Monday, July 4, 2016

During our visit to Anchorage the best weather so far was on the day we arrived. We have been hoping for a clear day to drive up to Glen Alps Trailhead to view the city and Cook Inlet from a lofty vantage. The weather forecast continues to decline and rain is predicted for tonight and tomorrow. The weather forecast plus the fact we depart Anchorage in the morning prompted us to drive to the trailhead yesterday. As you can see from the photo below, the cloud cover was heavy and visibility low.

Anchorage and Cook Inlet

A view of the parking lot and mountains 180 degrees in the opposite direction shows we are just at the cloud ceiling.

Glen Alps Parking Lot

The 4th of July Celebration starts downtown at 8 AM this morning with the parade at 11. We are hoping the rain will hold off until after the parade.

Yesterday morning we took in the Air Museum located next to Lake Hope. When we are at home we tend to focus our lives on the surrounding area, our family, and our job or profession. Traveling tends to force us out of our self centered existence and reminds of the vastness of the world and the minuscule part we play. We can't remember the last time the name Will Rogers vibrated the cobwebs in our brain but there he was at the air museum in an old photograph beside Wiley Post. We can remember that famous people like Will Rogers died in a plane crash but we often don't know the details. Other names that come to mind are Buddy Holley, John Denver, Ricky Nelson, Jim Croce, Patsy Cline, and the list seems endless. We were surprised to learn that the plane crash that killed Will Rogers was in Barrow Alaska. Barrow is on the Arctic Ocean and so far from civilization it is amazing anyone lives there. 

The air museum further exposed our ignorance when we learned that the Japanese actually occupied US soil during World War II. The Japanese occupied the islands of Attu and Kiska in the Aleutian Island chain for about 15 months before US and Canadian forces were able to eject them. Here is a Wikipedia reference.

An interesting exhibit was the Grumman G-21 Goose, an amphibious airplane that dates back to 1937. We have seen this plane in movies but never up close. Modified versions are still in use today and one crashed as recent as 2014.

Grumman Goose

We also learned why the small planes we see here in Alaska have such large wheels. Because of the vast wilderness bush pilots often need to land in rough terrain and the thick tires prevent puncture by rocks and other objects.

Thick tires for rough terrain

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