Alaskan Daily Diary

Alaska Day-by-day

Day 1 - Orange County to Anchorage
north terminal at alaska in anchorage airport We flew through Las Vegas for the cost savings - not sure it was worth it! Print your boarding passes on your pc (and take them with you) and make sure you arrive at the airport early. first night in anchorage motel with rental car Check your airline for baggage limits and for rules pertaining to carry on. I always pack a snack and lunch cause I am a Mom and you just never know! If you get a window seat on the right side, and the weather permits, you can see the gorgeous islands, volcanos, snow-covered mountains, villages and boats below. We arrived in Anchorage at 3:15 pm. Most services, like the car rental operation, are in the South Terminal and US Air docks at the spectacular North Terminal, with the foreign flights. We had to get our luggage and take the shuttle to the South Terminal to collect our 'AQUAFINA' blue Ford to drive out to our motel. It was a bit of a hassle but Anchorage has a lot to see and you really need a car to make the most of it.

Note: We printed up the Mapquest directions to and from the airport/motor home rental and railway station before we left home. We also had a great map from AAA. We later found this Anchorage Airport map on '', which is all we needed at first.

We checked in and then took a drive to check out Anchorage. Downtown Anchorage has some interesting shops but we were anxious to get out of town. anchorage kincaid park We found a beautiful little park on a lake near the sea called Westchester Lagoon, walked around Kincaid Park and then drove down to explore Earthquake Park. Half way down the trail we were chased back to the car by ENORMOUS mosquitoes. We found Point Woronzof (under the Anchorage International Airport runway) and were dazzled by Beluga whales in the channel and bald eagles overhead. anchorage merrill field airport We ate at the ever familiar Taco Bell and headed back to the motel for some much needed SLEEP! It seemed like it got dark during the night but maybe that was because it was RAINING! Throughout our travels locals loved to tell us about the drought and how it hadn't rained in months.

Day 2 - Anchorage local sightseeing
anchorage hilton hotel After breakfast we parked by the old cannery down hill from the Anchorage Hilton and walked along the river to watch everyone salmon fishing in Ship Creek - no one salmon fishing in anchorage ship creek seemed to catch one but everyone had a story about the ones they had caught! There is a charming fish ladder and we could not pond at anchorage cultural center figure out how it could possibly work. We walked over to the train station to get a feel for the surroundings for the following morning.

We headed out to the Alaska Native Heritage Center (admission $62.95) and enjoyed the most delightful day! We learned a lot about the Alaskan culture and got to see how the people lived as we walked through the village. We got a chance to join in during the singing and dancing as we were asked to be butterflies and dance the Hokey Pokey Athabascan style! Lunch was expensive but delicious…we had the salmon and ate it in the RAIN!!!

We then drove to the Eagle River Valley and Crow Pass to get a feel for the 'burbs' and it was a beautiful drive. Everything is so green and lush and of course it was raining - there is a nature center with guided tours but we were content to enjoy the breathtaking beauty - from the car!

We drove out to the airport and returned our rental car after we checked out the motor home location and dropped off some of our baggage that was packed separately for that portion of the trip

Day 3 - Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Denali
alaska railroad anchorage station We had a great breakfast with an interesting group of locals at Polly's out by our motel and then headed for the train station. gabi and jj in alaska railroad domecar You will find that in Alaska the motels and hotels have vans and expect to transport you - at no charge. Day 3 was truly one of alaska railroad coach seating the best of the trip. We absolutely enjoyed every single minute of our train trip to Denali. We took the Denali Star and paid normal coach which entitles you to seats in certain cars and seats as available upstairs in the dome cars. We spent a lot of time up in the observation car and oh, what a wonderful way to see Alaska. Just as soon as we left the station we saw a mother and baby moose and there was never a lull throughout the 7 or so hour trip. There's a lot of standing water, due to the frozen alaska railroad crossing trestle to denali ground underneath, so you see a lot of 'taiga' forest with shallow-rooted trees tilted in all directions. We especially liked the picturesque trestles over the rivers. taiga forest from denali to anchorage denali star dome car
Tour guides are provided to deliver local lore and answer questions. They are kids (high school/college age) that have attended special training, make a scrapbook about their family and compete for this opportunity. We had a really great dinner in the dining car - very elegant and sort of Orient Express-ish!

