Posted by: Frank | 09/22/2011

First Week In Alaska Sept 2011

“Day 1 – 083111

Sitting at kona airport waiting on our plane. Our friend Charlie brought us down, dropped us off the went home to his honey.

Leaving in the afternoon is cool in some ways especially because you can double and triple check to make sure you have everything but you also get anxious, ready to get on the plane and on vacation. The super annoying part is it took us longer to get off the islands than it did to fly to Fairbanks!

The flight itself was nice, Alaska Air had a comfortable plane, people were nice and I was able to sleep a good portion of the way even though my neck hurt when I got off the plane. As per usual, traveling with a bunch of suitcases is a pain in the butt! If anyone ever invents a way to compact all your luggage into a small pouch that you can carry in your pocket, they will be zillionairs!

Day 2 Fairbanks

If u have never been to Fairbanks Alaska you would notice several things different than Hawaii. First – we haven’t seen one cop in 16 hours. Two – very little trash along the roads. Three – much cooler! Forth and MOST important – not ONE DAMN MENTION of OBAMA!!! I have yet to ask anyone about Our president but don’t expect drawn guns when I do.. My feeling is they do what the rest of america should – just ignore the dumb ass and get on with our lives! 

 So – good times so far, we did some local sights including a visit to the North Pole and the new museum at the university, quite awesome it was too! We had a great dinner and headed back to our hotel, looking forward to the next leg in our journey tomorrow – starting with the train ride!

Day 3 Denali

A new day in alaska and we are about to head to Denali via train. For those that are following us, we also learned that alaska doesn’t have snakes, cockroaches (including Obama) or centipedes!  It do get cool here during the winter!

So far we have meet some interesting people, the folks here are friendly and happy to talk if a person is interested. It seems they love their State even as we love Hawaii. Our experience so far is 100% positive and i want to thank my trip planner (wifey) for doing such a good job!

In case u wonder – gas prices suck here also! Why u ask! Well, the folks here ask the same thing and get the same run around we get at home – “it just is”! A VERY positive thing is the lack of sales tax! Most of the state is free of this burden but some of the cities slap on their own tax for various things – like last nite at dinner we were Surprised with a 5% tax on our two beers! When we inquired our waitress informed us that it was a new thing that even surprised them when it happened!

A real highlight today on the train today is watching the mountains with the beginnings of fall colors starting to make their presence known.  The river path we are following is grey with silt from the melting glaciers. It is a awesome view! With the overcast sky you get an almost ominous feeling as the train continues south through the valley at times getting so close to the edge you are looking straight down into the swirling waters below. What would you do if the cliff gave way other than bend over and kiss your butt goodby?

One of the amusung and interesting things we’ve already learned is the great diversification of the help they bring in for the summer. Young people from all over the USA and the world come here for just the summer months to work and make enough money to pay for school or winter travel elsewhere in the world. Rather fascinating and almost makes me wish I were young again.

Day 4 hike to savage river!

I was blown away when Martha and I decided to go to bed at 9 pm last night! I figured for sure I would be up around 4 am and be restless as hell. I was surprised when I woke up at midnight and needed to find the tums! First time in a long time for that. Didn’t take me long to get back to sleep and not wake again til after 6!

We found out early that flop process are no cheap here so we mane a trip to the market for some bagels and used the creamed cheese  that found it’s way to my pocket before we left Fairbanks!

We had a simple breakfast and got ready for our adventure of the day. As usual we were early so ended up waiting a bit for the shuttle.

Bus trip up to the beginning of the trail took about an hour, speed is not a factor in the park obviously! The walk was delightful, not too tough but the scenery was spectacular to say the least. . After the hike and bus trip back we had a quick lunch then went to the dog sled show, free show put on by the park. Some interesting info regarding what happens during the winter of the winters here.

The rest of the afternoon we caught up with Facebook and email before the trip down the hill for dinner at “salmon bake”. We ended up having chowder and splitting a pound of king crab legs. The meal with two local brew beers was a most the same as they were asking in Fairbanks for JUST the crab legs ala cart! What a deal!  Back to the room to update my blog and another early nite!

Day 5 Sunday in Denali

My friends near and far know that I am not a religious person but today I visited a spot in Alaska that I believe could really be called “Gods Country”. As we stood at the visitors center at Eielson and looked out at the majestic Snow covered mountains took my breath away!

We took this tour because it would give us a good chance to see some of the local critters and if we chose to hike we had plenty of options along the route. If you’ve had a chance to see the pix I posted you will notice we did indeed see our share of wild life in it’s natural setting.

