States visited: 49!

visited 49 states (98%)
Create your own visited map of The United States
Miles driven so far -
LOOP 1 (Aug 2009 - Aug 2010): 29,000
LOOP 2 (May - August 2012): 10,800

Highest altitude with camper: 11,158ft (I-70, CO)

Saturday, June 16, 2012


After sadly returning our RV to ABC rentals and saying a tearful farewell to the Scarani’s, we departed in our rental minivan for a day in Anchorage.  Our first stop was Lake Hood Floatplane Base which is the world’s busiest floatplane base lake with as many as 800 planes per day splashing down and lifting off. 
We anticipated a quiet stroll along the Tony Knowles Coast Trail, Anchorage’s most popular walking, biking, and jogging trail, which winds along with Knick Arm to Kincaid Park.  Unfortunately the mosquitoes thought they’d also like to come out and play, so we swiftly curtailed that endeavor!

The overlooks thankfully gave us perfect views out over the water at Point Woronzof over downtown Anchorage including clear views of Mount McKinley and Mount Foraker – how lucky to see this wonderful Denali on our first and last days in Alaska!
We were successful in locating a couple of geocaches, albeit fighting off mosquitoes while planes from the airport flew low overhead – rather loud!
Earthquake Park is set in the woods where an entire neighborhood slid into the ocean during last century’s most powerful earthquake.  On Good Friday in 1964, an earthquake with the magnitude of 9.2 dropped the coastal edges along the Turnagain Arm eight to ten feet.  We walked the trails and read some of the signs which explained the destruction and the stupendous natural forces which caused it.
Downtown Quyana Park houses the Statehood Monument, we managed to view it but decided against stopping as a Festival was in full swing nearby and parking was at a premium.
We checked out Wild Berry Park’s chocolate fall – the world’s largest and took a photo of Rock Man – based on the old rock formations created by Native
Alaskans.  I’d anticipated there being a little more in this park, so we spent far less time here than intended.
There was a lot of traveling back and forth on our last day as we didn’t know how long places would take to reach and how long we might spend in each location.  Despite Anchorage’s status as a major city, it is blissfully easy to negotiate and not at all crowded or busy.

Back downtown, we attended the ‘AurorA - Alaska’s Great Northernn Lights’ show at the Performing Arts Theatre, an evolving work-of-art to show people worldwide what a remarkable natural event the aurora is across the grand night skies of Alaska by Dave Parkhurst ( We love reading about these incredible lights (the Aurora Borealis) but knew we would not see them ‘live’ this trip as there must be some darkness.  For more information about the auroral sciences, visit:
In hindsight, spending an hour in a darkened room relaxing on comfy chairs, listening to gentle orchestral music while watching a display of lights cross the screen may not have been the best idea following our almost sleep-free night!  It was a wonderful show, I didn’t want to miss a minute, but I had to pinch myself awake a couple of times.  This did not bode well for our night of flying!

Inadvertently, we had passed Valley of the Moon Park (playground) a couple of times as we drove around the city.  Each time, Nathan had begged us to stop.  As we needed something to perk us up, we spent half an hour playing and finding some energy.  We also completed a snake geocache nearby while Dave had a quick nap.
Thanks to the light, the Alaska Zoo was open until 9pm, so late afternoon that was our new location.  We had read about Ahpun the polar bear and his early life with black bear, Oreo.  They were housed together for many years until they began to show signs of aggression toward each other.  At that point, they were separated and are now housed in areas with their own species. 
The zoo was small enough to comfortably walk around, the animals were wonderful.  The majority are here due to injury and need rehabilitation.  Most cannot be returned to the wild due to continued disability – broken wings, abandonment etc.  The signs were extremely informative.
Our favorite place: the bears – grizzly, black, and polar.
Our stomachs were calling!  The final stop for our long day in the city: Sourdough Mining Company.  The food, ambience, and location were all great.  We were impressed with the décor and service – a definite recommendation.
Our day had included a number of geocaches including a final one near the airport that had a Lord of the Rings description which sounded fun.  Dave located it in the midst of a seeming mosquito habitat so dashed out.  I raced in, opened the box, signed the log and we all sprinted back through the tunnel away from the pesky, biting bugs.  As we walked away, I suddenly realized that I’d lost my sunglasses, they must’ve fallen out when I moved quickly through the grass toward the cache.  Dave and the kids continued on to the car, I ran back toward the tunnel.  Unbelievably around the corner ran a moose, directly toward me!  I about-turned and sprinted toward Dave (in a zig-zag pattern as instructed by Caitlin who read that is what we’re supposed to do when being followed by a moose!); the moose ran through the tunnel, likely equally as shocked as me!  It was quite an unexpected encounter!  Dave did return to look for my favorite sunnies, to no avail – out there somewhere in Anchorage, there’s a moose with my sunglasses!
Dave dropped us at the airport, returned the minivan, and walked back.  Our total number of miles driven over these two weeks: an incredible 1,800 miles!  The kids were so happy that they’d been able to move around a little and change seats – so sad to leave this state, so much fun had by all.
As we were waiting for our flight (Anchorage airport is a busy place in the early hours of the morning!), a film crew appeared.  Obviously a soldier was returning to his young wife and baby daughter who were anxiously waiting.  Unfortunately, we boarded before the man of the moment deplaned.  I know, I’m a romantic, I really wanted to see the reunion!

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