Everyone is met at the station in Denali by their tour groups or hotel drivers and transported to their accommodations - all pretty much lumped together in an area around the park entrance nicknamed "Glitter Gulch". We stayed at the Denali Bluffs - a condo complex on the Hill and it was very nice. They constantly provide transportation up and down the hill to the park, Glitter Gulch, river rafting and flight seeing. Once the driver went off his route to show my son a black fox he had seen on his way in - nice folks! We ate dinner in the hotel restaurant and while it was good it was predictably (by this time) pricy.

Day 4 - Denali - Nenana River rafting
rafting nenana river in denali Joe and JJ were picked up early for their half day trip on the Nenana River. The river runs right off the glacier and is a cloudy, grey nearly freezing ooze. You need to wear several layers of warm clothing under the dry suits they provide. I was running a temperature and spent the day in bed - (honestly!) They had a blast, met some really fun people and when no one fell out during the ride the guide (Phil) encouraged everyone to jump in and get a glacial facial in the 34 degree water. No one had to ask JJ twice - and it was something he will never forget!

We all took the bus down to Glitter Gulch and had fish and chips for dinner - the halibut was really wonderful but - expensive! We walked around a bit and then went to bed early to prepare for Day 4.

Day 5 - Kantishna Wilderness Trails bus tour of Denali Park
kantishna mining claim recorders office We were picked up for our Kantishna Wilderness Trails bus tour of Denali At 6:30 am and of course it looked like rain and was freezing. During the course of the 14 hour trip we saw rain, snow and bright dazzling sunshine. We also saw grizzly bear, moose, caribou, artic fox, eagles, Gyrfalcon, Dall sheep, mountain goats. iditarod sled dog training This particular tour is famous for going all the way to the end of the road to the Kantishna Road House. It is operated by a delightful family who fed us lunch and then taught us about the Iditarod. We were able to then go out and meet their sled dogs and watch them work. It was fabulous! We were absolutely exhausted when we got back to the hotel at about 9:00 pm and I am pretty sure we went to bed without dinner.

Note; Denali is very large and the animals are often far away. You absolutely need binoculars and something for young children to do quietly in their laps! The day was really special but quite possibly too much for little kids - maybe a shorter version would be a better choice.

Day 6 - Alaska Railroad from Denali to Anchorage
alaska railroad denali depot We had breakfast (an amazing brunch) at the Princess Hotel. It was really nice with many choices. We had our picture taken royal celebrity & princess cruise domecars dressed up like Alaskans (see end) and wandered around the property while we waited for them to be developed. We are using them for our Christmas card - the dog's name is Dawson - hee hee! Then it was time to go over to the train and get back to Anchorage. We enjoyed the trip back as much as the trip up - so much to see. The cottonwoods were shedding and there was cotton everywhere for miles. Also McKinley was out and we got a number of fabulous sightings along the way. Note: You can absolutely take the train one way, take the bus back and save some money here!

denali star back at anchorage station We hailed a taxi and he delivered us to the motor home lot where we used our coach as a hotel room. We made arrangements in advance so they left us instructions, a key under the mat, had the beds made up and everything all set for our first night in our new home. We walked over to McDonalds across the street for some cheap, familiar food and then went on a shopping spree at Wal-Mart. It was fabulous and CHEAP….we got sweat shirts, t shirts and all sorts of souvenirs for our family and friends - hope they don't read this!!!

