As we crossed over the border from Canada into Alaska, we chose to spend the night in a super quality inn, (don’t ask), it was a little Bates Motel-like. But, it’s good point is that it had the local pub attached to it (drinks were pricey). We also learned that the gallon of milk was closer to $6.00/gallon and gas prices hurt the ole wallet. The sun stayed up through most of the night as well. It was a trip when we opened the shade at 3:00am and it was bright as day. I swear you could be seriously productive if it stayed that way. The next morning we took off and we wanted to see as much of the state as possible, so we turned the Jeep towards Anchorage. There’s a nice little Air Force base up there where my most amazing friend was stationed. I called him up and had to leave a voicemail… “You need to call me back asap. It’s about a moose and a bear”. He called back as we were only a few hours away from him. His response was WTH are you talking about, a moose and a bear? So I had to tell him we found the moose and the bear was far too close to the jeep on several instances and get ready, we’ll be at your place in two hours. While I’m sure this is not a normal request, I’m pretty sure he’s used to it by now. Nothing normal outta this girl. Most of my friend know that I pop up in random locations and you never know when or where we’re going to meet up.
So, my buddy sounded pretty happy to have us come up. He’s a F-16 pilot and was heading out in the next few days on a mission across the pacific and we almost missed him. Needless to say he gave us the address for the local pub (animal heads included) and we met for what was supposed to be a beer or two. This changed abruptly when the news came on. “Osama Bin Laden” was killed by our guys. Let’s just say the need to celebrate was upon us. Tequila shots were ordered. We certainly celebrated that night. Good times good times. It was amazing to spend that night with my wonderful friend so far from all of our homes. That’s always one of the coolest parts of being in the military or being affiliated somehow. You know people around the world and can find them and reconnect like you saw each other the day before and nothing had changed.
So next up we headed out and took the trek south. We had wanted to make it over to see some of the coolest people of all time— the Deadliest Catch captains. But it was another 5-6 hours out of the way and time was starting to run short. So instead we began to head back. We thought about taking the ferry down to Washington state but decided against it, choosing to continue the drive to ensure we saw as much wildlife as we could see.
From the moose, to the grizzly’s, black bear, bison, bighorn sheep along the mountain, even to the bald eagles. It was awesome getting to see it all as we traveled. Note to self- every animal down here in the lower 48, is so much smaller than the ones found up there. The bald eagle soaring above reminded me of a terradactyl and the baby bear could have eaten both of us in one sitting.
While wildlife spotting was #1 on the list, we also managed to take a few hours to stop by a river and pan for gold. It was freezing, but we managed to find about $30 worth in gold flakes. Everything about Alaska was perfect. Few people, clean air, beautiful landscapes, huge animals, seeing an old friend, and a sense of peace. It was sad to leave so soon, but work was calling. Go figure. So away we went. Back down and around, through Washington state, into Oregon, cutting across Utah , back to Colorado. Within the week I was off to Afghanistan. I would tell that story, but that will take an entire book.