Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Parks Highway Mini Road-Trip

My good friend Greg flew into Fairbanks to join me for a five-day mini road trip down to Anchorage. We chose the Parks Highway route -- down the "west-corridor" -- primarily because it runs past Denali park and Greg was hoping to get a look at the great mountain.

Our first stop was a famous roadside attraction, an old sofa with a bunch of stuffed animals on it. Although I've driven the Parks Hwy many times during my winters in Alaska, I've never seen this oddity before -- because it's always been either dark, a blizzard or covered in snow -- so I'm glad to be able to check it off my "life list."

We also made a stop at a very typical Alaska bar/saloon/tavern/eatery. Greg got a kick out of how corny it was, and a big laugh from the fact that I've become so accustomed to the way things are around here that I didn't even notice. I got him back by making him stand in the middle of the room while I took his picture, without telling him that he'd grown antlers. Yeah, dumb and childish, I know... But still funny.

It was pretty overcast when we got to Denali park, and the mountain was hardly visible. Greg said, "Take my picture anyway!" A few minutes later, the clouds parted for just a bit and I was also able to grab a shot in which you can kinda see it. Denali truly lives up to its name as "the great one."

Our next stop was the metropolis of Talkeetna, which Greg had read so much about as the major support center for Denali climbing expeditions, air support, etc. He sat on a bench in front of the general story and said, "I want to sit here a while and take it all in!" He hopped up about thirty seconds later. "Okay, I've got it. Let's go." We spent the night in a nearby campground and passed a "bush airport" the next morning. Greg is certain his flying buddies won't believe that's a runway.

We next stopped in Willow, where Greg declared that he really likes truck camping... So long as somebody else does all the driving and work. Good old Greg! He asked me to show him where the Iditarod starts, and had a hard time believing that a hundred vehicles and a thousand dogs were gathered on the lake behind him when it was frozen solid only two months ago.

We had a great time together, as always, and I'm happy to add Alaska to the long list of places that Greg and I have traveled together!

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