Day 7 - Motor Home Orientation and leave for Kanai Peninsula
great alaskan motorhome with our name in window Oh, look, this one's got our name on it.
motorhome dining and bed popouts What are these sticking out of the side?
rear view motorhome dining and bed popouts Well, we made it out of Anchorage.
motorhome overhead bunk This one's ours!!! first time motorhome driver
Our company schedules one hour orientations for departing families which was complete and totally overwhelming. We viewed a CD which showed all sorts of things that you could do to destroy or horribly damage the coach - hence the purchase of every type of insurance coverage possible. We had been sent a list of extras you can rent or use for a small charge and it is good to have it filled out and ready to go. We ordered a coffee maker (complementary on request), an additional lawn chair (2 were included free), toaster and inverter. We also took a bar-b-q that immediately was soaked, rusted and unusable because we stored it under the front compartment and an ice chest which we had to store in the shower and never used. They were good sports about refunding the fee for both items as well as for the toaster that did not work. You will need a bar-b-q and an ice chest if you are going to fish or cook fish as the penalty for a motor home smelling of fish is severe. They will happily provide fishing equipment (reel and rod) for about $2.50 per day.

Note: You will watch the CD, speak to the reps at the rental lot, and refer to the huge briefcase of data supplied in the coach and when you actually have a problem or question simply call the guys at the help desk or talk to anyone on the road….and you will get all the help you can handle. It is really not scary or difficult at all! We never saw anyone broken down or in the process of wrecking their motor home during our 10 days on road. We did, however, suffer from broken toilet issues later in the journey - details to follow.

Note Number Two: We chose the 'prepaid gas' option which means you bring it back and don't worry about filling it up. The guy told us that he was amazed at how little gas is left in the coaches when people return them….well, what he didn't mention is that you cannot use the generator unless you have at least a half a tank of gas so that last morning we went WITHOUT COFFEE! I would recommend the 'fill it up before you return it option' so you can fully utilize the benefits of having a motor home your last day or two on the road.

We stowed our stuff, checked our bags and headed out to shop at Wal-Mart. You should, however, go to Fred Meyers which is further to drive but has everything you need to get through the first half of your trip. After we got the groceries put away it was time to 'head out' down Old Seward Highway and discover the Kanai Peninsula.

cook inlet and turnagain arm It doesn't take long to be out of the city and entering a magical Alaskan experience. Traveling between the Chugach turnagain arm rest stop Mountains and the Turnagain Arm on the two lane highway right on the water's edge is amazing. Go ahead, and stop over and over kenai peninsula from anchorage again….everyone does and each stop it well worth it! We saw mountain goats, eagles, salmon and amazing vistas of snow covered peaks. There are plenty of roadside stops and we immediately fell into the convenience of having our 'home' with us when we fixed lunch and even took a much needed nap. Beluga Point is particularly fascinating and the signage is well done. The tide in the Arm is constantly changing so make sure you don't go down for a walk and get stuck!

We decided to skip Girdwood, Whittier and Portage Glacier for now and head directly to Seward while the weather was good. first night granite creek campground But it was getting late so we pulled into a campground called Granite Creek to see what was available. My goodness - it was absolutely gorgeous! We paid about $5.00 for the night at the self check in box at the entrance and had a spot right on the creek, facing majestic snow capped mountains. We covered ourselves in repellant and took a long walk, stopping at the pump for a drink and to watch a family of Ptarmigan eat bugs on the road. It was so QUIET and peaceful.

Day 8 - Down the Kenai to Seward
first breakfast in the motorhome I made my world famous cinnamon French toast and bacon for breakfast which always starts off JJ's day with a smile. It was a good thing since the phone and instant messaging wasn't working due to no service in the area and he was a bit edgy. Joe read somewhere that you should definitely see the town of Hope. Don't bother! It's not set up for tourists and there's lots of places where you are welcome and there are better things to do.

salmon fishing on kenai river Salmon were EVERYWHERE! These guys were using inflatables to drift down the Kenai River. Motorhome life is exciting and we have lots of laughs and stop many times to explore and take pictures. You can have lunch, nap or use the bathroom anytime! exit glacier from seward highway
We took the road up to Exit Glacier and it is really interesting to see the sign posts showing where the glacier was each year and how much it is shrinking - global warming? We took the hike up to the glacier but due to very heavy melt the path was washed out. Instead of soaking our tennis shoes we walked back down to the bottom to enjoy the view looking up at the receding glacier and were told we just missed a bear and her cub. We sat in the sun, enjoying the view and met some interesting people.

cruise ships in seward harbor We arrived in Seward late in the afternoon and it was charming. We found the Safeway on the way into town (one block to the seward from city rv campground right of downtown) and stocked up on provisions for the next few days. Joe got a T-shirt that said he was in some death defying race (Mount Marathon)…whatever!

