Jo and Wazz's NW Americas Adventure travel blog

A very native welcome at our motel

On the deck of our motel's bar and restaurant - life is...

Lake Hood with the Alaska Range in the distance

We got a Jeep .... Grand Cherokee!

Lake Hood again - float plane capital of the world

Blog Three – Anchorage

Friday 26 April 2019

We had a very early start (for holidays) this morning – 6:00am! We were up and finished packing and had brekkie with the car full by 7:10 as we had a full day of travelling in front of us. After saying our goodbyes to our AirBnB host, Murray, and the wonderful accommodation we headed back to the 97 north which we soon turned off onto the 97C back to Vancouver.

This was a very different road from the one we which we came into the Okanagan. It was dual lane the whole way with a max speed of 120 km/hr up and down and left and right through the mountains. We were about the third slowest non-semi the whole way and we were doing the speed limit the whole way! Even doing the speed limit we were continually focussed on driving as we felt at times that we were at our limit but it seems that Canadians don’t seem to have the same respect for speed limits as we do, possibly due to there being very few police vehicles on the roads outside the cities. Either way we arrived on the outskirts of Vancouver a little early, even with having to put an extra $7 worth of fuel in the car to make it to the airport – we took the fuel option so arriving with as less fuel as possible was our challenge that no doubt made our Scottish ancestors proud!

However all the time we made up was soon gobbled up in a traffic incident right at the exit to the airport. Not to worry as we pulled up just over three hours before our first flight for the day from Vancouver to Seattle. The rental drop off was a breeze and the bloke was very nice. We then had a bit of a walk to get into the terminal which specifically caters for all USA flights. They are separate due to screening and the different conditions of entry. The good thing about leaving for the States from Vancouver is that USA Customs and Border Patrol are at the airport so for all intents travel is then classed as domestic. The screening itself was also pretty quick with electronic passport scanning and a quick visit to an officer and we were through. Strangely we didn’t even have our bags weighed at check in and there appears to be very little in the way of carry on luggage control either. We had no issues and were all good. Our carry on luggage is minimal compared to what most other people were taking it. It is ridiculous the amount some people have.

A bit of window shopping at the terminal and a spot of lunch and we were soon winging our way to Seattle for the very strange 27 minute flight. We took off, reached cruising height and then headed back down. Very bizarre. Seattle airport was a bit of nothing and we were in the N terminal as it appeared that Alaskan Airlines has their own terminal. We soon found the lounge and deposited ourselves there for a couple of hours and took on some north west hospitality. They had some very nice sparkling rose bubbles to keep up company.

We were called on time at about 6:20 and took off at 6:55pm for the three and half hour flight to Anchorage. The flight was pleasantly uneventful and the food was a sandwich. Again a bit bizarre but it did get washed down with one of the better pinot noirs (from Oregon) that we ever had so that was a bonus. We arrived pretty much on time and had to wait for a medical emergency to de-plane and then we were off, collected our bags, rang the motel we were staying at near the airport for a shuttle and checked in at about 10:30pm Anchorage, time but it was really 11:30pm from our previous time zone. It was a very long day and a lot of travelling but we managed it and are now safely ensconced in Alaska.

Saturday 27 April 2019

A reasonable sleep was had, although it was a bit short after the late hour we checked in from the flight. Still we had brekkie downstairs in the restaurant and before too long we met CJ from Alaska 4X4 Rentals who Billy Bob had been dealing with for the past six to twelve months. He has been great to deal with and today was no exception. It appears that the Jeep we had organised hadn’t been serviced and because of the extended time we were taking it he had swapped it with a Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. Very swish. We had paperwork to do so we headed to the airport with him and completed all the formalities and were handed the keys.

From here we headed back to the motel and then into town. Our first stop was to the Fred Meyer supermarket and what a great place. We were here to get a few things but mainly the SIM card to travel with around the Alaska. However we realised that it was probably better to pick it up tomorrow as this then gave us an extra day. However the big find from the store was Thera Tears – yay! Shania had been trying to get it back in Oz for about three years without success. We even contacted the importer who didn’t have any idea when it was likely to be on the shelves again. It was a slightly different type so we bought one for Shania to try to see whether we should buy more. Further on this later…

From here we visited Anna’s, a natural food store, who provided some nutrient powder for Shania and from here we visited the somewhat appropriated 5th Avenue Mall. While it was not expected to be the New York version it was still OK and we had a good look around before heading down the street for a look at a couple of souvenir shops. Billy Bob headed back to a shop called JC Penny who were having a sale – bargain! We think it is a bit of a cross between Myers and Target – great clothes at good prices – especially half price. We stayed as long as we could and picked up a couple of things but had to get back to the car as we were already over our allotted time but it was no worries – Anchorage is apparently pretty lax in parking enforcement.

We stayed in the city centre and visited an Inuit shop that sells products made from the under coat of musk oxen. Very warm and beautiful but for the cost we wouldn’t get the use out of any of their products so we moved on.

By now Shania had approved the Thera Tears so we were now in hunt mode! There are three Fred Meyers in Anchorage and we drove to the next nearest to have a look around the shop and clean them of their Thera Tears. A few other minor purchases and we headed out with a Starbucks Cloud Macchiato. That’s the other great thing about Fred – there’s a Starbucks in every store! Oh the temptation!

We then went on another quest – find a spot where we could take a photo of us, the Jeep and the white capped mountains in the background. This proved surprisingly harder than expected. Whenever we thought we were good there was a stand of trees in the way. We sought higher ground but to no avail. We eventually drove through the burbs (some pretty iffy – like dongers and a singlular block build) and settled on a car park in a church. Trust a church to have a good location! Closer to God no doubt. Still we got our pics and as hard as it is to believe we passed the third Fred Meyer store on the way, so yes we headed back and cleaned out this store as well! We then headed back to the motel to tuck into some half priced chow and a few beers.

Once there Shania wanted some photos of Hood Lake next to the motel, which in summer is the busiest float plane “airstrip” in the world – one every 37 seconds. That done we made for the outside area of the bar and settled in for an hour or so with a few brewskies and some tapas. It was glorious sitting out in the sunshine until about 9pm. It was good to kick back and relax after the past day or so of pretty full on travel, but we were also fairly tired and it didn’t take long for us to hit the sack and drift off.

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