Thursday, December 23, 2010

Winter Weather Winds Into Anchorage

Our English language precludes pronouncing 'winds' with a long "i" or a short "i" but either way is appropriate for what we've had in Anchorage recently. Just because the temperature hits zero, or below zero, is no reason to stay home. Especially with all the Christmas parties and associated activities.

This year we had some added excitement with the winter solstice and solar eclipse happening the same night, and I was thrilled to watch the whole thing from indoors, of course. This image does not show the true sighting, but it's all I find.

Some diversions include producting pilot videos, and this image shows a friend's work on Living Wild~Alaska ... followed by this great meet-and-greet party. The venu is a new Mediterranean cage called The Grape Leaf. Midtown Anchorage has opened at least a dozen new restaurants in the recent years, which makes it hard to stay home for dinner.

Another 'fun' party was the annual Pioneers of Alaska Christma party, which was special because of the skit the gals performed doing Whoopi Goldberg's nuns chorus number. It's gonna be put on youtube, so check back because I'll surely post the address.

So, it's still a good time to visit Alaska, and our weather should not be a deterrent, as we are prepared, unlike so many cities in the lower states who are really having a challenging winter.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas comes to Anchorage

This tree was decorated by someone who obviously felt the spirit, and if you're driving into Anchorage, you'll see it along the highway. There are so many events coming along this month that sometimes they just overlap. . . the weather has been cooperating and we have just enough snow to make everything look Christmas-y. Between getting cards and letters out, it's time to decorate and cook goodies, and there's just a lot to do. I think our city has as nice a Christmas season as any other, and our Town Square is so beautiful with all blue lights, it makes you feel dreamy.

The First Friday Art Walk is always joyous, and this month, it includes the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Museum of Art and History. On a sadder note, the beautiful Steinway Piano Gallery just across the street is going out of business. Such an opportunity to buy a Steinway, which has never been equalled. That includes the Yamaha, which is a close second.

Sports events clutter the newspaper, with an eye on national sports, too. This is the time of year that some school events necessarily move to The Dome, which is a huge inflated building adjacent to a mega-church in the area of the airport.

Ah, me, which way to turn. But you can do everything, or nothing at all. Some evenings that is the best option. And so we look forward to another year in big A.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Alaska Weather Reigns

I guess there's nothing new about the cold weather in November. It's too cold for snow, and the ice creates plenty of problems driving, walking, or biking. Yes, there are bikers in Anchorage thruout the winter, and I think they have studded tires on their wheels, too! This has closed schools and threatens attendance at the big events of Thanksgiving weekend, namely, the Great Alaska Shootout (basketball tournament at the University of Alaska Anchorage, with four women's teams, and 8 men's teams) and the Nutcracker Ballet. There are a heap of other offerings, such as bazaars everywhere, religious services, and the museum goes all out, with their beautiful Christmas tree and programs.

This is also a time for nostalgia, so if you want to reminisce about Old Anchorage, click here!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Catching up with Fall in Anchorage

Time flies when you're having fun. Hallowe'en gives us the opportunity to dress up... or dress your pup. Well, that's not my cup of tea, but it happens, and you have to admit, this guy is kind of cute.

Fall in Anchorage is quite beautiful when you see scenes like these trumpeter swans. There remains a variety of wildlife within city limits, and that's another reason to visit Anchorage, any time of year. The shoulder season is becoming a popular place for corporate meetings and conventions, and the new Dena'ina Convention Center has become a premier venue for everything from circuses to trade shows, too.

On the sports scene, West High School just won the state championship in football, and our Aces Hockey team is coming on strong this year, after a disappointing last year. Of course, the sports bars in town are all thriving, too, and it's surprising to me how much interest there is in college sports, and pro-sports, too.

Monday, September 27, 2010

September fades away in Anchorage

The beautiful weather waited until September this year. Warm sunny days, plus friends and fellowship. The tourist numbers may be down, but there is plenty of activity without them. The Pioneers of Alaska had their annual convention in Ketchikan this year, and the Anchorage Igloos were well represented.

