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Alaska Trip Report 2013 - Conclusion.





The next day was more sight-seeing.

BTW, many people go to Alaska and they get on helicopters and fly to the glaciers.
That's not us.  If you ever see the headline: Tulsa Blogger Killed in Helicopter Crash,
you'll know I was kidnapped because I'm not getting in any damned helicopter.

Someone told me to be sure and check out Skyline Drive, so that was on today's list.
A local brochure also said be sure to check out the 14-mile scenic drive east of Archer's Point and we
passed Tustumena Lake on the way in - that looked like a fun place to visit so we had a plan.

So we gassed up again at the Homer Tesoro.
Thanks to Suzanne B in San Jose and Lowela from Vashon for the tank of gas.
Gas wasn't crazy expensive, maybe $4.20 or so. In a state that can't afford to import lettuce
we expected gasoline to be $6 or more so we felt lucky.
Thanks to Mike in Beaverton, OR for that day's traveling water, chips and emergency chocolate.

We headed up the coast.

The roads were nice and clear so that helped us make good time.

Here's a potentially-interesting story. See this dude?
This guy passed us - I guess he was in a hurry - and we saw the strangest thing.

Between his trailer and our car, we saw something strange on the road.
It looked like a large animal running behind his trailer, but it turns out he lost a tire.

Yep, he lost the tire and the wheel - the whole riff - and his rogue wheel was following him
down the damn road. It must've hit a bump, because it was bouncing a foot in the air
giving it the impression of an animal running down the road until I figured out what it was.

Eventually the bouncing turned into flat-out tire running down the highway.
It ran off the road so I looked around for something recognizable - there was a green house
on the left so we remembered that.  By now his trailer was scraping and making a big racket
but he didn't stop.  When we finally reached Anchor Point, he pulled over and so did we.

He wondered why I stopped behind him so he came over to my window.
I told him he lost a tire and we told him approximately where he could find it.
You gotta figure a wheel and tire would have to be worth $100-200, right?
I figure that was my good deed for the day.
We were the only people on Planet Earth who knew what happened to his tire.

We love this drive!

This guy might have a 160-sq ft house, but he's a got a million dollar view.

There was endless gorgeous scenery.

Bad news - once we got to Tustumena Lake Road, it was ice and snow-packed.
Last thing we wanted to do was get AVIS stranded with no cell service, so that was a bust.

So we headed back south to find the scenic road east of Anchor Point.
It was a nice little road but most of the "scenic" was the snow, but we were happy (cough).

Heading back into Homer, we hung a Louie at Diamond Ridge Lane, which took us to Skyline Drive.
You gotta figure Skyline Drive in Homer would rule, right?  It did.

BOOM! There it is.

So we spent the day driving and we decided to stay one last night in Homer.
Thanks to Ed D, Art from Coraopolis, PA, Tom C from Clifton Park, NY and Pauline in Hayward, CA for the nice hotel.

We were too tired to go looking for a restaurant and we weren't in the mood to gamble
on something new so we went back to Fat Olives and tried the sit-down service this time.

I had spaghetti and meatballs and she had Alfredo something, thanks to Tom G in Anacortes, WA
It was OK, but not as good as that pizza we had the night before.

The Bidarka Best Western has fake electric fireplaces in each room - why do I point that out?
Because they give off no heat.
Why not have a fake gas fireplace that actually gives off heat, guys?

The next day we knew we had to say goodbye to Homer so we visited the Spit one last time.

I don't think I'd ever get tired of seeing that.

Another thru-the-windshield photo taken by a guy driving a car.

This Just In...
Writing this Saturday afternoon, they say Alabama is getting pounded by ping-pong-ball-sized hail right now.

If a chunk of ice that size hits you in the head you could die.
But don't worry, global warming is the biggest hoax since Hitler.

    "That's right!"

Back to the story...
So we're heading off the Spit when we see this:

It said if a tsunami comes, go to the mainland and turn right along the coast?
Excuse me?
If a wall of water is chasing my ass I'd prefer to go up the damn hill.

We filled up at that same Tesoro gas station, thanks to Michael L in Carnegie, PA
and Mary H in Bonney Lake, WA and Paris Miller.

Thanks to Don M in Vancouver, WA for that day's bottled waters,
chips and emergency chocolate.

This Just In...
The Weather Channel says St. Augustine, FL is getting pounded by baseball sized hail.

