Saturday, May 4, 2013

Itinerary: 15 Day Alaskan Vacation

We've since moved to Alaska!  Read about Our Alaska Life here...

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Looking for a two-week Alaska itinerary that doesn't include a cruise?  

Here's ours from our Alaskan Honeymoon.  This post is link-heavy - click on the links for more information about the place from either my earlier blog posts or their websites.  I hope this is helpful to at least one person out there!

Day One:

  • Up at o'dark thirty to fly in to Anchorage, Alaska.  Two meals, three planes, four airports.  O'Hare was definitely my least favorite of the airports, and Madison, Seattle, and Anchorage were all nice.
  • Lunch: the Wolfgang Puck Express in the Seattle Airport.
  • Dinner:  Rum Runners in Anchorage (now closed).
  • Hotel:  The Westmark.  I have heard it said that the only people who stay at the Westmark are people on a "tour".  I wouldn't recommend it even though I'm sure it was a wonderful hotel back in the day.  It's run down and needs a major update.
  • The first five days of our honeymoon were part of a Gray Line of Alaska tour.  I am officially not a fan of "tours" after this trip, and you can learn a little bit more about my opinion here and here

Day Two:

  • Breakfast:  Buffet at the Solstace Restaurant (on the first floor of the Westmark).  It was excellent and I don't know when I've ever eaten so much bacon.
  • Bus ride to Denali National Park was about 4 hours, with potty break at a Princess lodge.  Pretty views, but a potty break stop for buses, so be careful when booking your lodge and find out about any cruise/tour line affiliation.
  • Lunch:  Picked up lunch at the "cafeteria" at Denali, called the Morino Grill.  It was just chips, fruit, sandwiches, and drinks, but it was lunch!  Also, if you are staying at a lodge at the end of the park road, this is your last chance to pick up some snacks.  :-)
  • The bus ride to our lodge, the Backcountry Lodge, was a 6 hour trip.  Click here for some advice about that trip.  Be prepared for some amazing scenery.

Day Three:

Day Four:

Day Five:

  • Breakfast:  We shared a foot-long sandwich at Subway.  When the ads say that prices not valid in Alaska & Hawaii, they mean it.  It was expensive!
  • Lunch:  lunch at the "cafeteria" at Denali, called the Morino Grill.
  • Then we hopped on the train to Fairbanks!  It was quite the experience.  
  • Hotel:  Fairbanks Westmark.  Meh.  We ended up skipping dinner that night.

Day Six:

  • Breakfast:  McDonald's (sometimes you just want what's easy and familiar).
  • Lunch:  Pizza (made some good leftovers)
  • Jeff rented vehicle from Arctic Outfitters (they allow their vehicles to go on the Dalton Highway).  That's right, the Dalton Highway.  It was the summer solstice, and we were going to be at the Arctic Circle for at Midnight!
  • Dinner:  the Yukon River Camp.  They're pretty much the only thing between Fairbanks and the Arctic Circle.  Get their while their open so you can use a real toilet, gas up the car, and have a good meal.  

Day Seven:

  • No hotel overnight.  Once we got back to Fairbanks around 4:30 AM, we joined others by sleeping in our vehicle in the WalMart parking lot.  
  • Breakfast:  McDonald's. 
  • Hotel:  Aurora Express.  Wonderful service at this little B&B!  Definitely, if you want to stay in the country, in the fresh air, in a train, stay at the Aurora Express!
  • That day we also went over to North Pole to see Santa at the Santa Clause House.  
  • Lupper:  the best chinese food I've ever had at the Pagoda House.

Day Eight: 

Day Nine:

Day Ten:

Day Eleven:

  • Breakfast was provided by the hotel.  
  • Took the train to Whittier and found out the the ferry we were supposed to take to Seward was broken.
  • Lupper:  the best pizza I've ever had at Varley's Ice Cream and Pizza Parlor.  It's the only reason I would ever return to Whittier.
  • Hotel:  Inn at Whittier

Day Twelve:

Day Thirteen:

Day Fourteen:

Day Fifteen:

  • Breakfast was provided by the hotel.  
  • This day was spent stalling until late evening flight out.  We had Taco Bell for lunch, drove to Wasilla (but didn't do anything there), and saw a movie.  

It was great.  Alaska was awesome.  I'm ready to go back...

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