Trip Report- Alaska June 2005

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mayor al
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2005/06/10 18:13:04 (permalink)

Trip Report- Alaska June 2005

Hoping not to sound like a AAA Tour Guidebook, here are the basics of our Alaskan week-plus vacation. This has been a great vacation, due to some great timing and scheduling, and especially as the result of the wonderful hospitality of our Roadfood friends Lisa and Bob (ZeeMan).

May 31 Leave the dogs at the Happy Tails Pet Resort and Day-Care Center and the truck in the long term parking facility at CVG. Depart Cincinnati at 5pm, Connect in Salt Lake City (terminal way over crowded) and arrive in Anchorage (ANC) at midnight. taxi to motel and crash for a few hours to become human again. Actually the flight wasn't bad, but it was a full day for us country folks.
Hotel was the Chelsea Inn, about 2 miles from the airport. Built in the 50's it was clean and up to date, with very large rooms and good rates. We found it on line, and Lisa checked the quality before we booked it.
One not so subtle thing that affected our stay.... the extended daylight hours are amazing. Here is a photo taken at the RR station at 11pm when we arrived back in town after a day in Seward. Yes, I said 11pm.

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    mayor al
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/10 18:43:12 (permalink)
    Trip Report June 1
    After a quick breakfast with Lisa before she went to work, we wandered around the countryside north of Anchorage. Using many side roads and checking the small towns and scenic overlooks we saw a number of 'critters' and interesting scenes.
    Back to the city for an early dinner with our friends. We visited the Club Paris, a restaurant recommended by a relative who had eaten there 45 years ago. never underestimate the possibility of a good recommendation ! The place claims to be the Premier Steakhouse in Alaska and seems to live up to it's claim. Opened in this location in 1937 and surviving the 1964 earthquake are feathers in the cap of these folks, but even more so was the excellent service and high-quality beef and seafood.
    Our appetizers were Steamer Clams, CajunCrab Stuffed Mushrooms, and some garlicy Escargot.



    The beef was worth photographing also. Here is Lisa's N Y Strip and my Filet. Really good Beef that's for sure. This was a good way to start off a week of relaxation!





    Next Day was our Seward Rail trip...See Part 3 coming up !



    #2
    mayor al
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/10 19:44:16 (permalink)
    Thursday June 2- Rail trip to Seward and Ressurection Bay Wildlife tour.
    The Alaskan Railroad is a state-owned operation. They do a great job of running the tourist trains. The train was spotless clean, and the staff, including the High School Girls who served as tourguides in each of the railcars were bright and knowledgeable about not only the local history and geography, but they understood the rail operation and the geology of the area as well. The railroad permits passengers to use the vestibules between cars for photography. That gave me the opportunity to get some pretty good shots (samples below) It is a 4 hour ride from Anchorage down to Seward, then a 5 hour boat tour of the bay looking at wildlife and enjoying a Prime Rib and Salmon Buffet. Then the return train ride to Anchorage. This makes for a very busy day, but to coin a single word...it is Spectacular! We saw Dall's Sheep, Eagles galore, Moose(s), Sealions and a Humpback Whale rounding up his/her dinner. The weather was great with Sunny Skies and temp's in the 70's.
    Here is the train-



    A really beautiful scene from the seaward side of the train on the way south-


    Janet shot this Dall's Sheep and his friends on the cliff overlooking the tracks. The crew slowed the train to a crawl so everyone could see and photo the Sheep-



    From the Bay Tour Boat we watched as this Humpback Whale herded his food (fish) against the rocks of an island by spanking the water and rounding them up.. Then he/she dived thru the middle of the school and scarfed up a dinner bite...then repeated the action over and over.


    Then it was time to head North on the train. A nice snack of cinnamon bun (fresh) and a soda (Black Cherry Cream) made for a good late-evening nibble.


    In Part 4 to follow, we will share the two extremes of Roadfood in Alaska, Stay Tuned !




    #3
    mayor al
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/10 20:49:52 (permalink)
    The roadfood establishments that we visited later in the week are great example of the 2 extremes for 'Style" found in this region. First we had the chance to share a dinner with Lisa and ZeeMan at the KINCAID GRILL. This is where Lisa works her magic in the kitchen. The place is located not far from the city on a hill overlooking a residential area. neat as a pin would be a good descriptor! Here's the exterior view-


    Lisa had arranged for some really unique appetizers including this crab-stuffed pastry- Soooo Delicate, but delicious!


    Next came a sampler of Scallops wrapped in proscuito (sp?). As a Scallop lover these were a big hit with me !


    Then it was some seared Aki Tuna, as tasty as it looks!


    Janet enjoyed these Shrimp. Talk about Food being Art !



    The rest of us went for the Special of the Day...BBQ Salmon-



    After all of that, we were given the guided tour of the kitchen facility. Here's where Lisa creates those beautiful treats!



