Sunday, July 5, 2009

June 2009 - Alaska for the summer?

Hello everyone! The squadron had an exercise in Alaska in June so Emily tagged along about a week late and we both spent most of the month there in Anchorage. Everyone who has visited always raves about it, and so will we, but you never really grasp it until you actually see it. The view just never gets old, and you don't have to be anywhere in particular to see it. The mountains are different every day, new snowfall or melt, different weather - something always makes it all new again. It is just unbelievable and after visiting its no wonder so many people in the military fight to stay there as long as possible, or just retire and stay there. It's one of the few places you can still go and just being outside actually smells clean. Yep, the sun never really goes "down" in the summer, and you have to get used to a bear or moose blocking traffic now and then - but its worth it! We never had any detours due to wildlife bigger than your car, but it definitely happens.

I can tell you that as fun as flying the F-15 is when we are doing what we do - it is the same degree of not fun on a ferry flight from Japan to Alaska. Ejection seats were not made to be comfortable, especially for 9 hours at a time. We took off at 9am on a Thursday morning and arrived in Anchorage at 1am Thursday morning. In daylight. How's that for jet lag and just purely messing with your head? We have to wear anti-exposure suits as well, which have a rubber liner and seals around your neck and wrists, which adds to the luxurious first-class comfort of the Eagle jet. But hey, even *then* its still a good job. So 9 hours and 8 air refuelings later we arrived. I got promptly to work, including the weekend, while Emily started trying to make her way to join. I'll end up working all day every day, but our friends from Tyndall are stationed there so she had built-in tour guides while I was away every day. We both ended up getting to see a lot of the local scene - hiking around the glaciers, playing in the snow in June, fishing for king and red salmon, learning to fly fish, and bailing out of the car like lunatics to take a picture of a moose. All in good fun. Oh, and to explain one other thing - we get a batch of rental cars when we go somewhere and to keep track of who has which car and where it is, we usually give them ladies' names. Much to our surprise when we showed up, they had decided to name them after our mothers. And our wives we a little too quick to cough up pictures of our mom's, so Mom - I hope you enjoyed tooling around Anchorage in June. The gate guards thought it was pretty funny.

The unknown is still winter. I do know that on the days we were there that it was cold, it's not cold like back home or even here. They don't have the humidity and the heavy, wet cutting cold. And once it gets down to -10 or so, any colder than that is still just cold. Then again, if you aren't up for the snow, it's probably not a good place to live in the winter. Our friends who live there spent their first winter there this past, and the pictures they have from the skiing, snowboarding and snowmobile riding looks pretty appealing too! I'll be back there sometime during the winter for sure. I have to ride a snowmobile, and I have to hunt moose. And maybe a bear.

Here are some photos from the trip over and our time in Alaska. Stay tuned, we brought Shelby and Olivia back with us!

Getting much needed gas on the way

You know I had to.

Ready to takeoff in Alaska

I am Bluto, here is my car.

Mom had NO idea she was in Alaska.

Pretty awesome view flying, too.

Time to fish!

Just more ho-hum scenery at the river.

BEAR!!! Whew. Fence.

No ships were harmed by icebergs in the making of this photo.

Emily and Summit the wonderdog.

Didn't get a chance for the train ride, so we took a picture.

MOOSE! No fence. No hunting license. No close up picture.

The drive down to Seward for more fishing.

Our friend Marcy on a glacier hike with Emily & Summit.

Hiking! We love this place

Emily's horseback riding trip

One last shot

No comments: