Anchorage Travel Guide
If you’re looking for the ultimate designated driver, Alaska is where you’ll find one. The Alaska Railroad usually runs trains through the scenic mountains and rivers of Alaska, and this weekend they’ll be doing what they usually do; however, they’re adding a little more fun to their bar car. The Great Alaska Beer Train runs on Saturday, October 2, so you’ve only got a little more than a week to get up north.
Tickets are $159 per person, which is a little pricey, but that does include plenty of adult beverages as well as a pretty scenic ride through the wilderness. Your booze
cruise train will depart at 4pm, and then will travel around 80 miles from Anchorage to Portage. You’ll be back around 8:30pm, so be sure to have a taxi waiting to take you back to the hotel.
We love airplanes, you love airplanes, so let's go look at airplanes! In our Prime Plane Spotting series, we'll let you in on all the best spots to whip out your cameras and binoculars for a piece of the aviation action.
It's cold and it's snowy and you just want to stay inside with a nice steamy mug of hot chocolate. Gosh, how we long for days like that while the weather is muggy like now. But in Alaska, the hot chocolate days are long and you've got plenty of time to get our your cross-country skis for a little winter weather plane spotting at Anchorage International Airport.
In fact, two accessible parks bookend the airport, so you've got your pick of views. For the more active, we recommend the larger Kincaid Park, also known to be one of the USA's premier cross-country ski destinations with 16.5 miles of trails. And you can see in the video above how close your encounter with air traffic will be.
Not to be outdone by the underwater volcano in Tonga, Alaska's own Mount Redoubt has erupted four times last night, spraying ash nine miles into the air but fortunately sparing the nearby city of Anchorage any immediate ashfall. However, Alaska Airlines canceled 19 flights in and out of the Anchorage airport because of the ash and meteorologists do expect ash to begin falling later today.
Geologists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory have been closely monitoring the 10,200-foot volcano which is located in the Chigmit Mountains, about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage. It lasted erupted in 1989 and actually caught a KLM plane in its plume. Thankfully, the plane later landed safely at Anchorage but now we understand why Alaska Airlines was quick to ground their flights.
The AVO has (not surprisingly) been Twittering the volcano's activity and their last update from 38 minutes ago says, "Another large explosion is occurring at Redoubt." Yikes. But the last time Mount Redoubt erupted, it did so for about four months. So we could be in for the long haul here, folks. Alaska Airlines does have an advisory note on its website so check your flight status regularly if you think you might be affected.
· Alaska volcano Mount Redoubt erupts 4 times [AP]
· Alaska Volcano Observatory [Official Site]
· Tonga's Underwater Volcano Might Affect the Fiji Beach Scene [Jaunted]
First-term Alaska governor Sarah Palin has been named as John McCain's running mate, CNN and The New York Times reported this morning. Palin is known as a political reformer in her native state who defeated her primary opponent by blowing the whistle on party corruption--and for support for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Palin is expected to appear momentarily with McCain in Dayton, Ohio for their first campaign event. She will also join fellow Republicans Tom Ridge and Mitt Romney, both of whose names were mentioned in the veepstakes, at a Saturday rally in Washington, Pennsylvania.
A self-described "hockey mom," former journalist and one-time Miss Congeniality, Palin was nicknamed "Sarah Barracuda" in high school, which should look great on a campaign poster. In her first year and a half in office, she created a climate-change initiative and served on the National Governors' Association Natural Resources Committee. She has five kids: Track, Trig, Bristol, Willow and Piper.
Climbing the icy peaks of Alaska can be scary, but not as scary as approaching a cute waitress or waiter. If you dream of glaciers, we've got your hot places to warm up in the largest city of our northernmost state.
What started in 1970 as a one room, Alaska themed wood cabin bar, Chilkoot Charlie's (known as Koot's to locals) has turned into Alaska's most famous drinking and live entertainment pantheon. When the original owner, Mike Gordon, bought the former piano bar, he promised to triple gross sales at his new establishment with the oil boom taking place on the north slope.
In the 38 years since, not only has Koot's tripled sales exponentially, but it's slowly consumed every business around, expanding into themed sections that include a Russian room, a swing bar (the dancing kind!), an outdoor patio and two areas for live music every night.
