Veronica rides again

Furter (the t@g/teardrop) has left the Austin’s for a new home. Meaning we get to keep the bus / Veronica. After her shipment home from Spokane, George has taken her to the fixit shop for a tune up and upgraded her with a lithium battery and a new fridge.

Currently he’s taking the long way to Maryland and tormenting me with pictures of his travels. Like these beauties

Teardrops last hurrah

The teardrop /t@g/furter has made it from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean in one season. That’s pretty amazing. For those following along (get it?), after many wishy washy purchases, the teardrop sold before Veronica and we are in our final trip in the T@g-A-Long.

It arrived in James Island campground Friday with Helena our exchange student. She has officially seen then Atlantic at sunset. We also apparently have been withholding restaurants. This was our first restaurant dining and she’s been here 6 weeks. (I’m not sure whether to be proud of that or embarrassed…) .

George has never had the opportunity to run the Cooper River bridge run before since its usually in early April, but thanks to covid we had the most normal race morning (delayed 6 months). We got up at 5, caught the masked shuttle with 25k other fully vaccinated people and ran a 6k across an awesome bridge.

We spent about 4 hours at the beach and watched a random wedding (random to us. It was special to the bride & groom). Then we broke out the #CampgroundChef who magically prepared flounder and scallops.

A little fairy dust… until about 30 minutes ago tn was beating fl in Gainesville. That’s changed since I wrote this, but I’m tired and may not be fully invested.

Glorious Finale to a wonderful t@g. We will miss you furter.

Yeah, and that.

Last day in AK

Well, we have made our way back to Anchorage and are waiting to board the plane to Chicago. Our day started with moose!

Then we went down to the Homer spit to get one final fish and chips for the family.

On the way out, we headed to the Kenai Wildlife Refuge / Russian River valley and took a final walk about and watched a fisher man pull in two salmon.

It’s always sad to end a trip, but it’s been lovely. If I had to stay for a few more weeks, I wouldn’t complain, but I miss my pets and my bed. I am glad to have this time to spend with my family.

Tonight we pick up our exchange student (Helena). Busy week!

Homer Grewingk Glacier

Another amazing day. Went to the Homer spit. The spit, probably some glacier moraine, now just beach, shops, and the marina.

Homer Spit Rock finding
Rock treasure on Homer Spit

On the way, we stopped at a farmer’s market and got salmon and kale for dinner. This is the view from the spit. Across the bay is kachemak state park.

The Homer boat taxis to kachemak bay state park were really busy. It took us about an hour of phone tag, but we got a ride at 2 pm to the park.

Kechemak Bay proper

First stop Grewingk glacier. I’m still sore from yesterday so we took it nice and slow.

Grewingk glacier
Icebergs!
Skipping rocks.
Austin gals
Tides came in fast while we were at the glacier. There was a little dog that got stuck on the other side of the point. The taxi had to rescue him.

Boat ride home

Harding Ice field

3500 feet up, nearly 7 hours, and 9 miles of amazing hiking. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

We saw two marmots at top of the cliffs
My mountain spirit animal posing for me. It’s just a mountain groundhog.
Exit glacier at top of the cliffs.
Top of the cliffs
Exit glacier at top of the cliffs. 2500 ~feet

The whole hike took 4 hours to get up to the top. Started the hike at 8 am. The last bit was hard but it was packed with wildflowers, mountains, snow, glaciers and ice fields. I forgot how hard I was working because of the sheer beauty of the scenery.

Austin girls
Red algae on snow
Mountain side of the Harding ice field
Lots of snowy ice fortis
Family at the Harding ice field
Yes, how cool is that?

Tiny People on the glacier

Aialik Glacier / Bay

I almost bagged this trip when Jess said the waves were a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 for rough water. I braved the elements with a heavy dose of dramamine and adrenaline. None of team Austin puked even while watching others lose their cookies (Go team). For the record, she said later it was 6 or 7 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Riding back was crazy. I wish I could have taken a picture but I was holding on for dear life and couldn’t spare a hand. When we got back inside resurrection bay we saw humpback whales, dall’s porpoises, and puffins.

Whale 🐳 tail

Kenai and exit glacier

It was a rainy morning traveling from Healy to Seward, but south of Anchorage the weather was amazing.

By the time we got to Exit Glacier the weather was amazing!

We hit the grocery and made our fancy dinner at the rental and then had an after dinner walk.

Denali tease

Today, first stop: dog sled kennels. These Alaskan huskies are still in used in the park during winter. The are on holiday now and get walked by volunteers. The coolest thing about them is their circulatory system is intertwined so that the arteries warm the veins. The park huskies mush around 5 to 6 mph, but race huskies go about 9mph in the Iditarod.

Along the Nenana river
Horse shoe lake
Beaver dam @ horseshoe lake
Beaver stuff

It was another beautiful day. Beautiful mountain ranges on both sides of the road. We thought Denali (the high one) might poke out in the evening but she just toyed with us. She only rears her head 13 to 30 percent of the time (depending on who you ask).

So close

And yet

So far away

Denali tour

Started early today to catch the tour. Woke up at 5 and still didn’t make the sunrise.

Driving to our 6:25 tour check in.

We saw a 2 moose, 4 Grizzley bears, countless caribou, and 5 sheep. Saw several using binoculars so I couldn’t get them on pics, but the grizzlies were posing for us.

Things I learned today :

  • Grizzlies usually maintain 300 square miles for their own food and eat 320,ooo berries a day. Denali bears are vegetarian for the most part because there are very few fish in glacial streams.
  • Denali moose are twice the size of a continental moose. 1700+ pounds and typically lose 400 pounds over winter.
  • Dall sheep were studied in the making of football helmets because they have a soft membrane between their brain and their skull. Their impact can reach a total combined impact of 140 mph. The studies led to the invention of gel padding in helmets used today.
  • Adolf Murie studied wolves in the park for 40 years and basically saved the wolves from extinction.
  • Dog sleds are still used in the park to maintain a park presence during the winter months. You can adopt these sled dogs.
  • The second largest (9.2 richter scale) earthquake in the world was in Alaska in 1964. The landmass grew up to 82 feet.
  • Don’t get buried in Alaska because the permafrost will push you back out of the ground. Get cremated. Duh.