The ride out was long but interesting. We always enjoy driving ourselves but this time chose to not rent a car and rely on local transport. Martha’s gamble payed off, we have had no problem getting to or from places we needed to go in a timely manner.

For dinner last night we tried another local spot called “prospectors”. If u are a pizza fan and have searched the world for the best pizza, you should try one here before you declare a winner!!  Martha and I love our pizza and beer, and this place ranks in the top two!

A quiet evening drinking wine,eating freshly made fudge and watching FOX news finished us off..  

Day 6 Horseshoe & the Moose

Horseshoe lake hike was a simple hike close by where we are staying. We just wanted to keep it simple, nothing too taxing on our last day here but we wanted to do something. The hike to the lake seemed a bit steeper than I would have liked but I was up for it even though I had to pick on my guide a bit as we headed down the slope.

It was a great hike, weather perfect as was the path we were following. If there was one thing negative it was the fact that we could hear traffic even if we couldn’t see any. It was fun watching the squirrels come right up to us, looking for food, which we did not give them! Still they were cute!

The real highlite of the hike was when we reached horse-shoe lake and came upon a she-moose grazing and moving towards where we were resting. We decided to hang around and sure enough she came right up to where we were and came out of the lake just a few feet away. 

Martha ended up with a great pic, mine was blurry because I was screwing with the settings when the sucker came out. As they say in the biz – SOLDD!

Any who, did get some great pix then walked into “town” for a nice lunch at prospectors before catching a ride back to the hotel. Tomorrow off to Anchorage to pick up the RV for a week of fun…  So far so good, my trip planner has done a great job – gotta luv her!

Day 7 Off to Homer!

Just after 1 PM and we’ve done two short hikes and had lunch by the lake. Our first hike was at the ranch we stayed at, a nice walk through the woods, grass and up and down some small hills until we came to the river where there were several boats with fisher persons in them. It had rained for almost three hours before our hike. One of us had the smarts to wear hiking boots, the other of us wore tennis shoes. 

My tennis shoes are drying out and I am in my boots for the rest of the day.

We are now headed towards Homer and more exploring. Stopped at the Russian Orthodox church that we were told about, a bit disappointing to see the disrepair and lack of upkeep in the cemetery but interesting.. We’ve also scene at least two original homestead cabins from the ’30’s and ’40’s, both in good repair. Another interesting tidbit, it seems that many of the homes, including new ones being built, are log cabin in nature

This afternoon we stopped by Norman lowell’s art gallery. Can this man paint or what?! Very impressive work that I wish I could have afforded to purchase! He was actually at the gallery and we got to talk to him abd his wife. A nice couple doing well just by doing something he loves. 

On the way to Homer we stopped at several spots, it’s impossible to hit them all but you do your best to add to your memories. We fount a parking spot at waters edge and will spend the night before heading out tomorrow. Life is good, nice to be enjoying it!


Day 8 Homer – second day

First morning I’ve slept in since we got the RV! We woke to a beautiful morning, brisk and partly cloudy. My breakfast of hot sausage and fried eggs on a bagel w/coffee was a lot better than Martha’s cereal!

After breakfast, a nice long walk to see and photograph the local sights. We are also doing a bit of rock collecting for our “beach jar” at home. You can buy polished rocks by the pouch, about $4 but picking your own is more fun. When we got back from our walk we picked up, cleaned up and loaded up then set off to explore “the spit”. 

We found a spot to park the RV and started our walking tour of the boardwalk.  As we already knew, many places were already closed for the season but we found a few interesting spots and actually did our part to help keep a shop on the “spit” in the black. By the time we finished checking the shops, it was time for lunch.

We picked “captain patties” which was highly recommended by a lady at the visitors center I Soldotna as having the best fish and chips in the state. We will now attest to that, might have been the best in MANY states! Same goes for their jumbo prawns! Meal over we retrieved the RV and set out to find a trail or two to explore. As luck would have it, the park we chose was closed for the season and maintenance was taking place. We did stop and get some great pix as we drove around in circles.

Out of things to occupy us we decided to head for next destination instead of laying over another night. It was a wise choice, we got to make a few stops along the way and take more fantastic pix before finding a campsite called “castaways”. Nice, quiet, clean, no-wifi!!  

I think I’m going to have withdrawal pains for missing a day of communication with the outside world! Sux doesn’t it that we get so dependent on these damn things! Anyway, we are about to cook dinner – ribeye, corn on the cob (some of the best I have eaten in years) and baked potato with all the trimmings!

Aloha world

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