Sunday, July 29, 2018

Summer of Fun: Weeks 8&9

Hi Honey, I'm home!  Quick let's update the blog before the memories totally fade into a state of blur.

SAW
Oh my, after being on the road for 35 days, I can totally identify with the realities of this cartoon.  We saw so many things on this trip...

From North America's tallest peak...Denali

to the town that inspired the show Northern Exposure...

We saw wildlife that took our breath away...
and saw friends that fill us up with joy...
and we saw that bringing old friends together 
with new friends helps make a trip complete...
HEARD
We heard the voices and stories of Alaska from such a great variety of sources...
From  an old gold-rushing miner "in character"
 to entertaining train narrators...
of both boy and girl variety...
We learned so much about Alaska history that our brains were on overload...
PERMAFROST...shall be my final Jeopardy response...
(inside joke but we were told over and over about how much of the landscape and development of Alaskan interior is impacted by this condition)
Any posed question I'd reply with Permafrost.
State Bird:  Permafrost (no, really it's the Willow Ptarmigan)
State Gem:  Permafrost (no, it's Jade you silly girl)
State Flower:  Permafrost (had to verify that but it's the Alpine Forget Me knot)

By far, my favorite was hearing about Alaska through 
 the stories shared by those we call friends...
 all who have chosen to make Alaska their home.
Bob and his wife Sharon (not shown) arrived after work in the mining industry brought them to Alaska in the mid 1980s.  We enjoyed hearing some of Bob's first hand stories about the lodge we were staying at as he was one of the primary electrical engineers assigned to the project back in the late 1990s.  The Peeks were kind hosts to Hubby back in 2013 on his first Alaskan adventure and it was a highlight of the trip for me  to meet them and extend my gratitude for taking such good care of Dom during his motorcycle adventure.   
Richard..work at the University of Alaska Fairbanks brought him to Alaska in the mid 1980s..he liked it, and stayed.   Richard and Hubby share a common interest in motorcycles and RVs..and Richard has proven over and over to be a trusted expert on all sorts of problems that plague Hubby when it comes to these two interests...

Bridget...the lovely wife of Richard.   After spending a short time on a church mission in Fairbanks, Bridget knew that no place else would ever be home except Alaska.  She met and married Richard some 18 years ago, and together they have raised 5 young men and continue to parent 3 adorable furry family members...only 2 would cooperate with my picture taking efforts...
Thank you all for helping us get a full Alaskan experience!
 Be it panning for gold like it was 1902...
 kayaking in the murky waters of Ballaine Lake..
Or experiencing a close encounter of the Moose Kind...
your hospitality helped make our trip complete!

DID
We did so much on this Land tour adventure..that it's hard to process it all.   
There were train rides...
 From Anchorage to Talkeetna...
and... 
Talkeetna to Denali...
Bus rides to Hell...
OK, not really...but when one spends 8 hours on a bus and Denali decides to hide from our eager eyes,it sure felt like Hell.  Score bonus points for  misery with a bus driver who left much to be desired in her story telling style... 

I kid you not:   She argued with season hunters who had spotted  a bear  that she, the expert did not  initially see.  She scolded us as we tried to place our trash in the trash can at one of the rest stops.   You see, we were supposed to hold onto our trash until the end when she would have us sort  and recycle all bits of trash.  This was followed by a 15 minute narrative on how much trash is generated in the park each year and other shaming comments.   And seriously folks, we paid EXTRA for this experience?!  

My one and only picture from Denali..
Oh wait..I take that back...
This was taken within an hour of us getting off the Bus of Disappointment...
Talk about the weather turning on a dime...

We road on  boats that thrilled us...
and boat rides that 
 frustrated us...
(the tour was informative and thoughtfully scripted, it was the crowded conditions and self centered attitude of other passengers that posed the  problem at least for me).

From museums that confused us...
modern art...not my thing..
Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center...

to museums that left us eager to learn more...
 Fairbanks Vintage Auto museum
A free park that hosts a collection of old Alaskan properties.

Without a doubt, we did a lot.   
But would we do it again?   
Both of us can confidently say Nope.

Oh we'd visit Alaska again for sure.
We'd take another cruise...
be it  here-there-or somewhere in between....

As for taking another land tour? With so many variables out of our personal control it's highly unlikely we'd have the desire.   You see, we enjoy the freedom to experience what interests us, linger longer when we want, move on to the  next destination when we find ourselves not that interested.    I thought that Hubby would enjoy the break from being the chief driver and navigator but turns out that is a small price to pay for the freedom that comes with being your own explorer.   

But, hey, often times  you learn such lessons as you go, and we also experienced an abundance of laughs, good eats and the companionship of great friends  as we learned these lessons of Travel-Chang Style.  

Until next time..I hope you  have gotten to lose track of what day it is this summer...it's a feeling like no other!  




2 comments:

Terri Kulas said...

This a great blog, Martha. Wow, 35 days, that was a long trip. I hope Dom enjoyed the cruise. You never say if he did. I love all the pictures. Traveling is fun but also tiring. I'd say you liked visiting friends the most and enjoyed those pictures too. Glad to have you home though.
Love Terri



dom chang said...

Outstanding recap!