Porcupyn's Blog

July 15, 2017

Alaska Trip – Day 12

Filed under: Family,Travel — Porcupyn @ 10:28 pm

On our last day in Alaska on this trip, we woke up at leisure. There was no need for us to hurry, as the flight out was past 9 pm. However, I did want to see if I could catch the reflection of the local mountains at a glassy lake at the point where Sterling Hwy forks off of Seward Hwy. Based on the couple of times we had driven by that area, I noticed that the glassiness was at its peak early in the morning (previously, we had wanted to get to Seward asap and so had not stopped for photos).

Unfortunately, this morning we were too tardy. By the time we got to the spot, the glassiness had all disappeared. We did stop nevertheless and took a couple of photos. We then took a left turn and rejoined the Seward Hwy back towards Anchorage. The weather was still pretty nice and sunny though there were some clouds in the sky.

Soon, we came upon the spot on the highway where there is a downward incline and the road curves to the right. At this point, there is a Kenai Peninsula welcome sign.

Welcome to Kenai Peninsula

Welcome to Kenai Peninsula

Sure enough, we stopped here to get a few photos. In fact, we took a fair number of photos with different combinations of family members 🙂 As I was posing for a photo, from my peripheral vision, I noticed a lady bike (on a cycle) past us towards Anchorage going downhill. When I was about to turn from subject to photographer, I noticed that she (and her bike) were on the ground just off the road, with the bike wheel overhanging over the highway.

I ambled/jogged (“ran” would be an exaggeration!) over towards her asking if she was OK. At this point, she had sat up and was looking quite dazed as far as I could tell (me being on the opposite end of the highway). As I saw a pickup truck (or was it a van?) approaching along her lane of traffic, I managed to flag it down. A couple came out from it, and I briefly told them about the biker lady. They quickly took over and together, we flagged down vehicles in both directions and made it a one-way traffic zone. Fortunately, though the queue was building up in both ends, drivers were patient … and the queues didn’t get too unwieldy. I didn’t get closer to the biker, but they appeared to determine that she had probably gotten a concussion or something, so were gingerly helping her maintain her sitting position. After a few minutes, a police vehicle also came to the area, and at this point, I returned to where we had parked our car near the welcome sign. Mrs. Porcupyn had apparently wondered where I was for a couple of minutes before realizing that I was out on the road! Anyway, before the traffic got unmanageable, we got into our car and managed to take advantage of a break in traffic to ease into our lane and continue with our journey.

In a few minutes, we came to the point where the Portage Glacier Road joins Seward Highway, and I got out of the car to take some photos.

Near Portage Glacier Road

Near Portage Glacier Road

This was the start of the weekend and folks were all out in full force enjoying the beauty of nature. But guess what? By the time I walked back to the car after getting my photos, I noticed that a lady biker was down here as well! Some of the others who were there either biking or jogging were helping her get back to her feet (and bike) – she didn’t appear in as bad a shape as the other lady had been.

Info boards about the old earthquake

Info boards about the old earthquake

Near Beluga Point, the tide had come in

Near Beluga Point, the tide had come in

We then continued our journey back to Anchorage. At about five pm, we were supposed to be meeting Mrs. Porcupyn’s second (or is it third?) cousin who lives in the Anchorage area. By the time we made out customary halt for water 🙂 and got back to town, it was about three pm. We still had a couple of hours to kill. Baab and I left Mrs. Porcupyn, Katya and my mother at the local mall and drove over to take photos of the flights landing and taking off. But here I made a big navigational error (and I still don’t remember how I made this error), and I went the opposite direction from where I needed to go. Let me rephrase this: I had known where I wanted to go, but looking at the map right now, I picked out a location on the diametrically opposite side of the airport. So, we did go to the destination I checked on the map, but it was not the correct one I had originally wanted to go. So, we ended up in this state park with tall trees, and though it was bordering the airport, I didn’t see any clearing where we could have seen and taken photos of planes. By the time I realized this and punched in the location we needed to go to, we realized that it would be too late for us to get back to the mall where we had said we would be back to by about 4:30 pm. So, we abandoned the quest for the planes. Next I thought maybe we could at least check out the train station, but that didn’t pan out either as I failed to figure out where it was located (remember, we didn’t have internet service at this time).

Finally, we went back to the mall, picked up the rest of the family, and went to meet cousin and her husband. We all then went to a local pizza joint for late lunch/early dinner. By now, it was nearly seven pm and I was starting to get a bit antsy as we had to return the rental car and check in. Fortunately, there was no line at either location and we were in our gate area before 8:00 pm. We killed time strolling around doing window shopping. Baab managed to get a few plane photos (so did I) before it was time to board. After an uneventful journey, we were in Seattle.

A naked plane (Baab informed me what this plane was all about and why it's special, but I've forgotten)

A naked plane (Baab informed me what this plane was all about and why it’s special, but I’ve forgotten)

More planes at Anchorage

More planes at Anchorage

In Seattle, we got the shuttle to our motel; later that morning, we rented a car and went on the Boeing tour which, to be honest, we thought was over-rated.

The Dreamlifter at Boeing Field - there were two the day we were there, and we were informed that it was very rare to have two there

The Dreamlifter at Boeing Field – there were two the day we were there, and we were informed that it was very rare to have two there

That evening, we had dinner at an old friend’s house. On the way, we got to see Mt. Rainier once more. We had great weather in Seattle throughout our time there.

The next morning, we returned the car and headed back to the airport. Our flight was at about 6 pm for Salt Lake City, from where we had a red eye into Orlando.

Mt Rainier from Seattle's terminal top parking lot

Mt Rainier from Seattle’s terminal top parking lot

Boeing's test plane (as per Baab) near Mt Rainier

Boeing’s test plane (as per Baab) near Mt Rainier

Mt. ???

Mt. ???

Mt. ???

Mt. ???

Flying into Salt Lake City right around sunset, we got some great views of the unique scenery presented by the Great Salt Lake.

Sunset while landing at Salt Lake City

Sunset while landing at Salt Lake City

After a couple of hours in the Salt Lake City airport, we boarded our Orlando bound flight and that, as they say, is it! It was a wonderful trip, notwithstanding the slight hiccup in the beginning when we missed our flight connection. But Alaska was all we could have asked for, and more! We never felt out of sorts while there, given how distant it appears on the map 🙂

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