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As you know we’re still in the first week of the new year, but there’s already a brand new volcano—complete with ash-cloud potential—getting ready to wreak havoc on air travel. Unlike the volcanoes over in Europe or down in South America, this one’s a little closer to home, and it’s a heck of a lot easier to pronounce.
Mount Cleveland—just rolls off the tongue—is located within the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska, and scientists believe that it’s getting ready to celebrate 2012 by starting to shake, rattle, and roll. Just over a week ago there was a little volcano hiccup that sent a whole bunch of ash and other particulate into the skies, but things quickly dissipated and flights weren’t really affected. The concern still remains, as the tippy top of the volcano is right in the way of one of the main commercial flight paths between North America and Asia.
We’re always intrigued by some of the air carriers based in Russia, so when we heard about Vladivostok Air bringing some flights to Alaska we just had to share. The airline is the new face of Russian aviation—at least according to their website—but they’ve actually been around for quite some time, doing their thing since the 1930s in one form or another.
Vladivostok Air is now planning weekly flights for a couple of months beginning next summer between Anchorage and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Sure it’s not Moscow or St. Petersburg, but a trip there will definitely get your friends to haul out the atlas and try to figure out where the heck the Kamchatka Peninsula is. Oh, and it’s pretty much Siberia, so there’s always that perk.
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Do you live in Alaska or are you moving there? Winter may be descending and bringing the cold and darkness along with it, but there's light for travelers! Alaska Airlines wants residents of the state to only think of them when it comes to booking flights, and so the airlines has just announced a new set of Alaskans-only perks.
It's called "Club 49," and members of Alaska's Mileage Plan frequent flyer program with an AK state code in their address can join it for freeright here. So what is Alaska Airlines giving to those who live way up north? Well, for starters, two free checked bags on each flight. That's pretty sweet and you save $20 per bag, sure, but we're also jealous of an annual gift of two certificates for 30% off one-way, full flex Y base fares, bookable within four days of the flight for last-minute getaways. The winter giving you seasonal depression? Time to use those passes for a long weekend in California.
Finally, Club 49 members will enjoy weekly fare sales to and from Alaska, specifically targeted at them. Again we're jealous, but not jealous enough to move across the country and northwards. Now if only JetBlue started a club just for New Yorkers...
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There's more bad news for Sarah Palin, who had to shut down her online map featuring gun crosshairs over Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Arizona district this weekend. Now her reality show has been canceled after only one season.
The show followed Palin and her family as they traveled to some of the most beautiful locations in the state. In this week's final episode, she rode a four-wheeler through Nome to an isolated stretch of beach where gold is often found.
But, despite the beautiful scenery, Palin also found herself under fire for hunting caribou with her dad and shooting guns with her kids, y'know, because nothing says family fun like a little bloodshed.
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Sure the majority of the holidays have come and gone, but that just means we need something new to entertain us until the summer warmth returns. There's still plenty of special winter beers and brews to sample, so here’s our picks for three festivals from which to take a sip or two this January.
· Denver’s Winter Brew Fest 2011:
Citizens of Denver know their beer, and they’re ready to celebrate their love of the sudsy stuff at the end of January. On Friday, January 28 the annual Winter Brew Fest is ready to welcome both craft brewers and mega breweries to Mile High Station to celebrate ales, lagers, and stouts. Expect at least 35 breweries from around the state, country, and world to bring over 90 different varieties of beverages to share. Best of all, some of the proceeds of your admission go to benefit the Swallow Hill Music Association.
Tickets are still available, but we’d act quickly, as we’re sure a beer festival in Colorado is guaranteed to sell out. Tickets are $30 in advance and include unlimited tastings of the festival’s best brews. You’ll even get a souvenir tasting glass that you’re free to stumble out the door with once you’ve had your fill. Of course there will be plenty of live music, great food, and other stuff for sale to help balance all the delicious beer samples.
Reality TV Travel / Televison Travel / Sarah Palin / Alaska Travel / Sarah Palin's Alaska / Political Travel / TV Travel / → All Tags
Whether you love her or hate her, you can't deny the impact Sarah Palin has had on Alaska, and its image. Now the state is hoping that influence will continue with her new reality series, Sarah Palin's Alaska.
The series features plenty of Palinisms, like in last night's episode when Sarah brags that her first baby shower was held at the shooting range and exclaims, "I love to share that story 'cause it gets the liberals all wee-wee-ed up." Aside from this, the show also highlights amazing treks through scenic Alaska.
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.
The sight of a Bald Eagle always makes us feel a little warm and fuzzy inside. Obviously we love traveling the globe to experience new countries and cultures, but the nifty fifty is where most of us call home. That’s why we were kind of excited—in a nerdy way—to hear about the Alaska Bald Eagle Festival. This isn't some cute little festival either, it's pretty hardcore when it comes to learning about all things eagle.
Things take flight from November 11 through 15 as folks and fowl head to Haines, Alaska to celebrate the festival’s fifteenth anniversary. The highlight of the festival is the Flight For Freedom Eagle Release on Saturday afternoon. Here lucky participants get a chance to release rehabilitated birds back into the wild blue yonder. There’s an auction to get the opportunity to do so, so bring the checkbook—it all goes to charity, so don’t be a cheapskate. For those who prefer a little art with their wildlife, there will be plenty of photographers, artists, and other creative types in attendance to share their secrets and to share their wares.
We know someone whose biggest travel dream is to visit the Alaskan town of Skagway while on a cruise along the Alaskan coast. It's hardly unattainable, with cruise ships hitting up Skagway and other towns like Sitka and Ketchikan all through the summer. But what to do once you've done the typical Alaskan cruise? Thanks to melting of the polar ice capsor rather not, since this is a very bad thing, environment-wisecruise ships are discovering ports further north than every before. Now you can add the Bering Sea town of Nome to your must-see in Alaska list.
The LA Times drives home exactly what a big deal it is for big ships to be calling in Nome: "More than 500 roadless miles from Anchorage, rugged tundra and frigid Bering Sea waters have a way of discouraging visitors." But after Nome spent $90 million dollars renovating their port to accommodate big ships, the temptation of venturing beyond the tried-and-true Alaskan itinerary is majorly attracting tourists.
There's travel blog bait, there's travel blog bait, and then there's a train that takes you along one of the most scenic routes in these United States and serves you six half-pints of microbrews plus appetizers. Well played Alaska Railroad, well played indeed:
Take a scenic journey along Turnagain Arm with the world's best designated driverthe Alaska Railroad. The Microbrew Express travels 80 miles roundtrip from Anchorage to Portage and features an impressive assortment of the finest local microbrews and incredible scenery of Turnagain Arm.
We got tipped to this via The LA Times, which also notes that the BrewHouse beer menu includes Brewhouse Blonde and Oatmeal Stout. Tickets are $149 per person and cover the rail trip plus everything else. The event takes place Oct. 3 and purchases are obviously 21+.
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.
Whether your heart is still aching over her loss in last year’s election or the fact that she's still around, you better hustle up to Juneau, since time is running out for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Over the long weekend, she decided to light off some of her own fireworks by announcing she wouldn’t be seeking a second term, nor would she even be finishing out her term in office; she’ll be wrapping up her duties and stepping down by the end of July.
Go to Alaska and bring home a souvenir eBay can be proud of: go to Alaska’s Capitol Building and try to get her to sign your ticket stub. The facilities are open all summer, obviously to take advantage of all those cruisers looking for glaciers, moose, and 2012 presidential candidates. The tours last for about thirty minutes, are totally free, and run daily. The state legislature, governor, and lieutenant governor all call this building their home away from home.