We had a few windy days, which doesn't help on the golf course, unless you're going the right direction. However, the winds didn't compare to the hurricanes I experienced on my trip to San Antonio.

One of the recent delights on the campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage, is the new planetarium. Dr. Rector is the director who puts on shows every few weeks, and there is a great variety. Most recently, the Black Holes were shown and that is not my favorite part of the Solar System, but I guess I can accept that they do exist way out there.

The other ongoing events in September is the startup on the concert season with the Symphony back playing, together with the Sitka Music Series that comes to Anchorage at the same time. Also, the Concert Association has the big production of Mama Mia in October, plus a full schedule of other offerings. So September is the start of 'my' fiscal year, even without back to school activities. The football season is in full swing, and my club is back to Sunday football breakfasts . .. and Monday night, too . . . and more.

So, if you're thinking of visiting Anchorage, the shoulder season can be just as much fun as the busy summer. Come on up, and when you do, don't forget to get some of my Travel Insurance online.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Anchorage Summer Ends



The Alaska State Fair is a sure sign that summer has come to an end. This summer has been memorable in some ways, namely, with the amount of rain that has fallen. That is most unusual for Anchorage, but the sun showed it's face a few times, and we were able to squeeze in outdoor activies, namely, the baseball season was a success, and the many golf tournaments, foot races, bike relays, hiking, and berry picking. The fishing season was spotty, and some lodges notified their regulars not to come this year. So the tourists are waning. Of course, the hunting season is just starting, and no way to predict how that will go.

In Anchorage, the public schools starts in the middle of August, which hasn't helped the mid-week attendence at the state fair, but the fair did start on time, with their usual big veggies, and minimal number of livestock. It's always fun, nevertheless, and opening day drew truant students, and lovers of all ages.

Another developing activity is an increasing number of Saturday Farmer's Markets. The original one downtown has become more of a flea market, with the farmer's produce for sale at four or more locations around town.

As autumn approaches, the calendar is out for the winter offerings. This always starts with the Champagne Pops concert, which the Symphony sells out regularly. Then comes the Concert Association programs, the Anchorage Community Theatre, and other groups. The Petroleum Club is starting their Football Sunday Brunches, with the Peanut Farm, Arctic Roadrunner, Moose's Tooth not far behind.

As the days get shorter, we also look forward to watching the Northern Lights play. I think they're out in the summer, but it's too light to see them. This is a good time to visit Anchorage, as it's not too cold yet, but there's still plenty to do . . . or not do.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Anchorage Sets Record

Anchorage has set the dubious record of the most consecutive days of (measurable) rainfall in its history. This does not mean that we haven't seen the sunshine, and somedays, it appears that it will be a nice, sunny day. Wrong! Perhaps the skies are crying for all the sadness this month in the wake of several plane crashes. The most noted crash is one near Dillingham, where our long-time Senator - Ted Stevens - was killed, together with some fishing buddies and an experience pilot.

I'm sure you've all heard about this already, so I won't go into details. This is supposed to be a travel blog, of sorts, and encourage visits to Alaska. I will say that we've been able to do so many things thru this bad weather. The baseball teams did not have to cancel any games, as our new drain and dry ball field has enabled the games to continue.

Also golfing is going great, and we have a most successful cancer tournament in the rain, and just last week a Wacky Women tournament that I was lucky enough to draw a great team to play with. Other activities include a wonderful fish fry on a most sunny day, and a miracle that I had friends from Massachusetts visiting at the time that may have thought that it was sunny all the time here. I lied.

So closing out this blog a little early, as it's time for another funeral service. Please come back and check my blog for a happier one next time, I promise.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Dog Days of Summer 2010

Oh, my gosh. . . it's August already. As the summer is slipping away, I'm still waiting for some sunny weather. This would hardly be an 'inspirational travel blog' if we can't produce some sunshine, but on the plus side, it is cool, and pleasant most of the time. The sun appears just enough to tell you to hustle out and play 9 holes, because that's what I've been doing everytime I see the yellow ball up there.

