Wells Fargo really does exist!!

31st October 2010 by Helen

It’s been a fairly uneventful few days.  We’ve learned a bit more about Alaska, where to go, what to see.  The road system is fairly straightforward: three key roads form a triangle joining Anchorage, Fairbanks and Glenallen, with about another five roads linking these to other key places.  There’s only a couple of train lines that run down the west coast and they don’t seem to run out of season (ie, now) and the buses out of town run ‘as and when’.  Our packs are too heavy and cars too few and far between to make hitch-hiking an attractive option (at our age).  So we have concluded driving is the only way to go.

I said I’d give an update when I knew what we were doing.  So here it is.  We have been told that Landy is due to land in Seattle earlier than we expected, late November, which we are pleased about.  In the meantime we have been in discussion with a lady in Florida to drive her car from Anchorage to Florida before taking an internal flight back to Seattle.  Yes, we know that’s not what you expected!!  Neither did we, but we’re looking forward to the new opportunity to see some of the other States we had not otherwise planned to visit.  The family obviously want their car delivered but, within reason, we will have the opportunity to take in some of the sights we had not otherwise expected to see.  And we still need to be back in Seattle in plenty of time to meet Landy off the ship.

In the meantime we have been enjoying a relaxing time at the hostel.  Out of season things are pretty relaxed.  There are four other people living here: apart from the owner who is in residence for the winter there are three men who are all around our age, mostly employed in the fishing industry in some way.

Temperatures outside are mostly below freezing.  We’ve walked around this part of the city a couple of times, finding the shops and getting any supplies we need.  At one point we asked a cyclist and asked directions.  It turned out our destination was probably some distance away.  The man himself was amazed at the fact we were ‘walking’, which he kept repeating while shaking his head.  When I said ‘brilliant’ in thanks at the end of our conversation, he said no-one had ever said brilliant to him before!!  And rode off still shaking his head!  We still get thrown by some of the words and phrases but American English is a lot easier to follow than Russian or Mongolian was.

Loads of shops have had Halloween decorations.  Pumpkins have been on sale everywhere.  The front garden of the small wooden house next to the hostel has been full of pumpkin and other Halloween decorations.  On Sunday (31st), lots of older children, teenagers and young adults were out and about in Halloween costumes during the day.  However, there were no ‘trick or treat’ calls during the evening – don’t think I’d want to out in fancy dress costumes when it’s below freezing outside either.

Wandering around one supermarket we were surprised to see hanging above us a canoe for sale.  As our eyes lowered we were even more bemused to see racks of shooting rifles and then right in front of us glass cabinets full of handguns.  You don’t get those in Tesco’s in England!!  We were less surprised to see the latest issue of ‘Mushing’ on sale, and of course there are plenty of books in the supermarkets reflecting local scenery and stories.  We’ve seen for real the stores that are just ‘names’ in England, such as JCPenny and Sears.  And Wells Fargo really does exist as a bank here – to me it’s always been a bit like Timbucto and Outer Mongolia, a myth shrouded in the mysteries of cartoons and Westerns, fables and time.

6 Responses to “Wells Fargo really does exist!!”

  1. dave says:

    Am feeling really daft right now!

    Thought mushing must be something to do with potatos so googled it – penny dropped just before the results came up!

  2. Carl in Seattle says:

    Anchorage to Florida! Be careful of Montana…it’s 599 miles alone in width. e-mail me if you want a route suggestion.

    Jon’s friend….

  3. Fiona says:

    If you’ll be anywhere near Kentucky, let us know.

  4. helen says:

    🙂 thanks for the smile Dave – it did throw me at first too!!

    We haven’t worked out a route yet (will be in touch Carl) – I think coming down through Canada is fairly pre-defined by the routes available. After that I think we will go pretty ‘straight’ to Florida, seeing on the way what we see. Certainly close to Kentucky from the looks of the map (will be in touch Fiona). Our flight out of Pensacola (to Seattle) is pre-booked for 25th November (yes, we know, I would have loved the opportunity to see a genuine Thanksgiving in a real American home somewhere, but the timing of our arrival in Florida means we had to choose being caught up in the seasonal rush or travel on Thanksgiving).

  5. Jon Davidge says:

    Well that’s a trip and a half. Google maps says a 4900 mile excursion. Hope it’s a nice car!

  6. helen says:

    Yup – it’ll be about that!! Car’s OK – Grand Cherokee Laredo – a Jeep so don’t tell Landy!! A tiny little puppy has managed to make the inside look like the hulk had a bad day!! The owner’s sister was using it for a while and then it was put in storage so it’s needed the oil and stuff checking and a good clean. A cracked windscreen has also been replaced. Only problem left (and from our point of view a rather unhappy one) is that we can’t get the in car heater working yet!!

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