E-Mail your question or solution to TravelASSIST.
- Was this photo taken in Mexico? - NO
- Is that a lake in Europe? - NO - RA
- Was it taken in Alaska? - YES - MW
- I do believe thats Juneau, Alaska? - NO - RF
- Was it in Skagway, Alaska? - NO - GP
- Was it taken in Ketchikan, Alaska? - NO - OGAW
- Is it Anchorage, Alaska? - NO - MH
- Is it Kodiak, Alaska? - NO - KSK
- We Have Had Our First Correct ANSWER!!! - BAF - Looking for 4 more winners.
- Is it Valdez, Alaska? - NO - KP
- Is it Valdez, Alaska? - NO - ?
- Is it Prudhoe Bay, Alaska? - NO - FS
- Is it taken at King Salmon Alaska? - NO - MW
- Is it Valdez, Alaska? - NO - JL
- Is this Haines, Alaska? - NO - LL
- Our Second Winner!!! - MW - Must be 3 more winners out there....
- Another Winner Number Three!! - JW - Looking for 2 more that know the answer..
- Is it Prince William Sound, Alaska? - NO - CM
- Is the picture of Anchorage Alaska? - NO - CU
- Is it Glacier Bay, Alaska? - NO - MP
- Is the ship at the sea? - YES - MP
- Good Job! Another correct answer! - IC - Who will be Number Five??
- Is it Seward, Alaska? - NO - LC
- Is it Kenai, Alaska? - NO - MP
- Is it Dillingham, Alaska? - NO - MP
- WE HAVE OUR FIFTH AND FINAL WINNER FOR THIS CONTEST!!! - GP
Thanks for playing!!
We flew into Anchorage, rented a car and spent the next two weeks covering 2500 miles in South-Central Alaska, which is pretty much the only part of the state you can drive in. The only reservations we made were for the first night in Anchorage, as by the time we arrived it was (for us) around 4 in the morning, and for the very end, at Denali. I had been able to book us on the same flight home that Dara already had, and she was able to arrange her work schedule so that her last two days were days off, which she was able to spend with us before leaving Denali.
We stayed in B & B's most of the time - our hosts in Anchorage owned the 1986 World Champion Heavy Weight-Pulling Dog, a pussy-cat of a St. Bernard named Brutus, who was featured in a Winter in Alaska video, pulling 4600 lbs. of cement on a sledge on ice! We have his "pawtograph."
From Anchorage, we headed south, through the Kenai Peninsula, stopping at the Birdhouse Bar and Chugach Valley, where we explored the inside of a glacier; Kenai Fjords NP and Exit Glacier, and spent a day on a boat watching wildlife and glaciers.
It was on the boat that we met a woman who worked in the pizza place just outside Denali, and who said, upon being shown a picture of Dara, "Oh, sure, I know her!" For a large state, it was amazing how often we ran into people we had already met. Over a week later, while at the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, a young German man said, "Weren't you on the Kenai Fjords trip last week?" And in Talkeetna I ran into a woman I had seen in the Porpoise Room (restaurant) in Homer. The following summer, Dara ran into Brutus' owners, and recognized the dog from our pictures!
We stayed in Kenai in the biggest log "cabin" we'd ever seen, built by our hosts, in which we slept in a loft that held two king-size beds. In Homer, we stayed with a family with three little girls who fell in love with our younger daughter, made her birthday cards, and were terribly disappointed to learn we wouldn't be able to stay until her birthday two days hence. It was the hostess in this B & B, a born-again Christian, who phoned back to the house from the supermarket to have her husband check whether we would eat bacon for breakfast - she had noticed my daughter's and my Stars of David.
We spent the day in Homer - explored the Spit and the town, found our way to Nikolaevsk, with little kids running around chattering in Russian, and eventually headed back north, stopped at the U of Alaska Matanuska Research Farm (where we missed the birth of a calf by minutes - it was still wet and lying down when we wandered into the barn), and ended up in Wasilla.
We found a WONDERFUL B & B, again built by our hosts. By this time it was our younger daughter's 17th birthday. There wasn't anywhere special to take her for dinner, so we ended up with pizza. When we said something about her birthday, the waitress brought out the pizza with a candle in it! When we returned to our B & B, our hosts invited us out on the lake with them, and we ended up across the lake visiting friends of theirs, who loaded us down with home-grown vegetables and a slab of home-smoked salmon. When we returned to the house, we found that Ricki, our hostess, had made Leora a birthday cake! Alaskans are absoutely wonderful!
And Alaskan breakfasts! Reindeer sausage, sourdough pancakes from 52-year-old starter, grilled king salmon, blueberry pancakes with blueberries picked along the Denali Highway. . .
From Wasilla we headed east, as far as we could, to Wrangell-St. Elias NP, which was really an adventure! We drove as far as we could, the last 60 miles on a dirt road that is a former railroad bed, and then left the car, loaded ourselves into a little bucket suspended from a cable, and rode this contraption across a wild river to a little island, then did it again to get to the other side, where we explored McCarthy and Kennicott, two old mining towns.
The cable car affair is a ride to the middle, but then you have to haul hand-over-hand to the other side. If you're lucky, there are people waiting for the car, and they'll help pull from the other side! If you try this, bring heavy gloves! We were able to borrow some from our B & B (and that B & B was ANOTHER story! Our host was an old sourdough, a walking, talking history of Alaska who had run traplines, panned for gold, worked on the Alcan highway and the pipeline. . .).
After McCarthy/Kennicott, we headed south along the pipeline to Valdez (this was only a few months after the Exxon Valdez disaster), where we saw acres of trash from the oil spill waiting to be disposed of, as well as T-shirts saying all sorts of nasty things about the ship's captain.
We then doubled back up north to Paxson, (where a small plane landed right in front of our bedroom window, taxied up to the gas pumps at the roadhouse, gassed up, and took off again - only in Alaska!) the eastern end of the Denali Highway, which we took west for 100 miles of dirt road and magnificent scenery, to Denali, where we met up with Dara again.
Seeing our daughter as a ranger was an experience. We got to watch her do a sled-dog demo and give a campfire presentation, which was REALLY strange, after having spent years in various parks, sitting with her and her sister, listening to rangers talk about whatever. . .and here she was, the expert! She took us hiking, rock-climbing, berry-picking, behind the scenes in Park HQ; we saw bears, wolves, ptarmigan, beavers, fox, caribou, moose, eagles, and were incredibly lucky with visibility - Denali was "out" the whole time were there - the mountain is socked in by clouds about 75% of the time.
From Denali, we headed back to Anchorage and home, a whole family again, with incredible memories of one of the most fabulous trips we've ever been on - and we have done a good deal of traveling. Alaska is beautiful, the people are wonderful, and we can't wait to go back.