Whittier and Anchorage
23.05.2015 - 23.05.2015 14 °C
Alarm woke us at 5am today as we had to disembark the cruise ship early. We had docked in Whittier sometime after midnight, so we got ourselves ready and grabbed a quick coffee and breakfast and by 6:45am we were heading off the ship. The wonderful cruise was over, it was an amazing experience and some of the sights can never be seen again. Thoroughly recommend everyone does an Alaskan cruise at least once in their lifetime.
I had arranged to hire a car at the dock although it didn't open until 8am so we had a little time to wait. We finally got the car and quickly packed it and headed off, as the only way out to drive is through a single lane tunnel under a mountain. The tunnel only allows cars to travel north to Anchorage to enter within a fifteen minute window each hour, luckily we made it just after 8am. The tunnel is a straight line road and rail track that seems to stretch about 2-3kms in a dead straight lane, quite an interesting drive.
Once we exited the tunnel we had a short drive to our first planned stop, the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Centre. This is a non profit refuge were they find injured wildlife and care for them until ready to be released back into the wild. As such it was only $12.50 to enter, and you can drive around the circuit to each of the viewing areas. Just as well, as it was cold and the wind was blowing a gale, dust flying everywhere.
At the centre we saw Elk, Deer, a fox, a bald eagle that had been there 20 years coz it had its wing amputated, bison and musk ox, but only saw one black bear and he was hiding in his cave but you could still see it. Probably hoped to have seen more animals here but that was all they had.
We drove nearly 100 kms from there to Anchorage where we were staying the night. We stopped at the 5th St Mall for lunch, found a local supermarket to buy a couple of things then headed to our hotel after that. Given we'd had a late night and little sleep, we decided to catch a quick nap as we were going out tonight. We both fell asleep easily and I got a full hour sleep and let Vicky sleep a little longer.
We woke and got ready for our night out. I had organised a WIFOMN (my Facebook group "What's In Front Of Me Now") dinner here in Anchorage as there were a few residents here in the group. Two of the members Tim and Julie (who I have been friends with in Facebook for a little while) offered to host it at their house. We got their early, as I had a few gifts for them and also gave us a chance to prepare Vegemite on bread and fairy bread. Most Americans haven't tried either so we had to give them a taste.
Soon the others started to arrive, Tim's sister Lisa and husband Wayne who live in Maine were holidaying in Anchorage visiting their sons Aaron and Zack, who had also brought their girlfriends Bree and Tammy. Tim n Julie's son TJ was there with his wife Kaylee and twin daughters November and Elicia. A little while later Laura arrived with her husband Marvin, and towards the end Julie's sister Stephanie also came.
We were treated to a range of bbq sausage foremost reindeer sausage which neither of us had tried before, it certainly was very spicy. They also had bratwurst, Italian and chicken, pineapples, bacon ones too. Tim and Julie are home beer brewers and collectors, their beer cellar under their house is amazing, hundreds of bottles of beers, some so unique they are worth $1,000, it was all very cool to see.
We got the whole WIFOMN group to pose for pics as I had given them all a WIFOMN tee shirt I had brought from home. The night was a blast, so many laughs and the whole crowd were so nice and friendly that we all clicked instantly. As with all things that are fun, the hours just flew by and soon it was time to go.
We had no plans for an early start tomorrow. We got back to our hotel and Vicky hit the sack while I stayed up until 2am checking emails, Facebook etc before hitting the pillow.