After a good night's sleep, it was up at the crack of dawn and we were packed ready to set off to pick up Vannie - or as she is now to be called (because of her registration number) - Fanny. It was a bit of a way out of town and the rental company kindly picked up the tab for the cab. After a quick viewing of the instruction video and a physical check of the vehicle we were on our way - as far as the nearby Fred Meyer supermarket. While Margaret did the unpacking and sorted out the interior of the van, Eric whizzed round with his trolley picking up the essentials for daily living plus some goodies. Back in the van we were busy packing away the messages and having a much needed cup of coffee when - BANG - we'd been hit!!Turned out that it was an elderly couple who'd been picking up their vehicle at the same time as us, and they too had been loading up at the Fred Meyer supermarket. They clearly hadn't listened to the sound advice on the video that someone should always be outside guiding the van while reversing.Oh boy, what a start! We had to report in that there had been a bump but because the damage was only slight damage we were allowed to get on our way.
Soon we were heading south on the Seward Highway and despite overcast and rainy weather were shortly travelling through impressive scenery. Eric was finding the van a bit 'spongy' to drive and was taking it easy until he got used to it.There is a law in Alaska that it is illegal to have 5 or more following vehicles behind you so there were frequent pull overs into parking bays and 'vehicle turnouts' to let people pass.Despite this, however, we made good time and soon after turning off the Seward Highway on to the Sterling Highway towards Homer, we arrived at our first planned stop - Cooper Landing.There are quite a number of RV and camp sites here but we opted for [Kenai Princess] Lodge & RV Park, which is a couple of miles off the main highway. What a lovely spot it was and we were quick to take advantage of sampling some of the excellent Alaskan beer at the Lodge bar where there is a great view over the river.Signs abounded warning of recent sightings of bears, but fortunately (or unfortunately perhaps) we didn't see any.A home cooked meal in the van and a good night's sleep made a good start to this part of our journey.