Monday, August 12, 2013

Day 1, Anchorage

Anchorage weather: High 58, Low 55, Light rain, overcast with fog
Steps walked:  Shaun - 11,520 and 9 floors;  Shannon - 13,512 with 8 floors (we have no idea why there's such a disparity....blame the Fitbit!)
Critter count:  not a dang thing!

We had a great day today, but it was WET with a capital W!  The temp was around 60 or so, but it didn't stop raining all day.  We just put on our hiking boots and rain gear and completely ignored the water.

Our day started with breakfast at the B&B while being entertained by the owner's son, David.  He gave us his advice for what to see, but strangely, everything he recommended dealt with food or drink!  I guess people from Anchorage don't need to go to the tourist places, so they don't know much about them.  


David did tell us about his twin brother, Drew, who is a native mask artist and has a show in one of the galleries in town that depicts a 5 foot mask for each of the 11 diseases that the native Alaskans suffer from most often.  We found the gallery and were blown away by the display.  Viewers were encouraged to sign the back of any masks that depicted diseases they had been affected by, which was very cool.  I signed the diabetes one, so I'm now a permanent resident of Alaska....well at least my signature is!

We picked up our rental car and drove into the city.  As usual, we went to the Visitor Center first and got a map and recommendations from the folks there.  We lucked out and caught a city trolley that took us on an hour-long overview of the city, which was fascinating.  Our guide was a third-generation native of Anchorage who teaches middle school during the winter and has done tours for 9 years during the summer.  Her dad was actually in the 1964 earthquake, so she had some interesting insight into that absolutely insane event.  The highlight of the tour for Shaun was the drive through the Lake Spenard sea plane airport.  Some fun facts about flying in Anchorage are that one in 65 people owns a plane, one in 20 is a licensed pilot, and you can get a license to fly as early as age 14!  Our middle school teacher said that this last fact scares the crap out of her.  The highlight of the tour for Shannon was a house that was built almost completely underground.  It actually has almost 3000 square feet and is built on a bluff.  From the road all you can see is the roof which looks like a grass lawn with skylights sticking out of it.  Fascinating.  The temperatures remains a constant 60 degrees all year long.  Can you imagine?

We spent the rest of the day shopping and walking and then shopping some more while we were walking.  We went to Snow City Cafe for lunch and Bear Tooth Grill for dinner, both of which were David's recommendations.  They were very eclectic...crunchy you might say...but they were nummy.  Shaun took a walk on the wild side and had crab cake and salmon cake egg's benedict.  She didn't like the salmon cake that much, but hey, at least she tried!  We also did a bit of grocery shopping since we brought no toiletries to conserve on weight (which did absolutely no good since both of our suitcases weighed 55 pounds.  Shaun got by with no penalty, but JetBlue charged Shannon $50 for her overage).  Finally, we packed our bags for tomorrow, which is one of only 2 days that we have a set thing to do. We will be driving 2 hours north to Talkeetna and catching a helicopter to Mount McKinley.  They say that you have a 50% better chance of seeing the mountain by coming in from Talkeetna than if you fly over from where the national park entrance is.  It's supposed to be crappy weather again tomorrow, though, so we'll see what happens.  If we don't fly, I'm sure we'll find something else to do.  No worries....we're on vacation!

The sad news of the day is that we didn't see any moose or eagles or nothin'.  My goal for the day was to see a moose, and we saw a bunch of areas where moose fence was up to keep the moose from walking on the runways at the airport and stuff like that, but we didn't actually see a single one.  Dang it!


  1. I am totally enjoying this blog! I feel like I am taking a mini-vacation every time I read it. :) That mask exhibit looked really awesome! Hope the rain holds out for you guys tomorrow!

    1. Thanks, Leah! We're so glad you're enjoying it. The weather has turned around, and now we've got blue skies for a little while.