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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

What a Relief!

~Monday, August 8, 2022~

Day 785

Day 49 of Alaska Trip

We started the day with a delicious breakfast of toasted bagels with roasted shallots & garlic, avocado, tomato, arugula, turkey bacon (for Jeff), and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. I could have this everyday… delicious, though I miss our garden of homegrown tomatoes!

The rain and cold doesn’t seem to want to leave us. High’s are in the upper 50’s to low 60’s and makes us relish in the sunny days that much more. As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, we already knew it wouldn’t be much of a summer being in Alaska, especially near the coast. Interestingly enough, we’ll be making up for it next winter with our month-long stay in Florida! 😎

Time to drive to Sterling to find out what our outcome will be for this week. Of course everything hinges on the delivery of the part we need. Now who to talk to first? Even though the axle is made by Dexter, we thought it would behoove us to first call our go-to person at Lance…..Raeshell in the parts department. Ever since we bought the trailer, she has been amazing in consistently responding to us in a timely manner when most wouldn’t….very professional and personable. We just love her! She would certainly give us the fastest route in getting what we need. I sent her an email (usually the quickest way these days in reaching people), and, as expected, responded within 5 minutes. Now if you know my husband at all, his idea of solving a problem is to provide every detail about what he needs…..from multiple photos showing every angle to detailed drawings with dimensions….it’s the architectural designer in him I guess. Raeshell definitely appreciated the details we sent. It can only help, right? She knew immediately what part was needed. The sheared-off metal plate is part of the lift kit that we had added when we bought the trailer. Lance’s are fairly low to the ground than most trailers, providing a more aerodynamic situation and thus better gas mileage. But it does make for more challenges in getting under the trailer, or when dumping. So adding the lift kit has given us an additional 2-½” of clearance. We were in luck! They had the part (something they readily have available for new purchasers). Originally, Raeshell said we were going to have to purchase two ($58/piece) which would of course add to our shipping costs, but in the course of 5 minutes, found out that there was an already opened package with one in it which was ours for the taking. As we already knew, shipping was going to be way more than the part itself. At the time, she wasn’t completely sure how much the shipping was going to be and that she’d find out and email me later to satisfy my curiosity. I told her to send it irregardless to which she shared a story on a recent order she shipped to Illinois where UPS charged them $300 to ship a 3-lb. box overnight. Evidently, they are in a heated battle over their price gouging. Hopefully our pain won’t be quite as bad. Thank goodness we were able to have only 1 part shipped. It looks like they can have it delivered by Thursday or Friday to Anchorage. While Jeff finished up the purchase with Raeshell, I called Anchorage’s UPS hub to make sure we had the correct shipping address……no way were we going to spend the money on shipping only to have it shipped to the WRONG address, causing even more delays. We had the right address after all (I’ve already been there to pick up previous shipments when we were staying in Anchorage). Picking it up there means we’re in for a 2-hour drive from Cooper Landing, but it will be worth it! Thank you Raeshell for being so awesome. Over the course of time owning the trailer, she certainly knows me by now (is that a bad thing?). It really is about who you know that makes all the difference.

While we had been parked on the side of the road taking care of business, Jeff happened to notice a tool rental company right across the street. What are the chances? It’s like the stars were aligning or something (yes I do believe in that stuff). So he inquired within to see if we could rent a floor jack in case he were to do the repair himself. They had not one but several for $18/day. Noted.

Next was a stop at Ace Hardware to see if they had the socket wrench Jeff would need as well. They had it, but wouldn’t you know it…..he’d have to buy a whole set. So tomorrow on our visit to Kenai, they have an Auto Zone where he thinks he can buy just the one wrench he needs. We will see.

All in all, it was a successful day thanks to our friend at Lance. And even though we’re at the mercy of waiting for the part to arrive either Thursday or Friday, we’ll just make the best of things while we’re here. We’re in a safe, beautiful spot that only costs us $10/day. It’s just too bad that we don’t have better weather to take advantage of our nice “backyard”. We’d have a smoother situation if we were able to communicate with the outside world from our campsite. But having to drive 20-25 minutes to get a cell signal isn’t all that bad.

Over dinner, we looked over our upcoming itinerary to see what things needed to be tweaked. Since we’re stranded likely until Friday, it means we’re missing Hope and Homer, though with Hope we plan on doing a day visit. Since Homer is now pushed into our time in Talkeetna, we agreed that we would skip our time in Talkeetna for now and continue on to our reservation window in Denali. Following Denali was to be a visit to Fairbanks which we’ve decided to shorten so we’re able to head back south to Talkeetna. Doing this would add a total of 6 hours extra driving time, but we think it will ultimately be so worth it. Talkeetna is a cool Alaska town with a lot of outdoor activity attached to it, so we really want to make this happen. Now you’ll know why our map may look a little wonky in the end…..nothing unusual for us.

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