June 26, 2011 - Day 43 Denali National Park
Another long day but a good one. We boarded our bus for our tour to the back country of Denali NP. Of course Lee and I have to sign up for the "biggest and best", we took the 12 hour tour for the whole 92 mile road as far as it goes. We had the choice of taking a "tour" on a beige bus for $159 or riding the park shuttle for $47.50. I asked at the desk, what will I get for the more expensive tour that I won't get for the cheaper one. He quickly explained the shuttle is NOT a tour and we get no narrator. And on the tour you get a bag lunch. Well after listening to the guy on the way to the Arctic circle talk non stop for 17 hours I figured I could do without a lot of talking. So at least we were smart enough to get the cheaper one. The first words out of our bus drivers mouth was "This is not a tour bus and I am not a tour guide" Well all that being said he turned out to be super informative and had sense enough to know when to shut up. We made a good choice. He told us about all the animals and answered questions as asked. He was great and the trip was great. We saw Moose, Caribou, Dall sheep, Red Fox, Grizzly Bear and Mt. McKinley which more often than not does not choose to put in an appearance.
Going out it was dreary and overcast but later in the day the sun was shining and the colours were more vibrant. We did not see bears until we had started back so were all pretty discouraged. We had been traveling 6 hours. No sooner than our amazing driver started back he spotted a Mama Bear with her cubs. The cubs were in their second year so were as big as Mama but they were definitely her babies. Our "not a tour guide" told us the female keeps her babies for two years then kicks they out after their second winter. We saw lots of little critters like the Arctic Hare and cute little ground squirrels. There was a Pika but he moved too fast to photograph. As advertised the trip took 12 hours but the "not a guide" pretty much let us doze going back except when some one would spot an animal or when an announcement needed to be made. Back at our Creekside Cabin we had dinner at the restaurant and off to bed.
June 27, 2011 - Day 44 and a day to Bitch.
So we are having an off day and not much to keep me occupied and out of trouble excepting editing our photos and catching up with email and blog. So I started thinking bout things that have really ticked me off about motels on this trip.
1. The practice of putting "Old Decrepit People" on anything but the first floor.
2. The new (so it would seem) practice of partially making ones bed. We start off with a nice made bed but if you are staying more than one day, the next day they only pull up the covers and leave the spread folded on a chair or something. Then sometimes they shortchange you on supplies. Like coffee, creamer, sweet & low, shampoo, lotion etc to take the place of the ones you have stashed in your suitcase. So if they are only given partial service then why not cut the rent down on subsequent days????
3. Showers! I hate motel showers. If it is a tub and everything else seems copacetic then the shower curtain flaps over and attacks you for your entire shower. The other thing is, like we have here, is not a tub but a walk in shower. It is smaller than a phone booth. If you drop something forget about it. No room to bend over an pick it up. Forget about washing below your waist, no room to bend over and reach your legs and feet. The rest you just have to wing it. All the while the water is blasting in your face. And if you turn around it is hitting you in the back of your head and knocking your brains out. The next fun thing is that you will be in the middle of your shower and all of a sudden a blast of boiling water comes out scalding you. You then screech and jump out of the shower dripping wet. Then there is the old "Ya gotta be a contortionist to reach the toilet paper" gimmick. That is self explanatory!
Well that is about all. Guess I have bitched enough. Give Lee a rest. Sometimes I don't know how man puts up with me.
Happy Trails folks and keep tuned. We are winding down