Saturday, February 28, 2009

Alaska Days 13–14, Wednesday and Thursday March 7-8, 2007

Day 13 : Wednesday, March 7
This was the last day to go souvenir and gift shopping. Found the best place to get reasonably priced Alaska goodies -- Wal-Mart. Now, anyone who knows me will understand I HAD to make a stop at my second favorite store. It seems as if my travel stories when in the RV consist of which Wal-Mart I stopped at today, so why would anyone be surprised that I had to make at least one stop at an Anchorage store?

Actually, there was a legitimate reason to go there – it seems that the collection of ‘’stuff” I have purchased far exceeds the volume of suitcases I bought with me. I either had to leave behind everything I brought up here OR buy shipping boxes and make a trip to the post office to mail home the goodies which won’t fit on the plane. Note to self – next time I make a trip like this, forget return tickets on an airline, just charter a Fed-Ex plane home.

I then went back to the hotel to start the packing process. I think someone could succeed very well with a cottage industry packing for visitors’ return trips home.

That night was dinner at the Mexican Restaurant which was just outside my window. Yup, two Texans, in Anchorage, eating Mexican food. However, La Cabana has some of the best Mexican food I have eaten anywhere. The only problem I found is that ‘HOT’ to the Alaskans comes out ‘very mild’ to Texans.

From what I have heard, Native Alaskan food is an acquired taste and Anchorage is primarily a city settled by flatlanders from all over the US and the world. Restaurants in Anchorage are a mix of any type cuisine you can imagine. Much to my surprise, Mexican, Chinese and Pizza seem to predominate. The one food I discovered and will be attempting to import to Texas is Reindeer Sausage. I have no idea if it is just sold to cheechacos (newcomers) or if is eaten by real sourdoughs (those who have seen the ice on the rivers freeze AND thaw) but it is delicious! Bambi and the Claus Team are in trouble!!!!!!

There is a nice video about the dropped dogs at the prison. Check it out.

Day 14 - Thursday
This was the last day of sight seeing. We went north up the other leg of the Mat-Su Valley towards Glenallen to see the Matanuska Glacier. This is a active valley glacier 27 miles long and four miles wide a the terminus It flows much as a river would at a speed of about a foot a day and it takes 250 years for an ice crystal to travel from the beginning to the terminus. This is the largest glacier accessible by car in Alaska. Unfortunately, the park was closed when we got there and we had to be content ‘just’ taking photos from the Glenn Highway.

To save time trying to describe the scenery, refer to Journal entry for Day 12 and just change the locations to Matanuska Glacier ;^) Yes, another OOOHHHH AHHHHH Day!

On the way back to Anchorage, I stopped at the Iditarod Trail Committee Headquarters in Willow. This was a pilgrimage for me. Having been an ITC member for years, I have seen pictures of the HQ, talked on the phone to people who work there, and consider this the home for the Keepers of the Dream. I did not genuflect at the entrance, but I was close!

I am not one who, takes lots of pictures to be labeled ‘me in front of the world’s largest XXXX’. But, in front of the HQ building is a bronze statue of Joe Redington, Sr., the Father of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. I now have a picture, “Me, next to the Redington Bronze.” THIS is the one photo which will be printed out, framed and hung on my wall.

Remember, “fan” is short for “Fanatic” and this Fan has lived a dream and had the trip of a life time. Tomorrow at 0600am, my plane leaves Anchorage and I return to life as a Texan….with a piece of my heart left in Alaska.


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