Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Alaska Review! Day 14--Bird Creek to Anchorage and Home Again

We leave today.  We'll be home tomorrow, as we're on a red eye, which technically doesn't leave until tomorrow East Coast time.

Still more things to see, before we leave, though.

We had decided that rather than try to eke out another breakfast in a room that doesn't really have dishes, we would pack up and head to Anchorage and get breakfast out.  We enjoy breakfast out and never do it at home, and hadn't really done it this vacation, so why not?

On the way back to Anchorage, we saw some new wildlife:

 As we drove along, look what I spied.  Yes, it was me and not Chretien or Earnest.

 Mountain goats.  We've just about rounded out all the wildlife.  None too soon!

 Just a view of how windy the Seward Highway is.  You can also see train tracks.
 Imp loves pancakes, and we all enjoy iHop, so we looked and lo and behold, there was an iHop in Anchorage.  We enjoyed our breakfast--bill was $74.

Then we weren't really sure what to do.  I think if we had something booked, it would have been easier, but given that we were on Day 14 and a bit worn out, it was harder to decide.  We thought about biking the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, but decided against it.  No wanted wanted any of the museums I suggested.

We wound up driving over to Ship Creek, as I had mentioned the Ulu Factory.  We drove over and parked in a lot ($5 for 2 hours).  Before we went in the shop, we decided to go watch the fishermen, trying their luck in Ship Creek.

Ah, the train, the train!  Finally!

And as we walked along, we spied this:

This place could outfit you for whatever fishing you wanted to try (or so it seemed to me).  We rented two rods for the boys for $20 for the hour, and they went to work.

The above photo is my favorite for the day, simply because Imp is the one who has always loved fishing, and was thrilled that he was able to try. 

 Just like the gold panning, we caught nothing.  But it was a nice way to while away an hour.

I got a kick out of these signs for the restrooms.

You can tell that Imp had a good time.

Imp is a kid who always seems to get into his play--note the muddy hands and jacket from when he "fell" into the mud. So happy we're going directly to the plane today without being able to change into new clothes.

After our fishing expedition, we visited the Ulu Factory.  There are many trinkets and things to look at besides knives, although we looked at those as well.

 A new friend.

After we made a few purchases, we decided to go back to Earthquake Park and the Tony Knowles trail to eat our lunch.  Our first day in Anchorage, it was probably not in its best light.

Today was a much better day.

 We loved the tools you could borrow if you had an issue with your bicycle.

Happy we were able to walk a short bit of the trail.

By then it was around 4 PM and we decided it was time to start heading toward the airport.  Chretien wanted to drive by the float planes again, so this wound up being like our first day but in reverse--sort of like bookends.

 I suggested we stop by the Aviation Museum (and I also had a Tour Saver coupon for it), but by the time we arrived, we would have only had about 30 minutes, so we just looked around outside.

 It's too bad we didn't have just a little more time, as Chretien was in the Air Force and enjoys looking at the old planes as well as the new float planes.

Around 5, we went to put gas in the minivan for the last time.  We pulled into a parking lot where the kids could watch the float planes and we cleaned out the minivan and threw out the remaining food, which wasn't really all that much (bread went to the ducks below, kids had a few more snacks, etc.)

Sadly, we returned the minivan and checked in for our 9:15 PM flight around 6 PM.  We found our gate and took turns getting take out.  We decided to gate check our carryons (roller bags) to go home because we figured if any of them were misplaced, it wouldn't matter because we'd be home, and it would make our layover in Chicago easier if all we had to worry about were our backpacks/personal items. 

This was the second leg of our flight, when it was already Sunday morning.

We landed a little early and my dad came to bring us home. 

I will try to have a summary post--tips and tricks, overall costs, etc.  But for now, that is really the bulk of our trip.  Thanks for reading along.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Alaska Review! Day 13--Bird Creek/Girdwood (Part 2)

That other post was getting long, so let's finish up here.

This is Charlie.  He was stationed down by the river to help and impart all sorts of knowledge about panning for gold.  

 You can see all the supplies that are down by the river, if you don't remember to bring them all with you.

Eventually, we figured we weren't going to strike it rich and we headed back to the main street.

On the way back, we checked out the inside of some of the buildings.

 The items here were from an older time than what we saw at Independence Mine.

 That bear on the bed surprised us a little.

 And one last shot of the wedding cake.

We spent about 2 hours at Crow Creek.  Although we didn't find any gold, it was a lot of fun to give it a try.  And the setting was fabulous.

Next stop was Aleyeska.  The day didn't allow for the tram ride, but Chretien is a ski instructor part time in the winter and he wanted to see the resort and mountain.

You can see the bike in the right corner of the photo.  Mountain biking occurs here during the summer.

Then it was time for dinner.  We opted to head back toward the motel, and wound up at:
 The Turnagain Arm Pit BBQ.   We sat outside.  Who can complain about this view, even if the Seward Highway is right.there.
 I got some sort of special tacos.  I don't remember what others got.  Our total bill here was $87.

Then it was back to the motel to pack.  The kids played outside (there is tons of grass, since it's also an RV park) while we managed to cram everything back into our suitcases. 

Everyone is ready to leave Alaska soon!

But not before we had one more day to spend.