Phyllis & Pete Go to Alaska
August18 - September 4, 2003
To take the whole tour with us, start at Seattle and use the 'Continue On' links at the bottom each page

Table of Contents


August 18

Flew to Seattle via Raleigh, Dallas. Arrived late. Short night at Pioneer Hotel,
downtown Seattle.

August 19

Seattle. Streetcar ride along waterfront
Visited Smith Tower - harbor vantage point
Lunched with Macdougalls, Pete's cousins. Personal welcome from Mayor of Seattle.
Took Victoria Clipper catamaran ferry to Victoria. Pleasant sound trip.
Checked into Rosewood Inn - aka Holland House - Victoria
    August 20
Victoria:  Butterfly Gardens: unexpectedly interesting and flourishing
Then on to Butchart Gardens: grand, extensive, varied, colorful!
Second night, Rosewood Inn - pleasant B&B
    August 21
Victoria: RCI timeshare sales pitch. Not buying.
Craigdarroch Castle tour (Built 1880s by Rob't Dunsmuir, self-made man, coal baron)
Pacific Coach Lines bus, BC BC Ferry to Vancouver. Huge ferry.
Checked into Fairmont Waterside: view of cruise boat slip immediately outside our room.
Explored in downtown area.
    August 22

Vancouver:    Stanley Park tour - horse-drawn streetcar; huge park within city, interesting.
Taxied to one-woman play: Shirley Valentine, starring Nicola Cavendish.
Second night at Fairmont - immediately adjacent to Canada Place.

    August 23

Vancouver: Island Princess arrived at dock, Canada Place.
Walked through Gastown district - touristy but attractive
Walked to the edge of Chinatown - mistake: bad area, nothing, nada, zilch.
Walked up the waterfront for a nice lunch at Cardero's, near Stanley Park
Boarded Island Princess - smooth process.
Island Princess sailed in the evening.

    August 24
At sea - cruising between islands and mainland
"Curtain Up" show - best of any cruise stock performances we have seen.
    August 25
Docked at Ketchikan - small city crowded on mountain side banks of fjord.
Totem and Town tour - Totem Bight State Park - totem poles & lodge display
Guard Island Tour - motorboat, Cap'n Rob. (Eagles and eagle nests)
Departed Ketchikan on Island Princess
    August 26
Docked at Juneau. - Alaska state capitol; not much of a city from the little that we saw.
Float Plane to Taku Lodge. Beautiful flight; smooth water landing. Great Salmon! Best tour meal ever.
Whale watch tour - miltideck catamaran. Whales! Steller sea lions! Eagles!
Departed Juneau on the Island Princess.

August 27

Docked at Skagway - tiny town
White Pass Train - Old style cars but with diesel engines. Great round trip!
(Incredible hardships endured in the 1897-1899 gold rush)
Took tea at Jewell Gardens - modest but attractive garden. Giant cabbages.
Quick shopping for T-shirts -
Departed Skagway on the Island Princess.
    August 28
At sea: cruising Glacier Bay. Many glaciers, some running into the sea.
Park ranger presentation on board.
    August 29
At sea: cruising College Fjord. Many glaciers, more spectacular than Glacier Bay.
Rainy day. Did laundry for second time.

August 30

Arrived Seward, disembark. Seward: tiny, along fjord banks.
Bus to Mt. McKinley Lodge. Wild Life Park enroute. Fall colors beginning.
Lunch stop in Anchorage; walked some of downtown area.
Brief stop at Iditarod (dogsled race, Anchorage to Nome) Trail HQ
Arrived at Lodge. PSA took the Mt. McKinley Helicopter Tour. Outstanding!
(Incredible rocks, snow, glaciers. Tundra colors. Bears.)
Supper on deck of Lodge: periodic full sunset views of Mt. McKinley.
Overnighted at Lodge.

August 31

Short bus ride to Talkeetna to board the Alaskan RR, north bound. Rain began.
(Princess vista-dome cars, diner in each car. Wonderful Fall colors intensifying.)
Disembarked at Denali. - tiny excuse for a town; 100% for park visitors.
(Off and on rain. Strong sense of mountain isolation.)
"Music of Denali" dinner theater - pleasant, but no rave notice; congruent with setting.
Overnighted at Denali Princess Lodge. Canyon view from room
    September 1
Early bus tour of Denali National Park. Rain pauses. Great Fall colors.
(Cow moose munching along road; herd of Dahl mountain goats. PEA saw 2-3 caribou.)
Reboarded Alaska RR, Princess car; proceeded to Fairbanks. More Fall color.
Checked into Bear Lodge (Wedgewood Hotel), Fairbanks. Poorly located to visit locally.
    September 2
At Fairbanks. The Paddlewheeler "Discovery". Very well done.
(Visited along the riverbanks: a mock Native village, dog sled trainer, salmon smoking)
Eldorado Gold Mine demonstration. Nicely done.
(Mine train. Permafrost mining. Saw the sluice box operate)
(Pan for gold; Got some! "$26 worth." Bought a $40 locket to put it in.)
Walked Fairbanks downtown area.
Had dinner in the Mexican restaurant: wine cooler margaritas.….
Saw short scientific program by UAF on Northern lights.
(Alas! Did not see real thing: too overcast.)
Taxied to hotel. Second night, Bear Lodge.
    September 3
Departed Fairbanks for Home. Flew via Seattle and Chicago.
Traveled all night, arrived on Thursday.

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