Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Volcano Erupts

Mt. Redoubt

This is not some far off exotic location - it's right here in Alaska, just a hundred miles west of Homer. Altho' the image is quite beautiful, in Anchorage, we wait to see which direction the winds are blowing, and hope they continue to go north instead of east northeast. Those of us who were here the last time Mt. Redoubt erupted, remember the ash that covered the land, streets, and our cars . . .. you don't want to take a wet cloth to wipe your windshield, as it makes a gummy mess. It's just an unpleasant situation, and this year is good, so far.

Besides that, we need to remind ourselves that this is spring, and the snow that continues to fall every few days is just an illusion. The stores are already selling seedlings, and have a good supply of outdoor plants, too ... so, I'm ready.
In case you wonder how the Iditarod Races ended . . . it's all past history now, except that there are a few stragglers left on the trail, perhaps trying to get the red lantern.
Over the past week, we've had several attention getters . . . the circus came to town for a few days, and there is a home and garden show on at the Sullivan Arena. This shoulder season is actually a good time to visit Anchorage, as it's not so crowded, and don't wait for the airlines to drop their prices. When you do make your reservations to come visit, remember that travel insurance is pretty important, and you can read WHY here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Jazz Week in Anchorage

Attention this week is temporarily diverted to the annual Jazz Week. This is overlapping this year with St. Patrick's Day, and the finish of the Iditarod Race to Nome. However, the University of Alaska Music Department is sponsoring this as a showcase for their jazz program, and it includes several workshops, concerts, jam sessions, and networking for a special group of jazz lovers. We were visited last week by Ramsey Lewis, and then Taj Mahal trio played, so there's plenty downtown, in addition to the University Arts Building. So by the time I post again, I'll have some images for you, plus the finish of the great race.
On my last blog, I mentioned the travel insurance I am presently licensed to sell, but you must not just cast the idea aside, as you may reflect on how you wished you had it. I will give you one personal example that sold me on it.
A few years ago, I headed to Texas for a cruise out of Galveston. My luggage was lost (delayed?) along the way, so I had to leave the next day on this cruise. I never carry 'stuff' on the plane, so I had to buy makeup, toiletries, vitamin pills, sneakers, few changes of summer clothing, etc. I put in a claim, and was reimbursed without hasstle. I did get my suitcase the next week when I returned, but not in time for use on the cruise. Another time, I was traveling back to Anchorage and I was sick. I just couldn't make the last leg of the trip, so I stayed over in a city en route, went to a doctor the next day, waited at girlfriend's home for 2 days, then completed my trip back, with penalties on the ticket. Travelguard paid for both the medical and the ticket. I have more stories, but check out my 'reasons to buy' page.

Like most pages, filling it out may be a bummer for you, so email me, and I'll fill it out for you.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Iditarod Race Goes On . ... to Nome

Yes, they're still on the trail, and the leader changes daily, but there seems to be a big lead now by Lance Mackey. There are so many hero/horror stories that can be told on this long . . . 1024 mile . .. trip to Front Street in Nome, and many tears will be shed. Tears of joy are preferable.

Have you taken a trip where things didn't go as planned, . . . disappointments, missed flights, lost baggage, medical needs out of the U.S. where your insurance just doesn't cover you? My blog is going just a little bit commercial, but I do suggest you take out travel insurance when you buy your tickets. It will pay you to read a bit about it first, then sign up online. That's how come I got my license for a product I use whenever I travel. . . even roadtrips. Think about it. And in the meantime, keep cheering your favorite dog-team on to Nome.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Iditarod Goes On

I'll get off this kick soon. You either love these races or you don't. But the race will end in Nome in a few more days, and I'll get back to my talk about the happenings in Anchorage. I hope the reader will enjoy he same things I do, as I post some of them. The weather here is finally approaching springtime weather, and the sun's been shining every day. This might mean that the snow is over with.. . maybe. When it does warm up a bit, the Nenana Ice Classic will end. If you don't know what that is, well, it's a raffle to guess the exact minute the post in the ice at Nenana will tip over. If there's just one winner, you could be looking at a pot of several hundred thousand dollars. At least, you can be sure the 'feds' are watching, as it is taxable. Ahem! I wouldn't mind paying the tax on winnings, so I'll just sit tight and wait on that one.. .

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fur Rendezvous Addendum

The parade was a good one, and I just have to share some cute photos of my friend's horse, decorated with antlers like a moose. They wore costumes, and filled in for the lack of marching bands. In this weather, your lips would stick to the mouthpiece of a trumpet and it would be difficult to perform your best. It was pretty cold on the horses, too, but they're tough.

The King and Queen Regent are attending everything, and have such stamina to do it all. I wanted to post their picture, too, but haven't received one yet. Our local paper totally ignores them, but they are a pretty special couple chosen each year from the Pioneers of Alaska. Today, they appeared at the funny hat lunch. I misunderstood, and thought it was an 'edible' hat lunch, but that was just one of several categories. Since I was the only one with an edible hat, I won a blue ribbon for that. But there were many fancy and comical hats there, too.

Check back here in a few days for my sparse coverage of the Iditarod Ceremonial Start of the Dogsled race to Nome . . about 1100 miles of rough going.

By the way, I want to mention that I'm now selling travel insurance. I have used one company with such success on travel mishaps, that I want to share this product with you. It'll be available online, so you don't really have to come to Alaska to get it, but it would be great for you to include Alaska in your future!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Fur Rondy Reigns

This is a pretty cool Rondy this year. The weather cooperated, and the snow fell gently for the parade. I don't have pictures of that, but I need to get one of my good friend on her horse, soon. .. not too many bands because the instruments do freeze up. I was unable to actually attend, altho' I was very closeby at the Pioneer Hall, where the Pioneers of Alaska traditionally serve a full, hot breakfast for a minimal cost. Saturday, we served over 800! Sunday not so many.
The dogsled races run for 3 days, and in addition to this there is a snow sculpture competition near the railroad depot. The usual arts and crafts continue thruout, and dogsled rides are available on the parkstrip. I don't have any pictures of these, but hope you enjoy the picture of the running of the reindeer. Someone got the great idea from Pampalona, but we don't have any bulls here, just other wildlife. This is a fairly new event, and really a kick in the pants.

The Senior Center has a first-class party, where old-timers, and long-timers, tell tales of the real Alaska. They also host several contests, and today I played in the cribbage tournament. It went on forever, so I didn't wait for the finish, not that I was heading for a blue ribbon, or anything like that. But this is a fun week to be in Anchorage, and it will be topped off by the start of the Iditarod Races.

In addition to doing travel consulting, I'm now writing travel insurance, which is a really good idea in these uncertain times. When you book your next trip, with whomever, think of me wanting to write up the insurance part. Rest easy knowing you're covered!