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Day 12 - to Grants Pass, OR

With a fairly short drive in front of us, we didn't depart from Salem until 11 AM. We filled a propane tank and were pleasantly surprised with propane costs. In Alaska, this fuel was about $3.50 per gallon. In Salem, it was around $2. The cost of living challenges In Alaska were primarily in energy. Fuel, especially diesel, was unfairly high. Despite the vast arctic oil fields, there are no refineries in Alaska. Also, there are some villages that are so remote that their only access to electricity is with a village generator which burns diesel.

The drive proved to be as short as expected. We pulled into a pleasant site on the edge of hilly Grants Pass. We were 15 miles from Gold Hill, our real destination. We were here to meet a long lost cousin, Maureen Pheley. We've been corresponding with her for several months. She and her family had lived several years in Palmer, AK and advised and shared our experiences.

We met Kevin and Kemp in the middle of Gold Hill and followed them to their home in the middle of a beautiful farming area. We had a great meal and even better conversation that included some family tree exploration to determine where the Maureens converged.

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