Nov 7, 2013

Let's Go Fly a the Beach

The last week of October I spent a wonderful relaxing week at a beach front rental in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida. Staying with my daughters family & her husbands family. We gathered together to celebrate my son-in-law's fathers 80th birthday. 

Indian Rocks is about an hours drive south of where I live in FL.  My granddaughter shown here, had a fun time flying kites.    **Made this collage using Picasa
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Sep 11, 2013

Back in the lower 48 after 16 Amazing Days in Alaska

My daughter and I are in Indianapolis after a whirlwind 16 days in Alaska. We traveled by plane, car, bus, train, and boat.  Every sight was beautiful to behold. We had delicious food, wonderful accommodations, met some very nice folks, made some new friends...All in All the Trip exceeded any of our expectations.

Our travels took us from Anchorage, to Homer, then 2 nights in Denali, next 2 nights in Fairbanks which included a bus ride to step across the Arctic Circle, and see parts of the Yukon River. From Fairbanks we went to see Santa at North Pole Alaska. On to Tok, for an overnight. Next day we headed out to Valdez and stopped by the Wrangell St, Elias Forest for a short hike. Then as we drove into Valdez, the water falls and mountain views were spectacular as we approached the cite. Spent a night there, and headed back to Anchorage for an overnight and a visit to Girdwood where we took tram ride up to visit its view of 7 Glaciers. Then next day boarded a train to take us on to Seward for the Conference.

I was also happy to share in some of the experiences of my daughters - Zoo Veterinarian Technicians Conference that was held in Seward and hosted by the Alaska Sea Life Center.  One evening the conference had their "Ice-Breaker" event held via a Dinner at the Fox Island Lodge and a Boat Cruise out to the Island on Resurrection Bay. It rained and was windy for most of the ride, but we got to view lots of sea and wild life along the way.  The dinner was wonderful too, the guest speaker for the evening, was a Veterinarian who shared her story of working on the animals affected by the Valdez oil spill in 1989.

Then another event I was able to attend was a behind the scenes tour of the Alaska Sea Life Center, which was quite interesting. Then after the tour, Jen and I went into town for dinner on our own - Had Greek food in Alaska..which was actually very good ;) .  Then back to the Sea Life Center for an awesome dessert bar, drinks and silent auction. The speaker for that event was also excellent, and he talked about his experiences tagging  & studying whales, seals, etc. and his run-in with the KGB of Russia. 

On our last day in Alaska, we took a bus from Seward, which stopped at the Wildlife Center, but it was raining, so didn't stay long there, but saw some wildlife ;).  Then on to the Anchorage Zoo, there the Vet Tech who hosted the Conference, had a pizza & salad, with dessert lunch set up for us all. We toured the small Zoo, and had access to behind the scenes stuff and talks there too. It was then time to go back to the Inn that we had already stayed in twice before on our journey, to get one last dinner over looking the lake, and a wee bit of shut eye. We had to get up at 3am to make the 4:30 shuttle to airport and be on our 6am flight.  We both slept most of the 2 flights, and got into Indy on Tues at 6pm.

I am still going through the 100's of photos we each took. I used my 2 digital cameras, and my phone. Jen used her Kodak Digital and her newly purchased on the trip - a Nikon DSLR camera that she's still learning, but having lots of fun with.  We downloaded each of our photos to thumb drives and put them in separate "daily" folders.  Gonna be awhile, for me to fully appreciate, view, and then weed all of the pictures. Once I am home in Florida, I can begin the fun of creating some digital layouts.  

On Friday the 13th, we start out on another adventure. I will go to Buffalo with Jen, and she will attend a wedding on Sat. and then on Sun, she and a friend will take off on their motorcycles (which Jen will trail from Indy) to tour the 1000 Island area of New York. I will stay behind in Buffalo, rent a car and visit Friends and my old neighborhood, the Cemetery,  and soak up the joy of "home" for a week.  

Here are some random Alaska photos that were easily accessible on my mini computer to post on the Blog:

These were taken in Denali, Alaska where we took shuttle bus ride up to one of the visitor centers, hiked along a river the next day, and took some photos around town, and from our hotel - The Grand Denali Lodge which was perched high up on a cliff...awesome views every where we looked and went.  I have uploaded "my limit" for this blog post - at least that's what Google has told me for today.  We'll see if I can upload more another day. I'm exhausted from finding pics and deciding on what to upload. Nighty night from Indianapolis where its hot and muggy this evening. 


We took a tour bus ride (all day) driving from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle - where we stood under a sign marking the line of the "Arctic Circle" and had our pictures taken (that photo is on another drive with my daughters photos) These are pictures taken along the drive, and at stops we made on the way. The first "potty" break was in Joy, Alaska - where they had several outhouses - oh joy ;) . We also saw the Yukon River, the Alaska Pipeline, Finger Mountain, walked in the soggy tundra, watched some interesting and informative videos on the bus as well. Learned a lot about the building of the pipeline and life in small villages in Alaska.

Went to see Santa in North Pole Alaska, and from there drove to Tok

This group of photos were taken in Tok and then via our ride to Valdez, where we hiked for a bit in the Wrangell St. Elias National Park & Preserve (the largest National Park in the United States)

 the following were taken on our drive into Valdez

Drove from Anchorage to Girdwood (45 minute drive) along Turn Again Arm - near Cook Islet (Captain Cook sailed up into this area, and told his crew to "turn again" ) in these waters we saw Beluga Whales, and seals, and hearty wind surfers. We took a tram ride up from the Alyeska Resort to Seven Glaciers hiking and ski area.

this group of photos are from our train ride - Anchorage to Seward

 this group of photos were taken in downtown Seward and on our hike up to view Exit Glacier

these photos were taken while on the Boat Cruise (Jen braved the elements to get take some photos on deck - I stayed inside, nice and warm) -  we went out on Resurrection Bay, saw Eagles, Otters, Seals, and more. Then had dinner at the Fox Island Lodge where the guest speaker for the group, told us of her experiences with the animals affected by the Valdez oil spill in 1989.  

this group was taken at the Sea Life Center in Seward, and includes the wonderful dessert bar that was set out for the Zoo Vet Tech Conference attendees.

photos taken of our hotel in Seward, the Windsong Lodge (the conference, Jennifer attended was held here as well), where Jen got us a room with a deck that looked out over mountains and the Resurrection River. And we went up to Exit Glacier and took photos of the glacier. It was the closest we got to any of the many glaciers we saw and photographed in Alaska.

These were taken in Seward area

 This is a rainbow over the mountains as we rode the bus to zoo, the rest of the photos were taken at the Anchorage Zoo.