I'm not playing much golf due to my new knees, but they seem to be working fine, and I will give a cheer for the local medical teams. The physical therapists help too. I am also close to West High School, where there's a super swimming pool.

The USAF hosted "Arctic Thunder" airshow this weekend, and we had both the USA team of Blue Devils and the Canadian team of Snow Devils. This was put on with a sad note, as earlier in the week, a C-19 with 4 men on board came down, but they went ahead and had the show, which is always quite thrilling.

The political scene is jumping with a fund raiser nightly for governor, lieutenant governor, and some propositions. Being non-political, I won't elaborate on this, but I will tell you that Anchorage keeps up with the lower states in such events as Socrates Cafe, which is facilitated weekly by a great guy, who draws more in each week.

The fish are biting, too . . . I have a freezer full, but all were given to me. I just found out the difference between flounder and halibut, as we had a big debate over this. They are both flatfish, but similarities end there, as flounder are smaller. They both have eyes on one side of their head, too.

So we're keeping plenty busy here, and note that I haven't mentional the too-many funerals, but that's part of life, too.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summertime in Anchorage

The days are flying by, and there is a heap of activity in Anchorage. The Alaska Baseball League continues it's short season, with the Anchorage Bucs and Anchorage Glacier Pilots meeting each other regularly, and now they are each on road trips to the Kenai, Matanuska Valley (Matsu) and Fairbanks.

Some of the Princess Cruise Lines are docking right downtown now. It's less than a mile to Fourth Avenue, which is the main street of town. Some would argue that Fifth Avenue is 'more main' but all the tee shirt shops line Fourth, and that would be an indicator, wouldn't it? The number of tourists is down this year, according to those that know, but it seems the streets are crowded with people from all over the world. There is a certain number that head directly for Denali (Mt. McKinley) or fishing lodges, and some just want to drive down to the Kenai Peninsula, thereby avoiding the crowds of Anchorage. There are festivals galore, like the Bear Paw Festival in Eagle River, the Forest Fair in Girdwood (this is Alyeska Resort), the Seward Derby, and Homer Fishing Derby, too. One attraction you might overlook is the Botanical Gardens, which has trails for an outstanding stroll, with a large variety of plants, shrubs, trees, art works.

The Alaska Golf Association is running the State Golf Tournament now, with many groups having private tournaments, including the big Petroleum Club tournament, which has over 400 entries.

Then there is an assortment bike races and foot races ... biathalons
and Special Olympics competitions. Of course, you can just visit and do none of these. Relax and have a cool drink on one of the great outdoor patios at the downtown restaurants that provide a wonderful view of Mt. Susitna to the West, McKinley to the North, and the Chugach Range to the East.

Come and check us out, and you'll see why we love living here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Anchorage Celebrates the Fourth of July

Pictured here is my friend who caught this halibut last week. . . he needed help landing it, as it overwhelmed him and the boat. It cut the day of fishing short, as there was no room for anything else in the boat. . . taking it back to shore, no scales to weigh it, but it was estimated to be 400 lbs. Kenai Peninsula is about a 4 hour drive from Anchorage, and most charters guarantee you a fish or two, like in the background, but not like this!!!

Our weather has not been cooperating in the morning, but by mid-day, the sun seems to find it's way, and baseball prevails in our six week season. I am speaking of the Alaska Baseball League, but August follows with the American Legion games.

Every weekend bring another bike rally or fun run, and the turnout is pretty heavy for all of them. It's become a great fund raiser for npo's and the Anchorge Bucs joined this method with success just last week, with the start of the 6k run from Mulcahy Field (our ball park).

