Last weekend my family and I ventured out on our first camping trip of the summer. I use summer loosely because we live in Alaska. What we refer to as summer others refer to as fall/winter. It’s an acquired concept and one that a lot of people who venture to this rugged state never acquire.
Always, my family’s first outing is to the Valdez Airshow. This is our test run with the camper and I’ll admit we forgot a lot of stuff. Thus the test run. But the breathtaking drive made up for our forgetfulness. Even though snow still blanketed the mountains, there were definite signs of spring. Just the hint of melting sends most Alaskans into a euphoric state that lasts until the first snowfall.
Here are some of the sights we were gifted on our first night of driving.
Since we left on a Friday night and my husband had worked all day, we drove for three hours and then pulled into a rest stop near Mendeltna. Once we set up camp, my kids got busy. It was like nature’s movie screen. They would wait for a car or truck to pass and flail about, trying to get them to honk. Thank you to all the drivers who made their night by tooting your horns. Ten total by bedtime. Of course this did my heart good not to have my daughters hooked up to electronic life support and instead watch them enjoy the kind of fun we had to settle for as kids.
These are pictures from the second day of trip. We only had one mishap when the hatch of our camper blew off and we had to backtrack eighteen miles to find it. Luckily it was in one piece and my husband easily reattached it, saving us from having to go home.
The Valdez Airshow is where the general aviation population shows off its stuff. STOL (short takeoff and landing) competitions were the first order of the day. Some of the smaller planes can take off in as little as 200 feet and land even shorter. It’s amazing to watch.
Being plane owners, my husband’s a pilot, we love to walk around and check out the other planes. This one I call the monster truck of planes. The tires were huge and the black paint job only added to its badass feel.
Also on display was a Japanese Zero. Very cool.
But the best thing at the Valdez Airshow was Fiona, a nine week old English bulldog. Her owner, a pilot and friend of ours, had loaded the kids and the puppy into the plane for a weekend of camping fun. Fiona wore a red down vest and needless to say, drew more attention than the competitions. I wish I could have taken her home.
Overall, the trip was great fun and I can’t wait for our next outing, clamming at Deep Creek. I’m sure the weather will still be chilly and water icy, but I doubt that will stop Alaskans from taking advantage of one of the first low tides of the season. I can almost taste those clams already. Yum.