallen (which I think is a great choice) and since she lives here year round is also working on offering classes in the winter to the locals.  It was a nice little side trip and the Tazlina Mall is right off Hwy 4 so it only took me 15 minutes to get there.

The Tazlina "mall"

The Tazlina “mall”


Feed Supply, liquor store, and hardware/fishing supplies. Everything an Alaska needs 🙂


Have to check out the hair place when my next cut is due


Casa de la Arte

Loved these antler coat and door hangers

Loved these antler coat and door hangers

Local beadwork

Local beadwork

So so cute

So so cute

Made by a local Athanascan

Made by a local Athanascan

I really like these too. Regular head bands hurt my head

I really like these too. Regular head bands hurt my head

The magnet I decided to purchase was hand painted, but the owner gave it to me as a gift to welcome me to Alaska. So sweet

The magnet I decided to purchase was hand painted, but since Naomi made it she  gave it to me as a gift to welcome me to Alaska. So sweet

The other thing I really want to work into my routine is to drive down and check out the Copper River where we saw the eagles.  Once the fish are fully running I hope to get some more great shots and this is something I can get up early and do.  As a side note, I have been wanting to mention how many abandoned US Army vehicles are up here.  The military built these roads during WWII, and you find old ambulances, Jeeps, and trucks everywhere.  Many have been restored and are being used by locals, but it’s always interesting when you run across them.  Since Copper Center was a military supply town for a while it has several of them, sort of strewn around in various stages of decay.


At 10:30am I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I tried holding off eating until my lunch break at 3:30, but I just can’t wait that long so a small sandwich tides me over until then.  Since most of my physical activity is during the start of my shift (mosquitoes are much less prevalent in the mornings) I need the extra energy.  I walk over to the office and get a quick hand off from whoever started the day, then I check the emails for any reservations.  Confirmed reservations are printed and put in our reservation book, and if they are for the same day I make sure I assign them a spot, and place a pink slip on the board to reserve the spot.  Then I take the cordless phone (it works all throughout the campground) and walk the sites looking for trash in the fire pits.  I am amazed by what people throw in there, and since a dirty fire pit is a pet peeve of mine I make that walk every morning.  Next I grab the weed eater and start working on a section.  I try to keep an eye on the office, but there’s a sign on the door letting people know that if there’s nobody in the office they can pick any open spot.  I’ll walk up to them at that point and take them up to the office and check them in.  Luckily there is usually someone near the office at this time and since we only get a few check-ins before 2pm it usually isn’t a big deal.  After I weed whack it’s back in the office and another check of the emails for reservations. As a side note, I would normally be cleaning bathrooms and cabins during this time, but Darlene hired a local retired person to take care of that.  I am certainly not complaining, as I would much rather do yard work and working in the office than clean restrooms.  I didn’t ask her to hire someone, but I certainly appreciate it.

The next hour is spent on administrative tasks, and then I have my lunch. It’s been an adjustment but I enjoy my 3pm lunch time.  I eat heavy or light depending on whether Lee is cooking that night, and have enough time to watch a television show.  Then it’s back to the office, and that’s when things start to get really busy. How busy we are and how early the “rush” starts depends totally on the weather.  On cloudy/rainy days people stop driving earlier, and we start getting check-ins as early as 3pm.  On sunny days people drive longer and we will get very busy between 7pm-8pm.  Check-ins are my favorite things I do here.  Lots of our guests are from other countries and have varying levels of English.  I love helping those folks, and the less English they know the greater the challenge, which I enjoy.  So far I have met people from England, Australia, Germany, Holland, Finland, France, and Belgium and Switzerland.  Germans are by far the most common and since I have some German ancestry in my background I feel I am particularly good with them.  I am friendly and helpful, yet as efficient as possible, and really think I am pretty good at this.  As I have learned more about the area I love giving first-hand accounts of places I have seen or eaten at, but I also know when people are extremely road weary and just want to be checked in with minimal fuss.

