Author Topic: Alaska Master Thread  (Read 132383 times)

Offline henche

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #220 on: June 28, 2013, 01:16:00 PM »
25K one way NYC-ANC  :-\

ANC is a top tourist destination. Will be hard to find 25k rt during peak season.

Offline Fan of Dan

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #221 on: June 28, 2013, 01:54:16 PM »
25K one way NYC-ANC  :-\
What's the cost if you buy a ticket? That's what I did when I went.

Offline ual902

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #222 on: June 28, 2013, 03:10:03 PM »
What's the cost if you buy a ticket? That's what I did when I went.

Friday july 5th $200 lga-ord-anc one way on aa.com shabos starts at 1125 pm lol

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #223 on: June 28, 2013, 04:01:39 PM »
Friday july 5th $200 lga-ord-anc one way on aa.com shabos starts at 1125 pm lol
That's a way better value then 25k UA points. No question about that. You will also earn miles for the long flight with AA.

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #224 on: June 30, 2013, 10:06:53 AM »
In ORD now en route to ANC. Yoo hoo!
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Offline chucksterace

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #225 on: June 30, 2013, 10:21:32 AM »
In ORD now en route to ANC. Yoo hoo!

Jealous. Been there a couple times. Always my favorite vacation place. How long you goin for? Where ya stayin?
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Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #226 on: June 30, 2013, 10:37:22 AM »
Jealous. Been there a couple times. Always my favorite vacation place. How long you goin for? Where ya stayin?

Till Thursday night. We're RVing, so staying somewhere different each night.
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Offline chucksterace

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #227 on: June 30, 2013, 11:07:56 AM »
Till Thursday night. We're RVing, so staying somewhere different each night.

Gotchya.. Enjoy, safe trip.
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Offline henche

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #228 on: June 30, 2013, 11:12:46 AM »
Till Thursday night. We're RVing, so staying somewhere different each night.

We are expecting nightly TR updates. I want to vacation vicariously while studying for the bar back here (and hating on the ORD DO for making it a couple weeks before I'm scheduled to go to ORD to take the bar).

Offline yehuda S

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #229 on: June 30, 2013, 11:43:20 AM »
In ORD now en route to ANC. Yoo hoo!
Keep us updated! with pics!!

Have an awesome time!
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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #230 on: June 30, 2013, 01:42:15 PM »
Emjoy!

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #231 on: July 12, 2013, 01:40:50 AM »
Over the last few days I've been having a back and forth PM discussion with Yehuda S discussing my trip last week and helping him plan his trip (he's going next week). With his permission, I'm posting the conversation here, since I think there's info here which would be of interest to more people. (I have a full TR in the works too.)

His questions are followed by my answers in bold, with each quote being a newer discussion.

Quote
To answer your question about clothing, we didn't take anything special - just regular clothing plus 2 or 3 jackets/sweaters each, so that we could dress in layers. Also a full set of rain gear (jacket, pants, and hat) and waterproof boots.

Quote
What do you mean by rain pants? Did you actually use that?
Yup. Bought a jacket/pants set in Walmart for $25. The day of the cruise was pouring freezing rain (we had 70mph winds and 10 foot seas at one point). At some point I was the only person on deck, crawling around on all fours and holding on to some chain for dear life trying to shoot some orcas. The rain pants were heaven sent - kept me warm and dry. I also got a rain hat in the hardware/sporting goods store across from Major Marine, it cost $35 a pop but was worth every cent.

Mind you the rain jacket split in half after 2 days, so it was obviously junk, but was perfect for what I needed it for.

Was it cold there?
45-55 mostly. Quite pleasant (except on the cruise).

Did you find kosher food?
Didn't look for any, we brought everything from home. We did find some Sabra chummos in Walmart though.

Any chance for a minyan at chabad?
No idea, maybe check their site. I don't see why you'd want to spend any time in ANC though, nothing to do there (they say that Anchorage is a half-hour drive from Alaska ;D)

Did you need lots of sunscreen?
In theory, but we hardly saw any sun :(. If it's sunny you'll need it for sure.

