Some may ask where Alaska is found. It’s above Canada and close to Russia. I know, that seems a strange place to put it. But it was part of Russia and we took it when they weren’t looking. Anchorage is in the south. It was still light at 11 PM in August and it was light again at 5 AM. Daylight in Michigan was 6:30 to 8:30 when I left. In June, it’s light for almost 22 hours.
A friend of mine was in Alaska. He’s from Michigan. too. We headed north for Fairbanks the next morning. We passed Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley) without seeing it for the fog. To get near it, you have to enter the surrounding park.It takes quite a while to get near it.
There was no shortage of mountains to look at on our trip as the fog cleared. We saw glaciers and old volcanoes as well. The scenery is actually breathtaking at times, especially when you round a turn at high speed! I couldn’t drive because I would have gone too slow but my friend charged ahead on the roadway.
There is a thing that happens there with the road caused by the permafrost melting in the summer. The road ripples in some places, so you go up and down in a short series of waves. Momentary seasickness is the result.
Alaskans are fierce freedom lovers and take offence at signs they don’t like. They show this by shooting the signs. Many signs have bullet holes like the ones below. The moose one was just asking for it, though.
We saw moose and mountain goats as we went along. Your eyes get exhausted seeing so much beauty. After checking in to a great bed and breakfast, we drove out to a hot springs spot. They also had a little ice museum you could be guided through.
Be awestruck by the glorious sculptures in the Aurora Ice Museum – open year round. We will then enjoy a guided tour through the Aurora Ice Museum which was built with over 1.000 tons of ice and snow and kept year round at a temperature of 25F (-7C)
We were not awestruck.
There was a large ice statue of a naked lady that was inspiring. And an ice bar with a few ice stools where you could buy an expensive ice martini in a take-home ice martini cup. How you would keep it cold while taking it home was beyond me. They offered a tiny room where you could stay overnight for an outrageous price paid in cold cash.
The outdoor mineral water hot spring was great. It is crowded in the winter but there were not that many people when we went. But then there were no northern lights to be seen as you bobbed in the warm water. As in Norway, I was informed that the northern lights are closed in the summer. Sigh.
We cruised back to Fairbanks to our amazing hostel. It had an indoor garden that you passed going to your room. We went out to eat but found the best places crowded with over an hour wait and ended up at a sushi bar. We didn’t care. We were in the middle of Alaska!
I was really tired at 11 and turned on the air-conditioner over my bed and fell dead asleep. The temperature setting was low and I tried to adjust it during the night to no avail. I managed to turn the fan down and burrowed under the covers. My friend asked at a sumptuous breakfast in the dining room, why I didn’t turn the light on. Had I known you were awake, I would have, I said. We were drinking hot coffee (in Alaska) so it didn’t matter a bit.
We took a different route back to Anchorage and I was on my own since my friend had someone coming in to go on a fishing expedition somewhere. Again, the scenery was fantastic all eight hours of our trip back. I busied myself in Anchorage going to various places like a coffee shop or beer brewery. The brewery had enormous tanks with an ambitious business plan.
The population is so low in the city that you feel like everyone left town for some reason. The people in the shops are glad to see you. They chat with you and explain everything because they haven’t seen anyone for an hour or so. The barista brought the device for a pour-over to my table and created a wonderful coffee I thought was the best I’d ever had. Of course, I was in Alaska!
I met people whose family had been homesteaders and whose grandfather had carved out some acres down a dirt road years ago. It was now parkland all around but he was grandfathered in so to speak. The woman said she hated to have to shoot bears that insisted the land was still theirs. She had a pistol on her hip at the time.