Friday, September 4, 2015

Telling a Story

Only used half my memory cards on this trip
We are home after traveling across the North America continent from Tennessee to Alaska and back.   We had a fantastic trip, logging 1,200 miles on a little Kia Sportage and learned there are only two seasons in Alaska - winter and road construction.  Given we were there for the later,  we only saw the beginnings of winter.  For most of the trip we had  some unusually good weather with a couple extremes thrown in to make it a real adventure.

I  have 2,613 photos and a handful of videos from this trip.   While that may be excessive for normal travelers,  it's not that many for outdoor or travel photographers.   I've taken many more on shorter trips.  It's still going to take a while to go through them.

I've decided to do something different this time.    My plan was to write a blog each day for the next 12 days, corresponding to the days of our adventures in Alaska.   This way I get to relive our vacation and you get to see some photos and read some stories.  The problem is I have more to share than I can cram into 12 blog posts.  It's going to take more than 12 days to relive our experiences.  Here goes with the first post....

Day  1 Wasilla to Denali

As with all my blog posts, you can click on any photo for a larger view.  

After a long day sitting in airports and on planes, our first stop was a B&B in Wasilla Alaska.   Wasilla a pretty good size city of about 9,000 people.  The town is famous for two things -- it was the home of Sarah Palin and according to one blog post, it is the location of the largest Walmart in Alaska!
Sunset View from Wasilla B&B

If you were following the news a few weeks back you may have heard about the wildfires in Alaska, and one in particular called the Willow Creek fire.  Just north of Wasilla we passed through the Willow Creek area and we saw signs of the recent fires on both sides of the George Parks Highway.  Fortunately there were no active wildfires where we were traveling and  we didn't have any problems from smoke.
Denali from George Parks Highway

Those of you older than 30 may remember the television series called Northern Exposure.  The town of Cicely from that series  is said to be patterned after the real town of Talkeetna Alaska.  A little community of about 800 people, Talkeetna is located at the confluence of three rivers, the Susitna, Chulitna and Talkeetna.   We wandered around town a bit taking in the sights, which took all of 30 minutes.   We then wandered down to the Susitna River where we could see the Alaska Mountain Range off in the distance.   
Sustina River and Alaska Mountain Range

While we were hanging out at the river we were treated to the Alaska Railroad pulling passenger cars loaded with vacationers from the Princess Cruise ships.   Railroads have always been important to Alaska and the Alaska Railroad still runs between major cities and destinations.  The cruise business is big in this area with trains and buses constantly shuttling people between the port of Anchorage and Denali National Park.   

A little ways up the Parks Highway from Talkeetna is "World Famous" Wal*Mikes.   No greeters met us at the door at this cool little roadside store.   They had a lot of stuff for sale, not much of it newer than 25 years.

Unlike Wal*Mart, Wal*Mikes is a special place.  I'll do a post with more photos from Wal*Mikes after I finish this series.

That's enough for the first blog post.  In tomorrow's post we'll continue day one with a visit to Denali State Park, Byers Lake and Carlo Creek.

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