Friday, May 22, 2009

Anchorage Hosts Bearded Men

Anchorage is hosting the international beard contest tomorrow, and all around town today there are these bearded guys from the whole world struttin' around. I went to the Chamber of Commerce Business Exchange, and they gave us all $20 tickets, so I guess I'll go, altho' the Pioneers are really working all weekend, getting the Downtown Cemetery ready for Monday's ceremony.
Of course, there will be the usual trail out of town, but there is plenty to do here. The American Legion is having their anual bar-be-cue, and there is a half-marathon run coming up, too.

Addendum: These characters have been parading around town, and it's such fun to watch them in their 'costumes', which adds interest to the beards and moustaches. I liked Robert E. Lee best, as I get nostalgic to my Texas days. I'll try to find a shot of him, to post here. Guess I could even get out my Nikkon Cool Pix and snap a shot myself . . .

The weather has been so beautiful the past weeks, that I'm reminded why I live here. Plan your next holiday in the great state, and you'll see what I mean. .. . .

Monday, May 18, 2009

Beautiful Alaska

The tourists are arriving, and they are lucky to share the beautiful weather we've been having . .. while the Florida folk are seeking cooler spaces, we Alaskans are enjoying beautiful sunny, windless days, and it's perfect for outdoor exercise, and everything else. The downtown market opened last week, and it was pretty crowded, as it will be thru September.

The potholes caused by the fierce winter weather are being repaired 24-7, and the down side is that so many streets are closed for repairs, too. That's pretty minor compared to views such as the image above, which was taken by a local fellow, which you can see exactly from downtown. Mt. Susitna is nicknamed "Sleeping Lady" and a well known view west of Anchorage. Hard to improve on sitting in a downtown restaurant at dusk, viewing such sights.

We have so many events this week that I can only mention a few. The Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau is hosting a "Business Exchange" at the Wild Berry Farm, which is always a highlight of the season. Complimentary food, drink, entertainment, promotions. To describe this place, it's a short drive (or complimentary bus ride) from downtown, and the campus includes the Sourdough Mining Company (great ribs), Gen'l Store (great British licorice), outdoor patio, theatre, reindeer viewing, etc.
Another big one is the Open House at the Alaska Backpackers Inn, which is the only Alaska member of Hostelling International. This place is only blocks from downtown on Eagle Street. (The North-South streets are alphabetical, so it's 5 blocks from town - E is the 5th ltr. of the alphabet . .. . get it?)

Okay, I'll admit I'm cutting this short as my flowers are calling me for some attention . .. I'll be attaching some our the great flowers bloomin' around here soon. So check back!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Sun Shines on Alaska

Just when you think you can't take any more winter, spring arrives. Seems like overnight, we're planting our flowers, going outside without coats . ... well, you know, it happens every spring. One of the first signs of spring is the culmination of the raffle for the Nenana Ice Classic. It's a silly old tradition that you guess the time of the right day that the stake in the ice at Nenana will fall over. The pot is around $300,000, and I was counting on it to go out this week, as I bought several tickets for myself and friends, but it fooled me, and fell on Friday night.

So, the next sign is the arrival of birds in my bird feeder. Maybe they've been hibernating with the bears.

Next, comes clean-up. City-wide, groups, clubs, and singles have been filling large orange plastic bags with trash. Our church had the big clean-up on Saturday, and 'they' did a great job. I mean, without me. Guilt was written all over my face when I went to services on Sunday, but I had a good excuse, which we won't go into.

Alaska puts little feelers out around the world, and this week, we witnessed an Alaska son become an overnight hero at the Kentucky Derby. Local business man (and therein lies a long story), Bill Allen, has a son in New Mexico, who drove his horse to the races, and was a 50 to 1 bet. It wasn't long until everyone knew Mine That Bird and his rags to riches story. Hurray for him. Let's have another Mint Julep on that one.

Speaking of Mint Juleps, do you realize that Cinque de Mayo is on the cusp, and there are enough celebrations going on without this, but let's just add this to our list. The Petroleum Club is recognizing this independence day, and the Pioneers of Alaska have an unusual party, as the men are supplying the food and drink after the regular business meeting. So that's where we're at, right now, with a long, social list set for May.

However, there is a down side to all of this. One is the announcement of the discontinuance of Norwegian Cruise Lines coming this year, and the cutting back, sizeably, of Carnival, Holland-America, Celebrity, etc. cruises. . . this could be the downturn of the economy, but more likely our State Legislature imposing a $50/head tax on all cruisers. This is going to hurt the businesses in Southeastern especially.
One last word . .. following up my travel insurance pitch, I want to report that my friend was reimbursed for the expense of hotel and other for the delayed flight last month en route from Anchorage to Portland. It's worth the extra buck to be covered when you travel because more things are happening than in the simple days of the past.