Alaska Cruise – 05/10/2011

May 11, 2011

Day 1 – A Travel Day

At Oh-Dark-Hundred Tuesday, May 10, 2011, (actually 4:45am) the Big Man Limo picked up the 5 of us, 9 bags to be checked plus 2 carry on’s for trip. Probably 10 camera’s and batteries to last a week.

Uneventful flight from Philadelphia to Chicago. Short layover in Chicago for our L O N G trip to Vancouver.

While we were in Chicago, there was a little young lady, obviously going to be on Our Cruise, so i have her two pictures of Duffy the Disney Bear. She was so excited. (have seen her many times since)

After a 40 minute ride from the Airport to the Disney Wonder.

Pictures will follow.

Lifeboat Drill completed, food, a walk around while they finished loading passengers and luggage.

Got underway On Time and we are underway.

A couple of crashed and a couple of us watched a show.

Really cool.

Long Day, be, WE ARE ON VACATION.


Alaska Cruise – 08/04/95

May 11, 2011

FRI.8/4 Up at 5:30. Rain. Bags were out and would go on to Anchorage. We had breakfast and out by 7.Waited a while for the bus. Lots of confusion as to who was to go on first. We had one voucher for all of us so we boarded first.

Rain, rain, rain, oh, well. We were on the train, Chena. Got started at 8:30. It is a four-hour ride to Denali, traveling at 47 MPH. Coffee is served in the observation car. You sit.up high and grand views in spite of the rain. At Saulich the sun is trying to come out. At Nenana was the center for the construction co. of the Alaska RR.

There are a lot of birch trees along the roadway. We pass Clear which is the site of the Early Warning Ballistic Missile Sites, one of three in the world (England and Greenland, the others) We pass lots of dark coal seams on our way to the Park. A lot of the coal is shipped from Healy to Seward to Korea. We go through a narrow canyon, very crooked and through tunnels to reach our Lodge for the night.

We are at McKinley Lodge at one. We have a nice chalet. We have lunch at the Lodge at 2 and then meet the bus for a ride through the Park at 3:20 The trip here was 122 miles in about 4 hours. We get off for the Park at 3:30 for a Wildlife Tour. We also picked up some people at the Denali Hotel which is in the Park.We saw the kennels of the Patrol dogs that the Park uses in the winter. They give demos in the summer. The dogs are more economical to work in the winter over the motorized patrols.

John, our driver, told us to watch for moose in the spruce trees. He is funny but very knowledgable. This is a long ride but we have two or three pit stops. We look for and found caribou,3 rainbows, lots of Dall sheep. Ptarmigan are running along the road beside us. We saw brown bears (Grizzlies), a sow with three cubs, golden eagles and Jaegers (a large white and black bird) At Sable Pass there were many Dall sheep nearby. The weather is not good but good animal weather.

The Park was called McKinley, opened in 1917, changed to Denali in 1980. We went up and up to Polychrome Pass. It is now a gravel road to East Fork River. We crossed several rivers, called braided rivers because their stream-bed is not constant and they look “braided”. We had hot chocolate before heading back and have the cups to prove it. We got back at 10:30 and it is still light.


Alaska Cruise – 08/03/95

May 10, 2011

THURS. 8/3 Up at 6:00 for trip on the sternwheeler, Discovery Ill. on the Chena River. It was still light at 2:00 A.M.Could almost read the newspaper. I had gone to bed early. This hotel is used in the winter for long stays – service people, business people, etc. There is a jacuzzi,  stove,refrigerator, micro-wave and a large room.

Our trip on the sternwheeler was cool and cloudy. It was an interesting trip. The houses are right along the bank. There is no flooding any more. We were on the Chena River which flows into the Tanana. They are glacial and very fast moving.

Saw fish wheels along the shores. Stopped at Susan Butcher’s. She has run the Iditarod 1,000 mile race. She talked about her dogs and the race. There were several pups with her. She now has a 2 month old son.

We went on to the “village” where we saw the dog-sleds and the cultures of the natives. Their use of the different skins of the animals and their beaded garments. Most of this was demonstrated by the natives,several of whom were graduates of University of Montana, U. of Alaska etc. They are mostly Athabaskan Indians. We were back at the dock at one. We were to take a tour of Fairbanks at 2:30. This proved interesting.

There are about 33% government employees here. We stopped at U. of Alaska Museum. A question was asked about the aluminum foil on lots of the windows of the homes. This is to keep out the daylight in the summer (24 hr.) There are 9,000 students at the University. Beautiful buildings and more going up.

