Next stop: Alaska!

Today is the day I visit the 49th state in the USA – Alaska! I’ll be gone for two weeks exploring Fairbanks, Denali, Anchorage, Homer, Seward and points in between with my grandparents, who are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary (applause, applause!). I’ve done a bit more research than I usually do before a trip so I can tell you I’m incredibly excited to add Alaska to my list (only 15 U.S. states to go), and of course to scratch it off my world map. (It’s a big state, so that’s going to be a very satisfying moment!)

It seems Alaska is one of those places you can’t quite put your finger on until you actually see it for yourself, so I’m looking forward to all that wide open space, fresh air and that offbeat Alaskan personality I hear so much about. But first, I have a few questions as I make my way from Jacksonville to Dallas to Seattle to Fairbanks today:

  • Can bears open car doors?
  • What does bear spray smell like?
  • Can I ride a moose?
If Teddy Roosevelt can ride a moose, maybe I can, too
If Teddy Roosevelt can ride a moose, maybe I can, too
  • Should I wear flannel?
  • Are there really more men in Alaska than women?
  • Are the mosquitoes really as bad as everyone says?


  • Can I find Baked Alaska in Alaska or is that too meta?
  • Will I want to listen to anything other than the Into the Wild soundtrack?
  • How awkward would it be if I wore my Sarah Palin Halloween costume from 2008 every day?


  • Will I see the vastness of Denali and decide to buck society and run away into the woods?

Also, I have made an Alaska bucket list after watching a National Geographic special on Netflix a few days ago. I will not consider this trip a success unless I can check all of these off:

  • A grizzly bear
  • A grizzly man
  • Whales
  • Any Palin
  • Denali’s peak
  • Salmon, dead or alive
  • An eagle
  • 14 moose
  • Dall sheep
  • A totem pole
  • Snow
  • A glacier
  • Russia

Have you been to Alaska? I’d love your tips, suggestions, restaurant recommendations, etc. I’ll be checking in on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so keep an eye out for photos and stories from the open road.

11 thoughts on “Next stop: Alaska!”

  1. I had the privilege of visiting Alaska last year, much of the same area you are visiting. I saw everything on your bucket list minus the Palins, Russia and Denali’s peak. And, yes, the sight of Denali WILL make you want to run away into the woods!

    Unfortunately, while I did often see salmon on my dinner plate, finding a properly cooked one was more rare than the sight of Denali’s peak!

    You can read about my trip if you want some ideas.

    I hope you have a fantastic journey and I look forward to reading about it.

  2. I went to Alaska 2 years ago, and had sooo much fun! But never did I ever get bit by a mosquito there… I went to the lower half… Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, and the Glacier Bay park. So beautiful. Seriously. The mountains will entrance you. Have fun!!

  3. I actually used to live in Alaska. When I was 22, I moved there by taking a train from Philadelphia to Seattle and then flew to Anchorage.

    Loved it. Will always love it. If you’re interested, I’d be happy to send you some restaurant and other recommendations. 🙂 I lived mostly in Anchorage and Girdwood, but have been to all the other places you mention several times as well.

    Note on Denali – it’s a bit of a sneaky mountain in the summer time. It’s so big that it creates its own weather. As a result, it’s often not visible in the summer time. Hopefully you can get a clear day and see it rising up majestically on the horizon… It really will take your breath away!

    Glad to see you’re hitting Homer – it’s one of my favorite places in the state (maybe even the planet!)

    Oh, and word to the wise – don’t try to ride a moose. Trust me on that. 🙂

  4. Hey Angie,
    We just got back from AK and think we can answer some of those questions:

    Bear spray – don’t smell it, lol
    Mosquitoes – clouds of them in Denali
    Mt. McKinnley Peak – hit or miss
    Sarah Palin costume – probably not for every day, but maybe just save it for a day in Wasilla, which you’ll pass through on your way south from Denali
    Eagles – you’ll see tons of them
    Moose, sheep & bears – plenty
    Snow & glaciers – everywhere
    A totem pole – a whole walk dedicated to them in Seward
    Russia – unlikely

    Have a great time

  5. Please wear the Palin outfit. Never mention it, though. Offer no explanations whatsoever and merely speak to people as though nothing is amiss.

  6. So psyched for you! My brother just got back from there on his honeymoon (lives in Southern Florida and needed some cooler weather) and said that it’s just breathtaking. Enjoy your trip!

  7. Ciao Angie!

    First time on your blog and I stumbled on this post. I can say Alaska has been on my top destinations to go, but I’d love to see its wildlife.

    I hope you can fulfill your lists of things to see & do while there.
    Post a lot of cute photos of the animals you’ll manage to see please! 🙂

  8. What a fun trip you have planned! We’ve not been to Alaska, but I’m convinced the mosquitoes can never be as bad as they are in Italy (yup, they sure left that part out of Under the Tuscan Sun). Have fun and I’m looking forward to following along!

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