Time to wrap up the posts for this trip. Overall, my first visit to Alaska was a huge success. Great weather, breathtaking scenery, abundant wildlife, and the opportunity to collect a few more counties boroughs. While getting to the borough seats in Alaska was almost a sidelight on the trip, it did factor into some of my plans. I might have skipped the drive down to Soldotna had I not decided to collect the Kenai Peninsula Borough. The Denali trip would have happened, but I would have skipped the stop in Palmer (Matanuska-Susitna Borough seat) on the way. So while ancillary to the visit, it did factor in slightly when choosing routes and destinations.
We spent the final night in downtown Anchorage at the Marriott. Within a few blocks of the high-rise hotel, there are dozens of restaurants and shops, making it easy to find dinner and pick up a few last minute souvenirs. Perhaps the only disappointment was that staying on a weekend night, the CL was closed. Breakfast was available in the restaurant, cold buffet with a modest $5 upcharge for the full buffet.
The flight home was overnight on Alaska Airlines, again in premium class. We did get to check out the Alaska Lounge before boarding. Alaska places a few restrictions on Priority Pass members. First, you won't be able to check in more than 3 hours before your flight. For most, this won't be an issue. Second, when the lounge nears capacity, Alaska will temporarily stop giving access to Priority Pass members. At least at ANC, this is only implemented on "as-needed" basis. At SEA, Alaska has ended access for all Priority Pass members. In any case, if you've experienced one of the Alaska Airlines lounges elsewhere, the one at ANC will feel very familiar.
Over the course of the week, I “collected” 4 borough seats and crossed into one section of the Unorganized Borough (for from info on the boroughs, check out Anticipating an Amazing Adventure in Alaska). All four postcards have arrived bringing my total for the year up to 190. The entire collection now stands at 2264 (out of 3149). Having never visited the state before, I’m just going to include the map of Alaska as it stands after the trip (the colored area would have just been white prior to this visit). The lighter shade or blue is Valdez-Cordova census area, that part of the Unorganized Borough, I visited on the trip to Whittier.
The next trip which will involve any new counties is in early October when I visit New England. Once again county collecting is not the primary purpose of the trip. I will, however, be able to collect all 5 counties in Rhode Island in one fell swoop, along,with a few in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. I’m also hoping for some good fall color. Should be fun.