Fourth Avenue is the main street of Anchorage, and tourists are filling up the too-narrow sidewalks daily. Most highlights are within walking distance of the Visitor Center, but there are free shuttles to the further venus, ie. Sourdough Mining Company (that's a restaurant) and the Heritage Center. This latter site has a very complete setup for the visitor to view all the Native tribes, as they've built a pond where you can walk around the circle and view huts and Eskimos doing crafts, wearing native dress, etc. Drumming is performed in the main hall, with different groups. My way to remember the names of the main tribes is the name of a former downtown store called Taheta, which is an acronym for Tlinket, Athabascan, Eskimo, Tenana, and Aleut.

As you journey out of Anchorage, you have a limited choice, as there are two main highways . . . one to exit on the Glenn Highway, and the second to head south on the Seward Highway. The Glenn Highway takes you to Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park and on to Fairbanks, or you can continue to Tok, and then to and thru Canada to the other part of USA. The Seward Highway takes you to Seward, obviously, or to Homer, which is the "End of the Road". The Alaska Railroad goes to both Fairbanks, and Seward, but the latter is perhaps my preference, as it doesn't follow the road, but takes you into the back country to see Spencer Glacier and other beautiful sights. So anyhow, I surely hope I haven't bored you with all this, but I can only assume the reader is not familiar with "My Alaska." Signing off for now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Solstice in Anchorage

These are the beautiful days of summer, with daylight until almost midnight, and our 'crops' growing pretty swiftly. Personally, we have about 6 tomato plants with blossoms on them, so you'll see a happy gal here when we get to pick some tasty red babies.

Tourists abound, and Fourth Avenue is tee-shirt row once again. The bars and restaurants are doing a great business, and this summer, for the first time in several years, we have cruise ships arriving at the Port of Anchorage, within a mile of town.

Altho' I still don't go sleeveless, many locals do, and even jump in Goose Lake for a swim, but let's say the golf courses satisfy my appetite for outdoor activity. (I bike to an indoor pool at a high school nearby.) Our short baseball season is in full swing, and the Anchorage Bucs have two losses already in the Alaska Baseball League. Things will get better, as the players are still arriving from the lower states. We're hosting a relief pitcher, who is a Brett Favre look-alike.

Fishing season had a dubious start, because catch-and-release was the rule until today. Now anglers can keep king salmon less than 46 inches or more than 55 inches.

The Women's Run for Breast Cancer over the weekend drew over 7,000 runners and raised a health amount for the cause. I think it was over $100,000, if I remember what I read. Nope, I didn't run, or walk either. Slacker! Sorry I'm not posting a picture on this quickie blog, but I have a new program on my computer and I can't seem to save images to a file . .. just print them. Guess I should take some time on my learning curve.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June is Busting Out All Over Anchorage

With the beautiful weather we've been having in Anchorage, it's easy to see why we will never leave our home state. This is the time of year when moose are birthing on our front lawns, and munching on the beautiful flowers and fauna. Also, baseball starts it's short season on the 6th. This year we have a quality field to compare with the major leagues. The American Legion sponsored this construction, which you can read about here. You can also read about the players and see the schedule for the Anchorage Bucs here.

Other outdoor activities include marathons and bike races, 5 and 10k charity walks, and farmer's markets on several locations. Recently, our famous Chilkoot Charlie's owners has donated his big parking lot for the Spenard Farmers Market, and it's been growing over the last few weeks.

Indoor activities are not left behind, and while the movies are not attracting their winter crowds, the restaurants are full up. This is mostly with the large tourist influx. We also had our first cruise ship arrive right downtown (1 mile north) for the first time in 25 yrs., with more sailings to come. Anchorage is large enough to absorb a few thousand extra bodies on the street. Fourth Avenue has become a Tee-Shirt and Sandals Row, hardly leaving room for the vagrants who have moved further east. This is my own observation, of course.

So it's time to cut my blog short, and hasten for a bike ride . . . check back.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Ho-Hum Anchorage Spring

This image of a Gulf Oil Rig (to clean up spill from ruptured oil tank offshore) appeared in the Anchorage Daily News, and my immediate reaction was that it was a 'steal' from our new statue outside our museum . .. I hope you've seen the earlier blog that showed the $550,000 sculpture of a man? or robot? or tinker toy? placed on the far corner of the Anchorage Museum Block. I'm still trying hard to accept it, but it doesn't work . . . not unlike the apparatus (above) that doesn't work either.

