S: Alaska Vacation 2011
FC: The Great Outdoors | Our Alaskan Adventure 2011
1: Travel Adventure | What a beautiful view! | Our adventure to Alaska with our friends Ron and Sarah Uva included one week on land and one week aboard the Coral Princess; visiting Fairbanks, Talkeetna, Denali, Juneau, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, Skagway, Mt McKinley, Anchorage and Whittier, We left 2 days early to avoid Hurricane Irene. After much confusion & delays at the airport- we departed for Alaska Saturday, August 27, 2011. After 28 hours of travel we arrived at Bear Lodge in Fairbanks, Alaska.
2: Steve and Betsy Driving Their Studebaker | Everything grows larger in Alaska | Sunday, August 28 Breakfast at the Bear Lodge complete with reindeer sausage, then a long walk around the nature preserve & pond area looking at beautiful flowers and birds, then to the amazing Antique Auto Museum. Beautiful, rare old cars & period clothing displays to really give you an historic sense. Afterwards, we took the trolley into town and later had dinner at The Pump House. A very nice Alaskan experience.
3: The Iditarod training facility of Susan Butcher | Betsy and Steve Inspect the Alaskan Pipeline | Monday, August 29 Today we ventured via city bus to the University of Fairbanks and the Museum of the North. It was very nice but filled with tourists- so crowded. We watched a movie on the northern lights then took the hotel shuttle into town. Lunch at Soapy Smith's Saloon and a look at the Yukon display. Fairbanks is not very large. Back to the hotel and a light dinner at the Bear Lodge Pub.
4: Tuesday, August 30 We joined up with the tour today & headed to the El Dorado Gold Mine to Pan for gold. Steve panned 12$grams & Betsy got 3. It was fun. On the drive back, a quick stop at the oil pipeline and then to a lunch at the pier in Fairbanks. Afterwards we boarded a working paddle wheel boat & took a cruise up the river seeing a sea plane take off, the Iditarod training facility of Susan Butcher - as well as a traditional Alabathan Indian fishing village.
5: Wednesday, August 31 Took the lovely glass top train to Denali. We had breakfast in the dining car, which looked very much like the scene in White Christmas on the train to Vermont.! Heading to the Grand Denali Lodge, high on a hill with a great view of the valley and mountains. Dinner at the lodge, and a walk on the trails in Denali.
6: Thursday September 1 A Natural History tour of Denali. We saw 4 moose, a caribou & AMAZING foliage since it is peak Fall season. This is a beautiful place and we wish we could spend more time here. This afternoon, off to Mt. McKinley Lodge. Tonight we had a special dinner of crab legs that were wonderful.
7: A day trip from the McKinley Lodge to the small town of Talkeetna, the town Northern Exposure was based on. We had an amazing "half" breakfast at The Roadhouse. Back to the hotel where we boarded a bus to the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage. Laine was out front waiting to take us home for dinner with her family A very nice group of Alaskan people and a lovely evening. Back to the hotel by 9:00 -up early to board the ship tomorrow. | Friday September 2
8: Saturday September 3 Off to Whittier today by bus to join our ship The Coral Princess at about 2:00 pm. We saw some whales on the way. Boarding was easy and we are set in our cabin B306 with the Uva's next door in B304. The ship is really beautiful. We have the early dinner tonight then the Welcome Aboard show.
9: Sunday September 4th A wonderful champagne breakfast courtesy of Jen and Matt this morning that had lox, crab meat quiche, pastries, fruit, coffee and champagne on our balcony. A scavenger hunt, a beauty treatment for Betsy-Cigar for Steve. Then to the martini demonstration where Steve & Ron were featured -then off to the art auction for a bit and then to the wine tasting. Steve and Ron went to smoke a cigar just as we came upon Glacier Bay and Hubbard glacier. It was beautiful.
11: Monday September 5 We arrive in Glacier Bay. We got a very close look at the Marjorie Glacier and saw some ice caving - but were not able to see the John Muir Glacier. A full day on board ship with a beautiful view from our balcony. A drink at Crooners Martini Bar...nice place with a very nice staff. After cocktails, dinner in the Bordeaux Dining Room.
12: Skagway Stick House | Suspension Bridge | Tuesday September 6 Arrive in Skagway. A lovely old gold mining town at the base of the Klondike. We took the 100 year old White Pass Railroad to the top of the Yukon. At Frazier pass we were met by our coach driver and off to the suspension bridge. Some lovely vistas there and a stop on the way back down for a photo of the welcome to Alaska sign then a stop at Jewell Gardens. An authentic organic garden started in the gold rush days to provide vegetables to the miners and travelers who were in need. Back at the ship we prepared for dinner. Wolfgang got us a very nice table immediately and gave us a standing reservation every night at 8:00.
13: Wednesday, September 7 Today we stop in Juneau - And what a glorious day. Off on a tour of the Mendenhall glacier and whale watching. Got to see a stream filled with spawning salmon and then a bear that went into the stream to get a fish.
14: After visiting the Mendenhall Glacier, we went on a whale watching boat and saw a few bald eagles, humpback and killer whales.! | The spouting Humpbacks were amazingly beautiful
16: Friday, September 9, 2011 A day at sea. Lots of chatter on the TV with heightened security as we approach the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. An action packed day at sea. With an art auction where we purchased a nice collectible with photos and a listing of all the Yankee captains.
17: Then to a wine tasting, some packing- Steve and Ron had a cigar in the Churchill Lounge. A beautiful view of the coast of British Columbia from our balcony as well as sightings of humpback and killer whales right from our balcony.
19: Saturday, September 10 In port in Vancouver, BC. Up early to dress, finish packing the last few things and a breakfast buffet. Everything went very smoothly all the way to the airport gate. Flying Air Canada home - arriving home about midnight but will be great to be home.
20: Some Lasting Memories