Subject: Visiting all 50 states.
George and Marta:

For me, a state counted when I stayed overnight and did some sightseeing. When the kids were young, we spent vacations camping all over the U.S., taking in many of our National Parks and Monuments. But for the longest time, only Alaska remained elusive because as inflation mounted and the kids got older, vacation times became few and far between. Then, about 3 years ago, I uncovered a Northwest $500 voucher that was about to expire, that I had forgotten about. Where could I go for a 4-day weekend in December? I would be going alone, as my husband doesn't like to invest so much time on a plane for so little time on the ground.

I traded in my voucher for a roundtrip to Anchorage (adding $24.00 for the fare.) I stayed in the Days Inn, which was faily central and had a free airport shuttle service. I ended up with 2 full days to spend after snow in Detroit made me miss a connection. Luckily, Anchorage Tourism had its own Channel on TV with what to see and do. As the weather report predicted a good chance for sun, I booked a Resurrection Bay tour for the next day. A van picked up several tourists at various hotels and took us down the Seward Highway to Seward, where we embarked on a small boat. Being just short of Winter Solstice, we did not see much birdlife, but we did see glaciers, old WWII bunkers, sea lions, the resident orca pod, loads of bald eagles and steam rising from the water, which was warmer than the air (-7 degrees.) The land portion of the journey revealed loads of moose, mountain sheep and goats.

On the second day, it was snowing and I had the Anchorage Museum of History and Art to myself. Then, I walked from one end of town to the other and had a delicious dinner at Simon and Seaford. (I hope I have the name right.) The view from the restaurant would have been spectacular, but of course, it got dark quite early.

Before I left for home, my husband called to say Happy 50th!

Carrie Bardonia, NY