Another spring thing is the annual Strawberry festival for the residents of Pioneer [retirement] Home . . . always a nice event put on by the Pioneers of Alaska. We serve coffee, strawberry shortcake, and have some nice music of the ages (me). Also, there are 3 theatre productions and a choice of dance recitals this week, too!

Flags are at half staff all week for the passing of Gov. Wally Hickel, whom you may remember on a national basis for being Secretary of the Interior, under President Nixon. So many of the founders of the new Anchorage are leaving us, but rapidly being replaced by heirs and new arrivals. ('new' means in the last 50 years). If you are reading this from outside Alaska, you may not know that a newcomer here is called a 'cheechako', still. Many of the old traditions are fading. You don't see fur parkas around like the old days, and no one knows what a billikin is anymore - even the Billikin Lounge is closed. Businesses come and go, and one of my favorite stores to walk thru was Killer Designs. But I guess that was the problem . . . there are others like me who walk thru and don't buy.

Sometimes I drive by an empty lot that wasn't empty yesterday, and two of the recent disappearing buildings are the big house on the SE corner of 5th and L, that used to house doctors' offices, etc. and another building gone is a one story commercial building on F Street, south of 6th Avenue which perhaps was cleared to make parking for the new convention center. You see, the large parking garage that was built across the street is only for the State of Alaska employees. So no tax dollars coming in from there. Yes, careful planning is the key and the Assembly doesn't seem to mind things like - - - no parking built at the museum with the new multi-million addition. Oh, pardon me, I think I'm in a mood, so I'll cut this off here!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Spring Fever in Alaska

This is the season we've been waiting for, as the long winter was getting us down. Alaskans are going every direction these days, with many choices. Even the golf courses are open now, altho' they are still using temporary greens until the turf takes hold. Speaking of grass, one of the 'biggies' is the new baseball field at Mulcahy park. This is a downtown site that is used by American Legion teams, high school teams, and the Alaska Baseball League. You can imagine it gets well worn over the short summer season, so it was well needed, but it is top quality plastic turf with a real dirt pitcher's mound. It was funded by grants to the American Legion, and even the dugouts and scoreboard are new.
You can see the construction in images that detail the work done over the last few months by clicking here.

The Museum has finally put up it's sculpture, which has turned out to be not unlike a robot. It's an example of the English getting even with us for the revolution.
This image shows the erection, and weight of this giant tinker toy, but I haven't heard one person speak positively about it. The Limey designer skipped town shortly after the opening toast ... which was the wise thing to do as he would have been lynched had he stayed. But then, it only cost us $550,000 plus, so what could we expect. The fellow in the red hard hat in this image is from our local company, SteelFab, and one of the 3 who put the plans together. He's a great guy, so I hope he doesn't have to be blamed.

TBA, a local theatre company at Alaska Pacific University is putting on a production of The Sound of Music, for 6 performances, and it is great. Somehow, they came up with the 7 Von Trapp children locally, who sang beautifully and outdid the great movie of years past. The costumes are also wonderful, and the set designed on a rotating circular stage were first-class. The pianist, a local elementary music teacher, carries the whole score admirably, too!

If you are a regular reader of my blogs, you know I'm not reporting everything that's happening around here. There's a fun run, women's run, or some run every weekend, plus bike races, trail walking, and skiing is waning. There are outdoor fairs, trade shows, soccer games, clean-up trail days, and the tourists are starting to clog Fourth Avenue, too. Whee! So why am I sitting indoors writing this. Whoosh, I'm gone!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Second Try for Spring in Anchorage

