The day I arrived, October 31, 2008 was a Friday. On Monday, November 3rd I had to navigate around Anchorage on my own. This wasn’t going to be easy and I didn’t need anyone to tell me so. I had some practice driving in snow when we lived in Kansas and some more while living in Washington state. By and large though, I am a Southerner and not use to winter conditions. On Monday, November 3rd I dropped my son off at his school and then took my husband to his office downtown. My husband had googled the instructions so I could drive home from his downtown office. I was a little nervous but being an adventurous person, I was up for it. Already over the weekend, I saw a little bit of Anchorage and was fantastically impressed. Anchorage is a sweet town of about 270,000 people. All of Alaska has only 670,000 people. Mountains surround the city, thus its nick name, “The Anchorage Bowl”. I noticed right away while navigating towards downtown that it doesn’t look like a downtown, as I know it. I had only the metropolises of the lower 48 to compare it to. Downtown Anchorage does not have the usual sky scrapers that I was accustomed to in other cities. There are some buildings but none that would count as a true sky scraper.
Over the weekend, I had a dose of what was to become such a routine….walking the dogs. Oh my gosh, what an incredible chore. Our dogs were used to having a backyard. And I had become spoiled. I was used to just having to open the door for the dogs to go outside. In our entire marriage we always had a fenced backyard. Never had I ever had to walk the dogs. If we went for a walk, it was because we wanted to enjoy an outing. Now, I had to put their sweaters on, get their leash on and somehow scramble out of the door with two dogs foaming at the mouth. We have a Beagle and a Jack Russell. The Beagle in particular is a maniac on a leash. It was a humongous drama just taking them out on the leash…now add to it having to control these guys on ice and snow. Immediately, it became obvious I would need some kind of special equipment on my snow boots to keep from skating through the whole walk. My poor dogs were certainly not used to the incredible cold of Alaska. When I got their sweaters out, they started to shiver before I was even finished getting them dressed. They danced and howled in anticipation of the coming walk. For their entire life, a leash meant getting to see other dogs and an outing. Their excitement was boiling over the top!!!
It didn’t take long before I noticed we were only having about 6 or 7 hours of daylight. And if that wasn’t strange enough, the sun does funny or unusual things here. When the sun does rise, it will only go to about the 5 or 6 p. m. level in the sky, cut straight across the sky horizontally then go behind the mountains again. I learned very fast to keep my eyes on the sky. It does fantastic and spectacular things. Also, I learned to carry my camera with me everywhere. Too many times I missed a great opportunity for pictures because I left my camera at home thinking I was only running down the street and would be right back.
Finally, the day came for my car to arrive on the barge. My husband and I went down to the docks and found the freight liner where my car was. After showing just a few papers and ID we were able to drive off with my car. Luckily we had bought a GPS for Alaska so I could just input any address and get directions. I found my way home without event. When my son got home from school I had him to help me unload the car. With just a few days of roughing it, getting my car and finally having items that make life easier was like an early Christmas. I had cooking utensils, pots and pans, a vacuum cleaner and MOVIES. Oh my gosh and Oh happy day!!!!! Creature comforts in the final frontier was heaven on Earth.