Hello, dear friends!
It’s been three weeks since I sat down at this laptop. During those three weeks we’ve packed up, taken dogs to the pet sitter, traveled close to 10,000 miles (when you’re traveling at over 500 mph, that doesn’t take long at all), unpacked, picked up dogs, and done severak (SEVERAL) loads of laundry.
Sharing our Alaska trip will be something I’ll do in daily photographs over the next couple of weeks, as I fill in the spaces with info about Mackinac Island, Sunset Inlet, and our family happenings. Alaska is a big place (understatement of the year), and telling the story of our exciting visit there will take a while! I know many of you followed along on Facebook, but for those of you who didn’t (and those who did), I hope I can come close to giving you a feel for the experiences we had while there.
Where else but in Alaska does a polar bear greet you at the airport?
We had two whole days at the beginning of our trip to explore Fairbanks. We’d take the shuttle into town each day and use the city map to find our way around.
The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center was one of our favorites (did you spot the wolf in this exhibit?).
Wonderful exhibits of everything from rustic Alaskan cabins . . .
. . . . to wildlife like grizzly bears!
Along the riverfront in Fairbanks we came across the Antler Arch, made up of over 100 moose and caribou antlers collected from all over interior Alaska.
We also loved Bouchard’s International Dog Mushing and Sled Museum, which gave a great look into the history of mushing in Alaska and the Iditarod races.
Interesting Note: We found that everyone we talked to who lived in Alaska (whether for a year or their entire lives) thinks Alaska is the greatest place to live in the world. They know it isn’t for everyone, but they love talking about their life there and were very friendly and helpful about sharing special places to visit. It was the curator of the Dog Mushing Museum who told us about the Morris Thompson Center. She also shared with us that Alaskans don’t like most of he “reality” shows about their state that are showing now on different cable networks. The only ones they view as “authentic” are Alaska State Troopers and Life Below Zero (which I’ve been binge-watching for weeks on Netflix),
In the Fairbanks Ice Museum we entered a room that is kept at 20 degrees year-round (the museum provided warm jackets)! There were photo ops among the ice sculptures . . . .
. . . and Ted, of course, was the first person to volunteer to ride the sled down the ice hill! The ice museum was in an old movie theatre, and the ice sled started at the top of the sloping side aisle and ended when you ran into the “stage” at the end of the aisle. And I do not exaggerate when I say “ran into”. It was an abrupt stop, and I’m so glad I was too chicken to try it!
I’ll be posting segments of Alaska daily, so tune in tomorrow for what was our official first day of the land portion of our tour – a riverboat cruise and gold mining expedition!
Friends Kem and Ed Green have been on Mackinac the last few days and shared the following photos!
In the “things you don’t see everyday” category, Kem and Ed finally found “the old car” in the woods of Mackinac. They’ve been searching and searching and were finally given some good directions by someone who had found it several years ago. I’ve heard several stories about how it came to be on the island, but I have no idea which one is true. And no, I’ve never found the car nor would I know where to look. It’s kind of a deep, dark island secret, and I think it’s fun to keep it that way!
The tulips are up at the Courthouse . . .
. . . and at Grand Hotel.
By the way, the last week or so has not felt much like springtime on the island. Kem and Ed came over in these conditions, and the fog didn’t break until basically the day they left. But, as Kem and I both say, “so what”? You’re on Mackinac! Slip on some rain gear and get out there and enjoy! (Photo: Tom Chambers)
Another chilly, foggy day photo. (Photo: Jill Sawatzki)
Hoping this pic from Tom Chambers from yesterday shows the beginning of real Spring and warmer, clearer weather for Mackinac!
Kem and Ed and Pam and Mike Day – blogging friends who were on the island at the same time this week. Makes me so happy to see all of you getting together and enjoying the island!
I’ll have to file this one in the “never saw THAT before” file! I’d say this jazzy can go pretty much anywhere! Thanks, Jill, for snapping this one!
After two weeks away, we were so happy to land in Jacksonville a little after midnight last Thursday morning. We drove to Beverly Beach, arrived home around 1:30 and were too wired to go to sleep until after 4 a.m. Neither Ted nor I realized Alaska was four hours behind Florida. Add that to about two hours of “darkness” and 22 hours of daylight for two weeks, and it’s taken a while to readjust. We sure enjoyed the much cooler temps of Alaska, but I think it’s making Florida seem just that much hotter.
Our four-legged babies survived just fine without us. They both enjoyed the freedom of a huge fenced yard to play in, although Lilly (our pet sitter) said it’s been so hot they really didn’t get out that much. For the first time Maddie forego sleeping in the bed with Lilly or her mother and stole the bed of one of Lilly’s dogs and slept in that pulled up next to Bodie’s crate.
Having daily pics from Lilly . . .
. . . helped us know these two were doing just fine.
We are ALL happy to be home. One of my readers asked if Ted and I were going to be buying a place in Alaska now. We both laughed and agreed that wasn’t happening. Alaska is very, very beautiful, and the vastness of its wilderness just boggles the mind. But no small voice spoke to me and said, “This is where you need to live.” Only one place has done that, and it’s a tiny island in Lake Huron called Mackinac.
See you back here tomorrow for more Alaska tales, and thank you so much for all the safe travel prayers you lifted up for us.
Love and hugs. God bless.