Just when we thought it was really spring, Mother Nature gave us a few more showers of snow, but that's okay . . . we're really into spring now, and the sun is shining, and we're all busy doing spring cleaning. . . and planting . . . and sunning ourselves. Some of us have harder chores, like this image of Mike Miller and his large animals. He's done a great job with his Alaska collection of live animals, and it's a treat to visit his refuge between Girdwood and Portage. For those of you who don't know, that's about 40 miles south of Anchorage on the most scenic highway anywhere. But along with the beauty, there's a lot of traffic accidents, too . . . the cause can be attributed to speed, sightseeing, dozing, etc.
There's so much going on in Anchorage, it's hard to find time to visit Alyeska for the spring festival. The slush cup is not to be missed, and I hope to post some good shots of it after this weekend, for you. Skiers end their run by trying to ski over a pond of water about 30 ft. and most don't make it. .. it's pretty chilly to get dunked, but feeds to a cheering crowd. There other novelty races, all topped off by a super dinner at the Double Musky, a world-class restaurant. At the other end of the restaurant list is the ever popular Bake Shop with it's bottomless bowl of soup, and cinnamon rolls to die for.
Weekends mean trade shows in town, too, such as the Sportsman's Show, the Women's Show, etc., and with the new Dena'ina Center, we have a lavish convention hall to house these big events. (I like to pronounce this phonetically, but actually it's correct to say Dee-9-a, which is a native tribe) The University of Alaska Anchorage also has several jazz events, plays, speeches, etc., and it's only the impossible parking situation that keeps me, and others, from attending more. Their sports program has also accelerated, with the woman's teams being recognized nationally. I am speaking of basketball, volleyball, and gymnastics. ... . The men are hanging in there, but the hockey program is still struggling, and swimming was cut out when the feds told them they had to comply with women's offerings in equal amounts. I will be posting more pictures soon . . . just don't have time these days. ... but check back!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Breakup in Anchorage?

This is the scene downtown on Saturday night . .. the Glacier Brewpub is one of the most popular restaurants in town, and it is adjacent to Orso's Restaurant, also first-class. Between the two is a small indoor mall with a classy new shoe store called Shusz-Q. It just had it's big opening, and this is where the crowds are found. However, this image shows what a young gal with a pickup truck can do after a few drinks. Yep. She crashed it into the horse-drawn carriage parked outside. Fortunately, the horses escaped injury, but not some trauma, as the 130 yr. old restored carriage was totaled. . . not a typical night in old Anchor town.

This morning, we woke up to a treat. . . one more snowfall. I was pretty surprised, but then it's not unusual to get one last blast. It's warm enough now to almost melt completely when it hits the ground.

This is election day and I'm sticking to the addage of "Vote Early, vote often". I didn't really, but I know there are some of another political pursuasion that don't know you vote 'once'. Check back, and maybe I'll be posting prettier pictures.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Anchorage Symphony and Opera

As spring arrives, the breakup leaves outdoor treks rather mushy, there are cultural opportunities indoors to lure the locals to acquire some cultural events. Namely, the past week brought the Symphony, highlighted by a quirky presentation of "An Orkney Wedding with Sunrise" by Peter Maxwell Davies, which ends with a bagpipe solo by Joe Albrech playing while walking down the left aisle. The Opera comes next weekend, and that is always a special event, too.

On a personal level, the winter ended with a trip to Florida, which made me again appreciate the positives of Alaska. We don't have traffic jams, altho' some refer to a backup of twenty cars a jam, and waiting thru two traffic lights. As for crowds, we have nothing like 'Downtown Disney". It took an hour to find a parking space in a huge parking lot, and walking down the strip was not unlike Christmas shopping. Lots to see and do, but I'm sure the reader will agree it's great to get away, but greater to get home.

Basketball season is about over now, in the local schools, and the Final Four nationally, and we have so many sports bars here that they're crowded out the former jazz joints. Sports are just more magnetic by comparison, and more profitable for the clubs.

This remains a good vacation destination, and a land of opportunity. Bring your laptop, because there's free wireless internet everywhere, and you'll stay in touch with the whole world! Don't forget to take out travel insurance because you just never know when Redoubt might 'blow' .

