THIS WEEK'S JOHNNY JET 6/26/2002
KETCHIKAN, AK / TRAFALGAR SQ, LONDON
Web Site Of The Week
HOBO TRAVEL TIPS
Bonus Mile Offers Of The Week
DELTA / PRIORITY CLUB / LUFTHANSA ....
LA QUINTA / BRITISH MIDLAND ..
Tip Of The Week
WHAT TO DO IN AN EARTHQUAKE
Jet Captain ?'s
WHAT'S THE TOUGHEST DOMESTIC AIRPORT TO TAKE OFF FROM?
ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS' SCOTT McMURREN
Good To Know!
AIRPORT TIPS FOR FAMILY TRAVEL
TRAVEL NEWS FROM THESE SOURCES
Los Angeles Times
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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET ?
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What a vacation we had! When my best friend from college, Kevin Morris, invited us to Alaska this summer and I wasn't going to turn him down. I always dreamed of going to Alaska for Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year , so that's just what we did. Before leaving, I contacted our good buddy over at the Anchorage Daily News and the Alaska Travel Gram ; Scott McMurren. I asked him what should be on our agenda and he told me if we wanted to do a lot of sightseeing and tourist stuff that we should get The Tour Saver book which is "The Ultimate Alaska Travel Coupon Book." He was right. I'm glad we got it because there were some incredible 2 for 1 deals and other tremendous savings.
HERE ARE SOME QUICK FACTS ON ANCHORAGE:
Did you know Anchorage is as far north as Helsinki, Finland and as far west as Honolulu? Neither did I.
The population is approximately 261,000 which is 42% of the state's total pop.
It's on AST (Alaska Standard Time) which is 1 hour behind PST and 4 hours back from EST.
We flew from SLC and arrived in ANC (Airport codes for Salt Lake City and Anchorage) at 9pm. Flying in was one of, if not the most incredible flying experience I have ever had. To see the snow capped mountains in the middle of June was surreal. Kevin and his wife, Lisa, were amazing hosts. Can you believe Kevin and his brother-in-law built this incredible 4,000sq. foot home by themselves? There's nothing like going away on vacation and staying in a sweet home with cool people rather than staying in a hotel. Besides, you feel more like a local than a tourist.
I always heard about how it doesn't get dark in AK during the
summer, but I couldn't imagine it so I wanted to experience
it first-hand. They were right! This picture was
taken at 11:30pm
and look how high the sun still is! 11:30pm felt more like
5:30pm in California. My advice to you is to bring eye blinders if
you want to get a good night's sleep because this picture
taken at 2 am
which was the darkest it got, and that dusk only lasted
two hours. It definitely threw off my internal clock,
but now that I'm home I miss it. There really was something
magical about having daylight for so long.
After getting a few hours of sleep the first night, we all went down to the Millenium Hotel to have one of the city's best breakfasts. We ate with Scott McMurren and his two boys right next to Lake Spenard/Hood which is the World's Largest Float Plane airport. This is when Amber Airplane got the bright idea of taking one of these things around for a spin (More on that later).
We spent most of the day (Wednesday) relaxing around the house, catching
up, sharing memories, and checking out some of the local
sites. Kevin took us up to Flat Top Mountain which is
one of the most popular hikes in Anchorage. It's 1.5 miles and
sometimes steep, and the trail has a
of Anchorage. But, as I said earlier, this was our relaxing
day so we just went to the base to see the incredible views, besides
I ate way too much for breakfast to do any hiking.
Thursday Morning is when all the adventures began. The four of us jumped in their car and took a drive down one of my favorite scenic highways in the world. Driving in between the Chugach Mountains on the Seward Highway is breath taking. It's named after the old Secretary of State, William Seward, who negotiated the sale of Alaska in 1867 from Russia for 7.2 million dollars or two cents an acre. (I was a history major so that's how I know this, plus this little Anchorage Guidebook in front of me didn't hurt :-)
We drove to Whittier and the only way to get there is by train or the new Whittier tunnel , which is only functional in one direction. On the hour the tunnel goes north and at the half hour it goes south, so plan accordingly . It costs $12 for the round trip toll and it's 2.5 miles long which is why it's North America's longest highway tunnel. Whittier is a tiny port town (300 people) and is the starting point to the 15,000sq. mile Prince William Sound. There is a mix of tidewater glaciers, rainforests , and towering mountains. Day cruises and kayaks are the most popular ways to see seals, sea lions, whales, and eagles. We saw lot's bald-headed eagles and a sea lion. We took a 3-hour Kayak tour (we could've done a 5-hour or even a multi-day tour) from Alaska Outdoor Adventures . The cost was $84/person and was well worth it. Believe me, we were nervous about going because the water temperature was a chilling 38 degrees and we knew that if we fell in we had about 8 minutes to get back into the kayak before we expired. You should've seen Amber Airplane's face when they told us that.
Amy our guide assured us that the kayaks were very sturdy and the only way we were falling in is if we screwed around. We walked down to what they call Waikiki Beach (does it look like Waikiki to you?) to get into our sea kayaks . The water in the Prince William Sound was as smooth as ice and yes it felt like it too! It was an incredible experience that I am sure I will never forget and I encourage all of you to do the same. There were people of all ages in our group so you don't have to be young or incredibly fit (not that I am). The highlight was seeing these amazing waterfalls , pouring down from the glaciers. One waterfall had about 5,000 seagulls flying around, but that didn't smell too hot and I swear these birds thought they were fighter planes dropping bombs, we were weaving in and out while AA was screaming.