We then checked into the campground on the water at Resurrection Bay - got the last spot - Whew! It was $10.00 per day and we booked two days….just knew we were going to love this place. The camp host told us to put our chairs and some of our belongings across our spot in case he wandered off and someone tried to move in. Off we went to search out a laundromat, hot showers and to book our fjord cruise for the next morning.

Note: Motor homes have showers but it is really difficult to do more than rinse off - we were much happier to buy a real shower every couple of days where you could really get clean.

The laundromat - about a block and a half away from our campsite had both. We were able to wash all of our clothes ($5.00 per load) - wow - and take showers for $5.00 per person. It was heaven…for just a moment everything we owned and we - were CLEAN.

We parked the motor home downtown and walked over to the wharf area to Kenai Fjords Tours to book our tour of the fjords for the following day. The weather is so unreliable I really think this important tour should be booked when good weather is expected - never guaranteed. We choose the all day tour that included a salmon bake on Fox Island and promised to be back at 8:00 am the next morning ($477.00). We walked around town and then back to the campground to get settled and have dinner. After dinner we really enjoyed walking along the Bay and seeing how people had decorated their coaches for the July 4th Holiday.

Day 9 - Kanai Fjords Tour
seward boat dock seward boat harbor entering our first kenai fjord This was my favorite day of the trip. It was simply fabulous! The boat was comfortable and the crew was friendly and informative. We saw killer whales, porpoises, grey whales, puffins, seals and millions of birds. The forest Mew gulls we saw in Denali were replaced by ocean kittiwake gulls.
humpback whale and kittiwake gulls This mama humpback just sat there looking at us for 5 full minutes while her calf would come and go. It was almost too much seeing pod after pod of different types of whales. tour boat dwarfed against glacier
We got right up close to glaciers that were crashing right into the sea and we were surrounded at times by deep blue icebergs. Most importantly the weather was spectacular…it was warm and sunny all day!

skipping stones on fox island About 4:00 in the afternoon we landed at Fox Island and were treated to a salmon bake at a lovely lodge situated between the bay and a pond. This is where Rockwell Kent lived and painted and wrote the book Wilderness. JJ loved the beach which was covered by flat stones just perfect for skipping across the bay.

We fell into bed early - completely satisfied and thoroughly exhausted - even I had fallen in love with Alaska!

Day 10 - Seward to Homer
seward fish house aisles It was time to say goodbye to Seward but not before we visited the Fish House, a fishing supermarket. Wow…it was huge! Two stories and they simply sold everything. People were coming and going - getting bait, fishing licenses, clothes, supplies to fix the roof or to have a bar-b-q…this was the place.

Traveling to Homer requires you backtrack a bit but you always see things you missed the first time and it might not be raining! We really enjoyed our stop at Cooper's Landing. The viewing platform gets you to the scenery without wading through the mud and wet undergrowth.
coopers landing viewing platform It was raining but worth the soaking…we walked down to the landing and watched boats being launched full of hopeful salmon fishermen. We noticed a huge log cabin being built and were really surprised a couple of days later when we stopped here again - at the progress…it was almost done!

We stopped at the Fred Meyers in Soldotna to restock groceries and there was a lot to choose from with excellent prices. You can really save a lot of money by shopping and fixing your own simple meals in the motor home!

rainy drive from seward young grizzly bear spotted along kenai river Since it was raining we decided to spend the day driving running to see a bear spotted along kenai river and just getting to Homer (we could hopefully do some sightseeing on the way back - weather permitting). As we came around a bend and drove across a river I looked back and saw GRIZZLY BEAR fishing on the bank across the river. There was parking as we rounded the bend so we pulled over and after thrashing nosily through tall, wet grass we joined a group of people watching the bear fish. It was amazing! We just stood there watching the bear fish and eat and fight off the birds trying to share his lunch.

