Laurie here, coming to you from home sweet home in Indianapolis. Our final days in Alaska as a family were spent driving back to Anchorage. The last time I remembered to check we put well over 1000 miles on the camper--good thing the scenery was worth it!
At the University of Fairbanks we visited the obligatory Museum of the North before making our way south. We camped at a beautiful wide spot in the road and caught a glimpse of The Mountain in morning. Attempting to fit as much into our last days as possible we pushed on and spent a few hours strolling through touristy-yet-quaint Talkeetna where we were graced with our most complete view of McKinley yet. Approaching Anchorage with far too much daylight left we took a pleasant detour to visit the Iditarod Trail Headquarters in Wasilla (no we didn't see Sarah...please stop asking now). To say they did it, Mom and the kids took a fun spin on an all-terrain dog sled. I was desperate to end our trip on a high note and was exceptionally pleased to have stumbled upon Eklutna Lake State Park. Our final campsite was nestled high up in the trees with a view of the green ridges that surround the lake. About 9:30PM (because the kids had way too much energy to burn) we decided to walk down to the lake to take a peak. It was pure serenity...well, the scenery was.
Tuesday was airport day. After we packed all the DIRTY clothes back into the suitcases we all took a hike to see Thunderbird Falls which I learned about from a bullet point on a tourism map. It was a nice way to cap off our family vacation before heading into the city, visiting Earthquake Park and enjoying pizza at the locally famous Moose's Tooth Pub. The guys said goodbye to us at the airport the first time around 9PM on 8/2 (the second time was when they came back an hour later for the camper keys I found in my pocket)! Mom, the kids and I got home in Indy 26 hours later!
We spent 12 days together hitting the highlights of South and Central Alaska. We may not have had constant sunshine but we saw our fair share of wildlife and we did have mountains every day. I think that's what I'll remember most. We've got ourselves a beautiful country and Alaska is a gorgeous example of God's handiwork. I'm already plotting ways to explore the "lower 48" (and Hawaii!) before the kids go and grow up on us.
So was it the trip of a lifetime? Absolutely! Was it good to sleep in our own beds again? Absolutely! Are we ready for the guys to ride their motorcycles home? You betcha!