S: Alaska 2011 North to the Future
BC: Hooksy Books October, 2011
FC: Alaska 2011 | North to the Future
1: The view from above
2: Our Fall 2011 Alaska trip was a 2-week road trip tour of the state.
3: Travel method of choice: Andy's green truck complete with plywood storage/cabin space.
4: Plywood Box Truck
5: Dashboard view
7: Talkeetna was the first overnight stop we made while going north on the Parks HWY. We briefly contemplated staying in the plywood box... but instead booked the Denali cabin complete with stove, fridge, beds, running water, cable, etc. We talked and walked around the town and on the beach then got a good night's rest before continuing our journey to Chena.
8: The drive was encompassed by incredible mountain views... but not much else. There were very few roadside attractions which made even the littlest things overly exciting. At one point, we happened upon Wal*Mike's - the most interesting tag sale-like roadside store. It was very... Alaskan. Here we bought our cast iron skillet which served us well for our many fish fry dinners.
9: Fish Fry Recipe: Remove packaged Halibut from cooler. Apply seasonings. Fry in Wal*Mike's skillet on tailgate of truck. Place fish on warmed tortilla. Top with a mixture of horseradish, mayo, mustard, and/or any other condiment available. Serve. Eat this every day. Optional: Do not attract bears.
10: We finally made our way to Chena (after getting lost while following some erroneous gas station attendant directions) and got settled into our spacious public use cabin. | Chena Cabin
11: We made our cabin cozy by keeping a fire burning in the wood stove and adding a manually inflated air mattress to the wooden bunk bed. | After a fish fry and a game of Bananagrams, we visited the nearby hot springs. We loved it so much we went back in the morning after packing up the cabin.
12: The hot springs proved to be one of the biggest highlights of the trip, In the cold October air, we soaked outside in 105 degree water - soo relaxing
13: We also had a great time exploring the other activities within the Chena Resort. We visited the Aurora Ice Museum and toured the geothermic plant. Educational AND fun. Who knew?
14: After a night of cabin life and many accumulated hours of driving, we were ready for some luxuries. We drove into Fairbanks and found ourselves at the Westmark Hotel where we stayed 3 nights. Here, our main activites included visiting the Museum of the North, bowling at the Oriental supermarket/bowling center, playing pool with a local fisherwoman, walking around the abandoned off-season city and vegging out in our hotel room with take-out (we did consider bringing in the propane stove for yet another fish fry). It snowed while we were here and Bessy was able to try Reindeer sausage for the first time. As it mostly felt, to us, like any other average city, Fairbanks wasn't our favorite place but we managed to have a really good time together anyway.
15: Musuem of the North Fairbanks, AK
16: The pipeline runs from Prudhoe Bay to Valez. We were able to follow it from Fairbanks to the southern-most terminus.
17: The Alyeska Pipeline
18: Where Land Meets Sky
19: Scenic Views | Alaska
20: What a beautiful view!
21: "We must see-saw"
22: From Fairbanks, we headed south on the Richardson Highway. We stopped for lunch and shopping in North Pole then continued on through Paxson, the Delta Junction and Gulkana. Our hungry bellies and heavy eye lids, however, would not allow us to pass through Glennallen ignored. | We just barely made it into the Caribou Lodge for dinner before the restaurant closed for the night. We checked into room14 as the only guests in the lodge. When morning came, it was back to the road and onward to Valdez.
23: A tip from a local sent us exploring Pioneer Cemetery (or, as it is more commonly known, "the Chinese cemetery"). This was a really unique site, an original part of the town. We were able to see the resting place for some of the brave individuals who set out to pursue life on the final frontier.
24: Valdez | May we never return to Valdez - neither physically nor mentally. | Things that need forgot: Crispy, Mel E Mel, ever-expanding wet spot, the Downtown B&B, folding chair for relaxation, questionable hostel hygiene, disappearing bucket and, lastly, Valdez
25: Bessy took the wheel while Andy slept passenger-side. The plywood box now traveled north and eventually west on the Glenn Highway. Lake Louise, our destination, It felt like driving to Narnia - empty road, snowcapped trees standing tall on either side of the road, white ground winding ahead allowing each turn to hold potential for something unexpected. The road eventually opened up to a breath-taking view of Lake Louise and the cozy lodge tucked away to the side. We had dinner overlooking the lake, served by each member of the family - even the 6 year old. Our warm room had a wide open view of the water and the sleep here was some of the best of the trip. \
26: . | Long Rifle Lodge at the Matanuska Glacier
27: The Glacier cabin just happened to be free the night we passed through the area. Electricity was a nice surprise - although we had to stay warm by a very leaky wood stove. Fish fry and steaks at the cabin. Beautiful view of the glacier from the porch.
28: Eagles | Lynx | Owls | Wood Bison | The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center | Musk Oxen | "Mukluk" | "Adonis" | Bessy later adopted Mukluk the Musk Ox through the center's rescue animal adoption program.
29: Caribou | Hugo snacked on an orange while we were there. | Over 100 acres of land available; Joe Boxer and Patron paced the same 20 feet all day. | "Big Heads" | We spent a night in Wasilla then decided to add to our trip by spending our last few days together heading south to Seward. We found this conservation center on the way.
30: Looking like an evil castle on the outside, the Alyeska Resort was beautiful on the inside. We stayed here on our way to Seward. | We played the broken games in the arcade and attempted to take a ride on the tram but it was closed for maintenance. Oh well.
31: The tiny one-road town of Whittier was our next stop. It caught our attention mostly due to the tunnel entry. 10min drive through a mountain on a one lane, train track road. The town is a former military base and has the abandoned housing units to prove it. Whittier is now used as a port for major cruise lines. There were about 5 people total in the town while we were there. The locals were very proud of the new road to nowhere that had just opened earlier that day.
33: \It was cold, rainy, windy and wet when we got to Seward. We spent some time in the Alaska SeaLife Center then had a seafood dinner overlooking the harbor.
35: Just the 2 of us, traveling the state, taking it all in. It seemed that we were the only people in the world; as far as we were concerned, we were. Some of the best times of our lives. That trip's gonna be hard to beat, but we'll have so much fun trying! | After Seward, we were able to spend one more night together in Wasilla. The following evening, we took our plywood box truck for one more adventure- to the airport to say our goodbyes.
36: Happy Valentine's Day