The reservations process is multiple steps, and really only one person at a time can be checked in.  Oddly, people usually come in batches, and the couple of times I had multiple groups waiting Darlene or Marc (the owners) would come over and chat with them while they waited.  They fill out a form while I look at their rig and determine which spot is best.  We try to put them in a slightly larger spot than they need but save the really big ones for people with big rigs who might come later.  Then I process their payment (usually a credit card, which I have gotten pretty good at) and while doing that I draw on our map their location and explain how to get to their site.  I give them the Wifi password, and their faces usually light up when I say we have strong Wifi, and it is throughout the campground.  Then if they want more information I will make a recommendation on a place to eat or see in the area.  The check in takes around 5-6 minutes, but information can take a while longer and those conversations are really fun.

There is downtime in between guest check-ins though, and if  I have time I love to listen to Caribou Clatter.  This is absolutely the coolest thing because many people are in the bush with no cell coverage, and the local radio station allows people to communicate with their loved ones via the airwaves.  Four times a day they read off emails from folks, and they range from “Love you Papa, will see you soon,” to long messages about what’s going on at home.  It’s absolutely charming and is available on streaming, so if you have a few minutes around 12:20pm or 5:20pm Alaska time (4 hours earlier than eastern time) take a listen.  It reminds me of another time, and is really, really neat that the local station offers this service. I also read the local paper, the Copper River Record.  At 75 cents per week it’s a bargain and everything a small town paper should be.  This week one of the headline stories was about a rainbow that occurred at 9:30 pm! Breaking news. They are also ran an article on how the town was formed ( building the highway through what was then swamp sounds horrendous) and there is lots of local information on happenings in the region. Listening to the local radio station and reading the local paper make me feel more connected with the town and what is happening.

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we have dessert nights.  I premake the evening’s desert after lunch, and then put it in the oven at the appropriate time.  I am cooking for 10-50 people, depending on reservations, and have never made such large desserts before.  I do have a full kitchen and nice oven to work with in the owner’s cabin though, which is great.  I don’t think I could make such big batches in the RV oven.  Then at 7pm we ring the triangle, yes there really is one, and I serve desserts and chat with people.  The second person makes the bonfire and keeps an eye on the front desk, and depending on how long service takes I stay and then pull the remaining desert and wash the dishes.  I like to cook , but I never was much of a baker so this should be interesting for me.  I am looking for easy and good in the recipe department and the ones I think fit the bill I will add to the recipes here.  

My first dessert night was Rhubarb and Apple Crisp and folks said they really liked it.  The vanilla Tillamook ice cream certainly didn’t hurt, and the rhubarb itself was local and very, very good.  It has a nice tartness, but not overwhelming.  There were some women from Texas and I told them to be honest, and they said rhubarb reminded them of their childhood, so that is nice. On the second dessert night I made Swedish Applesauce cake, and we still had leftover rhubarb and some watermelon.  We were almost full that night, so we got quite a crowd.  After serving all the desserts I wander around and chat a bit.  It was nice seeing a couple of very young french hikers meet a much older Swiss couple, and they all happily chatted in French for awhile.  Meeting folks is fun, and watching them meet each other is even more rewarding  Finally, at the end of the night I close out the drawer.  Occasionally people are coming in late, and closing gets delayed a bit, but usually I can finish in around 15 minutes. Then I go home and have dinner with Lee at around 8:30. Lee’s cooking most of the dinners, because he’s done at 5pm. It’s nice to be fed, but I don’t think I will ever get used to eating dinner so late.  It doesn’t bother Lee in the slightest though. 

So that’s my day. My favorite part is definitely helping the guests and there is enough variety in every day I am not bored. The combination of some physical activity and office work is good for me and definitely keeps things interesting.


My little dessert station


Rhubarb and Apple Crisp

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 TBL cornstarch
  • 3 cups “small bite-sized” sliced fresh rhubarb
  • 2 cups “small bite-sized” cut apples (blueberries or strawberries can be substituted)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 real butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Vanilla ice cream, optional but recommended
  1. In a large bowl combine sugar and cornstarch, mix well.
  2. Add chopped rhubarb and apples; toss to coat
  3. Spoon into an 8 inch square baking dish
  4. In a separate small bowl combine oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Mix well
  5. Add melted butter and mix until resembles coarse crumbs
  6. Sprinkler crumbs over fruit
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until bubbly and fruit is tender
  8. Let sit for at least 15 minutes
  9. Serve warm with half a scoop of vanilla ice cream or by itself.















