Before the cruise

June 8

Our exciting 50th anniversary trip started in Wichita, KS where we parked the car in a long-term park & ride lot. Our little car hides behind SUVs and pickups, so lest we have a senior moment when we returned, we documented the position of the car.

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We had been scheduled on a 6:15 am flight but were told the night before that the flight had been cancelled and we had been booked onto a 4:40 pm flight, so our trip was cut shorter than we had hoped. This flight was booked by way of Minneapolis, MN, where we spent a several hour layover. The landing was a little eventful but any landing where you can reuse the airplane is a good one, right?

We were amazed by the electronics in the Minneapolis airport. Table after table of iPads were just waiting for passengers to use for free. Apple made a killing there!

Our night flight into Anchorage was a unique experience, watching the sky grow lighter and lighter, from the pitch black of night in Minneapolis to the midnight sun of Alaska. I wish the layers of color really showed in the picture that I took out of my plane window. It looked almost like flying into the sunrise, just on the other end of the day.

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Arriving in Anchorage airport, we were greeted by this fellow. Glad he waited up to see us at 1 am!

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June 9

Andi picked us up from our motel and we were off. One of her favorite things in Anchorage is the Anchorage Museum and we enjoyed a preview of early Alaskan culture. The first exhibit showed clothing and tools of the various tribes represented in Alaska. One of my favorite things was the clothing. Nothing went to waste from the animals they hunter. This waterproof coat is made from intestine, which looks like a precursor of ripstop nylon!

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Protection from the elements was a matter of life or death, so the fur was utilized in all kinds of ways. Imagine this garment without a fur and leather dry cleaner nearby.

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No matter what era, we women seem to have at least one thing in common–the desire for fashionable clothing and shoes! The beadwork on everything from everyday utensils to footwear and clothes was just magnificent.

The place we spent the longest that day was the Captain Cook exhibit. Anchorage sits on the Cook Inlet, named for the famed Captain Cook. He was searching for an elusive Northwest Passage, a sea route around upper North America. He discovered the Hawaiian Islands and charted swathes of the North American Pacific coastline but the Northwest Passage was not to be found. He was responsible for cartography and maps which were so accurate that they were used long after he was dead, killed by the Hawaiians.

We ate lunch in Anchorage at the Snow Goose, I think it was. I recommend the halibut tacos!

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On the way to Andi’s house, we stopped at a little old Russian Orthodox church with an interesting cemetery. The Spirit Houses of the early natives are in evidence there, not as the place the human spirit inhabits but as a protection and honor for the deceased. Many of them refer to the interests or vocation of the person buried there.

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