Most of our tour group was scheduled for an early morning departure for San Diego. That meant getting up at 4 am, which did not appeal to us, so we arranged for an afternoon flight the same day.
That allowed to go for a welcome late checkout, and had lunch with Bryce and Elena Newall, and then we signed up for a two hour tour of the area with our bus driver, Dave. We first went to a local botanical garden, with beautiful flowers, and learned that growing things in the summer is usually successful because of the long days. It’s also possible to grow giant vegetables for that reason.
We then went to the Large Animal Research Station, and Creamer’s Field Wildlife Refuge.
We didn’t quite see the variety we expected, but we did see a group of musk oxen, which were interesting to observe close up.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped by the Cultural Center for a short interesting visit and then to the Museum to pick up Barbara and Bob Eisley and Tina. We waited a short time in the lounge until the shuttle arrived to take us to the airport. On the way the shuttle driver told us of her mother’s Alaska sojourn. Through correspondence she arranged to meet a man, maybe to get married. She was comfortable with the destination, because she thought AK stood for Arkansas. But she headed out anyway with two young daughters. On the way the car broke down, then a truck broke down then she ran out of money, but finally she made it she now teaches special education in Fairbanks. We didn’t hear anything about the guy.
It turned out there we a few others on the same flight, or almost at the time time, so we had a final drink together
On the plane, I sat next to a guy who had traveled from the lower 48 to Alaska to do some roofing. In passing I asked how long he had been in Alaska this trip. The answer was “one day”. I expressed surprise and he struggled his shoulders, “That’s how contracts work sometime”. He had been sent to Alaska to do one day of roofing work.
That’s Alaska for you.
I found Alaska to be much different than I had expected. First of all it was quite warm, and flowers are blooming everywhere. The people we met in Alaska love being here, I guess because if they didn’t like it they would have been long gone by now. In the winter there is too much hardship, and if you didn’t like it here, it wouldn’t be worth it. I think people here feel special, and perhaps they are.
I think it is hard to imagine what it is like in the wintertime, although I tried. The northern lights are only visible in the wintertime, and I learned that there is a substantial winter-time Japanese tourist industry to see the lights. Maybe we’ll join them one time. I haven’t yet asked Teresa what she thinks about that idea, but I think I know.
THE LAST GALLERY