Look closely. That's the Trans Alaska Pipeline (TAPS) Marine Terminal

For all of my friends who live outside of Alaska, my apologies…I need to find a link to a good map to demonstrate why I’m flying to some places, like Valdez, instead of driving. Don’t get me wrong. It IS possible to drive to some places, even in the winter time – all four of my friends who went on this trip drove in two cars. From my perspective of time saved and money spent, coupled with a new job and not wanting to take more time off than necessary, I chose to fly Era. For less than $200 and in under an hour, I arrived at the Anchorage airport, parked my car, skipped through the security line and got onboard the De Havilland Canada DHC-8-100 (that’s for you, my perfectionist pilot friends…).

I’m not gonna lie to ya either. It is scary when the turbulence throws you around in your seat like you’re a rag doll in this relatively small aircraft BUT it is also exhilarating to look out the window, see the ridges of the mountains glistening, and the lights of the city below, then realize as the wheels touch down… “I made it! No air sickness for me!”

But, that was just the start of MY Alaska: Valdez. Erin & Amanda were driving into town after their 6 1/2 hour road trip, and picked me up from the airport. We drove the mile or two to Kim’s house where we were staying. Kim and her husband, along with their almost four-month-old cutie, Hawkins, have found opportunity and beauty in the town. Good thing for us, Kim is in the National Guard and able to come to Anchorage frequently so we get to see her.

The girls, including Judi and Gina, accepted Kim’s invitation for a girls weekend and were nice enough to ask me, too. Since Kim just started back at work (after maternity leave), it was a great time to get out to see her house and enjoy the company of one another. “What would some wild and crazy 30-somethings do in Valdez?” is what I’m sure you’re asking yourself right now. Well, prepare yourself…we started out with a heated game of Dance Party, lots of conversation, some wine, great food and the endless “It’s my turn to hold Hawkins” competition.

On Saturday, we had every intention of going skiing until Jeremy told us the temperature was below zero, and that didn’t include the windchill factor. So, we decided because it was such a crystal clear, beautiful day, to get out and take some pictures. We didn’t last too long but had fun anyway!