Day 1- Arrive Anchorage and stay in Girdwood, Alaska

Marshall and Bear

The only hard part about heading to Alaska, is leaving my buddies back home at the dog kennel. Whenever I can’t travel with my Chocolate Lab Marshall and his favorite toy, Bear, I am sad. But it is not fair to my buddies to store them in a crate at the bottom of the belly of a plane for the eleven hour trip. Plus, I know Marshall is being well cared for and playing with other dogs at Dogville in Tulsa, my temporary home. 13E133BC-5BE2-445A-A8F8-B7A286D4E94E

Flight

Flying to Alaska can be quite expensive and very, very long. I typically will begin looking at airfares 6-8 months prior to my trip to budget and look for the best deals with least number of connections. My preferred airline is actually Southwest Airlines because of their great customer service, but they don’t always fly where I want to go.

Nowadays, airlines sell their services ala carte, which can become expensive. Plan well for packing to reduce your baggage fees and pay the extra amount for good seating, especially for a long flight. If you haven’t noticed, the airlines are squishing the seats way to close for comfort.

Upon arrival in Anchorage I was greeted by a moose. 6CCC8B49-8466-4A01-97B6-5A054BBADE2F

Car rental

Wow, who knew car rentals would be so expensive! When I first started searching, the car rental amount for two weeks was running $1,400 to $1,600! I generally book my car rentals through Costco Travel, but even their rates were too expensive.

Lucky me, I stumbled upon a promo being offered by Amazon for an Avis car rental and save $700! I had booked a full size car for comfort and ended up with a small, 4 wheel drive SUV for the same price. Lesson learned, book car rental early and keep checking prices. Car rental pricing is driven by supply and demand. Sometimes you can save money by booking last minute. Don’t be fooled, a lot of the cost of a car rental is made up of taxes imposed by municipalities trying to pay for a new stadium. You can always cancel the original booking unless you booked a non-refundable rate.

Girdwood, Alaska

C91D088A-CAE6-40AC-BB15-ACD7F5B3C0BE I arrived in one of my favorite places, Girdwood, Alaska. We literally stumbled on this little town the last time we were here but it became one of my favorite stops. More to come about Girdwood. I like to take pictures of signs where I have been so I don’t forget. I had to pull off the road to safely get this shot. I did not realize until looking at my pictures that there was a little bird on top of the sign. How sweet.

Wildlife

I love Alaska because of the open landscape and wildlife. I had read about the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center not too far from Girdwood, so I worked in a little stroll in my afternoon. These animals were rescued because they were orphaned or were injured. In both cases, they cannot be returned into the wild. The preserve has maintained a natural habit for the animals with fencing for the safety of visitors. So, if you know this, then you will understand why sometimes the animals are often hidden from view. I appreciate all of the volunteers who care for these animals. If you are traveling by RV, this is a nice little stop south of Girdwood on the Seward highway with plenty of easy parking.

This bear kept pacing, but I was able to capture a great shot as he ran towards me. Yes, he was behind a fence about ten yards away, I have a really good camera that is easy to use.

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I really love this picture of a wolf that blends so well with his natural surroundings. This wolf was quite anxious and stayed far away from the fence or had a frantic pace when he moved. He reminded me of my dog, Marshall, who paces back and forth when he is nervous. This was about 20 yards from the fence, shot through a hole in the fence.

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The preserve has built a boardwalk to allow visitors to safely look down into the animal habitat of the brown bears. I walked up just as this bear was walking away. He was probably 40 yards away from me when I grabbed this shot.

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He then sauntered around and decided to take a nap in the high grass. I was reminded by this picture about being “bear aware” in Alaska, because bears do nap a lot and you never know where they may have decided to rest.

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Moose with broken antler.

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Nervous coyote.

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Wise tips if you encounter a bear.

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Dinner Time

After a LONGgggggggg day that began with a 3:00AM wake up, I was hungry and tired. I had read about the Double Musky Inn and arrived just after dinner opening to a long line of other hungry adventurers. Who knew a five star restaurant could be found on a dusty road in Girdwood, Alaska? This restaurant is popular with locals, tourists and even celebrities are often spotted dining here.

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I was traveling on Alaska time and it was only 5:30pm, but my body was still operating on central time zone, three hours earlier. So, I just had salad, an appetizer and dessert. I was stuffed. Food portions are huge (and expensive), so consider splitting an entrée or just ordering appetizers if on a budget or you are a light eater.

My favorite was the dessert, a pecan crusted double chocolate fudge brownie with whipped cream. I promise I did not lick the plate in public, but wanted to.

I stopped by the restaurant earlier in the day when the door was open but not yet open for business. Great picture of the inside of the restaurant.

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Bedtime

Nothing better than a long day of adventure, than coming back to a warm and invitingly clean place to rest. My lodging for the night was Bud and Carol’s B&B. Since I am meeting up with friends, staying in a B&B made more sense than renting an RV for the short two weeks I am here.

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Well, sunset is not until 10:32PM. I know I won’t last that long tonight, so am going to rest up for tomorrow’s day of great adventure.

Remember, “not all who wander are lost”. J.R.R. Tolkien

The RV Lady