When you go to Alaska, they say you should do the land tour first and the actual cruise afterward. I think this is a good idea. My cousin Tom had chosen to do the Cruisetour #12* offered by Celebrity Cruises so that all transportation and hotels were taken care of (with our time free to do what we wanted). It was a great way to get commentary and teaching about everything we were seeing, along with making friends whom we would later see on the ship.
We began in Anchorage, took a train up to Denali, and took a motor coach back south all the way to the ship. Our last night before the cruise was spent at the Alyeska Resort near Girdwood, with the biggest ski mountain in Alaska. The accommodations were very luxurious.
We rode the tram to the top (wedding photos were being taken),
some of our group rode bicycles,
some of us just hiked around,
along the highway
and through the woods.
Claudia petted a local dog who was milking all the tourists for anything he could get.
But the next day we had troubles. We were to meet our bus at 1 PM for the final leg of our trip to.........THE SHIP!! Until the gunman arrived.
It seems a gunman took another man and his car as hostage--in Anchorage. They began driving south toward Seward on the only highway there is--the Seward Highway. The Point A is where we were in Girdwood.
Along the way, the gunman decides he needs a restroom break, so they stop at the rest area in the scenic Turnagain Pass, he locks the kidnapped victim in his car, takes the keys, and is off to find the loo.
BUT the kidnapped man has an extra set of keys--HA-HAH! So he happily drives off and contacts the police.
Now EVERYONE has problems, because this is the only highway going south. It is a Friday afternoon, and many tourists want to get to Seward to get aboard their cruise ship. Many tourists are getting off their cruise ship and want to come north. AND "the red are starting to run" (the red/sockeye salmon are starting to enter the creeks and to upstream spawn), so all the locals are getting off work and going south to the Kenai Peninsula to fish for the weekend!
All traffic was halted for 3 hours while the police searched for the gunman. This included the bus that was supposed to take us to our cruise ship. I can't remember the reports, but it was between 20-30 miles of backed up traffic??
We were fortunate to be stuck at the hotel and not in a bus sitting on the highway. But still...we had to hang around in case the bus came.
Some of us passed the time making phone calls.
Cousins Tom and Greg
A lot of us created roadrunner jokes, started by (yours truly): for example, what did the roadrunner do when his best friend died? Weep-weep. Why does the roadrunner shop at the Dollar Store? Cheap-cheap.
Aunt Carol and Cathy
My husband and I tried to make interesting photos. Here's a fountain growing out of his ear:
Kissing a moose
Leaping up in the air
Being roasted alive
Because we were on a Celebrity cruisetour, the Celebrity ship would have to wait for us if we were late. But we got there just in time (literally) at 8 PM. The ship was churning the water by the time my big toe touched the deck. We missed the sit-down dinner meal and wandered around a bit confused for a while, but our on-board adventures had begun!
* Cruisetour #12 cities: 1 night Anchorage, by open-ceiling train to Talkeetna (1 night) & Denali (2 nights). Tundra Wilderness Tour in Denali National Park. By bus to Alyeska (1 night) & Seward (where the cruise ship is boarded).
P.S. Who is the Roadrunner's favorite female movie star?