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Alaska Trip Report March 10th, 2013.





Alaska is a long way away.

Our first flight was a one-hour flight on American Airlines to Dallas.
American charged us $25 to check one bag, the cheap, opportunistic bastards.
Thanks to John, my progressive friend in Industry, PA for the $25 donation.
After we got seated, the captain came on and said we'd be late leaving Tulsa because
the "left" fuel gauge wasn't working and he wanted to be sure we had enough fuel.

Gee, when the fuel gauge isn't working on a Southwest flight, they fix the damn thing.
To make things even worser, Tulsa is an American Airlines maintenance center,
but American has their problems and I doubt that's going to change anytime soon.

We finally get to Dallas and we had to run like crazy to our gate (because they made us
so late) and it's a good thing DFW is only about forty f-ing miles long. Once we got to
our gate, they told us THAT plane would be late because the pilot hadn't arrived yet.

Where was he - in the aiport bar?
Is this any way to run an airline?

Since Southwest is always ranked Number 1 or 2 in customer surveys, and they are
always ranked 1 or 2 on "on time" flights and they ALWAYS make a profit, every year,
why don't other airlines copy what works for Southwest?

Eventually our four-hour flight was ready for Portland ...which brings me to Steve Jobs.
Knowing we were going to be flying 11 hours to get to Anchorage and 11 coming back,
I bought a past season of Survivor from iTunes for $25 to be sure Mrs. Bart was happy.

iTunes doesn't work.

I have a smoking hot fast internet connection.
My download speed is 12 MBPS and trust me, that's really fast, but on iTunes, it kept saying,
"You have 353 hours left on downloading this episode of Survivor," so we only
got 5 episodes downloaded and I blame super-greedy Steve Jobs.

Why can't Apple get anything right?

We were late leaving Portland - something was broken I can't remember.
The last thing you get from American Airlines is a feeling of security.

You ever see that site,
There was a Walmart-ish woman on our flight to Anchorage wearing shorts.

Once we got in the air, I saw they had an option for the Internet for $5.
That seemed like a bargain, considering the fucking we took from Apple
but it only worked for an hour so I asked Stewie, "What's up with that?"

Swear to Koresh, she says, "Canada doesn't get the Internet but don't worry,
it'll come back on once we leave Canadian airspace."

As I've said at least 1,000 times, America can't build ANYTHING that works anymore.

Months later we finally got to Anchorage's Ted Stevens Airport.
You remember him - he's famous for at least three things:

1. He's the guy who said, "The Internet is a series of tubes."
If I'm not mistaken, what made that worser was the fact that he was
chairman of the Technology committee or whatever that's called.

2. He's the guy who said New Orleans didn't
deserve any federal money after Katrina.  
When asked if they could take money from his bridge-to-nowhere fund, he said "NO!"
so loud it makes Jon Stewart drop his papers every time he plays that clip.

3. He was framed by Bush's Justice Department and nobody knows why.
AFTER he was found guilty, he narrowly lost his re-election but some judge effectively
vacated his guilty verdict because his case was chock-full of prosecutorial misconduct,
which is legal, remember?   WHY is it legal for prosecutors to frame some bastard?

Of course, it was a full mile of walking to our AVIS rental, but the counter guy made
me feel good when he said we could have a Toyota Camry for the economy car price.

Where to go first?
It was 1 AM when we landed and 2 AM by the time Chester got the AVIS paperwork done
and I was ready for a cocktail to relax.   Mrs. Bart checked and Alaska lets liquor stores
stay open 21 hours a day, from 8 AM to 5 AM, so I used my iPhone to search for
a liquor store and they were everywhere - and every one of them was closed.

You'd think in the entire town of Anchorage, ONE e
ntrepreneur (I looked that up) would
pay some poor schlep minimum wage to keep his store open but nooooooooooooooooo.
So here we are, driving around Anchorage in the damn snow at 3 AM just to be denied.

We stayed at the Courtyard Mariott Airport, thanks to ducks, who was the first person
to donate to the Alaska Trip report fund.  Janet in Morton Grove, IL also contributed,
as did Wes in Jakarta so thanks for helping us with that hotel expense, guys.

Yes, it snows a lot in Anchorage, but really, Courtyard?
The lady at the desk told us to use this door.

Our boots were still packed and Mrs. Bart wasn't about to walk thru a foot of snow to get
to our room so we had to park funny and walk alllllllllll the way around the hotel to get in.

Again, paying ONE guy to shovel a little snow would've made Courtyard look a LOT better.
Luckily, we were tired enough that we fell asleep once we hit the bed.

Now it's Monday morning and the plan was to drive 125 miles to Seward, Alaska.

