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Drive to Alaska

by Barbara K. Almy (1233-4668-1323)

Following is the continuation from newsletter No. 107 (July 2001) of the journal that Barbara wrote on her drive to Alaska in 1999. (See introduction in Newsletter 105.)

6-12-99*Day 16

We went to the Alaska Zoo. It has two Siberian tigers, a mama and her son. The most fun exhibit was two orphaned one year old bear cubs. A polar and grizzly bear in the same cage. They were too cute for words. They would chase each other and tussle. There was a tub filled with water and ice for the polar bear. Once during their game of "tag" the grizzly bear ended up in the pool. He didn't like it much!! The polar bear's name is Ahpun and the grizzly bear's is Oreo.

6-13-99*Day 17

Dad made huevos rancheros with raindeer sausage, fried potatoes with onions, toasted English muffins and strawberries for brunch with Dick, Megan, our cousin Sabra and her partner Jim invited. They did not turn out as good as the ones he made last Sunday. Last week's were made with reindeer sausage bought from Costco while today's were made from sausage purchased from the Indian River Market south of Anchorage. Dad also figured that this was just a bit too many people to cook for without an electric skillet.

Dick and Megan went to Big Lake to visit Molly and Charlie. Tina and I went to Freddie's to get fishing regulations to try to plan a fly-in fishing trip to the Deshka River for Mom, Dan, Megan and me with Mike Pannone. Mike couldn't do it because his floatplane only has room for one passenger.

The seven of us (Dick and Megan included) went to dinner at Simon & Sieforts to celebrate Mom and Dad's 51st anniversary. Dinner was good but the waiter was not. Mom and Dad really appreciated our taking them out for dinner. After we got home Mom and Dad went for a walk. When they got back Dad announced that we are going to leave on Friday the 18th instead of Monday the 21st. So I need to get busy e-mailing to rearrange our motel reservations. We have rooms booked through Watson Lake.

6-14-99*Day 18

Mike Pannone called around noon and asked what I was doing. I was busy, but told him to come by for a visit. He did about 1:30 PM and stayed for hour or 45 minutes. He looked good. Not a day older and with very little, if any, gray hair. He and Dad talked a bit. I think both Mom and Dad liked him. And though they had never met him, they had seen pictures from 1983 when I first met him and he took me flying up to Wasilla.

6-16-99*/Day 20

Mom and I went downtown about 10:00 AM and did the tourist thing, walking down one side of 4th Avenue and back the other. Mom wanted to get something like a mug with a puffin on it for Megan since she and Dick stayed at The Puffin Inn on Spenard Road near Tina's house. And Megan seemed fascinated with puffins. All the mugs we saw were dopey-looking. We went into The Ivory Exchange, where I have had good luck finding nice pieces of ivory. They had some little scrimshawed puffins for $22 apiece. That was way more than Mom wanted to spend. I decided to get one, then thought maybe I should get another as a "thank you" to Tina and Steve for letting us stay with them even though we had worn out our welcome. I asked the guy if it was two-for-one day. He said no. So I asked him if it was buy one and get the second one off day. He said no, but he'd sell me both for $40 total. So I bought them and ended up keeping both! A few blocks later Mom found a charming stuffed puffin about 4" high with magnets in its wings and tail. She thought it was perfect. We went into The Rusty Harpoon (another place I've gotten good ivory as well as gold earrings.) We saw some really bad ivory puffins carved by members of the Mayac family (not Teddy though.)

We stopped next to the out-of-business McDonald's and I got an order of onion rings. We sat outside and chatted. It was getting on towards noon and we felt we should be getting back to fix something for Dad for lunch.



We went into The Hilton and exchanged some money for Canadian currency. The rate was $1.39 AND they charged us $5.00 for the privilege of cheating us. (Since the going rate is $1.46.)

I finished tatting a bookmark for Steve. With leaving early I don't think I'll have time to make one for Tina.

Because of our leaving early we had our scheduled Father's Day dinner of prime rib,

Caesar salad, smashed taters and gravy and we gave Dad his Father's Day cards. It was all very good.

6-17-99*Day 21

Tina had the day off because originally we thought we might be going down to Seward for halibut fishing. When that fell through we thought we would go up to Flattop, but it was rainy. As it turned out we really wouldn't have had time. I finally got around to making French onion soup, that I had been planning for at least a week, for lunch. I then spent the afternoon making peanut butter/chocolate chip cookies. They were most excellent!

6-18-99*Day 22*326 miles*8 hours 20 min.

While I made sandwiches and fried up the rest of the original reindeer sausage for us to be able to make sandwiches on the road, Mom and Tina washed lettuce, carrots and celery. We also had about four pounds of red seedless grapes to munch on in the car.

Dad got the car loaded and we left Tina's at 11:11 AM. Mom left the little stuffed puffin magnet for Tina, who had also thought it was darling. The plan was to stop at the same shop and get another one for Megan. Because "I know Anchorage" Dad had me drive to get us out of town. We found the shop but they were all sold out. Mom was really bummed about it. So during our drive to Tok we were on a quest for something puffin-ish, stopping at nearly every gift shop along the way. She finally found an acceptable mug at our motel, The Saveway.

The only way I know out of Anchorage headed north is via Northern Lights Boulevard, so we traveled 20 blocks or so south to get to Northern Lights. Bottom line is it took me 45 minutes to "get out of Dodge." It turns out we could have gone across 6th Avenue to hook into the Glenn highway. I was quite upset with myself for this massive delay. That coupled with five of six stops at the gift stores as well as having pie at Eureka Lodge we didn't get to Tok until 7:30 PM. We also had about a half-hour construction delay outside of Palmer.

We ate sandwiches for lunch and dinner. And had a drink in Mom and Dad's room to finish off the R & R before entering Canada.

To be continued.


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