Sunday, January 29, 2012

Alaska with Audrey and Lance, part 2: Beluga Point, Buckeyes and a li'l mo Moose

Days 3 & 4: Ohio State, Turnagain Arm, Twilight, moore moose and the beginning of an obsession

Saturday morning we awoke early and went to a local sports bar to eat breakfast and watch the biggest football rivalry in college sports: Ohio State vs Michigan. Lance is an avid Ohio state fan and graduate (I think). In fact, he's such a big fan he once again wore shorts to go watch the game. (Don't know if he intended the shorts to be a means of rooting for his team, but it sure seemed extreme enough to me to be  an act of Buckeye support.)

Short story short, the Buckeyes didn't have it in'em that day and came up with an "L" on their record against the Michigan Wolverines. Booo. A sad Lance makes for a san Nathan too.  

Later on that day, because it so so crystal clear and beautiful outside, we took a drive down to the Turnagain Arm. This is a inlet of water just south of Anchorage that is about 30 miles long. With snow-covered mountains on both sides and the road hugging the winding topography, it is for sure my favorite scenic road ever. 
Turnagain  arm, looking out toward the inlet
The tid was in at the time, but the water had so many frozen areas and some fresh snow fallen on it that, from this picture, it hardly looks like what you'd think ocean water might look like.

Audrey, in her Buckeye garb
We stopped at a fun pull off known as Beluga Point. There's a rather large island thingy that you can climb out and around on (during the summer when it's warmish). But even from the road the views are great.
Part of Beluga Point visible behind us
We never stayed out of the car long since it was fairly windy and quite chilly that day.
This pic shows how the road sits between water and steep mountain side
On to the main reason why Audrey really came to Alaska - Twilight. Since the second of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight movies hit theaters, Audrey and Heather have seen them together in the theater. As far as I know, this wasn't really planned, but it kind of happened, and now there's precedent for coming to AK to see a movie. I don't know...ask them. It's something fun, and they've bonded over the glistening shirtless muscle rippling ware wolves of Team Jacob.

Heather got them matching shirts to increase their geek-hood
Personally, I'm team Alice (*wink*). I think my friend Robert is with me on that one.

In protest to the teen sensation now turned 20-something-sensation books and movies that are the Twilight series, Lance refused to see the movie and instead went and saw The Muppets.

Dakota, rooting for the Buckeyes
One of the evenings they were here, we introduced Audrey and Lance to a knew card game called Dominion. As was expected, they liked it. But I didn't realize just how much they liked it. Because of the nature of Dominion and it's popularity, the creators have put out several expansion sets to the game, increasing the amount of options for differing games. When Audrey and Lance were visiting, we had just the one base/main game. For Christmas, I got one expansion, which is exciting and adds lots of cards to our game.

Now, before they even left AK, it became apparent that Audrey intended to buy Dominion for herself. Then, I read on her blog that she and Lance were enjoying playing Dominion in the weeks following their visit. Later I read that over Christmas she was sad, because no one wanted to play Dominion as much as she did. Still later, I read something that said a weekend was spent playing a Zelda game Lance got and lots more Dominion.

In preparation for a family trip in March, I recently sent an email out asking folks to bring a few games. I offered that if my sister can bring her base Dominion game, I can bring my one new expansion, and we could put them together. The response I got was somewhat comical to me and evidentiary of an obsession. She told me not to bother bringing my game, that since Alaska, she has acquired not 1 or 2 or 3, but 4 of the Dominion games and consolidated them all into one large box, which I hear can probably hold 2 more Dominion expansions. I cracked up as I read the email knowing my sister and how she loves to find a good thing and really "get in" to it. Nonetheless, I look forward to lots, AND LOTS, of Dominion during our family trip.

Their last day in Alaska, we took them to see a few last sights around town. The above picture is from the overlook at the Flat Top mountain hiking trail head. It's hard to tell, but over the cliff you can see the greater Anchorage area and the ocean/Cook Inlet beyond it. (Perhaps you can click on the picture to enlarge.)
The coldest Lance has ever been
This one cracked us all up. A description directly from my sister's blog: Note that we have on hats and gloves and appropriately heavy jackets. However, our legs are only protected by simple pants/jeans. At this moment in time, we are near the top of Flat Top Mountain just outside Anchorage. It is snowing and the wind is blowing fiercely. The temperature is definitely below zero. We stepped out of the truck and headed to an overlook (that’s ocean you can see in the background), and near froze in the three minutes we were outside, despite the heavy coats.

It was so funny, because once we got back into the warm truck, Lance took a moment to reflect saying, "I think that's officially the coldest I've ever been."
"Hurry up and take the #*$& picture!"
What's funny to me is how long I usually like to stand and take in beautiful views and what not. But we literally were only there long enough to snap two pictures and scurry away like warm blooded North Carolinians cowering from the bitter cold.

A good sign when searching for moose
We hadn't had a close or clear moose sighting yet, and it was their last day, last chance. Luckily, on our way to another lookout point we came across this young adolescent male, most likely freshly out on his own away from mother.
Bulwinkle's younger cousin, me thinks
Not far from our moose friend, we took in this view of downtown from across a little water.
That evening was their time to depart. After they packed, we said goodbye, and dropped them at the airport. Audrey and Lance, I'm so glad you got to see Alaska in the winter, covered in snow and majestic. Hopefully, you'll one day get a chance to come during the wonderful summer, and we can show you all kinds of new awesomeness. Thanks for coming, and we miss you already.

1 comment:

Aunt Carla said...

Happy Birthday Nathan!! I don't have an email address for you. Your mom had given me this website of yours. Loved the ski pictures! Hope you have a wonderful birthday. Eat lots of cake!! Aunt Carla