Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday Evening Tequila 6/16/09

Now that the Alaska cruise season has started, I thought I would share our adventure's on the trip that Janet and I took to Alaska in 2007. It is a trip that is still fresh in my memory and I will never forget it. We elected to cruise with Princess on this trip. We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and could not think of a better destination than Alaska. So we decided to do a wilderness tour for 5 days before we caught up with the Princess Coral in Whittier (Near Anchorage) We started off our trip from San Antonio with a long flight to Fairbanks through Minneapolis. It’s a long ways to Fairbanks. Packing for the trip was even more difficult because you had to have one bag for the ship and one for the land portion. When we arrived in Fairbanks they took our bags for the ship and told us that our bags would be in our cabin when we boarded the ship in 5 days. I hope I see my clothes again! We were just staying one night in Fairbanks and catching the train to Denali in the morning. Since it stays daylight in Alaska forever, we had no problem checking out Fairbanks. Neither one of us slept at all with the anticipation of our journey starting in the morning. Morning arrives and we take the motor coach from the hotel to the Princess train. Most of the cruise lines all have their Double Decker trains all hooked together. We were seated at our assigned table on the upper deck and had the most amazing view from our domed train. They had a specialist on the train who gave us the history of the different areas that we were traveling through. We were able to get up and walk around the train. They had an area at the end of train that you could go outside and see the views from there as well. As you can see Janet is a Happy Camper! It was really awesome. About half way through the train ride our table was called to go down to the dining car where we ordered breakfast and watched the most amazing scenery go by as we sipped our coffee and juice while we waited for our breakfast to be served. After breakfast we went back to our upper deck table and watched the beautiful scenery pass by. As we arrived in Denali there was a small lake off to the left side and we saw our first Moose playing in the water. Well I think it was playing!
We have now arrived at the Princess Lodge at Denali National Park. This is so cool! Hoo Ya! We get off the train and we are just about 1/2 of mile from the lodge. Once we get to the lodge we walk around a bit. It is a huge place with several restaurants and shops. Our favorite place was the Base Camp Bistro. It has the most amazing decks that looks over the river and mountains in the background. We liked it so much that we ate lunch and dinner there. They had this most incredible appetizer. It was an Alaska Crab Pot. It had crab, artichoke hearts, sherry cream, celery and loads of Parmesan cheese served with toasted Parmesan baguette slices. I am drooling! As we were eating lunch we kept seeing these Mewgulls flying around. There was a group that had just finished eating and their table had not been cleaned yet and all of a sudden here came the Mewgulls and stole the french fries. Crazy birds. We spent the rest of the day walking around the many trails around the lodge and visiting the Denali National Park Museum. It was really breathtaking. We awoke the next morning for our 65 mile trip into Denali National Park. We elected to upgrade our tour to the Tundra tour that would take us even further than the Natural History tour. We saw, Grizzly Bears, Moose, Caribou, Dall’s sheep and many other wildlife. Way too cool! Can not explain the rush when a Grizzly Bear comes right up to the school bus that we were on. I would love to spend more time here, but we are now off to the Princess Mt McKinley Lodge. Oh mountains here we come! Mt McKinley is a very strange mountain and only likes to show her beauty once every so often. We take a motor coach form Denali and arrive at the Mt McKinley lodges. They were spectacular with many restaurants and shops. They also had this amazing deck that looked out over the area where Mt McKinley is supposed to be, but nothing but clouds blanket her. We walked around some of the trails around the lodge. The funniest thing is the warning signs for the bears while you are on the trails. They show you six bear types and what to do if you see that type of bear. One bear type has you lay in the fetal position, another has you start clapping and yelling. I can tell you that if I ran into a bear no matter what type, I would not take time see what type it was nor figure out what I was supposed to do. I would be running like hell as fast as I could in the opposite direction. We had several meals, drinks and played cards in the bar that looked out over the deck waiting for the glimpse of seeing the mountain. No such luck on day #1. The next morning we take a motor coach to the small town of Talkeetna. This place is so cool. It has old shops, restaurants and a super tiny grocery/package store. We found this awesome pizza joint called Mountain High Pizza Pie and I have to tell you that besides my mom's pizza that this was the BEST I have had anywhere.
Those of you who know me know I love to eat and I love pizza. Oh yea, the beer was good too. When you finish your pizza you need to walk around a while and make room for pie at the Road House Cafe. Sweet Perfection! Not to take away from desert, but we found the city hall while walking around and they were selling shirts for the Moose Dropping Festival the next weekend. How bizarre is that? I guess they have a Moose Dropping toss, like in Texas they have the Cow Chip toss. Too Funny! We head back to the lodge in hope of seeing a glimpse of the mountain, but nothing but clouds. We have a few drinks and toast the mountain and still nothing in sight. We are bummed that we can not see this mountain. Are you really there or you just a myth? Off to bed we go and it is still daylight. It never gets dark in Alaska and this makes sleeping quite interesting. We wake up the next morning and pack our bags as we are heading to the Princess Coral today. We put our bags outside for the staff to pickup and we head to the big deck to see if maybe she might show a little and oh my gosh. There she was in full view and not a cloud in the sky. Janet was smiling from ear to ear. She was so excited! Almost like being in a candy store. She took video and I snapped tons of pictures. In a matter of 15 minutes she was gone. The clouds had taken over Mt McKinley and she had vanished. We were so blessed with the perfect timing and the view that would last us a lifetime. So Unbelievable! We jump on the motor coach back to Talkeetna where we will board the train down to Whitter to board the Princess Coral. The train will take around 6 hours to get to Whitter. We have a great table to see all of the awesome scenery as we reflect on our first trip into the interior of Alaska and what an experience it has been. We are very excited about our first cruise to Alaska. I can tell you this much, I fell in love with the area's of Alaska that we have visited and I will return again. I will end here as our land portion of our trip has ended. I will continue my next story on this fantastic trip as we review the various ports of call. Until then Happy Travlin' Travel Your Way!

1 comment:

Wiregrass Travel said...

Hey John, great looking blog. You are better than me with the picture placement, you may have to give a lesson one day.