Thursday, August 21, 2014

Alaska and the Yukon - Final Thoughts

This turned out to be a great trip. Not that we didn't expect it to be, but we had never done a multi-day guided tour before and we had some reservations.  There are certainly limitations when you are part of a tour group, but it worked out just fine, and there were many pluses that we wouldn't have had if we had been on our own.  Having a "Journey Host" with us to worry about the details was a big plus, all we had to do was show up where we were supposed to be and everything else was taken care of (thanks again Anita).  The separate tours we booked through Holland America turned out to be great and the ones that came as part of the group tour also turned out to be fun even though we might not have chosen them if we were on our own.  Overall a great experience.

In the course of our journey we traveled by car, plane, bus, train, boat, ship and rafts and saw beautiful scenery and interesting sites wherever we went.  We saw bison, bear, moose, caribou, eagles and many more animals and birds and learned about the history of the Yukon and Alaska as we traveled.  I think my favorite places on the trip were Dawson City and the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage, but everywhere we went was wonderful.

The cruise was great too although it seemed a little anticlimactic after the land tour.  Glacier Bay was spectacular and Haines, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan in their wilderness settings were also picturesque and interesting.  Probably the main reason we were a little let down by the cruise portion of the trip was because we both had colds during it, so that affected our attitudes.  We will do another cruise of Alaska, but probably a little longer one without a land tour.

Having an extra day in Vancouver at the beginning of the trip was also wonderful.  We have driven through Vancouver several times, but never really spent any time there, but after seeing some of the sights of the city, we will return for a longer stay.

One of the things I have really wanted to do throughout my adult life was to drive the Alcan Highway to Alaska and when I retired that was one of my high priority travel goals.  We have ended up doing other things and the priority has slipped a bit, but this trip has inspired us to put this back near the top of our list again.  It was fun being on the tour, but now we're ready to do some exploring on our.  It's a long trip with a lot of miles, but I'm hoping we find the time to do it this time, I've already got my Milepost out and am looking at possible routes to take.

What's Next

It's been good to be home after being gone almost all of June and July, but we do have some new trips coming up in the next couple of months.  We will be taking another short trip to Lake Tahoe (we have tickets to the Eagles concert) and then towards the end of September we'll be going to our annual "Geezer Gathering".  This year the "geezers" have rented a house for five days in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico, which is just a little ways from Taos.  On our way to New Mexico Val and I will be stopping at Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons and Flaming Gorge.  We planned on doing this last year, but due to Val's knee and the government shutdown, we had to cancel.  So that's it for now, we'll see you on down the road.

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