Thursday, June 30, 2016

Today is my birthday, not just a normal birthday, but my 70th birthday. Surely there must be an error in the calendar because I can't possibly be that old. It is not unusual for me to celebrate birthdays away from home because June is prime RV travel time. This is the farthest I have been from home in quite a few years. While in the Air Force I did celebrate birthdays halfway around the world in South East Asia. That reminds me that the only other time I have been to Alaska was flying from Oakland California to Clark Air Base in the Philippines. Looking at a globe you will see that the shortest distance from California to the Philippines is a route that includes Anchorage Alaska and Tokyo Japan. We landed at Anchorage late on December 31st and a few hours later departed for Tokyo. I remember this because we missed New Years that year and took off in one year and landed in the next. The pilot came on over the intercom as we crossed the International Date Line and said Happy New Year everyone. During my time in the Air Force I made several flights between South East Asia and the United States, sometimes landing before I took off.

The last two days we have been exploring Wasilla and the surrounding area. Some of you may recognize Wasilla as the home of Sara Palin, the 2008 Vice-Presidential nominee running with John McCain. We did not run into Sara but did talk to a lady who knows her and counts her as a customer. While eating lunch at a local family restaurant we saw a sign that read "Alaska Cheesecake Company". Cheesecake is one of my weaknesses so we made our way to the store to buy a cheesecake for my birthday. We ended up purchasing a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. It was fantastic and one of the best cheesecakes I have every had the pleasure of eating. No, we didn't eat it all and still have some left. But not for long! The lady who owned the store and made the cheesecakes was quite a talker and we spent about 15 minutes in conversation with her. She recommended we drive up to Hatcher Pass which turned out to be a great suggestion.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Looking down into Mat-Su Valley near Hatcher Pass

The old mine near Hatcher Pass

Independence Mine Visitor Center

We have separated from the rest of the group until July 5th. We have an appointment for Buffy and Bo at an Anchorage Petsmart this weekend and will be spending July 1st thru the 4th in Anchorage. The rest of the group wanted to take in the July 4th celebration in Seward on the Kenai peninsula. That is a popular venue on the 4th so they made their way down there on Monday to assure they could find campsites.

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