homer from skyline drive The Homer Spit had been described to me but I was still taken by surprise at the arm of rock and sand jutting out 5 miles into the Kachemak Bay. hooking up motorhome to homer city water We got in line to get a bay side parking spot at the charming Heritage RV Park. It was expensive ($75.00 per night) but setting up motorhome in homer totally worth the price. set up in heritage park in homer They had showers, laundromat, coffee shop, gift shop, miniature golf and "wet' hookups…everything you could imagine… but the best thing of all was the number of BALD EAGLES....
kachemak bay from homer spit

jj and eagle on homer beach The eagles fish and fight and own the beach right on the sand in front of your motor home. eagles and halibut on homer beach
watching halibut cleaning on homer spit
girl cleaning halibut on homer spit Homer is the 'halibut capital of the world' and we watched some typical fish being cleaned. They were getting ready for the annual halibut derby. Though we love halibut, we didn't go out on an all-day fishing boat (next time).

salmon pond on homer spit salmon pond and harding ice field flightseeing over homer salmon pond Salmon are also caught on the spit. The town dug this pond and stocked it with silver salmon which seem to run back into it each year, much to the salmon fishermen's delight (and surprise). The bay fills and recedes and the eagles scream as children explore the shore for what the water has left behind. Amazing!

This was the day our toilet started not quite flushing…..sort of sticking closed and being stubborn. I called the handy help line and was told this was happening a lot and to pour some dish liquid down the bowl and see if it would work. And it did for about 24 hours.

Day 11 - Homer
war canoe on homer spit homer seafarers memorial We drove out to the end of the spit and explored some of the shops, bars and the Seafarer's Monument and then headed off the spit into town.

We followed signs to Homer several times and never really found a town but we did find the Islands and Oceans Visitor Center (free). It is the public's way to see the many Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuges. homer islands & oceans visitor center lobby homer islands & oceans visitor center It is simply charming with great exhibits and then we walked down to the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve. The trail through the salt marsh is well done and we spotted many types of birds as we walked to the bay. Very enjoyable!

We then headed up the hill to the Pratt Museum (approximately $5.00 per person) which has wonderful natural history, pioneer lore and local flavor. They have a live camera on Gull Island and you can operate the controls and watch the puffins, gulls and all sorts of other birds as they live on their island offshore.

Out in the back they had an authentic homesteader's cabin and a lady who was one of the original homesteaders. She shared her inside homer homestead cabin with guide homer harrington cabin history views of how statehood had ruined Alaska and how much better pioneer life had been. We have remembered her often as we discuss our trip to Alaska - when she bit our heads off as she shouted…."IT WAS TOTALLY FUN TO BE A PIONEER"! We wonder if everyone had as much FUN as she did!

We continued up the hill and out on Skyline Drive for a series of amazing, magnificent views of Homer, the spit, Kachemak Bay and the snow capped mountains. homer blue and white lupines homer prickly rose wildflowers The wild flowers were prevalent and Joe must have taken a million pictures. The lupines were especially big and beautiful (must be the climate). When we got back home I saw a special on TV about a man who allegedly pushed his wife off that cliff right where we were viewing the spit. Wow!

We made reservations with Kachemak Bay Flying Service to have Bill de Creeft take the guys flightseeing the next morning. I am no fan of small airplanes especially over the wilds of Alaska. It would be bad enough waiting for Joe and JJ to return but better than me ruining their flight.

The dish liquid stopped working as a flushing agent so I called the company back and was told to use cooking oil and to use it liberally. This guy told me the company was really irritated about all the complaints about this same thing! (They were irritated?) But he did console me by suggesting it would be a whole lot worse if it was stuck open instead of closed because then the smell is unbearable. I didn't really feel that lucky!

