We explored around our hotel and had a great pizza for lunch before finding some street art.Then it was back to the hotel to pack.
Sunday 22nd July, on our way to Anchorage
Just the same as all our other nights in Alaska we never really had it dark. Our travel itinerary had asked us to put our suitcases outside by 9 am for an early pick up.
We left the room at 8.15 am and headed for the Starbucks in the Main Lodge. There we found that our $5 green voucher for not having the room cleaned was not valid for the Starbucks franchise. We perhaps should have used it at the Base Camp restaurant for our meal the previous evening.
I enjoyed a five berry porridge, a sausage and egg muffin and a cup of breakfast tea. Mt Dinali was again clear and out on the terrace I took this shot with my iPhone.
Our coach was numbered ‘A1’ and was scheduled to leave at 10 am with the usual request to be ready 15 minutes before.
The $5 green voucher voucher bought us this fridge magnet in the gift shop. The magnet celebrated being one of the 30% of visitors who had seen a cloud free Mt. Dinali.
On the coach
I was at the front of the main lodge the coaches were pulling up to take visitors up to Denali or onto the other lodges. At 9.50 a.m. our coach arrived and after confirming that we had one suitcase we climbed aboard again avoiding the front of the coach.
As it filled we were once again sitting with the majority of people who had been in our carriage on the train and on the previous coaches. Our driver was a lady from Victoria, in Canada, who like everyone else we have met was only there for the Summer. Everyone was on the coach on time and we left early at 9.55 am.
Our driver promised to point out the places of interest as we went South to Anchorage. We were told more tales about the Wal*Mikes store. Wal*mart had sent people up to check out the possible trademark violations. Then when they saw the store, decision was made that he wasn’t worth the trouble. We learnt that one of the other drivers had called and tried to buy a lamp but Mike declined to sell it as he only had the one left in stock.
Of more interest was hearing about why there were so many dead trees lining the road. It seems that they were killed by beetle that was partial to them. The reason with Winters had not been cold enough to kill the majority of the beetles. This meant that they had rapidly spread in the Spring, infecting and then killing hundreds of the White Spruce trees. Opinion in Alaska is divided what to do about the dead trees. Especially as cutting them down and then moving the trunks might spread the beetles even further afield.
The road was empty ahead and behind us as we passed the Talkeetna spur. After passing through Montana we came to Willow. This town was strung out along the road. Willow is the home of the Iditarod 1,000 mile mushing race. We could see acres of burnt out trees at the side of the road. This was the result of the fire caused on campers spread hot embers from their campfire. The fire had burnt out houses and dog kennels and jumped over streams spreading throughout the town.
When we reached Wasilla we noticed that the traffic had now picked up. At the side of the road we now had shopping developments and the road became a divided highway. We then had our first traffic lights and a second and a third set. . .
Wasilla was a farming community that was alongside the Knick Arm and in 1964 when the earthquake happened the resulting tsunami flooded all the low-lying land not only killing trees that poisoning the soil with salt.
As we were on the right hand side of the coach we had views out to the Knick Arm over the flat land at the side of the highway.
The road was now very busy and became a six Lane divided highway. After Wasilla we were now near Anchorage and the large US Army and Air Force base there.The perimeter fence of the base had special gates so wildlife after crossing the highway could make their way into the bases perimeter but not to get out again onto the highway. I was disappointed that there are no planes in the air as we were passing.