Anchorage

June 6, 2015.

Merrianne and I just ate larabars and other leftover food in the room for breakfast. Merrianne wanted to go take the shuttle to the Park Visitor’s Center, which had been closed when we saw it the last time. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time, as we had to get on board the train at 8:30 am.

gravel bars
But we did have a little time, so we went down to the riverbank near the cabin. There were huge gravel bars there.
Nenana river
Rocks that Merrianne balanced.
eskimo potato
We found Eskimo Potato, supposedly the most nutritious plant that grows in the tundra.
typical internet access
Just before we got on the bus, I edited a blog entry via the internet in the lobby. I had walked to the lobby the previous night at around midnight. There was supposedly a black bear roaming about, but I didn’t see it. Out of 12 days, perhaps 3 days had free internet access in the hotel rooms. In the others, either it was in the lobby only, or in the case of the only Hilton we stayed at, an extra $10-13 for internet access in the room.
Holland America has 2 cars of the train dedicated to itself. We were in the first car after the engine. The other cars were for other tour companies.
Every car had huge picture windows on the top level, and either a dining room or kitchen in the lower level.
rear platform
There was also a platform just behind the engine, and at the rear of the train. This was my favorite spot, because of the fresh air, and because it was usually away from crowds.
lunch in the dining area
Although we had brought a Subway sandwich for lunch, Merrianne decided she wanted the experience of the dining room. Our server was Chelsea Handler Megan. Merrianne had grilled salmon, and I had reindeer chili with cornbread. My first choice, Fish Tacos, was out.
dining area
Looking in one direction, we could see the rest of the dining area.
galley
In the other direction, the galley.
cheeseburgers for lunch
By the time Jackie and Steve got to the dining car, all that was left was cheeseburgers.
view out the window
In spite of the stunning beauty of the changing landscape, after lunch was a sleepy time.
Merrianne
It was about an 8-hour train ride, after all.
see the moose?
One might even miss the odd moose outside.

TrainMoose2.jpg

 

wasila
We passed by Wasilla, an expensive suburb about an hour outside of Anchorage. Yes, we did see the gate to a property that Sarah Palin owns, and no, she wasn’t there.

When we got off the bus, there was some kind of mix-up, and two couples (including Merrianne and myself) did not get their envelopes with info and room keys.  Justin got us some keys in short order.

lovely anchorage view
This was the lovely view from our hotel room (the Hilton) in Anchorage. Anchorage was a large city holding about half the population of Alaska, so there was not much of a view. The Hilton was designed for business. No separate recycling bins like the Westmark hotels – just a single trash can. In-room wi-fi was not free. Breakfast was not free, although this was typical of all the places we stayed at.

The four of us walked around downtown a bit, looking for dinner. Actually, Merrianne and I had already eaten our Subway sandwich for dinner, so I wasn’t hungry, but we joined Jackie and Steve for the social aspect. We ended up at My Thai restaurant, which was as good as the average Thai restaurant in the San Francisco bay area.

We got back to the hotel at about 9:30 pm. Fortunately, the Holland America info room was open until 10. Although we did get room keys, we needed the info packet with transfer information from the hotel to the airport. That got cleared up. We were to go aboard the 3:45 am shuttle to the airport.

Jackie and Steve visited our room just before bedtime to lend Merrianne a nail clipper. In a circle, they offered a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing for us.