Been there, done that
BLM land, near Cascade 2, 30 miles West of Tok, Alaska
We leave Danali and head toward Fairbanks. I am absolutely determined to get a hotel. I've been an absolute monster (bad period, no painkillers, trapped in Danali) for days and I have a desperate need to shower four times, sleep in a huge bed, take a hot bath, watch bad cable TV, have salty fast food, and a fountain diet coke with ice. Ah, ice, how much I miss thee...
We drag into Fairbanks. The fire-smoke is worse here, by god, and none of the hotels take dogs without enormous deposits. Motel Eight is the cheapest thing we can find (135 bucks plus twenty dollar deposit per dog) and it's three in the afternoon and we are NOT going to pay that much for a hotel, dammit.
We despair and disparage. We grump and gripe. I am near tears.
Then we see a movie theater. Hmmmm...It's cool enough to leave the dogs, camper popped with all the screens open, their little solar fan blowing their ears back, a big fat piggie ear for each of them to chew in a shady, desolate spot in the parking lot. We take in Dukes of Hazzard. Oh my Goddess, what a riot. This movie changes our whole attitude. We laugh out loud. We must seem drunk to the stalwart Fairbanks folk, because Skip and I are both from the south and we get thirty times more of the humor than the Alaskans seem to. We were also both Dukes fans from our childhoods (OK, our FIRST childhoods), fans of the producer (think Supertroopers), and really into carchases and blowing things up.
Yes, one day I will shoot a flaming arrow into a gasolined hay bale, I will I will.
Buoyed by the movie, we move on (screw Fairbanks) towards Tok, where the hotels will be cheaper, where the best Samlon I've ever had came from. Yum
I am terribly Scottish (that means cheap in my family). I talk Skip into getting thirty or so miles away from Tok and finding BLM land to camp on. That way, we can check into the hotel absolutely as early as possible and maximize our bath/TV/real bed time. We find a perfect, quiet, desolate piece of land far enough off the highway to not even have any traffic-noise, and we sleep. By night-time the fire smoke has faded. We've outrun it or it's gone. Thank the Goddess.