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First Time in Alaska

We decided to bypass Whitehorse in the morning for a couple of reasons.  First, it looks like a cool town and not the place you want to blow through, and second, we were trying to catch up with our friends Kelly and Bill (BKamerican Odyssey) who we thought were about 200 miles north of us in Destruction Bay.  This is where lack of Internet is challenging.  At stops at night IF you have wifi you can check in on folks.  We knew Jim and Barb were 1 day ahead of us, but they were headed down to Skagway on a side route, so we were missing them. Kelly and Bill were still on the Alaska Hwy though and we knew the name of the campground they were staying, but weren’t sure for how long.  They had internet two days ago and we didn’t, then we had internet last night and they didn’t. So we were playing the internet version of phone tag.  Kelly has a Verizon data and phone plan, but it only works in some of the towns due to coverage,  and since travel plans on a huge trip like this are often “soft” we were all doing the best we could to keep track of each other.  So different in the US where we all have mostly instant access to each other’s locations.  I get why people caravan now, because it is entirely possible we drove right past Jim and Barb and wouldn’t have known it.  Anyway, since we knew the campground they were at we decided to hit the road early and see if we got lucky and caught them.

We stopped at a Fas gas on the way out and paid 1.09 a liter.  Lots of gas options in Whitehorse, and it even has a real airport, albeit a tiny one.  The gas station overhang had seen better days though, and someone had posted the height in feet and inches on it.  Check out the pic and you can see why.  This canopy has been hit many times.


It doesn’t help that the overhang is on a slant and had three different measurements. The one on the end said it was tall enough for us, but I think our AC would have hit it so we backed out. Keep in mind this is a gas station near a major town. This scenario is NOT uncommon up here.

The road north of Whitehorse was paved but had lots of frost heaves.  Some were marked and some were not, and we ended up going around 50 or slower on the route.  Then around MM 936 we saw a sign saying we were leaving the 911 serving zone.  Woah, that was new and a little sobering.  Not that we could necessarily have called 911 anyway with our phone issues, but we were out there.   Around MM 960 though we started to see these beautiful views of the Kluane Mountain range and stopped at a wonderful pull out at MM 977.  On a clear day you can see Canada’s highest mountain range behind the Kluane range (which we could see) and they had a great sign explaining it.  Plus Lee got an excellent “rig porn shot” (trademark pending on the name lol).



The left pointed snow covered peak is Kennedy which is must farther behind the range in the front. The rounded peak that looks like a volcano top with snow on it is Hubbard peak. Beautiful view


“Rig Porn”

After the stop we started to get some low air warnings on the tires.  Nothing too scary, but we definitely wanted to get a little air in one tire.  Most regular gas stations here don’t have air.  Most are just a couple of pumps in front of a little store,  but in Haines Junction we were told there was a place called Source Motors that did have a compressor.  Two different people at two stops recommended it to us, but neither mentioned they weren’t open on Saturdays.  Again, weird, you wouldn’t know that about the only mechanic in a 50 mile radius?   Thankfully though they had a large parking area and we pulled in and Lee dragged out the compressor.  He turned on our generator then plugged it in and added about 6 pounds to one of the rear dually tires.  I didn’t mind the stop because the view of the glaciers in Haines Junction were really beautiful.  Here we were in this little spit of a town with a view to die for.  I wondered how people ever got anything done, but I am sure after a while it just fades into the background.

Next we hit the Jarvis River bridge and according to the Milepost book we were 1,000 miles from Dawson Creek.  In the lower 48, traveling 1,000 miles is generally no big deal, but up here it felt momentous.  After Haines Junction the roads improved again and we were able to go between 55 and 60.  That was great because we were getting close to Destruction Bay and even though it was nearing 11am we thought maybe we would get lucky and catch Kelly and Bill.  It was hard not to stop at every scenic turnout there, but I did get some decent pics out the side window as we wound our way around the bay.

