We recently got a chance to meet with a good friend of ours from Raleigh, Julie Bryer, and her parents for a two-nighter at Petersen Lake outside the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Southcentral Alaska.
Mark Bryer and his wife Sue are extraordinary people. Four years ago they sold their home in New Hampshire and purchased a 20,000lb, solar-powered, luxury RV trailer which they now drive around North America on permanent vacation. Like many adventurers, they eventually made their way to Alaska and now spend their days traveling and enjoying the great outdoors. Mark is immediately interesting, blessed with a quirky playfulness and folksy intellect that lands him somewhere between David Cross and Peter Sagal. (Coincidentally, they’re all bald.) Sue is an excellent photographer with a gifted mind for all matters flora and fauna. Julie is a sum of the two — and all together, the Bryers make for terrific company.
Julie flew into Anchorage Friday, and that afternoon we rendezvoused with her parents at their base camp in Portage. After hugs and handshakes all around, we headed south on the Seward Highway — me with Mark in the International 4400 and the girls following in my car. Mark and Sue belong to the Escapees, a club for full-time RVers that provides a listing of off-the-radar parking spaces for those who prefer privacy over charmless RV parks. They picked a spot on Watson Lake, but when we discovered it was taken, we retreated to nearby Petersen Lake and set up shop on a gravel roundabout with a handful of other RVers.
Kayaking on the lake, just us the beavers.
Midway through a five miler to Fuller Lake.
After the hike we returned to the RV for dinner, and following a brief, Fireball whiskey-fueled escalation of testosterone and screwball oneupsmanship, Mark and I were at the waters edge for a 50 degree mountain shower. Having only packed pants, I took the plunge in Jess’s never-nudes. Oh baby!