Day 12 - Flight seeing over Homer and travel north toward Ninilchik
de creeft 1929 travel air floatplane
flightseeing over harding ice field flightseeing over kachemak bay inlets Barbara and Bill de Creefts were delightful and Bill soon talked me into joining the guys on their trip aboard their classic 1929 Travel air. He told me if I didn't have any money he would leave it alone but if I could afford it…he was going to talk me into coming along! He was right….it was smooth and I am so glad they talked me into taking the trip. flightseeing mountains above kachemak bay We flew over the most glorious scenery - glaciers, islands, mountains - untouched by humans and got a close up look at the spit from the air! It was an unforgettable experience but I personally was glad to get back on land. flightseeing over kachemak bay vacation homes As we were about to land on the lake near the de Creeft's 'office' a moose started running along the shore as if trying to race the landing plane!

houses around ninilchik We started traveling north realizing that our time in Alaska was growing short. We saw signs directing us to a Russian Orthodox Church down a dirt road as we entered the Ninilchik area and I am so glad we decided to stop. russian orthodox church near ninilchik The church was simply beautiful, very simple yet elegant and the attached cemetery was also picturesque. We drove down road to get close to the ocean and have lunch and ended up staying the night. ($6.00 or $8.00 fee - we don't remember). ninilchik beach rv campground Our spot was right on the beach and down about ½ mile we watched the most interesting business enterprise. Fishermen drove down the road with their boats on their trailers and these guys on tractors backed them right out into the ocean. ninilchik boat launch When they were done fishing the tractors met them with their trailer, backed right down into the ocean and the fishermen drove right up onto their trailers and took off. We understood they paid $75.00 for this service and it took about 2 minutes each way!

The ocean was alive with fish…,flopping and flapping - Halibut we are told and the meadow across the way was filled with wildflowers and birds. We had natives parked on each side of us with all sorts of party supplies, boats, kids etc….but all three of us fell asleep and missed the whole evening and morning activities!

Day 13 - Soldotna and Kenai
kenai 4th of july float setting up kenai 4th of july parade We entered Kanai just at the 4th of July Parade was beginning and all roads were closed or detoured around the center of town. We fought off attending the festivities as long as possible and then simply caved in and parked.

We drove out of town looking for a water park that was totally overstated in some brochure we had read and was closed for the holiday. kenai russian church We passed it by several times not believing that could be the amazing park that had been described. Kanai is an oil town and truly not very interesting. We also found the well described old town falling down behind fences and closed for repair. The Russian church was well maintained and quite beautiful. fishing boats going out kenai river to cook inlet The tide was out so not much going on where the river meets the sea - no salmon, whales or really anything of note.

We found our way down to a spot by the water of Cook Inlet and were the only motor home that spent the night. It was sort of eerie and unsettling to be there alone. unopened campground in kenai city What we did find was the place on earth with the very most signs. We took some pictures of the millions of signs kenai city sign expo directing potential visitors of what to do and what not to do and where and when (not what we expected on the 'last frontier'). jj on post in kenai campground arctic lupines in kenai campground Joe finally had to look up 'arctic lupines' when we ran into this hillside full of them. When we heard some distant explosions we realized it was the 4th but it was too light to see any fireworks. There was a steep path up behind where we were parked to an observation deck that JJ enjoyed. From time to time local teenagers went up there to do whatever teenagers do in Kanai….there were no signs up there!

OK - now the toilet is totally stuck closed and nothing can flush even with cooking oil and dish liquid added to - whatever - liberally so I called them back and was told, "It sounds a bit gross but all you have to do is carefully stick the screw driver down through the stuff in the toilet and open the valve manually and there you go….almost the same as flushing with the pedal". A bit gross?

Day 14 - Kanai to Girdwood
sterling highway meets seward highway viewing area near girdwood We drove up to Girdwood barely making it to the one gas station after Soldotna. Note: Make sure you gas up before you leave the Soldotna area because there is nothing in between. An interesting fellow tried to trade us a rain slicker for a tank of gas….tempting as it was he found no takers. It does often rain but everyone seemed to already have a raincoat.

alyeska hotel in girdwood Alyeska is a charming ski resort behind Girdwood with a fabulous hotel and a tram right up into the sky. We took the tram/lunch combo deal and both were fabulous! (about $25.00 per person) It was raining, of course, but still quite beautiful and the lodge was warm and cozy. alyeska resort from top of the tram alyeska hotel from tram in the rain JJ absolutely had to paraglide off the mountain - one of the highlights of his trip - just walking up to the edge and jumping off in a papoose with an experienced jumper. ($185.00) I almost had a heart attack but he thoroughly enjoyed the trip. I must get a refund for his unused tram ticket down! We plan to return to the Alyeska Resort and spend some time - it is wonderful!

