Thursday, June 30, 2016

AK - 4x4 Obstacle Course Competition and A Day in Anchorage

     MATI, Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry (where we are working and living) has special events take place on their property throughout the summer on weekends.  At first, I wasn't sure about hanging around for the 4x4 competition, but once I saw the first vehicle get stuck in the mud, I was hooked...LOL  The design on some of them was ingenious.  One in particular had a small cab with a bed a bit shorter that swiveled at least 90* to accommodate the course requirements.  WOW!  It was soooo cool!  Only 2 of maybe 15 vehicles made it through and up out of the mud pit without towing assistance.   One car almost rolled trying to drive over multi-sized tires imbedded in the dirt.  The rock hill climbs were insane.  The craziest challenge was driving almost nose-down into a hole deeper than many vehicles were long and drive back out!  It was very impressive!

The swivel truck

This guy was greata

Joy, Joe, Nevermore and Kenai

This one almost rolled

Look at that mud!!!

This one did an almost 'grill stand'

   After the competition, Carl and I went to the Anchorage Solstice Fair with friends, Joe and Joy.  We saw the historic 4th Ave Theater, an art deco building built during a pause in WWII.  It had a gold leaf mural of Mt. McKinley in the lobby and a rendition of the Big Dipper on the ceiling.  It stayed open until the 1980's.  It is currently boarded up and it may be torn down for redevelopment much to the dismay of the residents.   It is an Anchorage icon and our friends remember many fun times in that theater as they were growing up.
     We took a walk to the Cook Inlet and saw 'mudflats' for the first time.  Visually, they are intriguing, reality, they can be deadly.  Their properties resemble those of quicksand.  Fisherman have perished trying to walk out on the mudflats.

Look at the white image...head is to the left,
lying down, hands resting on her stomach

Cupcake truck....hooray!
(mudflats above)
The florals along the streets were spectacular

Love the name of this place!

The 4th Ave theater

a 'bear hug'  


Antler carvings...this eagle was spectacular

And I thought Carl was

Wood carving...crazy cool

Official mushing dogs

Me, an eagle and a willow tree
swaying with the breeze...
life is good!!!

Monday, June 27, 2016

AK - Colony Days, Day 2 - Parade, Antique Motorcycles, Reindeer

  The Palmer Lion's Club offered a complimentary breakfast buffet on Saturday morning before the parade.  We got there just in time to feast on pancakes, 2 types of eggs, biscuits, gravy, sausage, sweet buns, coffee, juice, etc.  Yummy!!!  The street was getting filled when we left the hall, so we moseyed around until we found a clear enough spot for someone SHORT to be able to see...LOL  It was a proud "small town" event if I ever saw one.  Local everything!  It was cool.

Too cute!

This dog was so cool!

The rain stopped just in time for the

This little guy was dancing
like a pro...this was the day
before at the Classic Car Show
   The Alaska Vintage Motorcycle Show was a popular event.  There were oldies dating as far back as a 1919 Harley and of course, the spectators with their fully loaded cycles!  Both were quite impressive!  Carl, being a Harley man from way back was in  I liked the ones with a side car and the new kind with two wheels in the front and only one in the rear, a Can-Am...kinda difficult to fall over on that kind!

These guys have been riding
together since they were kids

   The absolute highlight of the day was getting to feed and pet and hang out with REINDEER!  Their antlers were so fuzzy!  We learned so much.  Their antlers start out soft, rubbery and covered with a furry skin.  They grow rapidly and harden and the fur sheds.   Then depending on age and the season, the actual antlers also 'fall off'!  Males shed their antlers in winter or spring.  Females shed theirs in the summer.  Do you realize what this means?  Santa's reindeer were girls!!!  Oh, yeah...LOL
The hooves also go through somewhat of a transformation seasonally.  In summer, the foot pads soften providing extra traction on wet ground.  In the winter, they tighten, revealing the rim, making it easier to navigate on ice and snow!  How awesome is that?!   Finally, the owner of the reindeer farm nearby told us that they can actually jump 6+ feet straight up!  "Up on the rooftop, reindeer paws....."
Awesome hooves, huh?

Look at those eyes!!!

Two takers!

My right side, please!

Molting...getting ready for summer

Yet another new friend for Carl!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

AK - Colony Days, Day 1 - Sidewalk Chalk, Classic Cars and Dancing in the Street

  Colony Days in Alaska are a celebration of when the upper Midwest families came here to make a new life.  Most of the fun happens in the city of Palmer.  Streets are blocked off for food and craft tents, competitions, entertainment, and good 'ole socializing!
Bed races...too funny

The guys won all 3 races!

Reindeer hot dogs were actually an option
   One of the bands, The Carhartt Brothers, played contemporary Bluegrass and Country and they were great!  We saw bed races!  I had my hair sprayed several colors to support the local high school girls' softball team!  AND I entered a sidewalk chalk art contest!  It was so much fun.  My black jeans were full of chalk dust from crawling around on the ground creating a humongous butterfly!  The best part was that later in the day, I received a call saying that I had won a $15 gift certificate from the local bookstore who had sponsored the contest...oh, yeah...go, me!  LOL
One of many crafts

Yep...I have a rainbow

That little girl was totally in the zone

It's a winner!!!

Soooo much fun

This was about 1/3 of the spaces

Love the 3-D chalks

The culminating event for the day was a Classic Car Rally.  Awesome vehicles lined both sides of Main St.  You could tell from conversation and facial expressions that the owners truly adore their cars.  We talked to the owner of a Russian motor cycle with a side was so cool...and he invited us to get on/in and have our picture taken!  Couldn't pass up THAT opportunity.  I must say, though, that MY favorite part of the evening was being able to dance freely up and down the street as music from the 50's, 60's and 70's rang out through the DJ's speakers.  Wow, it has been way too long since I have gone dancing...gotta do something about THAT!!!
2016 Ford Mustang souped-up for racing

1939 Ford Coupe

1961 Ford Pick-Up

1973 VW 'Thing"
Check out the remote model

Ford Model "T"

Hot Rod

Russian Ural

1957 Chevrolet

Hot Rod