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Friday, August 2, 2013- Eagle River/Anchorage AK

We ran to Palmer from Eagle River,about 30 miles, to the Friday Fling. Friday Fling is the Palmer Farmers Market. There were food vendors, jewelry, Alaskan products and very expensive produce. We bought some Cherry Flavored almonds, but that was all.

We left Palmer and went to Eagle River to the Laundromat to do the laundry. Oops, we forgot the sheets! So we will have to do those later. We spent about 2 hours doing laundry and we picked up some Chinese food for lunch at the restaurant next door. We returned to the motor home and hung up all the wet clothes and ate the lousy Chinese food. Oh well, can’t win them all!

We left for Anchorage, going downtown to park at a meter. We went to the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in the Old Federal Building. We had to pass through a security checkpoint inside.  Once through, we were given the movie schedule. We had seen most of the movies elsewhere, but we wanted to see The Day the Earth Shook. We had missed that in Seward. It was not playing until 5 PM, so we left and went to the Anchorage Visitor Center and took the 55 minute Trolley Tour of the city.  

Our tour guide was Jody. She is third generation Alaskan and teaches middle school in the winter. She was very good! Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city with a population of 295,570 ( July 2011). Average temp in January 14F, July 58F. In 1914, Congress authorized the building of a railroad linking an ocean port with the interior river shipping routes. By the summer of 1915 the population was 2000 men living in tents to build the railroad. Below is the original steam engine for the railroad. The people of the city wanted a post office, so they had to decided on a name for the city. They held a vote. The city folks voted for three names, Anchorage, Alaska City, and something else. Alaska City won. When they went to let the US Postal Service know, via a telegram,  what they had decided, they received back a telegram telling them that the Postal Service had decided, six months before, that the name was Anchorage. So it is Anchorage!

Original steam engine from AK railroad

Anchorage mural

We returned to the car in time to move it from the parking meter ( you can only stay 1.5 hours at a meter) and took pictures of the Ceremonial Start of the Iditarod(below). What happens is that they do a ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage, lining up the sleds and dogs on 4th street. They take the pictures and do their dog and pony show,  then drive the dogs and sleds to near Wasilla for the actual start of the race.

Start of the Iditorod statue

Capt. Cook statue

We also ran to take a picture of the Captain Cook statue overlooking the Cook Inlet, in Resolution Park.    

Capt. cook statue

totems in Anchorage.

Above are Totem Poles in front of one of the state government buildings. It is the law in Alaska that if you build anything from state money, you must dedicate at least 1 % to Alaska culture. Hence, these totems.

We returned to the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in time for the 5 PM showing of the movie. We parked at a different parking meter, on a side street. You only have to put money in until 6 PM.

We watched the movie, which was interesting. The Ranger spoke to us just before the movie. He talked about how the majority of the people who died in the earthquake of 1964, died from water. Most died from going to watch the waves come in to shore.

What also was interesting  to us was that there was not just one wave, there were numerous waves. In Kodiak, the worst wave was the last one, not the first one! Also interesting was that eleven of the people who died were in California. They were told that the tsunami was coming, so they went to watch the waves come in to shore and were swept away.

Anchorage suffered a lot of damage. Fortunately, for the people of Anchorage, it was Good Friday, school was out, and workers had taken a 1/2 day off. The earthquake occurred in the late afternoon, so downtown, which sustained most of the damage, was nearly empty. Earthquake park, was at that time an upscale neighborhood, fell into the bay losing all those homes.

After the movie, we walked over to the Snow Goose Restaurant and Sleeping Lady Brewery for dinner.  We had a pizza with caribou sausage and pepperoni. Bob had the sampler of four, with a Golden, IPA, Scottish Ale, and Porter. 

We left and went to Barnes and Noble as there was a book I wanted, but they did not have it. We proceeded to go out by the airport looking for moose, as they hang out there. We did not find any this trip. We saw several in 2005 there when we were visiting Anchorage. The airport has made a big effort to move the moose away from the runways. One female moose was captured and moved, as she liked to walk up and down the runway. They moved her and in two days she was back., trotting up and down the runway. They kept doing this but this gal liked where she was! Evidently, when this all occurred it was front page on the local newspaper, because they could not get her to stay away!

They have put up a lot of fences with one way ‘moose gates’ that send the moose out of the area. We had seen these gates out on Hwy. 1, and did not know what they were!

You do not see signs like this everyday. One in 12 people in Alaska has an airplane license and one in 25 has a plane. It is the best way to travel in this massive state. Lake Hood, which is near the International Airport, is the largest and busiest seaplane base, with approximately 500 takeoffs and landings, in the world. Even with that, I could not seem to catch one taking off or landing!

Hood Lake sign  Hood Lake sign

To get a parking space, on the water,  for your seaplane at Lake Hood, you have to get on a list and pay $25 per year to stay on the list. One family signed up for the list when their child was born. When he turned 16, they were given the option to buy one of the sites. So even though they did not have a plane, or  pilot license, they bought the site. They sold it and made enough money to send the boy to college. Since this idea caught on, the city started making people show proof of having a pilot license and of flying hours.

We returned to the motor home, watched TV and went to bed.

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