Was there tons of traffic/tourists?
Not at all. The only traffic we had was cutting through ANC going from Portage to Palmer during rush hour, and even that would not be remotely considered traffic in NY. And not too many tourists, it's big enough that they all get spread out)

Did you see any aurora borealis?
It didn't get dark at all during the entire trip, so nope. This is the darkest it ever got:


Quote
No traffic? strange, all the travel books say to expect tons.
Maybe it depends where you go, I assume Denali is more tourist country than other places for instance. Although Seward on July 4th is the most popular place in AK and we had no traffic whatsoever. Go figure.

Any tips on what type of food you brought and how you did it? I'm trying to figure out frozen meat and single burner with a pan.
We were going to make a BBQ every night, but in the end we only had one night where it wasn't pouring. In any case, there's lots you could do in a single pan - for example one day we had sliced keilbasa and scrambled eggs all fried and mushed together - it was delicious. My wife also pre-cooked most meals (chicken cutlets, knishes, etc), which could be warmed up in a pan or microwave. We also had lots of wraps, with tuna, peanut butter, and jelly (all brought from NY). And we took along some meal-mart meals just in case.

I'd like to get a tripod to bring along in my backpack I'm guessing that's a good idea.
Personally I never travel or in fact go on any photo shoot without a tripod, but whaddya know, I used it exactly once on the trip, and even then it wasn't really necessary. But that's because I didn't end up taking any real landscape photos, since we had fairly cr***y weather (photography-wise - vacation-wise it was perfect). But yeah, I'd still suggest you take one.

Do you want to go back again someday?
Sure. We only saw a tiny fraction of AK, so there's still lots to see. And I'd even want to go back to where we already were, to actually see the mountains, not just the fog most of the time :(.

Are you happy you ended up doing the glacier hike? Ii think I remember who pushed you to do that! 
It was actually the highlight of our trip 8). And yes, it's really all your credit.

BTW, I'd skip Exit Glacier if I were you, Matenuska is better in every way so you'd be wasting your time. Make sure to bring a bottle to fill up with meltwater. I had prepared one but left it in the RV :o. I stood there hunched over and drank and drank and drank. It was the best water I ever had. Make sure to ask the guide about watermelon snow upstream, it's some kind of fungus that's common in some places and you don't want to drink water that came in contact with it.

Oh and the ice is delicious too ;D. There are spots all over where it's a bit slushy and you could break of chunks.


Quote
Thanks for the tip about exit glacier - I was going to do it. Now I'm not sure what to do instead :-p
What were your plans for before/after?

Did you pack your meals/ meats in a cooler with ice packs?
No, just froze them beforehand. Everything arrived pretty much frozen.

What did you do for maariv and zman kriyas sh'ma in the morning?
I woke up at about 2 each night for maariv, during the "darkest" time.

Were the locals friendly?
Very. I didn't interact with too many, but the ones I did were great.

Quote
My plans are to take the major marine prince William sound tour on Thursday afternoon from Whittier and then to head to Seward, sleep the night there and Friday slowly make my way back to ANC for Shabbos.
I was going to do the hike to exit glacier but now maybe I'll stop at Alyssa resort and take the cable car to the top.
Originally I had wanted to do mountain biking or maybe fat biking on the beach but its really costly and I can't afford it.
However, If you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them.

Basically you were going to Seward only for Exit glacier and to sleep... I'd rather take the tram and sleep somewhere in Gridwood, no reason to drive 2 hours out of the way to Seward. Take the hand tram hike in Gridwood, it's supposed to be amazing and a great way to spend the afternoon.

Quote
Well the other reasons for going were to see Seward and drive the Seward highway. I thought that's a 'cant miss'.
Also the cheapest place to stay was a hotel in Seward.
Do you think the Seward highway is worth driving past Whittier?

The last 15 minutes or so or road going from Seward towards the Whittier/Anchorage junction are what I'd consider 'can't miss', and maybe a spot or two closer to Seward (Kenai Lake area). So maybe when coming from Whittier go toward Seward for 15 minutes or so and then double back. Remember that you'll be driving a good part of the Glenn Highway on the way to Matanuska Glacier, and most of the time it's more awesome and beautiful than the Seward Highway.

