MT McKINLEY (DENALI)
The Russell Alaskan Adventure
For most of my adult life, I have wanted to visit Alaska. Photos and stories from this state drew me more and more to visit this wonderful land. But, ironically, even with my many travels around the world, I was never able to visit Alaska. I didn’t go there during my military career and other destinations seemed to lure Judy and me, so we kept putting a trip to Alaska off.
In June and July of 2014, however, my dream finally came true. I began planning on a cruise and some time inland almost a year earlier. Since it had been a very long time that all three Russells had a vacation together, I asked my son, Brian, to ensure he had a couple of weeks off from his work, to get his passport in order (since we would be in Canada on the trip), and plan for some great photos (Brian loves photography and has tons of good equipment).
Since Judy and I love cruises, and since Brian had never been on a cruise, my planning included a 7-day cruise from Vancouver, Canada, to Whittier, Alaska (the port that services Anchorage). I contracted with Princess Cruises and added a 5-day overland journey to our cruise, one of the Princess options. Because cabins are normally booked (and cheaper) with two passengers, Judy and I asked her brother-in-law, Ray Kautz, to join us on our adventure. (Judy’s sister, Ethel, died a few years earlier, and Ray was seeing a wonderful lady, but she had already been to Alaska, so he decided that he wanted to be part of this cruise/overland experience.) This ensured that Judy and I could share a cabin (with an outside patio) and that Brian and Ray could share an interior room on the ship.
Orchestrating the journey took some time and effort. Due to flight schedules, it became apparent that the easiest thing to do was have everyone gather in Seattle, Washington, the day before the cruise…then take a motor coach to Vancouver to board the Crown Princess, the flagship of Princess Cruises. When our journey ended in Anchorage, 12 days later, everyone would fly home.
Judy and Brian and I flew out of DFW—easy, since son lived in Fort Worth, Texas, and Judy and I could stay with him a day or two before the trip—then, all three Russells could travel together. Ray, who lives in Judy’s hometown of Newton, Illinois, flew to Seattle from Indianapolis, Indiana. Once the trip was over, Ray returned to Indianapolis and the Russells returned to Fort Worth. Then, Judy and I returned to Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, our home.
The Cruise and the Overland Adventures
Rather than elaborate on all the incredible sights the four of us saw and the many fun activities we experienced, I will offer some photos with captions that show how much fun we had and the beauty we saw on the trip. It certainly was one of the most enjoyable vacations the Russells ever took together and I know that Ray also enjoyed it immensely. Enjoy! (Next Page)