North to Alaska: Post Cruise Trip Day 11

Anchorage. Wasilla. Talkeetna. Healy

We woke to a soggy morning in Anchorage but the clouds lifted enough to see the mountains as we drove to Wasilla on the George Parks Highway. There we met with friends from Mississippi for lunch at Taco Cancun. They had moved to Alaska seven years ago and saw on facebook that we were in Alaska. It was so much fun seeing them again and they are loving living in Alaska. I of course had to try a salmon taco and Jon had a chicken quesadilla. We hugged our goodbyes and left with open invitations to come back to visit and stay with them. Which sounds quite, well, inviting. And the more we explored Alaska, the more we want to take them up on their invitation.

We had a beautiful drive to Talkeetna despite lots of low clouds and rain obscuring the mountains. The autumn colors in Alaska are amazing. The leaves of alders, birch and black cottonwood cast the landscape in golden yellow. And what I think might have been ligonberry (from what I could find on google) lined the roads in rich red.

I found satisfaction in the moments of extraordinary beauty but it was challenging because I knew the grandeur of God’s glory was hidden behind the clouds and rain.

The soggy weather continued in Telkeetna, where we would have stayed had the land excursion had not been cancelled. Even though it was a about a 40 mile round trip detour, we wanted to check it out. I loved the little town, although many places were, of course, closed for the season. From what I understand it provides a great view of Denali, when the peak is not hidden behind clouds.

I texted our friend (the one who made our cruise arrangements). She has a cousin living in Talkeetna and I wanted to know about must sees in our short stop there. She recommended the Conscious Coffee. A most excellent choice. We had mochas, chai lattes and Nutella crepes. Nutella. On crepes. A little taste of heaven and another must-make.

The beautiful drive on Parks Highway continued on up to Healy. We oohed and aahed at the color and the small glimpses we’d get of the Alaskan range. The awesomeness of taking our own excursion rather than one through the cruiseline was that we got to stop (or even turn around) whenever we wanted. Which we did.

And again at the interesting, abandoned Igloo City

We arrived at Denali Lakeview Inn in Healy about eight thirty that evening. If you ever decide to stay there, be sure to keep an eye out for the sign to turn, otherwise, as you drive on, you’ll question your decision of the location.

However, when you find the place, you’ll absolutely love it. Cute rooms with lovely views of (and access to) Otto Lake. We stayed in the Denali Floral room with an adjoining balcony to the Blue Moose room where our traveling companions stayed. When I come back to Alaska, I definitely want to stay there again.

The only place open late for dinner (not that there were many choices in the middle of September) was the 49th Street Brewery. Jon decided to try the Yak-a-dilla (Yes, yak on a flour tortilla with peppers, onions, Monterey Jack cheese, salsa verde, and poblano cilantro Mayo. And of course I had to get their seafood chowder with salmon, halibut, and clams.

As we ate, the pub excitement picked up when an emcee led bingo with prizes such as
their Bavarian handmade pretzel and restaurant gift cards. Our server gave us some bingo cards and played a couple of rounds. Since it was called “drunken bingo” (with rules to encourage drinking) things got a bit louder than what we liked, so we decided to leave before the last round of “blackout” bingo. But I can say, I never thought I’d be playing bingo at a brewery in Alaska. 

We found our bear in Talkeetna.


About Jill English Johnston

God writes His story on every heart, if we only pause to read it. My heart has lived in a fantasy world since early childhood and am delighted that God has finally brought me to the place where I can bring the fantasies to life through story. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy (of course) but I also post thoughts, reflections and (hopefully) inspiration to my website: I am a follower of the Rabbi Jesus, married to my best friend and inspiration, and the mother of three incredible children, one daughter and two sons, a son-in-love, a daughter-in-love and two adorable granddaughters. When not writing, I passionately pursue prayer, reading (never enough time to read them all!), and the outdoors. My husband and I both served in the US Navy and have lived/travelled through many states and all over Asia. We both still enjoy travelling, but we really love our home in New Braunfels, located at the Texas Hill Country.
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