Day 9: Juneau/Anchorage

Today was another travel day with a 12:35PM flight from Juneau to Anchorage on our itinerary. But I was not about to leave Alaska’s state capital without a final shot of that delicious salmon hash breakfast in the hotel café. Even Mom ordered it this time instead of her usual bowl of oatmeal. That is quite an endorsement.

We packed up easily after breakfast, largely because we barely unpacked for our one-night stay. Upon leaving the hotel, we hailed a cab for the airport rather than test our wits against Juneau’s bus system a final time (which would have been more difficult without express buses running on the weekend). During the twenty-minute trip to the airport, our taxi driver told us about his experience driving in Juneau, hauling around celebrities like the Deadliest Catch guys (they are rowdy when drunk, shocking) and Randy Travis (or some other famous country singer). We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to sail thru security and relax.

Preparing Alaska Air flight 65 to Anchorage

From Juneau (on the right) to Anchorage (on the left)

About two hours and 600 air miles later, we landed in Anchorage. At the baggage claim, we found Nicole waiting for us. She arrived an hour earlier after her morning flight from Chicago. With the whole gang together, we proceeded to the rental car area, picked up our Toyota Sienna and hit the road. No word on whether a 1991 Ford Aerostar was available.

The Parkside Bed and Breakfast in downtown Anchorage is about a 10 minute drive from the airport. We successfully navigated ourselves to the right address despite the city’s odd penchant for splitting up normal traffic flows into one-way streets (maybe it’s a snow-removal thing?).

Upon arrival, we were given an introductory tour by our friendly hostess Carly. I have not stayed in many B&Bs before, but I think we found the Ritz Carlton of B&Bs. Both our rooms were on the second floor along with an inviting common room area. Mom and Dad’s room was the size of a small auditorium. The custom-designed kitchen on the first floor was straight out of an interior design magazine.

Parkside B&B kitchen and dining room area

Mom and Dad, think this room will be large enough?

Nicole joins the party!

After getting settled, we decided to take advantage of the great weather and walk a mile or two along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, which is an 11-mile, paved bike trail that runs along the Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet, from downtown to the airport.

Knowles was Mayor of Anchorage from '81-'87 and Governor of Alaska from '94-'02

Dad looks south across the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet

Mud flats exposed during low tide can behave like quicksand

Where are the unimportant birds supposed to go?

The pleasant walk north along the coast deposited us onto 5th and L in downtown Anchorage. As luck would have it, it was only a couple more blocks to McGinley’s Irish Pub on 7th and G, where we intended to start using the various Anchorage restaurant gift cards my uncle had given my parents (Thanks, Paul!). Having eaten salmon for nearly every meal the past week, I actually enjoyed the opportunity to go Irish for a meal.

Delicious hot corned beef sandwich

After dinner, we strolled back thru Delany Park to the Parkside and marveled at how bright it was outside for the late evening hour. Apparently, there were other guests (actually, the owners) staying at the B&B (the place can accommodate up to about 15 people in 5 or 6 rooms), but they were out and none of them ventured up to the common room, so we had the entire second floor to ourselves.

Whatever. I played baseball in a yard filled with trees all the time as a kid.

Relaxing at the Parkside, researching the Kenai Peninsula

After an hour or two of drinking tea and perusing guide books for information about tomorrow’s agenda (a drive through the Kenai Peninsula to Homer), everybody went to sleep, save myself. I blogged a bit and finally turned in at about 3AM, which you’d never guess by looking out the windows. Can you be a night owl if it never gets dark?

11:30PM sunset from Parkside's north-facing windows

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