Since liquor stores were less-than dependable, we stopped while still in Anchorage to fill up.
First thing, the guy asks to see my ID.

Really, Dude?  An old goat like me?

He said they had a terrible murder in  "Potter's Creek" after someone sold some liquor to a
woman who had "Don't sell this crazy bitch any liquor" stamped on her drivers license.
So the whole state has to card everybody every time.

Is it racist to say Alaska has a problem with alcohol?

We've watched that Alaskan State Troopers TV show and they say many areas are so dry,
a $7 bottle of cheap-ass whiskey goes for $200 so yeah, I'd say they have a problem.
BTW, thanks to Hal C in New York for the liquor.

Finally we were on the Southbound road to Seward and looking forward to the sights.
We could tell it was spectacular, but it was so overcast we couldn't see much.

But the more we drove, the better it got.
Minute by minute, the sun burned away the offending clouds and we started to see the greatness of Alaska.


THIS is what we came to see.
We wanted to see mountains that could laugh at Colorado's Rockies.
Christ, Alaska can laugh at Glacier Park's magestic mountains, and just two years ago I would have bet against that.

THIS is what we came to see and we were only one hour into our week..

 ha ha

Can you believe this?

We're driving a rented car in f-ing Alaska in the not-summer and having the best time ever.
This is one of those crazy what-if-we-did-it ideas that turned into something.

BTW, I'd also like to thank the predatory scumsuckers at Bank of America for this trip.
They didn't contribute directly, but because I had a background in predatory lending (I was good, too)
I knew where the landmines were so the BoA predators gave us a cornucopia of frequent flyer miles
and the most we had to pay was $59 last year.

What's more fun than making Wall Street banksters your bitch?

On top of that, it's a CHASE Visa, so I'm screwing them BOTH,
but maybe BoA and Chase are all part of the same circle jerk - who knows?

Back to the story...

Is this not the funnest trip ever?
If you've been to Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, you've seen close to this.

When we go on vacation, this is what we like to do.
She infected me with her National Park obession decades ago
so when we travel we want to see nature roar like a f-ing lion!

Bartcop,  Ice Road Trucker!

This next shot is kind of arty...

It was taken at a 45 degree angle out my left window while I
was driving with the 22 degree wind howling like Jimi doing Watchtower.

The scenery just kept getting better.

Then things started getting volcanic...

This turned out to be a recurring theme

 Oh boy - then it started getting real good.

While ago, when I said "this" is why we came to Alaska?
I was lying.

This is why we came to Alaska.
We had no idea it was going to be this cool.
Everything past the first hour was gravy, so we were starting this vacation with a big bang.

OK, ... so what do I do if I find myself in an avalanche?


Speaking of prayer, I hear this new Pope Francis is a sissy.

ha ha

(Catholics roll on the floor when you tell that joke.)

It's older than God's phone number - which is  Et Cum Spiri Tu Tuo

ha ha

I can do Catholic humor all day.
I was in their POW camp for 12 years - then I escaped!

OK, back to Alaska...

I'm guessing 2/3 of you are saying to yourself, "You call this a vacation?"
Hey, we got lucky that we like to do the same things on vacation.
Sue us.

We eventually reached Seward, probably named after that Seward's Folly guy.

While this may look like Antartica, or Artica, it was 30 degrees or so.
Not balmy, but hardly drastic temperatures for one living in minus-30 Okie winters and 115+ Okie summers.

Then we saw this:

We theorized that, in a blinding blizzard, one could use those bouys as a marker for home sweet home.
Plus, we got some gas because running out in a blizzard when you're 50 miles from a town is un-cool.
Thanks to Father Mushroom in Eden Prairie, MN and Michael B in Fenton, MO for the gas.

OK, so we decided to locate the hotel, but the iPhone GPS was lying to us. Steve Jobs - again!
It said we were right on it, but I called and they said they were a 5 clicks north of our current position.
We still had trouble finding the Seward Holiday Inn Express - you know why?
Because their building looks like this:

And would you like to see the photo they submitted to Travelocity to entice people to stay there?

I signed up because they wanted $78 a night.
I figured that's a bargain for wilderness Holiday Inn Express. 
Thanks to Greg in Medicine Hat, Alberta for the room!

But if this was Bart's Hotel, you know what I'd do? First thing I'd do is put "Bart's Friggin Hotel"
on the front of the damn building so people driving by could actually find the place..
The second thing I'd do it ditch that lame-ass Travelocity exterior shot for the view the guest gets:

Special thanks to Bruce in Marquette, MI for the spectacular hotel with the ocean view.

We got a Eureka Pizza delivered to our room, thanks to Mary F in Rockville, MD and Robert in Carol Stream, IL.

That was Day One.

 Click Here for Parts 2 and 3





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