Note: The Double Muskie Inn is located in Girdwood and is know for its fabulous cuisine. Made famous by the Food Network for having one of the Top Ten Steaks in the world they also feature spicy Cajun faire. They do not take reservations and claim to be quite expensive - imagine a place calling themselves expensive in Alaska?

turnagain arm from bird creek campground We solicited a suggestion for a nearby campground from a very nice lady who made us shakes at a roadside stand and headed out for McHugh Creek Campground. It was delightful but does not allow overnight camping so we headed up the road a couple of miles and found a lovely spot at Bird Creek Campgroud. We checked in via the $ in the envelope in the fee box system and got a gorgeous place to spend our last night in Alaska. red alder forest at bird creek campground We took a walk along the shore and had dinner and settled down to play cards or watch a movie when a team of heavily armed law enforcement officers came running down the road and through the woods. Nice! OK everyone - sweet dreams!

There were bear warning signs everywhere so - yep, that's right we used the manual flushing system instead of facing a bear attack and certain death!

Day 15 - Turn in motor home and travel from Anchorage to Las Vegas
checking motorhome before turning it back in turning motorhome back in one piece We were dreading the ordeal of packing up the motor home and passing the scrutiny of checking back in after hearing so many tales of tourists being taken advantage of and being charged for all sorts of imagined issues. It was quite painless…..we collected our bags, packed them up, donated our leftover food and dry good supplies to charity and about 15 minutes later we were told "all was well". They agreed to mail our $400.00 deposit to our home and that was that. Almost - I asked to see the manager and explained the horror of flushing the toilet with a screw driver and after several consultations with many levels of management and a thorough explanation of how all of the many things that can go wrong with motor homes are either the customer or the manufactures fault I was given a take it or leave it extra $100.00. OMG - I was so angry and determined to take this to the supreme court at the time….but since then I have almost forgotten how truly unpleasant that experience really was - sort of like childbirth?

plane back from Alaska Note: We had to turn our coach in between 9 and 11 am since we had picked it up after 6:00 pm. They are all different and the penalties are severe if you are late. They happily transport you and your bags to the airport for free. Our problem was that our flight did not leave until 4:00pm and that was way too long at the end of a wonderful trip to be at the Anchorage Airport.

We did meet some really fun people and shared stories about what we saw and loved about Alaska. Two really crazy ladies who worked for US Air stand out as they did not have appropriate clothing to be allowed to upgrade to first class - so they set about borrowing 'classy' outfits from all of us. A really irritated staff finally agreed to let them travel first class - I wish I had a picture of them boarding the plane!

We flew to Las Vegas, looking forward to spending the night at the Luxor. JJ got to choose since everything available for one night only over the 4th was really pricy - why not pick the place you have 'always' wanted to stay? We were totally shocked when we got off the plane to find the airport packed. There is literally no room for passengers on planes to disembark. We had to wait in a line for a taxi for over an hour and that is when we discovered it was 7/7/7 - quite possibly the luckiest day EVER - and everyone had flocked to Las Vegas to gamble, get married or whatever! It was a nightmare.

I waited in line at the Luxor for over an hour while Joe and JJ walked around only to be told there were no rooms in the pyramid….that is when I truly LOST IT. The now accommodating desk clerk quickly found the 'last room left' for me and sometime just after 1:00 am we arrived at our room. It didn't even matter to any of us that the bathroom door was jammed and wouldn't come out of the wall as we took long, delicious showers and then quickly fell into bed.

first alaska vacation photo album We saw so much and did so much but I have to say the most enjoyable part of the trip was the time we spent watching movies and playing cards together in the evenings - and LAUGHING and LAUGHING and LAUGHING! I miss that! lobby at alyeska hotel finding the way to exit glacier grizzly at denali bluffs hotel jj trying antlers in denali kenai motorhome solitaire tournament

Note: Required reading - Alaska for Dummies

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