However what you're saying regarding hotel price in Seward is a good point. Mind you you'll have a great time there, it's a lovely little town, especially if it's not pouring rain and you could actually see all the mountains on the other side of the bay (you could tell I'm slightly bitter ;D ;D ;D)

Quote
Can you suggest a good tripod for the GX1? I'm looking for something small and cheap that I can shove in a backpack on a long hike. I've been looking at the Pedco UltraPod II but if there aren't any trees to attach it to I might not be able to get the shot.

The Pedco UltraPod II is useless for pretty much any picture you'll try to take. Get a cheap lightweight full size tripod and you'll be much happier. Some come with bags that have their own shoulder strap, or you could shove a leg or two into a side pocket on your backpack (maybe a water bottle pocket) and use a large carabiner to secure the top part to the top handle of the pack.

You could also get a special tripod shoulder strap, but it's probably overkill for a little tripod and one trip.

Quote
I'm sure as a photographer you've been many nice places, how does Alaska compare to them?
AK should have won in theory, but TBH I didn't get a single landscape photo that I'd put in my portfolio due to the horrible weather (except maybe one or two of the glacier). So at this point my top location is still the Tetons in Wyoming. (Mind you that was a dedicated week long photography trip with perfect weather.)

Can you share info on what the process was for renting the RV (and maybe what it cost)?
Renting the RV was basically just like renting a car, reserve online, pickup and walkaround, and return. The only real difference was that they make you watch a 45 minute video first explaining the systems (electric, propane, and tanks) and unique driving issues (tailswing etc.). Cost was about $240 a day including mileage.
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Offline jj1000

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #232 on: July 16, 2013, 01:12:36 PM »
Sorry for not reading though, I'm trying to plan a trip today and Alaska is my first choice, I just have to know- is it worth going if I only have 4 days, and if so what city should I fly into?

I may be able to stay longer myself, but the person I'm going with can only take off up to 4 days... And he wants to plan where we are going today...
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Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #233 on: July 16, 2013, 01:21:13 PM »
Sorry for not reading though, I'm trying to plan a trip today and Alaska is my first choice, I just have to know- is it worth going if I only have 4 days, and if so what city should I fly into?

I may be able to stay longer myself, but the person I'm going with can only take off up to 4 days... And he wants to plan where we are going today...

I was 'on the ground' for only 4.5 days and has a fantastic time. You could hit up Seward, take a cruise to Kenai Fjords NP cruise, trek Matanuska Glacier, and plenty more in 4 days.
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Offline jj1000

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #234 on: July 16, 2013, 01:45:44 PM »
I was 'on the ground' for only 4.5 days and has a fantastic time. You could hit up Seward, take a cruise to Kenai Fjords NP cruise, trek Matanuska Glacier, and plenty more in 4 days.
Awesome! Where did you fly into?
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Offline Achas Veachas

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #235 on: July 16, 2013, 01:57:17 PM »
Awesome! Where did you fly into?
Is there anywhere other than ANC?

Offline Dan

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #236 on: July 16, 2013, 01:58:45 PM »
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #237 on: July 16, 2013, 02:00:31 PM »
Awesome! Where did you fly into?

ANC. From all the major airports is the most convenient, especially for a short trip.
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Offline henche

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #238 on: July 16, 2013, 02:56:11 PM »
I think you can enjoy even if only going for 4 days. I would def plan to only do one thing there then, like only go to Denali and right nearby, or only go to Kenai.

The real question that I would think might come up is the fact that you'll be spending so much time in the air. If you can fly direct, would make a big dif.

Offline yehuda S

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Re: Alaska Master Thread
« Reply #239 on: July 17, 2013, 01:36:31 AM »
I'm heading out there tomorrow. SF thanks for all the help. I don't know how I could have done it without you.

We are packing everything but the kitchen sink now. My packing list is a mile long. Frozen dinners, pot, electric burner, etc.

We'll be in ANC for Shabbos, as of now seems like heading to Chabad for the meals. They said that Salmon was on the menu and earlier in this thread people found that the Star-K is not recommending wild salmon bc of anisakis...how do I approach that?
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