One large section of the bay was completely dry

One large section of the bay was almost completely dry.  I know this picture looks doctored but it wasn’t.  The rocks really looked like that…crazy

The side that was filled with water was beautiful

The side that was filled with water was beautiful


At the far end of the bay was a government campground right on the water called Congdon Creek  where Kelly and Bill had stayed. We drove all through the campground and it was really nice.  On a Saturday it was about 2/3 full, mostly with families, but there were several spots a big rig could fit into.  The lakeside section is relatively small and fills first, but the wooded section was also nice.  Keep in mind all of these government campgrounds are on prime real estate, but only have hand pump water and no other services.  They really are great places to stay, but you need to plan accordingly.  Based on what we saw here and Muncho Lake, Lee and I want to try mainly boondocking in them on our way back down to the lower 48.  This particular campground is also closed in July and August for bear activity and since there are no online reservations, it fills fast.  At $12 a night I can see why.  Oh, and they have free unsplit firewood at most of these.  Just don’t try to take that wood across to the US because it will get confiscated at the border.  Unfortunately we missed Kelly and Bill (we found out later they left at 9am), so we headed onto Tok. Oh, and top off your gas on the far side of Destruction Bay.  It was $1.21 a liter, but there aren’t a lot of places to fill up between there and the border.

Also the road got really poor from that point on.   There were lots of construction projects.  I took a turn driving and drove with no issue, because the road was very torn up (requiring a pilot car in one point) and I can drive slow on gravel.  The worst part of that drive was when I was passed by two big trucks who threw up so much dust I literally could not see.  I understand why people get rock damage through here, because the grit was flying.  Luckily we passed through unscathed, but it took forever to get through those areas.  We did have an interesting encounter when we were waiting on the pilot car,  which took about 10 minutes.  A woman walked back and talked to us, apologizing for passing us on the dirt road.  I said that was nothing compared to the big trucks and she shared with us she was headed towards North Pole, Alaska.  She had left West Virginia 6 days ago.  Wow, I thought we were going fast!!   She also said we would like Glenallen.  She said it was boring, but a nice town.  After this road trip I am totally fine with a little boring!!

The Canadian border crossing comes up first in the little town of Beaver Creek then there is a loooong 15 mile stretch until the American border crosing.  At this point we were anxious to get back to the land of internet and cell service so the drive seemed much longer than it probably was.  The Canadian road was pretty torn up in this “no man’s land” with precious few of those rough road warnings we had grown to depend on, but it did improve dramatically (at least initially) when we crossed the American border.  We pulled up to our border crossing at 2:44 (lost an hour to a time change) and had to go through commercial trucks and buses entrance because at 13 feet we were too tall to go through the other side.   This is confusing because it says RV’s go in the 12.10 lane but no way we would fit.  The border officer came out and said we were in the right place and asked us a series of questions.  Mainly, did we have anything from Canada? (no) and did we have firearms? (no).   He did make Lee sign his passport though, which was funny.  I got a gold star for already signing mine lol.  Then he saw the little bit of wood we had.  At the Canada crossing they didn’t say a word, but he brought a wheel barrow over and made Lee take it all out.  We apologized and he said ,”You aren’t the first today, and won’t be the last.” and we found out later Bill had the same thing happen to him!   Even with all that it only took us 15 minutes to get through and we were on our way.  He didn’t say welcome home though, which bugged Lee a little bit, but I was just happy to be back in the US.


More rig porn 🙂

Of course we immediately turned our cell phones back on, but there was no service for quite a while.  I got a teeny bit of Verizon first, just enough to establish that Kelly was in Tok and where she was.  Hooray!!  Finally at US Milepost 1272 (these are a different color in the Milepost book) I got decent internet service (Lee got AT&T 15 miles from Tok) and it was hard to not want to just pull over somewhere and start talking to people.  The road in comparison to the gravel and dirt road certainly improved for us.  There were many frost heaves but in a fifth wheel those aren’t as big of a deal for us.  I will say though that it is a huge issue for Class A’s, especially older ones. They bounce a lot on those frost heaves and they are very difficult to see.  But we cruised along, traveling between 45 and 55 mph  depending the number of patches we were seeing on the road. We did miss the patched road markers though that they have in Canada.  Our highway system should start using those.