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Iditarod Race is On!

The crowds brave the cold, and stand for hours waiting and watching every move!

. . .
The dogs are rarin' to go. Note the booties on their paws.

These are not the best photos of our Iditarod Race, and if you want to see the full leaderboard, goto HERE which will show you all the racers, and update them frequently. It's the big thing in Alaska this week, but I won't be following it, as I'm off to the lower states for some warm sunshine, and cruisin'. Of course, I'll be online along the way, which is an advantage of modern technology.

Other than that, winter is supposed to be winding down in Anchorage, but this morning it was in the single digits again, with promises of a warmer sun tomorrow. . . so check back, and subscribe to my blog, too!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fur Rendezvous Continues!

Things are pretty busy in Anchorage this week, but I managed to copy some pictures from the Anchorage Daily News, to post for you.

A fairly new event is the Running of the Reindeer, not unlike Pampalona's Bull Run. Now in it's third year, it's more popular than ever, and the runners wear some wild and crazy costumes for this two block race.

My personal interest has been the annual Pancake Feed by the Pioneers of Alaska, which is very popular, and our building is right on the parade route, too. It was pretty cold out there watching the parade, and many came in to our breakfast just to get warm, but we had over a thousand diners over these two days.

I especially liked the snow sculpture, entitled "Qasida," Aleut for "go fish," which tied for first place.

My other 'thing' is chaperoning the queen and princess of Fur Rondy, and I'm sorry I don't have an image of Jessica and Chelsey to post, but I'll try to get one for my next post. The Miners and Trappers Ball will be a good photo op, and this happens as the end of Fur Rendezvous and the start of the Iditarod, which now is a continuing event. So check back next week!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mild and Wild Fur Rendezvous Time

The Pioneers of Alaska choose the King and Queen Regents for Fur Rendezvous, and pictured above is the royalty from two years ago. The queen has been chosen, and I will post her image when I get a shot at her.

Our weather is really mild compared to the Eastern states this winter, and we've been blessed with a heap of snow for our Fur Rendezvous events. This event was originally set up to help us thru the winter, to prevent cabin fever, and sell fur pelts. However, it's changed over the years, until now they have replaced the big Monte Carlo Night with a Poker Turnament. This took lots of bargaining with state lottery laws. Also, the dog-sled races from Fourth Avenue lack any local hero, and takes second place to the Iditarod Races which follow the following week. It all opens with a big parade and fireworks display, and the list of events can be found online if you search Fur Rendezvous, as I am only writing the things that interest me. this would be the Pancake Feed, with the men Pioneers doing the cookin', and the women doing the rest of the work. The Miners and Trappers Ball continue to draw the masses with great costuming, and the Figure Skating Club puts on a wonderful show at the University Ice Rink. The Senior Center has Pioneer Stories from the long-timers together with a gourmet meal, and they have cribbage tournament, art show, etc. The melodrama also draws a sold-out crowd nightly, and the magic circle does a show at the library theatre.

At the same time, our eyes are on our local athletes and others representing USA at the Olympics. Pictured here is James Southam, who is entered in the cross country ski race. Our more publicized female in the race is Kikkan Randall, and sorry to say they didn't get any medals. However, we're proud of the many winners from our country. We are also blessed with being able to watch the Olympics at more reasonable hours than the Eastern states. It is quite overwhelming, but is taking a back burner to our Anchorage events.

I should mention that we more going on than just the Fur Rondy, as the Iron Dog races are on, too, somewhere up north of here. So there's lots of reasons to visit Alaska, and don't forget to get your Travel Insurance which you can read why buy, then apply! Online or call for help.

Monday, February 15, 2010

February Flags Anchorage

On the downside of winter, things are oh, so busy, in Anchorage. The city has Fur Rendezvous competing with the Winter Olympics (on TV) for our attention. The coronation of the King and Queen Regent takes place first, followed by the queen and her court, the Reindeer Run, the Dogsled Races starting on Fourth Avenue, and of course, the big parade. With all the activities, sadness also has taken two of our well-known citizens.