When our light workout was over, we jumped back in the car and drove a few miles north to check out the glaciers. If you're driving from Anchorage it's only 50 miles south to Portage Glacier and the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center (907/783-2326) and is one of the State's most popular attractions. You can get close up to the sometimes-mammoth icebergs and feel their presence. BTW: Did you know Alaska has approximately 100,000 glaciers?
From there we drove 10 miles north to Kevin's cabin in Girdwood. Girdwoord is known for being a ski resort and summer vacation spot. The main attraction is the Mt. Alyeska Ski Resort (PHONE: 907/754-1111; 800/880-3880), which is the largest ski area in Alaska. It's also home to the Westin Alyeska Prince Hotel which is located at the base of the mountain. Even if you don't stay there it's a good place to eat lunch, shop for gifts, or workout and swim in their pool ($10 for a day pass).
That night we went to the coolest movie theatre I have ever been to, it's called the Bear Tooth and is located in Anchorage. There you can order food and they will serve it to you while you watch the movie. It's awesome. Another great place to eat is the Moose's Tooth . They run Anchorage's most popular pizza restaurant and you can get almost any kind of pie you can think of. While we're on the subject of food, Kevin told me we had to get (according to Time Magazine) one of the top 10 hot dogs the the U.S. You can get it right downtown at a little Reindeer Hot Dog stand. Don't go sending me any nasty emails because I didn't get the reindeer dog, I had the chicken dog.
If you want some night life go to one of the most popular bars in America, called Chilkoot Charlie . It's huge and has all kinds of dance rooms and a diverse group of people. They range from cowboys to heavy metal freaks. It's also known as a rough bar, so if someone put's an elbow into you, say your're sorry or plan on defending yourself. It just so happened that the night we went was a private party, and my buddy Kevin knew the doorman so he let us in. Do you know what kind of party it was? Penthouse Pets, yeeeee Haaaaaaa! (Just kidding, Amber, I hated every minute of it.)
Another must-do is going to 'The Fly By Night Club' and seeing the
Whale Fat Follies
. Cost is $13-$18, we went standby and got the worst table
in the house but it was free! Although the food was fair the show
was great. Mr. Whitekey is the host and he talks about how everyone
comes up to Alaska in the summer, and invade their friends or family's
house and turn into the "House Guests From Hell". (I just realized....Kevin
, did you take us there to insinuate something???)
According to Mr. Whitekey, whose facts are supposedly accurate:
Anchorage has the least amount of sun out of all US cities.
The first humans came through Anchorage via the Siberian Land Bridge.
Alaska is #1 in National Parks and
#2 in SPAM consumption (After Hawaii).
Alaskan's hate the singer Jewel because she tells people she's not from there, even though that's where she grew up.
They have the best drinking water in the nation.
And have the most cremations per capita but I can't end these facts on a morbid subject so let's talk about moose 's.
Did you know there are roughly 166,000 moose's in AK? I can guarantee you didn't know this but people are fascinated with moose poop. They sell all kinds of souveniers of this stuff in the gift shop so if someone brings you home moose poop earrings, watch out! It's real poop. Mr. Whitekey went on to say moose poop 13 times a day and they have about 37 nuggets in each bowel movement. Don't get too grossed out, it's nothing messy, in fact, I took a picture of some when I went hiking through the woods . By the way, on our hike we didn't see any bears or polars except stuffed ones in hotel lobbies, gift shops, and in the airport.
If you want a good Martini Bar check out Bernies Bungalo , but I had a hard time hanging out even though it was after midnight because the sun was still shining and I just can't get into bars during the day.
I realize this thing is waaay too long and I'm only halfway through our trip. Your lunch break is probably coming to an end, so I will end it here but stayed tuned to next week's Johnny Jet so you can read about our Float Plane adventure from hell and.............
Alaska Travel Gram Radio Show
Scott McMurren, and his side kick Steve Strippler invited Johnny Jet to be their featured guest on their weekly radio program the Alaska Travel Gram. It was an in house appearance at the KFQD-AM750 studios.
Loved your Alaska story. It reminded me of the time I was going to give a speech in Anchorage, and the organization that was flying me in was using one of its member's Delta miles. Delta insisted the only way they could route me from New York was through Atlanta. I said, "No way -- I am NOT flying to Alaska through Georgia!" I pointed out that their hubs in Cincinnati and Salt Lake were perfectly capable of getting me where I was going with less fuss. Eventually they relented, but it should not even have been an issue. -- Dan W.
JET CAPTAINS QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
In your opinion, what is the toughest domestic airport to land and take-off from?
"SpoKEN Tales" with Ken Solo:
6/9/2002 – 6/14/2002 – Atlanta & Seattle
Travel Celebrity Q&A:
With Alaska's: Scott McMurren
OF THE WEEK:
Super Survival Strategies for Life's Trickiest Situations
If you are indoors: Stay there. Get under a desk or table. Stay away from windows, a fireplace, furniture and appliances. Kitchens are very dangerous.
If you are outside: Get out in the open, away from anything that might fall -- power lines, a chimney, etc.
If you are driving: Stop -- but not on or under a bridge... under an over-pass... or near a tree or light posts. Stay inside your car.
By: David Borgenicht / Joshua Piven Special from Bottom Line/Personal
Airport Tips For Family Travel (From Best Fares.com )
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