To put it mildly, we covered a LOT of territory during the glorious two weeks we spent in Alaska, parts of Canada, Seattle, Port Townsend and Port Orchard. Some of you may be curious about the various modes of transportation involved in a trip like ours. We have more adventurous friends who would add ATVs, kayaks, helicopters and canoes to their list, but we opted for a more sedate experience. In other words, we chose to fill our senses rather than to risk becoming bear food. Most have photos. For the others, you’ll just have to trust me. 🙂
- Small commuter planes. We flew Delta for this trip, so a small plane is always necessary to get from Huntsville to almost anywhere. In our case, it was to Atlanta.
2. Large planes. It takes a lot of fuel to get from Atlanta to Anchorage on a non-stop flight. Thus, a much larger plane.
3. Motorcoaches. From the airport to our Anchorage hotel, from the hotel to both lodges in Denali National Park, from the lodge to the train station, etc. etc., we were on motorcoaches. The good part about using a travel agent and a cruise line is that all of those transportations can be built into the total package price. The seats are nice, AND there’s a bathroom on board.
4. A Trolley for a city tour in Anchorage.
5. A Floatplane for Steve’s fishing trip to a lake several miles from Anchorage. Maybe when you see him, he’ll have a photo of that floatplane to share.
6. A School Bus. Well, it looked like a school bus, and it felt like a school bus, but it wasn’t yellow. Apparently, Denali only allows certain kinds of buses within its boundaries. It wasn’t as deluxe, and there were no bathrooms on board. But, the park does have a few rest stations on the grounds, and the commentary provided by our driver/guide was extremely informative. He shared one slightly disturbing joke. Driver: “Do you know what we call cyclists here in Denali?” Us: “No, what?” Driver: “Meals on Wheels!” Yikes!!!
7. A Train from Denali to the small town of Whittier where we would board our ship. This train ride lasted close to 9 hours, but it was spectacular and probably ranks among the favorite parts of our trip. The two meals we had during the ride were surprisingly good, and it was so relaxing to eat in comfort while basking in all of the scenery.
8. A Cruise Ship, which, in our case, was the Coral Princess. Here is the first glimpse we had of the ship. Admittedly, this was our first cruise, so we can’t fairly compare this ship to others. I will say, though, that this was a beautiful ship with exceptional service and comfort. No seasickness problems. Hurray!
9. An historic train through the White Pass and Yukon Route. Since this train touches Canada, our passports were checked going into Canada and coming back out. Once again, the scenery was breathtaking.
10. Whale-watching boat. Truthfully, we thought we’d be on a smaller boat with fewer people, and we dressed accordingly (boots, waterproof rain gear, toboggans, gloves, etc.). This turned out fine. We saw a pod of orcas and a few whales spraying into the air, but next time, I believe we’d try to have such an experience in a more adventurous and exclusive setting.
11. On Foot. We did a lot of walking — mostly strolling and wandering, rather than power-walking, I confess. Other tourists did the same.
12. Rental Car. We disembarked our ship in Vancouver, took a motorcoach to the airport and boarded an Alaska Airlines plane for a short flight to Seattle. In Seattle, we used a car rental company that was new to us — SIXT. The price was very competitive, and because it was our first time to rent with them, we received an automatic upgrade. The car was a Volvo which got very good mileage. Sorry. No photo.
13. Ferry across Puget Sound. The most efficient way to get from Seattle to Port Townsend was to drive the car onto the ferry and float across. The only slight hiccup was the fact that many other people wanted to do the same thing, so we had a lengthy wait for the next available crossing. We did NOT choose that route on our final day, because we certainly didn’t want to be delayed and miss our flight.
14. The generous act of good friends. Two friends from our Sunday School class insisted that we not pay the hefty amount necessary to park at the airport for 15 days. Instead, one drove us to the airport on Day 1, and the other picked us up and brought us home on Day 15. So their roomy vehicles constitutes our 14th mode of transportation. There’s no substitute for friends. Thank you so much, Connie and Amanda.