We made our way to the Chevron Truck Stop that Kelly and Bill were staying at with their traveling partners Linda and Steven.  Bill walked out to the road and once I saw him and we pulled in to get gas I jumped out and gave him a huge hug.  I was so so glad to see him.  Cool story about how they all met.  Kelly was on an RVillage Alaska group and saw Linda and Steven were heading on a similar route.  After several virtual communications, they met in person and talked in detail about how they traveled.  Not only do you need to like the people, you also need to travel in similar ways.  What time do you get up? When do you like to leave?  How long do you travel each day?  How comfortable are you with boondocking?  These are all questions that must be answered.  So after some discussion they felt they had “travel compatibility”  (I am just making up new catch phrases here) and headed off together.  It was clear upon meeting them, they had all become very close in a short period of time and definitely had a rhythm going.  Linda was also kind enough to give us time with Kelly and Bill after the initial meeting with them which was incredibly sweet.  I felt as if I had been “rode hard and put up wet” as they say and I was totally done in.  Kelly knew this though, and made us some amazing Instant Pot beef stew and let us literally put our feet up in their camper.  We caught up until 9pm when I crashed hard, so we went off to bed to get ready for the last day.

Yeah Bill!!

Yeah Bill!!

The next day we formed a caravan three vehicles long and started on the last push to Glenallen.  It was a new experience for us traveling in a group and luckily our walkie talkies worked with the set they had been using.  Steve is a professional photographer (I adore his landscape pictures) and keeps the windshield of their Class A very clean.  Linda is their primary driver and he takes some beautiful pictures out the window.  They also write a blog where he posts many of his amazing pictures which you should definitely check out. Since Kelly (who was navigating in the lead car) knew we loved pictures so much we stopped every hour or so at a picturesque spot for pictures.  I got some great advice from Steven on landscape photos and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him and Linda better on our breaks. 


Taking up the rear in the caravan. Our windshield was not so clean






Things were going great until we hit the Tok Cutoff.  The road was the worst at this point as we have seen it, and since the constant frost heaves effected Linda and Steven in their Class A the most they set the pace.  They kept apologizing for going so slow, but I could see how much their rig was bouncing in those little valleys and didn’t blame them at all.  It ended up taking us about 4 hours to travel that road though, and we were all happy when we pulled into Northern Nights in Glenallen.   Lee and I introduced ourselves to Marc and Darlene (our bosses for the summer) and then let the others get settled.  Our site was still being worked on, so we took a site next to them for the night.  It was a great night of steak dinner and drinks, and Kelly even invited some other folks from RVillage that were in the campground to hang out as well.  We really enjoyed the conversation that night, especially because it went beyond the superficial, and as all full timers who started in 2014 we shared our joys and challenges from our time thus far on the road.  Really great meeting them and I was sorry to see Linda and Steven leave the next day, but they said they would stop back on their way back out!

Bill and Kelly spent another day and we had a wonderful shrimp dinner and just really enjoyed our time together.  Since we started work on Tuesday, they went ahead and left and headed for their job near Seward, but we know we will see them at least once more this summer.  Loved, loved being with them for our first few days in Alaska and I truly feel blessed to be friends with such special people!

Kelly and Linda

Kelly and Linda


Hanging around our campfire at Northern Nights


Kelly, Bill, Linda, and Steven. They had their happy hours down to a science at this point lol



The boys eating some Tilamook ice cream. They are VERY serious about their deserts


Kelly, Bill, me, and Lee

Lessons Learned

  • Have I mentioned it’s hard to be without internet 🙂
  • When traveling with people to Alaska make sure you have a detailed conversation about how you travel.  It’s not enough to like each other, you also need travel compatibility to make it work.
  • Use walkie talkies when caravaning.  Makes things so much easier.
  • Make sure you carry an air compressor.


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Search Amazon Here
  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.