Previous performers have included everyone from Metallica to Eddie Money; Alaskan acts also take the stage. The long list of accomplishments has earned Koot's quite the reputation: In 2000, Playboy named it the best bar in America.
The concept of getting a beer while you go see a movie is big in Europe, but here in the states, theater-pubs are few and far between. Leave it to the state whose motto is "The Last Frontier" to push the boundaries.
The Bear Tooth Theatre Pub is the spot in Anchorage to see a great movie on the cheap and have beers brought to your table/booth combo by young outdoorsy cuties. Located in the Spenard neighborhood of Anchorage--a place that was once known for its hookers and low-grade meth--the pub's part of a gentrification wave that also features espresso on just about every corner.
The Bear Tooth also happens to be one of the best places to see live music acts in Alaska. Case in point: On July 26th, Wilco will perform in the parking lot of sister location, The Moose's Tooth, just down the street. This might not sound that remarkable, but for Anchorage, it's like MC Hammer performing at your 8th grade dance in '91. Tickets are $35, but to see Wilco under the midnight sun with about 1,500 other people, that's a steal.
[Photo: Sir Mildred Pierce]
Although Anchorage is a somewhat bustling city of 300,000 people, skyscrapers, great nightlife and one of the best bars in America (Chilkoot Charlie's), it still remains on the edge of some truly wild territory filled with animals much larger, tootheir and hungrier than humans.
This fact was sadly reiterated on Saturday night when a teenage girl riding in an all-night bike race was mauled by a bear who was foraging near the course in Far North Bicentennial Park. The young girl was outfitted with bear bells and two lights so as not to scare any wildlife, but a state biologist says that gusty winds on the night of the race and the rush of the creek might have made it difficult for the bear to hear her approach. That, he said, might've spooked the animal and caused the attack.
Two weekends prior, a bear charged at a pair of runners in the same area--though that's not stopping Alaskans from getting out to enjoy nature. Says one local:
It's not going to stop me from going out of the house and enjoying the short summer. But I'm thinking we should buy some bear spray.
Chasing Racers is back, with a brand new Amazing Race 12 mashup. This map will update the morning after every new episode. Send along tips, rumors, gossip, locations and spoilers to our map editors, become a member and comment on the stories below and add to the Jaunted-Flickr photo pool to get in on the fray.
Remember to zoom in, out and around on the map--with so much happening in each episode, it's easy to miss a map point.
Well race fans, it's hard to believe we've actually arrived at the season finale! Eleven teams started out at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles on this once in a lifetime adventure, and traveled over 30,000 miles across four continents to get to the finish line. This was the quickest Amazing Race ever; it took teams only only twenty-one days to run the course. Ron and Christina began on a long mission to learn to work together, and their harmony finally paid off in the last few episodes. Nick and Grandpa Don have managed a great race, and Don is officially the oldest coot to ever make it to the final three.
TK and Rachel have focused on enjoying the experiences and each other, rather than the million dollar prize. These are three solid teams--and not necessarily the ones we thought we'd see in the finale. Will the Ron and Christina train plow through to a number one finish? Will TK and Rachel build on their big turnaround from last week? Will Grandpa Don simply run out of steam along the way to the finish line? All the answers and more after the jump!
The latest issue of Hemispheres lets us in on a little-known secret, you're lucky if you've got a layover at Anchorage Airport. Sure, it's not exactly a travel hub, but it is the point place for many NW cruise beginnings.
The airport's just undergone a $240 million makeover and it was money well spent. Head to Concourse C where you can gaze out at the magnificent vista of the Chugach Mountains to the east and the Alaska Mountain Range to the west through a 56,000 square-foot bank of windows.
Want to watch a movie? Stop in at In Motion Pictures and rent a DVD player and movies for around $12 a day. There's also a play area for kids. Or maybe you've got work to do? Wi-fi is everwhere already.
Some of the best parts are the kitchiest. They've got stuffed Kodiak and polar bears in Concourse B, perfect for picture taking. And you can easily store all your fresh hunting and fishing catches at the airport's cold storage lockers for $15/day. That's something you don't see at Logan or LAX.
· Terminal Bliss:Anchorage [Hemispheres]