alaska august, 2006

There was a young asian woman on the plane, and we were chatting in the galley. Suddenly, out of the blue, she got a distressed look on her face and asked me a question.  I couldn't understand what she was saying, something about moeskeetur. Finally, I understood her to ask whether there were mousquitos in alaska.  I told her I didn't know, but she seemed very distressed about it, obsessed almost, not worried about bears or charging mooses but bugs.
As we were exiting the plane I joked "oh, a mousquito" and she nearly jumped out of her skin. "just kidding! sorry", I said.   As we were walking through the terminal, I couldn't help but notice
a large shop called "mousquito books" with appropriate large graphic. I pointed it out to her as we went laughing down the hallway.

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This ain't chicago.  This is the view from the coastal bicycle trail in the city of anchorage, in fact, this is a fraction of the stupendous view from everywhere in anchorage, a buffet of scenery that doesn't end.  Our hotel was on a river, where dozens of people were fishing for salmon that were churning in the water.

the first known pictures of us in alaska, on the coastal trail. this is after a couple hours of sleep, slapdash packing, groggy airport, 4 1/2 hour flight and a 3 hour time change. We arrived at 1pm , and by 3 we had rented (crappy) bikes and were pedalling along the waterfront.

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One of the fine features of the coastal trail is the Alaska Railroad, 470 miles long and does not connect with any other railroad in the world. All the freight comes in by ship.

Day 2, we arose early yet again, so we could ride the Coastal Classic passenger train from Anchorage to Steward, where we would catch the cruise.
It was a stunning trip.  Mountains, glaciers, mountain goats, bears, and we even saw whales from the train. It's like a magical, natural theme park, and the scenery never goes away.

Here's a few snaps from the 4 hour trip. Mountains, the train, a glacier, chunks of ice from the glacier!

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