Good luck living thru that, St. Augustine.
Like Memphis Mimmie said, "Crying won't help you, praying won't do you no good..."

On the way out of Homer we stopped one last time at the Scenic Turnout.

We're going to miss this magical place where the sun shines purple.
If Southwest flew here, we'd be coming back for sure...

At this point, out perfect good luck started to shake a little.
It had snowed since we had driven to Homer.

We had maybe 60 miles of snow to drive thru.

It was beautiful, I just wasn't expecting a surprise after 4 days of near-perfect roads.

Looking for a moose here...
We saw moose, several times, but always suddenly with no time to grab the camera.

The blind, curvy hills were the worst - you don''t know what's coming and stopping will depend on God's kindness.

It's almost enough to turn an athiest.

Eventually the roads started to clear and we said a prayer to celebrate (cough).

At this point were only 70 miles or so from Anchorage so we started to relax a little.


Who can explain fog to me?
It's 20 degrees and foggy - how is that possible?
I thought fog was a cloudlike mass of water droplets - why don't they freeze and fall as snow?

I can explain why water vapor won't freeze, Bart.

We made our way to Girdwood where we found the Alyeska Hotel.

It was the nicest hotel we stayed at - thanks to Eddy the Oklahoma Pillar - but can't they afford to clear the road?

This was the view from our room - thanks, Eddy!

We were hungry from the long, tension-filled drive, so we asked about restaurants.
They said their best food was served in the fancy Seven Glaciers Restaurant on top of the mountain.

...and the only way to get there is by Shaky Tram.

You talk about a Don't Look Down picture.
That tram was swinging more than Sinatra after a bottle of Jack.

Not me, not even if that's where the only food on Earth was served.

Can you find the tram in this photo?

Instead, we ate at their Tramway Cafe.  I got a pizza that I couldn't finish and she got
something Alfredo, thanks to Selwyn in Jacksonville, FL and Marion in Santa Rosa, CA.

So now it's our last day in Alaska.
The plane is scheduled to take off at 10:50, that is IF the pilot shows up sober and IF the fuel gauge is working.
We haven't been north of Anchorage yet so we're going to try to change that.

We gassed up at Girdwood's Tesoro station, thanks to Bill B in Denison, TX and headed towards Anchorage.

Can't get enough of this scenery.

Where are we going to sight see now that won't be boring by comparison?

Here we are North of Anchorage, headed towards Sarah Palin's house.

We made it, but what was I going to do?
Knock on Sarah's door and get myself arrested?

In Wasilla, if you need a gun just long enough to shoot someone, they'll loan you a gun.

Keeping an eye on the clock, we inched (at 55 MPH) Northward towards Denali, the tallest mountain in North America.

I was worried about the time but she wanted to see Denali if we could somehow make that happen.
Finally, we came over a hill and there it was - I'll be damned if it didn't take my breath away.

We were 170 miles away and it was that big and that clear.
By comparison, driving west on I-70 in Colorado out of Kansas, you can't see Pikes Peak until you get within 90 miles.

Mrs Bart was impressed.

So we headed back toward Anchorage, figuring our sight-seeing thrills were over.

You don't see scenery like that every day.

Back in Anchorage, we were losing the sun and it would be dark soon.
We gassed up the Camry one last time, thanks to Sara W In East Nassau, NY and gave it back to AVIS.

We got to the airport by 8 PM because American Airlines has very strict rules.

Once in 1992, we were in Buffalo and missed our Southwest flight.
They laughed and said, "No problem, we'll have you on the next flight out," but on our
American ticket is said, "Missed flight negates ticket," so I wanted to be there extra early.

We felt like the trip went great.
The only thing we had missed was the Northern Lights.

But it was dark when our plane took off and the pilot came on the PA and said,
"If you look out your left window, you can see the Northern Lights."

Of course, we were on the right side of the plane but people were taking pictures and movies and
passing their cameras around so we did get to see the Auroras with about a 60-second delay.

The flight home felt like 3 weeks but it took only two.
We got home at Noon and we were dead tired, but if we went to sleep
then we'd wake up ready to go about 8 PM and who needs that?

But we were super-happy with the Alaska Trip - thanks to many of you readers.
I hope you enjoyed the photos and the stories, many of which were true :)
If you donated to the Alaska Trip and didn't see your name
Contact me and I'll fix that.


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