    We really were thrilled to be able to share those wonderful samples of beautiful food with our friends.




    #4
    mayor al
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/10 21:12:19 (permalink)

    Part 4 Continued-

    The second Roadfood place in this chapter of the Saga is located in downtown Hope, Alaska. Hope is located on the south side of the Turnagain Arm...right on the waterfront. It is about an long hour's ride from Anchorage. I would estimate the population of Hope at about 100, counting dogs and seasonal residents.
    We found the Seaview Cafe located directly across the street from the Hope Coffee House and Gold-Panning Operation and near the waterfront...but then everything in Hope is near the waterfront.
    Here is the exterior of the Seaview Cafe followed by the Hope Coffee House.


    Look for FRASIER at the Coffe House-


    Neat and clean and as laid-back as they come, we were made welcome at the Seaview Cafe for Lunch.


    As remote as this community appears, The place was comfortable and this Halibut and chips was Outstanding...fresh, hot, and delicious.



    BTW the Coffee House had not opened for the season yet!
    #5
    Biscuit
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/10 21:26:24 (permalink)
    Great report! The food looks as great as the scenery. I'd love to try that Halibut.
    #6
    mayor al
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/10 21:42:53 (permalink)
    OK For the last chapter in this report i want to show you lleechef, the Artist and her audience as she works. Here we are on the boat. Lisa has one skillet and a small single-burner Coleman-Style stove. With that simple combination she prepared a shrimp and scallop lunch served over fresh salad greens that was fit for a King (or a Mayor).
    Here she is at work "Creating"!


    Overhead one of her Fans keeps and eagle eye on her to be sure she does things the "Alaska Way".


    The smells coming out of that kitchen/galley attracted the attention of another Roadfood Fan.


    After enjoying our lunch all four of us and the critters surrounding the boat wanted to join these SeaLions in an afternoon snooze !!


    We didn't do much photo stuff on the way home. We took a Red-eye out of Anchorage at 2am and arrived safely in Cincinnati 13 hours later. We have food, photos and other stuff including a new Mayor's cap (Davy Crockett style but using a skunk Skin) to wear at the next Crabfest !

    Thanks for joining us in this report, I hope you found some of it interesting. We hope to have the restaurant reviews of the Club Paris, The Seaview Cafe, and Kincaid Grill posted soon.



    #7
    mr chips
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/10 23:02:48 (permalink)
    Great report, Mr. Mayor. My three alaska trips have been en joyable. It looks like you had fun and ate a lot of great food.
    #8
    Rex Allen
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 01:36:18 (permalink)
    Great Report, thank you for sharing.
    Rex in expensive San Diego
    #9
    Pwingsx
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 01:59:35 (permalink)
    Oh, that was just LOVELY!

    It was great to see Lisa at her craft.

    And that picture at 11pm just totally blew my mind. I've heard about it, but seeing the real thing is something to really wrap your mind around.
    #10
    ocdreamr
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 02:04:27 (permalink)
    Mr Mayor,

    I am green with envy! It looks like you had a great time on a fabulous trip.
    #11
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 05:16:32 (permalink)
    Mr. Mayor, I was sad to come to the end of your report. Obviously you had a super time with Lleechef. I am very envious and welcome back.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    MikeS.
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 05:33:20 (permalink)
    We used to eat a lot of Atlantic halibut when I lived with my parents. Mom worked at a food wholesalers that had a fish dept. I never ate it as fish and chips but that picture sure looks good. Mom always brought home cod for fish and chips and that is still my prefered fish for chips.
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    MikeS.
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 05:34:32 (permalink)
    Al, it looks like you and the Mrs had a great trip! Also looks like Lisa needs to open a travel service business to go with the catering.

    MikeS.
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    varelas
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 08:09:05 (permalink)
    This is the same type of trip I hope to make some day. What wounderful memoirs you and your wife have made.
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    kland01s
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 08:38:15 (permalink)
    Reminds me of my trip to Alaska, I even spent some time taking photos on the vestibue between cars on the Alaska Railroad too! We took the train from Anchorage to Fairbanks with a 3 day lay over in Denali, only problem being a landslide taking out track outside of Fairbanks so we had to be taken to Fairbanks by Denali park buses! Our friends in Fairbanks took us to the Chena Pumphouse and to a crab feed, there is a lot of good eating there. Thanks for the photos!
    #16
    zussers
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 09:06:56 (permalink)
    Thanks Mr. Mayor! That was an amazing armchair trip to Alaska! Your photos and captions are great!
    #17
    Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 09:23:54 (permalink)
    Outstanding - very well done!
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    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 10:38:12 (permalink)
    Very, very nice.
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    zataar
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 11:00:39 (permalink)
    What a wonderful chronicle of your trip. The food and scenery look fabulous. My cousin lives in Anchorage, I think it's time for a visit!
    #20
    Adjudicator
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 11:01:03 (permalink)
    Wow.....
    #21
    lleechef
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 11:19:01 (permalink)
    Z and I sure had a good time with Al and Janet!! We couldn't hook them up with a halibut (the commercial fishermen said it was a little early for Prince William Sound) but we had fun trying. Al promised NOT to make the trip sound as fabulous as it really was for fear of having a long line of Roadfooders on our doorstep (or boatstep) but the pictures pretty much said it all!
    #22
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 11:24:51 (permalink)
    http://www.kincaidgrill.com/




