30 Alaska 2014
Home Up Alaska Passengers Seward's Folly Denali National Park Russia's Revenge



 Friday, June 13  Depart Vancouver, British Columbia
 Saturday, June 14  day at sea: Inside Passage
 Sunday, June 15  Ketchikan, Alaska
 Monday, June 16  Icy Strait Point, Alaska
 Tuesday, June 17  Juneau, Alaska
 Wednesday, June 18  Skagway, Alaska
 Thursday, June 19  Hubbard Glacier
 Friday, June 20  Disembark Seward, Alaska

Cruise Tour Extension

 Friday, June 20  Seward to Anchorage to Denali by bus
 Saturday, June 21  Denali National Park, Alaska
 Sunday, June 22  to Fairbanks, Alaska, by train
 Monday, June 23  return home from Fairbanks

About the Trip to Alaska

• Trip Organized by Marla Archer
• Trip Recap Written by Rick Archer
Published June 2014


Rick's Note:  I heard this quote from my tour guide:

After returning from his first visit to Alaska in 1899, geographer Henry Gannett cautioned,

“If you are old, go to Alaska by all means, but if you are young, stay away....The scenery of Alaska is so much grander than anything else of the kind in the world...it is not well to dull one's capacity for such enjoyment by seeing the finest first.”

This trip was an important landmark of sorts - this was our 30th Cruise Trip. This is a true milestone. I applaud my gifted wife Marla for this marvelous accomplishment.

Oddly enough, this Alaska Trip was Marla's most difficult trip ever.  Something disconcerting is going on behind the scenes at Royal Caribbean.  Based on the extreme wait times to get a person on the phone (30 minutes to an hour at times), the company seems seriously understaffed.  Furthermore, there is something wrong with their "system".  Marla was forced to correct an entire boatload of mistakes on a daily basis.

However, it is doubtful our 58 guests had any idea how troublesome the walkup to this cruise was.  I give all the credit to Marla - she worked incredibly hard to make sure all the details were properly handled before anyone set foot on the ship. Once we were on board, the trip went very smoothly. Marla is quite the professional.

There were a ton of people on our cruise ship from Texas.  I can only guess that the excellent Texas economy played a role here. In addition, there seems to be a connection between Alaska and Texas that I can't quite put my finger on, but it feels like the people of both states are drawn to each other... big to big. 

I was surprised by just how friendly the people of Alaska were to the Texans.  I expected them to frown when I mentioned we were from Texas, but on the contrary, the people were very nice to us.  Yes, some of them told the obligatory "Texas" joke, but it was always with a smile. There was no sense of rivalry.

It wasn't always that way. As we all know, Texans are very proud of the state size and importance.  When Alaska became a state In 1959, this immediately dumped Texas into the second spot.  At the time, many Texans were deeply unhappy about their state's sudden decline in status.  I was 9 at the time and keenly remember all kinds of grumbling.  Since then I have always assumed that Texas and Alaska were unfriendly.

Until Alaska became a state, many Alaskans were bitter about how long it took a long time for Alaska to become a state. It had been over 90 years following "Seward's Folly" in 1867.

Considering how the media reported how unpopular this move was with the people of Texas, perhaps the Alaskans assumed that Texas opposed their admission and was blocking it. 

I was surprised to find that just the opposite was the truth.  Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn (from Texas), Senator Lyndon Johnson (from Texas), and President Dwight Eisenhower (born in Texas) all pushed for Alaska statehood. 

Of course Alaska's cause was helped considerably by the discovery of oil in 1957.  One might say that valuable find greased the wheels of change considerably. 

Our Alaska trip was special in an unusual way. We were all looking for things you don't ordinarily see on ocean adventures. Everyone was engaged in a spirited search for whales, wolves, eagles, caribou, sheep, and bears.

This was not as easy as it sounds. For example, there were definitely whales out there in the water. Unfortunately, unlike Seaworld's Shamu, the Alaskan whales prefer to appear at random. Personally, after taking a look at all the leftovers from each meal, I think the ship should dump it all in the water and treat us to a whale of a show. But I suppose that is illegal.

Instead we are all forced to just sit there staring idly out on the water hoping and wishing. As for me, I didn't see a thing. However, I was in the minority. Most of our group (including Marla), did indeed have whale sightings. I think it takes a special talent of sorts; I don't think I am patient enough.

30 Cruise Trips is a lot of trips. Marla and I have been at this for so long that Marla is now starting to retrace some of her steps. For example, last year she brought us back to Hawaii for the second time.  Our previous trip had been Hawaii 2007. Like Hawaii 2013, Alaska 2014 was the same idea. We had previously been to Alaska 9 years earlier in 2005 (Alaska 2005).

For me, this second trip to Alaska was much different than our first trip. The main reason was "more time". Now that I am retired, this allowed us the flexibility to turn our one-week cruise into a two-week visit. First we used several days at the front end of the trip to explore the beautiful Vancouver area.

Then after the cruise was over, we added a four day "Denali Extension" to our travels.  More so than any other place we visited, Denali Park indelibly imparted the impression just how ridiculously large Alaska is.  There were vistas so broad that they seemed endless. This became the highlight of my trip.

There is much to write about concerning our June 2014 visit to Alaska.  Be sure to read the story of our trip to Denali National Park.   And for the rest, just scroll down.

Rick Archer

That is the magnificent "Alaska Range" in the background along with Toklat Valley.

Marla is my hero.  This was her 30th cruise trip and definitely one of her best.  However, it took a tremendous amount of effort behind the scenes on Marla's part to make sure this trip came out so well. 

What do you think about this picture?  I think this shot captures perfectly the incredible vastness of Denali National Park

Alaska became our 49th State in January 1959.  They had to change the flag again six months later when Hawaii became #50 in June.

The Alaskans definitely enjoy rubbing it in when it comes to Texas.  One joke is that Alaska is 3 times larger when the tide is out.  Another joke is they could cut Alaska in half and then Texas would become the third largest state. 

I didn't see any whales, but it wasn't for lack of trying.  Everyone else in our group was more successful

The fabled "Alaska Range" gives the State of Alaska its name.  Although this range is  relatively narrow, it extends for 400 miles.
It features Mt. Denali (not pictured) as its centerpiece.  The Alaska Range is the highest in the world outside of Asia and the Andes.




Denali National Park


 More to Read!

Rick Archer's Travelogue for our 2005 Alaska Cruise Seward's Folly - the Story of Alaska
SSQQ Front Page Parties/Calendar Jokes
SSQQ Information Schedule of Classes Writeups
SSQQ Archive Newsletter History of SSQQ