Preparation

Let me start of with a tip: do not travel to Turkey before flying to the US. Being “randomly” checked once is fine, but when it happens multiple times on each leg of a long flight is not funny. The reason? A flight to Istanbul two weeks earlier.

A one-day layover in Seattle gave us just enough time to stroll through the city. At first it looked like a rather grey, dreary place full of weirdos, but a visit to downtown proved me wrong. Seattle is *very* hipstery and full, literally full, of Startbuckses and their clones. Expensive as hell though. I might have mis-budgeted the US.

Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market

Complete change of atmospheric conditions upon our arrival in Anchorage: steel blue skies and a warm bright sun. The descent over the Kenai peninsula towards Ted Stevens (Who? A former US senator who fought for Alaskan statehood) airport was one of the most spectacular I’ve ever witnessed. Incredibly sharp, snowy mountain peaks, frozen rivers and one single road. This is Alaska and this is a place we have to visit.

Turnagain arm from the Seward Highway
Turnagain arm from the Seward Highway

And so we did. Before even thinking about locating and buying a car or arranging insurance documents, we took a miniature rental vehicle (people were literally laughing at us, I kid you not!) and raced towards the Seward Highway. Lather, rinse, repeat (x3).

In the meantime we scouted the Almighty Craigslist, weeded out the scammers, freaks and other bad guys (yes, always guys) and contacted two potential car sellers. The first one, I will call him “The Dude”, offered us a Jeep Grand Cherokee. A nice car, but the rather questionable DIY repairs and non-existing license plates were a no-no. He was also more interested in promoting his music career then selling anything. C’mon baby, step on it! Didem did not like the car :) A second Craigslister, the “UPS Guy”, wanted to sell his Suzuki XL7. No strange repairs and a ginormous US flag sticking out of his house. A trustful person. One hour later (yes, Belgium, one hour) and the car was offically ours. Woooot! A quick trip to the Progressive insurance agent (tip: Geicko and State Farm do not insure foreigners).

Mushing the Iditarod
Mushing the Iditarod

In the meantime we witnessed 1000+ dogs, mushers and spectators go wild during the start of the 2016 edition of the Iditarod race. Look at those huge tongues!

Didem overlooking Whittier
Didem overlooking Whittier

A test-drive, this time to whittier finally offered an opportunity for a short hike. Travelling by car is comfy, but that’s about it. A narrow squeeze through the Whittier tunnel (seriously, look it up) gave access to the like-named village and, more importantly, to Portage glacier. Last tip for today: shouting DOES cause avalanches. Witnessed in person when I told Didem to pose for a picture.

Anywayz, the car is good to start its great journey. Next stop: Fairbanks, The Golden Heart City.

Icy sunset over the Turnagain arm
Icy sunset over the Turnagain arm

1 thought on “Preparation”

  1. We’re already falling in love with Alaska. The Februari issue of National Geographic made this feeling even stronger (a chapter about Denali -or if you wish: McKinley untill 27/08/2015- in winter with the Ruthglacier, the wolves-stories, the nature conservation …). Only minus: crowded in summer … but it is on the bucket list.
    Hope your feet will not freeze in the car in Fairbanks.

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