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On the road!

August 6, 2016

Day 1 started late.  We slept well in our small Anchorage hotel, but both had some work obligations to get through in the morning, so we didn’t hit the city til noonish.

We wandered through the lovely town square with it’s beautiful gardens of roses and kale (really).  We wandered into Oomingmak, a collective of native women who know the wool of the musk ox into beautiful hats and scarves so soft that cashmere seems cheap by comparison (by price comparison as well).  There was a chart on the wall comparing the musk ox wool to others including dog and camel.  Musk ox is very soft.  As we were there a puppy-like tourist who bound into the store asking if they sold shot glasses and then bound out just as quickly when the answer was no.

I found my way to an outlet store and upgraded my hiking boots to a glacier ready pair that I’m exciting to bring to New Hampshire as well.

After a wonder through the Anchorage Museum and a lunch of halibut fish and chips, crab rolls, and local beer (we rejected the food trucks serving reindeer hot dogs for weather reasons, but I’m sure we’ll be back for that), we hit the road.

The traffic lightened quickly and we found ourselves driving towards an amazing mountain vista, always in the distance.  We pulled off the road in Wasilla to say hello to Sarah Palin and check out the Iditarod Museum.  Our late start meant that we weren’t able to see the husky puppies, but I’m certain we’ll head back for them soon.

Arriving in Talkeetna at 8, we checking into the hotel and then debated driving into town or taking the five minute walk through a wooded area, “there’s puddles” warned the hotel clerk.  We borrowed an umbrella (it’s rained non-stop so far), and headed out along the path.  The puddles were no joke, they were basically mini lakes, but a few minutes later we crossed some railroad tracks and town, such as it was, unfolded in front of us.

The handful of rickety wood buildings housed a provisions store, a cafe, a pizza place, three bars, and an ice creams shop.  A collection of international hikers wandered jovially from one bar to the next.  It is my favorite category of town, like Pokhera in Nepal or Ouarzazate in Morocco, it is the last stop before hitting the mountain.  Talkeetna is far smaller than either of those, but it’s charm makes up for its tiny size.

We stopped into the Wildflower Cafe and where we were ignored for some time while we listened to the rain on a tin roof (one of my most favorite sounds) and then were eventually served by what one can only assume was the Alaskan version of a mean girl – she was very pretty in a short skirt and tight turtleneck with woven earrings and high Ugg boots, and she was very disinterested in our order or light chit chat.  The fish once again delivered.  After dinner we wandered into the Fairview Inn for another beer and some great live music (yup – I liked the live music).  The final game of the Red Sox- Mariners run was on tv.  It was a good night.




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