Our Latest Alaska Trip

We spent a week in Alaska this month to attend a grandson’s graduation and wedding. We left on Sunday and returned the following Sunday. We put a lot of miles on the rental car and saw a number of places we had talked about seeing.

Ice in a river.

The first day we tried to sleep in but daylight comes earlier in Wasilla than it does in SE Oregon. And the sunlight remains high until 11 pm. We were driving around and didn’t realize how late it was getting until someone looked at a clock on the dash. Day one in Alaska we drove around acquainting ourselves with the venues for the events we were attending. On that drive we spotted a moose, but it flashed into the trees before we could get our phones ready to take a photo.

Day 2 we woke bright and early to drive to Fairbanks, a city my hubby has wanted to see for some time. On the way, I took some pretty photos.

view going by Denali State Park
River at a rest area where we stopped.

We ate lunch in Fairbanks, checked out the town, purchased chocolates at a fun sweet shop and headed to North Pole, Alaska. Not far off the highway there is a huge building called Santa Land. You can see reindeer and walk through a large building filled with Christmas ornaments and decorations while Christmas music plays. And yes, we purchased some souvenirs. 😉

Santa Land

From there we drove toward Glenallen where they had water flooding the highway. Luckily we had a small SUV to be high enough to get through the water.

Driving through water in Glenallen

We arrived back in Wasilla at 10 pm. It was a long day! But a fun one counting all the moose we saw and getting some good photos.

Day 3 we drove out to see the farmland around Wasilla and visited with family.

Day 4 was graduation day. We caught up to other family that had arrived for the graduation and attended the event.

Day 5 we drove to Whittier. We had attempted this trip years ago but there had been so many cars lined up to go through the one lane tunnel that we left. This time of the year there was little traffic. We were only four cars back from the lead car. The man-made tunnel to get to Whittier is 2 1/2 miles long, with a train track running down the middle. The entrance to the town is shared by cars and trains. There is a stop light on both sides of the tunnel that lets traffic go through every half hour. Here are some tunnel photos.

Tunnel entrance
Going through the tunnel. (Ignore the buggy window)

In the other side is a picturesque harbor town. Lots of fishing boats, a few restaurants and souvenir stores. A large apartment complex for the people who work at the businesses to live. And a beautiful old lodge that was being renovated. We had really good meal at the Swiftwater Seafood cafe.

View from where we were eating.
View of some of the businesses.

On the way out as we waited for the light to change, I took a photo of a glacier. I didn’t catch the name of it.

Day 6 we hung out with family until the wedding. It took place outside at Tailrace park. The setting was picturesque. The highlight for some of us was a kayaker paddling behind the officiate during the ceremony. I grabbed a photo of that.

Day 7 we headed home with lots of memories.

After the Book Tour

Well, the book tour was fun and I enjoyed sharing my Gabriel Hawke books and my writing process with more readers. I also had a good time sharing that information through a “conversation” Dwight Holing and I did at each store. My friend who attended most of the events with me said we did a good job of playing off each other’s comments and carrying the information along further.

The first stop was Ashland. Bloomsbury Books was a charming independent bookstore with two floors. We were set up in the upper area to give our presentation. We had ten people sit through our presentation and talk with us. One of those people was a writer who had been a guest on my Ladies of Mystery blog but I had never met. I was pleased to meet her and put a face to the name.

Dwight talking as I listen.

The next day on my way to Central Oregon for our two stops there I drove through a snowstorm. I crept along happy I didn’t have to be anywhere at any specified time. It was the one day we didn’t’ have an event. As I drove, I listened to Dwight’s audio version of The Demon Skin. It’s his latest in the Nick Drake series.

The snowstorm.

I arrived in Bend and did a little shopping before continuing on to my friend’s house. The next day we had an event at Paulina Springs Books in Sisters, OR. Beth, the event coordinator, was easy to work with and had us set up in a newer part of the store. We had 8 people attending. Four of which were my family and friends. It was good to see our oldest daughter and granddaughter.

Reading from Bear Stalker at Sisters

The next day I had a niggling feeling I needed to get to Barnes and Noble in Bend early. While I had talked to the manager when he’d set up the event, I’d never heard back from any emails I sent. Sure enough., I arrived and no one had clue we were to be there. The manager had been called away on an emergency and forgot to tell anyone. They found the posters I’d sent to advertise the event and someone quickly set up a table. That night we had 6 people, 5 of them were my friends. We did our presentation and talked with the other writers and answered questions.

The setup in B&N.

Friday, we were at Grass Roots Books in Corvallis, OR. The owners, Jack and Sandy, were very nice, had us set up in the middle of the store and worked hard at bringing in more people. We had the largest crowd that night and they asked the best questions. It was an enjoyable night. My friend and I capped off the night eating marionberry pie with a friend who lives in Corvallis that I hadn’t seen in a while.

I like to talk with my hands.

Saturday, other than walking through the Beaverton Saturday market it was a bust. The store put us outside on the sidewalk and only a few people even stopped to talk with us. I sold one book.

Sitting outside Jan’s Books in Beaverton.

Dwight and I determined that book tours at bookstores are no longer a thing readers tend to do. He is going to work on doing Zoom with book clubs and invite me to join him when he gets it perfected. Me, I’ll stick to doing the Sumpter Flea Market, bazaars, and the few bookstores that ask me to come back. I enjoy meeting readers but not when it is exhausting and expensive as this last one for so minimal a chance to connect with readers.