    Seaview
    Cafe & Bar
    PO BOX 110 - HOPE, ALASKA 99605
    PHONE: 907-782-3300 FAX:907-782-3344
    #23
    tiki
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 11:50:57 (permalink)
    Like Zataar. i also have a cousin in Anchorage--and these pic and the story with it have really bconvinced me that it really is time to seriously consider a visit to the Great White North! My cousin Hap has a standing invite for family to come on up to hunt and fish and its really bkind of silly not to take advantage of this!---Lisa---wont show up at your door step --but will give you and the Zman a call when we get there> Thanks Al and Janet---for the pics and the reports!!---Great job!
    #24
    mayor al
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 12:27:55 (permalink)
    Thanks for the Kind Words.
    A couple of thoughts for the vacation planners.
    1. The term dress in layers is VERY appropriate. It was in the mid-40's early in the morning and most days on land reached the 70's and on the water into the 60's. Sweatshirts and tee-shirts were the uniform of the day.
    2. Each of us has our own priorities as far as budgeting a trip like this goes. Some go 'top of the line' and others would bicycle the whole route if they could. Same goes for accomodations. I reveal our basic budget not as a brag or excuse...but to aid anyone thinking of an excursion to the North.
    Our total costs for 8 days-7 nights was just under $3000. This includes airfare, rental car, rail/boat tour,hotel,all misc food and other expenses. That also includes $180 for Doggie Resort time for Duff and Demi (10 days) and $50 for the long-term parking at Cincinnati for our truck.
    We logged 1200 miles on the rental car, not bad considering that 3 of the seven days we were on Lisa's boat or on the train tour.
    A few of you will understand this quirk about our airfare... As you know I am a bit larger than the airline's typical coach passenger. We considered selecting a First Class seating to allow extra room for the long flight. The best cost we could get was $1300 per person or $2600 R/T. Instead we chose to buy an extra seat in coach at $320 each for a total of $960. Not quite First Class, but having the middle seat empty on several full airplanes made for a much better comfort zone for me, without tossing the checkbook out the window !
    We found prices in Anchorage and vicinity to be at the same level as here in Louisville. Gas was the same in both places, and all the usual stuff equated. For you smokers, Kentucky just tripled it's tax on packs of cigarettes to $.30 a pack making a typical pack sell for about $3.00 and a carton for $30.00... The natives were complaining badly when we left on May 31, and buying lots to stock-up before the tax increase. In Alaska we saw (and photographed) signs that advertised the price of a Pack of Marlboro at $6.14...Janet will share that photo with some of her complaining friends at work today !

    Thanks for the address of the Seaview. I have submitted full reviews of the Kincaid Grill and the Club Paris and will try to complete the Seaview Review today.
    #25
    UncleVic
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 12:43:06 (permalink)
    Nice report AL! Appreciate you sharing the pics with the rest of us... Scenery and Food both look awesome!
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    mayor al
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 16:31:28 (permalink)
    Oh Yeah,
    We shopped one morning at the Alaskan Fur Exchange. What a neat place to visit! The crafts and furs of the area are wonders to behold (even the ones made in Korea). We passed on the fur hats (at $100 plus each) but couldn't resist a $10 Davy Crockett cap made from Skunk Skin. I will wear it to our next Crabfest get-together.
    #27
    tiki
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 17:04:14 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen

    Oh Yeah,
    We shopped one morning at the Alaskan Fur Exchange. What a neat place to visit! The crafts and furs of the area are wonders to behold (even the ones made in Korea). We passed on the fur hats (at $100 plus each) but couldn't resist a $10 Davy Crockett cap made from Skunk Skin. I will wear it to our next Crabfest get-together.


    I have wanted one of them ever since i was young and saw Curly of the Stooges wearing one!!!!hmmmm--maybe if i send my cousin $20 he will go by and pick one up for me!!
    #28
    carlton pierre
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 17:33:24 (permalink)
    What a fantastic report and even better pictures !!
    #29
    Rick F.
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    RE: Trip Report- Alaska June 2005 2005/06/11 19:46:09 (permalink)
    Al & Janet,

    All I can do is echo everyone else's appreciation and envy. Jan and I want to go back, too; and your itinerary sounds much better than ours last summer!
    #30
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