Up very early today to catch our shuttle to the airport. We hopped on a plane and headed to Anchorage, but checked our luggage straight through to Colorado. We rented a car and then a little sightseeing in Anchorage before heading up to visit friends in Willow.
We drove downtown and parked, then walked to a restaurant called the Snow City Cafe. It is listed as a local favorite in the AAA tour book, and now we can understand why. The place was packed and there was a short wait to get seated. We ordered our food and Deb declared it was the best omelet she had ever had. With bellies full, we then wandered through some of the shops, then walked over to the Performing Arts Center to see a movie called "Aurora: Alaska's Great Northern Lights". It was a spectacular film, educational and interesting, but most of all mesmerizing. Since we didn't see the lights in person, this was the next best thing.
Back in the car, we headed north towards Willow, with a pit stop in Wasilla to see the Iditarod HQ. They had some cool displays and even had some of the old lead dogs
there, stuffed! They showed a film with a lot of the mushers (some that we had met this week!), and then we walked out to visit the dogs and puppies in the kennels.
Our last stop was in Willow, to visit our friend Terry and her husband Jim, whom we know through our Alaskan Klee Kai dog club. We got to spend some time visiting with them and their Klee Kai, Taku at their beautiful home on Crystal Lake.
Heading back to Anchorage, we stopped in Wasilla to get some dinner before our red-eye flight back home. The service was super slow and we chowed down our food as soon as we got it so we could hit the road again. We raced back towards Anchorage, all the while thinking we were never going to make it. Our flight was supposed to leave at 11:25 and the GPS put us at the airport at 11:03! We got to the airport just as the sun was setting on the horizon, dropped off the car and ran to the terminal. When we got to the check-in counter, they told us not to worry, our flight had been delayed and we
had plenty of time. WHEW! We found our gate and there was a bar called "Humpy's" right next door, so we sat and enjoyed one last Alaskan brew before boarding and heading home.
All in all, this was one of the most incredible vacations we've ever had. We were spoiled rotten on the cruise, thoroughly delighted by the wonders of Denali, and then given rockstar treatment by our friends. The weather was great when it counted most, and we fulfilled a long-time dream of seeing the best of Alaska. We'll enjoy the memories from this trip for a lifetime!
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