First, we were sorry to lose Betti Cuddy, whose beautiful park was donated to the city, about two years ago, hidden behind the library in mid-town. It has a beautiful pond, and they even created a speed skating track for the athletes to practice their sport-of choice. A real jewel, and Betti leaves a wonderful family to carry on her community services.

Second, an avalanche took the life of the president of Alaska Conoco-Phillips and a companion he was snow-machining with in the beautiful mountains on the Kenai Peninsula. This oil company is the successor to Arco, who has been very generous in donating to the arts, and other non-profits in Alaska.

Our weather is mild, and we watch the weather reports of the Eastern states, and mid-West. What a horrible time they're going thru. I had to smile at the report that our congressional delegates reported for work-as-usual in Washington D.C., as it didn't seem that different from home. I guess they didn't stay the day. This just confirms what I've been saying . . . Alaska is a super-duper place to live!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Beauty of Winter in Alaska

This blog is turning into a photo album, but my good friend Shawneen, took this picture from the Kenai Peninsula and I think it's great . .. I never used to steer clear of the cold weather, but I have to admit, as I get older .. . hmmm, did I say that . .. I like to look out from indoors by the fireplace. January is the entry to the big political season, and also the forthcoming Fur Rendezvous, so I've been busy attending meet-and-greets of several friends running for office. I don't know why. . . but I won't get into political speeches here on my travel blog. So just enjoy this moose.

One of the treasures of the winter sky is the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. It's pretty hard to capture these in a photo, as they 'roll' and even the videos don't really show it well, but you get the idea. I have to remember to keep looking up because when I'm out that late at night, I usually duck my head and run indoors.

If you don't believe me, I'll post a map of the weather here. Remember, I'm in Anchorage, not Fairbanks.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Winter Beauty in Anchorge

As winter peaks, and the days get longer, the traditional activites are in high gear. Most notable are the beautiful ice sculptures in our Town Square. This image by Rebecca Belcher was posted in the local paper, and captures the beauty of light refraction.

The beauty of Mt. Susitna, or the Sleeping Lady, remains throughout the year, and serves to remind me why I live in this beautiful state. (I only need a reminder when the temperature drops below zero).


With all the positives of Alaska, I would be remiss to not mention the sadness we all feel about the earthquake in Haiti last week. By comparison, our 1964 earthquake was minor, and less than a dozen lives were lost. Our prayers are with the people of Haiti, and the rescue teams, as they continue to search and sort. Maybe someday we will figure it all out, as that is the last place I would have thought the earth would open. So I close this week's blog with sadness.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Anchorage Welcomes New Decade

Altho' I recognize that all cities change over the years, I don't think any have outdone Anchorage. One of our major couplets is the A-C Street one, but at the south end before the division, C Street has sprouted many new restaurants, hotels, and office buildings.

Hidden just south of our library is a back-40 park, named for the donor. Cuddy Park is delightful and here's a picture of their lake.

Another big magnet is Kinkaid Park, which is the original homestead of another family that donated this very large undeveloped area just south of ANC airport.

The many trails attract international cross-country ski competitions and the building hosts everything from political rallies to weddings. Since it is on a overlook to Cook Inlet, the view from the top of the hill is quite spectacular, and it is also the culmination of the 15-mile planet walk.

Now, if it's your pleasure to remain indoors where it's warmer, we do have an ice hockey team. The Anchorage Aces have had championship years, but this isn't one of them, as they are riding the longest losing streak ever, so we won't go into that.

This is NOT fishing season, but I couldn't resist posting this 35 lb. halibut that didn't make it thru the summer. The expression on his face tells it all.

Please understand that these images I'm posting on my blog are copied from our local newspaper, and I don't have any written permission to post them, so if this is my last blog, you'll know they got me. . . or I'll write from jail.

I still want to encourage you to plan to visit Alaska, and remember to take out some of my travel insurance before you leave! Need I display some more wildlife shots to show you why?