Our next stop was a visit to the Trans-Alaska pipeline. It is 800 miles long,48 inches in diameter and was started in 1974. Oil was discovered in the Prudhoe Bay in July 1968. Humble Oil Co. (Exxon) and ARCO pursued this discovery and in 1977 the first oil began to flow to Valdez.420 miles are above ground and 376 below. The Pipeline has a “visitors space” where you can get up close to the line and observe some of the construction. It must have been a tough job in all kinds of weather and impossible conditions to get the job done.

We then stopped at Gold Dredge #8. It was built in Bethlehem, PA. and shipped in pieces. Environmentalists shut it down in the fifties. It was so noisy it could be heard in Fairbanks 14 miles away.

We had soup and salad for dinner 17.00.

The buzzer was ringing when we got to our room. No one knew why. It was the micro-wave. No one had been near it. They finally had to disconnect the whole thing. Our bags had to be out by 6 and we were to be downstairs by 7. Pack overnight bags for our overnight at Denali.


Alaska Cruise – 08/02/95

May 10, 2011

WED. 8/2 Cloudy. Up early as usual. Our internal timers are still on EDT.

We are to take the bus to the airport across the way at 10:30. Breakfast was 16.00! !!. Got to the terminal at 11:00. Take off at 12:30. Clearing above the clouds. Did see Mt. Rainier again and the Olympic Penisula. Got into Fairbanks at 3:20 ADT. Beautiful flowers around the terminal. Going to the Regency Hotel-Fairbanks. Dinner 35.00 Breakfast. $l5.00


“Are we there yet?”, was heard from the back seat

May 9, 2011

How many times have I heard that one? What about you?

Haven’t heard that for years, but it was good to hear. This was from the daughter who worked for the past 20 something days in a row, trying to get the farm ready for Mothers day. About 9,000 flows (plugs) were planted and were in full bloom for Mothers day.

Ort Farm – Ready for Mother’s Day

We are all gathered in South Jersey, where we will be picked up at Oh Dark Hundred in the AM. All clothes are packed, cameras packed, batteries charged, passports ready, Boarding Passes printed. Oh yeah, the cat has a cat sitter, and the Grand Pups will be very well taken care of. (grandparent approval)

When I started to do this revisiting my parents trip to Alaska, two things dawned on me. 1) my mother was a blogger, and 2) the 1995 trip and our 2011 trip will hit a couple of the same “ports”.

It seemed appropriate to help honor my mother, as this is our first Mother’s Day without her, and the journey’s are close enough “for government work”, that I will be posting the 1995 and 2011 journeys together.

I am realizing why I am (sorta) comfortable in Blogging, as I now know where I got it from, and have a number of large notebooks of my parents adventures to prove it.

So, in 2011, my family are following in the footsteps of my parents to Alaska, though they were there again in 2000, but in 1995 they followed me through the Panama Canal. I have been through it in 1967 and 1968, but not for a vacation. They camped for years and camped in 48 of the 50 states. I have a few more to go.

So, bear with me as I share our trip to Alaska from 1995 and from 2011.

The Disney Wonder, here we come.


Alaska Cruise – 08/01/95

May 9, 2011

As we are preparing for OUR trip, these next blog posts will be from a log that my mother recorded in one of her many notebooks of stories.

This first entry, begins on Tuesday, August 1, 1995. Interesting note, that our Disney Cruise will begin on a Tuesday and that someone in the family celebrates a birthday.

TUES.8/1 Beautiful clear day. Up at 4:15. Bus leaves AAA at 5:30. Left the little car in the AAA lot under the shade. Flight 1543 to Chicago flying at 8:00. Off on time on a 757. Cloudy at O’Hare. Got right into the terminal in spite of heavy traffic. Our next flight is 10:00 CDT. Sun is out now and we take off at 10:10 into a cloud cover. Out going traffic heavy as we are air-borne at 10:20. Land in Seattle at 11:55 PDT. We arrive at the Seattle Airport Hilton 1:10.

Clear and 75 degrees. Saw Mt. Rainier 100 miles away. I took a nap. Dinner of soup and sandwich 20.00 !!! Wine and Cheese party at 7:30 to 8:30. Appears to be a fun group about 38 if they all get to Seattle.

Note: Some pictures of this cruise were posted here: Pending Cruise In Alaska


Couple more 1995 Alaska Pictures

May 8, 2011

More Photos from my parents Alaska Trip in 1995

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