Alaska Cruise–Week 2

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This post is a continuation of Alaska Cruise – Week 1.

Byron Glacier - Anchorage

Day 8:  Anchorage, AK.  This is by far the largest city in Alaska and is the commercial and transportation center for the state.  Valerie’s cousin Prudence is working on a temporary assignment at a hospital in Anchorage.  We were able to meet up with her and she generously offered to drive us to see some of the natural beauty around Anchorage.  We drove south from the city along the coast of Turnagain Arm.  Our first stop was a brief hike in Chugach State Park, one of the largest state parks in the United States.  While hiking, Prudence spotted a moose with a calf at about 150 yards from the trail.  At a little further along the road we hiked to Byron Glacier and spotted a black bear at a comfortable distance.  Back to Anchorage we stopped briefly at the Earthquake Park which captures some of the impact from the massive 9.2 earthquake that hit Anchorage in 1964.  Near there we saw a young moose grazing on the side of the road.  Finally, after a quick stop at Point Woronzof for a classic view of Anchorage across Knik Arm, we stopped into 49th State Brewing before returning to the ship.  It was a good day with beautiful weather and we thank Prudence for showing us around. Continue reading

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Alaska Cruise–Week 1

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We took a 14 day cruise aboard the Zaandam, a Holland America Lines ship, round trip from Seattle to several ports in Alaska.  Neither of us have much cruise experience but we were thrilled with the level of service and the quality of the food aboard this ship.  We heard similar comments from more experienced cruisers as well.  Every evening in the main dining room was a fine dining experience with a varied menu that changed every day.  And they even had selections that suited our particular food preferences.  With a 14 day itinerary we were able to visit ports that don’t get a lot of cruise ship traffic.  The following is a summary by day of our experience.

Departing Seattle Continue reading

Yosemite National Park

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We all have our views about natural beauty but I can’t imagine that anyone would not agree that Yosemite National Park is one of the most spectacular places on earth.  Yosemite Valley has majestic glacier carved granite walls with waterfalls and lush meadows.  With Yosemite Falls, El Capitan, Half Dome and Glacier Point the mind has difficulty coping with the sheer size and scope of what the eye sees.

Yosemite Falls, at 2,425 feet, is the tallest waterfall in North America when including all three portions, upper, middle and lower falls.  Generally, at this time of year its water source would be mostly dried up but there was still a good stream tumbling down the sheer rock face.

20171010_150952 Continue reading

Ocala, FL

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Ocala is in the north central part of Florida.  While here we parked at the Ocala Sun RV Resort.

Silver Springs State Park

Just to the east of Ocala is the Silver Springs State Park.  It describes itself as Florida’s original attraction.  It has been a national landmark since the 1870s.  The Floridian aquifer which underlies the entire state of Florida is one of the world’s most productive aquifers.  It supplies drinking water to nearly 10 million people.  In hundreds of places this water finds its way to the surface as a spring.  Silver Springs is a notable example of this.  There are some 60 springs that form the Silver River. Continue reading