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.

Denali or bust!

Hit the Anchorage market before heading out of town. Two rings and two wallets later we’re on the road to Denali.

It was worth the wait.

Vrbo gardens

Anchored down in Anchorage

After a 3 hour mechanical airplane delay we managed to get to Anchorage. Finally asleep by 1:30 am AK time, we managed to sleep in until 630 am local time…Jet lag conquest!

We took a walk early and did a little shopping. We also walked parts of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail but the mountains weren’t out

We found a local brewery (49th state) for lunch. One fish and chips down, and many more to go.

Next we were a house divided. I went to the Anchorage museum with Fiona and Dee Dee. Some of my favorites:

For dinner we had sushi or grilled cheese on the veranda and the mountains came out for us.

And they are off again!

The Asheville Austins are on the way to Alaska! This time we are taking the kids and meeting the Austin grandmother. We are very excited but anxious to get there.

Ringo has to stay behind this time.

How can we leave this face?

Sadira is on her way back from Costa Rica to meet us. Hot to cold! Here’s a picture of her and Cora with a volcano in Costa Rica.

I’ve spent the last week at home preparing for our exchange student (Helena) from Spain 🇪🇸. She arrives in the states on the same day we arrive back from Alaska. I just have to show off the cleaned closet. No other closets in the house have ever been cleaned like this in our 20 years of living there.

White painted closet. I keep forgetting to take a before shot.

Next stop anchorage!

5:30 we loaded the plane in Chicago to Anchorage. 7 pm. Having to switch planes in due to technical difficulties. I guess we’re lucky they found it before we took off. Anchorage will have to wait.

Working at home… Kinda

Seriously, I’ve been working my behind off. I cleaned the basement and took an entire load in Frank to  goodwill. It was so big, the first goodwill sent me away. I have also taken three cars for either inspections and /or oil changes.

I also tackled the yard. Slowly making progress. Before and after shots of the garden.

Ringo also headed to the beauty parlor too!

He’s so handsome

Fiona and I have started some college tours since last year covid canceled college excitement. We visited Appalachian yesterday.

We have also managed to squeeze in the friends and family time!

We leave for the originally scheduled Austin vacation to Alaska Thursday! 5 days!

Raining in Asheville

Asheville next 6 exits = rain.

We have officially made it home, all of us, including Veronica who has been cleaned, waxed, and vac’ed. It’s a race to see which camping equipment sells first! We are going to let fate sort out these details. If you know of anyone wanting a t@g or hippie van send them our way.

Shiny and ready to sell :
Also cleaned and ready to sell :

Probably hard to believe but I’ve spent the last two days cleaning up all the cars for potential selling. I would make a horrible detailer, it’s taken hours even though the kids have helped. It’s the cleanest the cars have been since we bought them.

This is what your ‘garden’ looks like after 5 weeks of neglect. There are actually 🍅 in there… Somewhere.
Ringo on the way to the beauty parlor, but he didn’t end up with a hair cut. Stay tuned until Friday.
Pizza night