Thursday, April 30, 2015

Alaska Snapshots

Here are some snapshots that I think worth making the website. Overall we had a good time exploring Alaska, I like to do it one more time if I could, but first I have to finish visiting all fifty states. At this time I still have to go to five more states, namely Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and the smallest yet so elusive Delaware. We hope to cover at least three in 2016.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Denali by Air (revisited)

Denali Glacier
When we got to Talkeetna, the weather was nice and warm. We went to the municipal airport and inquiry about the flight to the Denali glaciers. To our delight, the seats are still available and off we went. This is a trip of a lifetime and the most expensive adventure while touring Alaska, but it is all worth it. It took almost an hour to get to the glacier and a bit faster to come back down as far as I remember. To our surprise, it was not cold at all! Enjoy the trip of a lifetime.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Anchorage (revisited)

After the plane ride to land at the Denali glacier, we headed south to Anchorage from Talkeetna. I believe we have just spent one night here. Anchorage is definitely the biggest city in all Alaska. We had oil change and replenish our supplies at Costco nearby.

In term of scenery, the city does not offer many; Anchorage is just a stopping point to and from Homer, Seward and Whittier then on the way to Valdez. By now, I think we are half way into the trip.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Columbia Gorge - In search of wildflowers

Vista House, Columbia Gorge
The weather is getting warmer. The urge to photograph is raging. Please hold on! This weekend we went to the Columbia Gorge for a day trip, less than 200 miles round trip and eleven hours in total in search of wildflowers.

First we visited the Vista House in the morning, then to a rest stop of Memaloose State Park so I thought, but it was a rest area north of the destination. We continued to Rowena and finally we found what we are looking for – the elusive wildflowers.

We came back to the Vista House in the afternoon, just to see a different lighting and more details; we got them. Oh, by the way we found a waterfall along the Historical Columbia Gorge Highway 30.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Denali National Park (revisited)

Wildlife Viewing Area
We stayed for the first time in this trip in a motel, the decision was made to remove the monotonous being inside the Wanderlust all the time and be able to get ready in the morning to take the bus tour going inside Denali National Park. Private vehicle is prohibited after a certain mile inside the park.

It was not such a good decision because the motel room was cold even with the heater on, but at least we can get up and go as compared if we stay in the RV Park. It was also really cold within the park; the sun was barely out that day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fairbanks (revisited)

Watching bush pilot take-off and landing
We stayed three nights in Fairbanks, we went to Arctic Circle, Riverboat Discovery and we replenish our pantry after more than eight days on the road, we buy fresh fruits and bread. Since everything is barged here, things are generally more expensive than in the lower 48 or Continental US.

You would have think and it will be cold up here, the opposite is true. It is warm and pleasant in Fairbanks while we were there. Next we went to Denali National Park.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Alaska Highway (revisited)

Dawson Creek, British Columbia
It took eight days and 7 nights to reach Fairbanks, Alaska. The distance from Portland, Oregon is about 2,500 miles, that’s 4,000 km in metric. The distance alone made Pokie not wanting to go back to Alaska, but I still want to go back at least one more time, the next time we make the trip, we will take our time. This whole trip was about 6,000 miles plus in 43 days. We had to change the engine oil one time in Fairbanks.

We encountered an engine problem in which I could fix (the air filter got loose and the engine would not start), we also had a flood at 3:00 AM inside the Wanderlust (water intake was broken) in the heavy rain, and trying to shut the water faucet was a nightmare; we had it fixed in Whitehorse. Also the door’s locks open by themselves in the middle of the night, the simple solution is to unplug the fuse temporarily. The Ford dealer in Whitehorse could not fix it. But at last we made it all the way to Fairbanks.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Arctic Circle (revisited)

Arctic Circle, June of 2006
This is the farthest north we have been during our Alaska Grand Tour 2006. We took a bus tour from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle. Dalton Highway is certainly the roughest road that we encountered during our trip; the distance from Fairbanks is less than 200 miles. We started the tour at 6:00 AM and we did not get “home” until midnight, but we still have plenty of light. The flora is certainly much different up there.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Skagway (revisited)

Yukon & White Pass Railroad
This was the second time we have been to Skagway, the first one being in 2005 when we took a cruise line. I just love Skagway, the old look is still preserved and the Yukon & White Pass Railroad made me want to come back. During the winter month this town has a population of a mere 800 people, when the workers come in the summer, the population swells to about 2.000, but when the cruise ships dock, Skagway population jump five fold to about 10,000. By 8:00 PM, all the tourists are back to their cruise ships and Skagway becomes a ghost town. This cycle is repeated day after day during the summer and tourist’s season.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Haines, Alaska (revisited)

Haines, Alaska
We drove from Valdez to Haines in three days; it is just shy of 700 miles. We stayed overnight in Tok, Alaska and Haines Junction, Yukon Territory for the second night. It was indeed a long drive, and not to mention when we encountered the dirt and dusty road. We had to do two border crossings, once to Canada (Yukon Territory) and back to Alaska going to Haines. Haines is the home of the white bald eagles, the symbol of America. We stayed two nights in Haines, and the next adventure is Skagway.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Seward & Whittier (revisited)

On the way to Seward
Welcome to Seward, the home of Mile “0” of the famous winter dog sled races of Iditarod and Alaska Sealife Center. I decided to camp at the city RV Park, the view is magnificent but the bathroom facility is down right dirty, it was on the weekend and the park is full of kids as well. This prompt Pokie to require that the next Wanderlust has a decent bathroom. We also visited Whittier for the day before we head back to Anchorage to take a break.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Homer, Alaska (revisited)

Kachemak Bay, Homer, Alaska
Let me take you back to Homer, one of our favorite spot in Alaska, this is the capital fishing for halibut in all U.S. territory. There are so many charter boats that will take you for a deep-sea fishing. I believe in the summer time there is a fishing competition and the person caught the biggest fish will bring some serious dollars. As for us, just being there and make observation and seeing the view is more than make up the distance miles that we had to endure to get here. We stayed two nights at an RV park with the view. I will never forget that.

Denali (Revisited)

Denali (the Great one)

Maybe I am too nostalgic in creating our trip nine years ago, but like I said before when you lived your life well, you can relive it again and again. This is the most expensive plane trip in our overall journey to Alaska some nine years ago, but the experience is exhilarating to say the least. To compound to that, only 16 percent of people visiting Denali could actually see it since it creates its own weather. We were very lucky indeed at that time.