Alaska 2005 Trip Our Cruise to Alaska in 2005

Our Cruise in Alaska in 2005

Marguerite and George took a trip to Alaska in August of 2005. John and Barbara Warner joined them on this adventure. John is George's buddy from Junior High School days in Fontana, California, and Barbara is John's wife.

We started off flying independently to Fairbanks, Alaska, where we rented a car. After touring Fairbanks we went to Denali to see the tallest mountain in North America and to see some wildlife. We then drove to Seward, Alaska, to catch our cruise ship, Holland America's Veendam. We cruised Glacier Bay, Sitka, Juneau, Ketchikan, and then arrived in our destination, Vancouver, British Columbia. In Vancouver, rented another car and drove to Gar's property in Port Angeles, Washington (Gar is Marguerite's son who inherited a little cabin/trailer in the forests of Port Angeles). We then toured the Boeing Plant near Seattle where they make 747 aircraft. Following that we went to the airport and flew home to San Diego and San Jose, respectively.

Fairbanks Riverboat

We started our trip taking a riverboat ride in Fairbanks. To George this was the highlight of the trip. We saw a real dog sled training camp with some wild and crazy dogs. In this photo, Barbara, John, and Margueritie are ready to board our riverboat for our adventure. The photos are hazy because Fairbanks was very hazy. They were having forest fires at the time which meant it smelled funny and one could not see very far.

The riverboat was fantastic. Better than Disneyland. It took us to a real dog sled camp, an Indian village (not so real), and to real homes of interesting people on the river .... and free donuts.

Training Camp

This is a dog sled training camp we observed from the riverboat. Jessie Royer was our guide and she has placed 8th in the Iditarod race. The lady that actually won the race a number of years was not there, but she owned the training camp. Watching the dogs run, race each other, pull the sled, and generally have a good time was most fun.

Being August this is not dog sled weather. In the winter the river freezes and than the dogs get serious about going on long treks through the snow.


Following our riverboat trip we went to lunch at an old pump station that has been converted to a restaurant. Had the worst Philly Cheese Steak sandwich ever. Here the girls are frolicking in the parking lot of the "Old Pump House Restaurant".

Oil Pipeline

Following lunch, we drove a few miles outside of town and visited the oil pipeline that takes oil from Prudhoe Bay to the port of Valdez. Because of this pipeline the citizens of Alaska pay no income tax or sales tax and get a check from the state for about $1500 per head. Certainly beats California taxes.


Of course it is now time for dinner. We met an old high school friend in Fairbanks, Rodney Hixon. He has lived there many years and we (John, Rodney, and George) were in our high school band together. Also John and Rodney met again in the Army where they both played in Army bands. Dinner was much better than lunch, we ate at the Castle (major over priced).

I am going to save this picture as my "before diet" picture. Now the only problem is getting thin enough for an "after diet" picture.


Here we are at the Denali Park visitor center, about 150 miles south of Fairbanks. The stuffed moose is the closest George wanted to get to wildlife, so the next day George stayed in the motel and watched CNN while the adventurers when on an 8 hour bus ride into the park. I am told they saw one bear, a few moose and a partridge in a pear tree. Oh goodie.

The adventurers did see Mt. McKinley they say, George never did see it because of the smoke and/or clouds. The timberline is quite low in Alaska so much of the mountains are just dirt. This surprised George and required him to do some investigation.


Here is Margueritie in an Anchorage park. We visited a flea market, a shopping mall, and a ripoff northern lights show. The motel we stayed at was also interesting. Bottom line, we are not going to Anchorage again.


We finally got to Seward to pick up our Cruise Ship, the Holland America Veendam. Ship was at the dock waiting Just for Us. So like any good tourists, we ate and did our laundry. Photo is of Seward taken from the deck of the Veendam. I am not going to show you any picture of the ship, you can see those at We don't recommend the company. Food was mediocre at best and ship seemed tired.

College Fjord

The ship first cruised College Fjord. Here we are being tourists taking pictures of the glaciers. John all dressed nice and warm got sick from a cold, Barbara all dressed warm got sick from a cold, Margueritie all dressed warm did not get sick, and George in shorts and sweater (only wore sweater this once) got sick from a cold. From this experiment it is clear it is not what you wear that keeps you healthy on a ship, it is the amount of wine you drink. Girlie was tanked during most of the trip.

John & Barbara

We had two formal dinner nights on ship. This is one of the nights with John and Barbara sitting at our table overlooking the ocean. Generally, George hated the food and Marguerite thought it was good (she took a tour of the kitchen and was brainwashed). Barbara liked the food probably more than John.

Glacier Bay

The next day the ship went to Glacier Bay. Here is Margueritie in front of the Margorie Glacier. This is the best one in the park and I was disappointed. I was expecting it to be bigger and have pieces falling off more frequently. Some of the glaciers are very dirty. If you want to see better pictures of Glacier Bay go to


Our first land destination was Sitka, Alaska. We went to the Raptor center where they take care of sick Raptors. Here we are getting a lecture on the Bald Eagle.

Sitka Battlefield

This is the battlefield where the Russians came back after being kicked out by the Indians and won the war with the Indians. This town is somewhat pro-Indian. This town was named New Arch Angel by the Russians. All the Russian stuff was recreated.

Our ship, the Veendam, is in the background.

At Sea

After Sitka we went into the open sea on our way to Juneau, Alaska. Barbara was sick and went to bed and John did not want to see the show so he walked around and took this picture. Margueritie and I saw the show ... and the ship was rocking back and forth and the curtain was rocking back and forth and after the show Margueritie and I went to bed in a rather green state.

Normally the ship takes the Inland Passage which does less rock and roll.


Juneau was our next port. I toured the state capital and Margueritie went shopping. We took a tour of a fish hatchery and then went to see the Mendenhall Glacier. This is girlie in front of the Mendenhall Glacier. This is where George got depressed. Tons of salmon were in the streams waiting to die. They swam up from the ocean, lived through bears and humans trying to kill them to end up at the end of the creek, having spawned, waiting to die. Life is interesting and not always pleasant.


This is Ketchikan from the ship. Just another gold rush town with its canning industry gone. Girlie went shopping and I went to an Internet Cafe. At this point we were slowing down.


Our cruise is now over and we are in Vancouver, British Colombia. Since everybody had already visited Vancouver we just visited this park and then headed for Washington State.

Cougar Ridge Hilton

This is Marguerite's son's place near Port Angeles, Washington (located on a dirt road called Cougar Ridge, hence the name). Gar's dad bought it and now Gar owns it. It is 5 acres of timber land about 10 miles outside of Port Angeles. Marguerite comes up here with her son about 4 times a year to "get away from it all". Like Marguerite needs a break from her tough life. Anyway, they have quality Mother/Son time and go crab'in. The cabin/trailer is larger than it looks and is very comfortable.

Hurricane Ridge

While at Port Angeles, we visited Hurricane Ridge in the middle of the Olympic National Forest. This was a nice end to our trip except the next day we had one more stop.

The Boeing Assembly Facility in Everett, Washington. We have no pictures of the factory since they would not let us take pictures. All and all it was an adventure but it sure is nice to go home.

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