Geo: 60.944, -149.169
We modified our plans, deciding not to stay in Talkeetna a third night after we found that the local auto parts store didn't have the oil we needed to service the bike. Combined with the fact that we were not too happy with our tiny room at the motel (they screwed up our reservation for a double room), we decided to check out on Sunday and head down to Anchorage where larger auto parts stores were in abundance.
After looking for motels online, we decided to splurge and stay at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, about 28 miles south of Anchorage. We would use the special location to celebrate our anniversary a few weeks early.
We headed south again on Hwy 3 into Wasilla along the Knik Arm of the Cook Inlet. The area is ringed with some amazing jagged mountains, peaks and lakes. This morning they were all shrouded in low clouds. On a clear day the views must be pretty spectacular.
We stopped for breakfast, then proceeded along the Glen Highway to Anchorage under heavy cloud cover. After picking up oil and a drain pan at O'Reilly auto parts, I changed the oil and
filter in a Jiffy Lube parking lot while Janet did some reading over coffee nearby. The folks at Jiffy Lube were extremely helpful and interested in hearing all about our trip. The manager even offered us his home for a place to stay or to use the shower, thinking that we were campers. We were back on the road in a little over an hour. (Removing and replacing the skid plate and portion of the crash bars took longer than the oil change.)
We drove along the Seward Highway next to Turnagain Arm, a massive body of water, south of Anchorage. The cloud cover cleared and we had wonderful sun again. We stopped at the Potter Marsh nature preserve and walked the boardwalks looking for wildlife. With the exception of ducks and geese with goslings we didn't see too much. We stopped for pictures several times along the 'Arm' on the way to Girdwood, at one point to watch mountain goats picking their way along the sheer cliffs hundreds of feet above the highway. The zoom capabilities of our new camera came in handy. Beluga whales can be seen in the waterway at certain times of the year, but it
was low tide when we passed through the area.
We checked into the Alyeska Resort, a very nice hotel and ski area. We received complimentary tram passes and took the wonderful ride 2,000 feet up to the Glacier Bowl below Alyeska Peak. Along the way a bear was spotted below us. At the top we checked out the views of the valley and Turnagain Arm below where the end of the inlet was visible under cloudy skies. We had drinks and a wonderful dinner, sampling fresh halibut and King crab from the waters nearby, while sitting at the bar with an amazing view of the upper peaks.
Our room was wonderful, the plush bed seemingly larger than our room in Talkeetna. Our decision to stay the night in Girdwood turned out to be a great change to our planned itinerary.
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