First Trip to the Grocery Store in Alaska

On our first day off, I didn’t get up until 8:30.  Normally I am up and raring to go on our days off, but one of the advantages of long days of sunlight is you really don’t have to get an early start.  I took a few minutes and called both my mom and dad to let them know how I was doing, and explain the best time to call me with the time difference and my new work schedule.  Then Lee and I started talking and realized that because it was Memorial Day Weekend if we were going to do a grocery store run to Anchorage we needed to do it today as everything would be closed tomorrow.  Memorial Day is a big holiday here with numerous ceremonies in the area, and almost all local businesses closing down.   We knew the drive would be long, at least three hours each way, and your response to that drive might be “Ugh”.  Maybe my response a couple of months into this will be the same, but for now let me say this was the best trip to a grocery store I have ever taken in my life.





Uh yeah.  And those views were all in the first couple of hours.  So here’s where it gets interesting.  When you make a trip into “the city” as they call Anchorage here, you run every errand you have, because that’s where all the less expensive stuff and more variety of things are.  But, as you are running all those normal little errands we all have day-to day, it’s somewhat different.

The first stop light we saw on our route came two hours into the trip

The first stop light we saw on our route came two hours into the trip

View from McDonald's where we picked up a quick lunch

View from McDonald’s where we picked up a quick lunch

View from Home Depot

View from Home Depot

View from auto parts store picking up DEF

View from auto parts store picking up DEF

The views (for us at least) were distracting and the whole experience felt a little surreal as we were running our normal errands and things kept being a little different.  For example, we drove 3-1/2 hours to get to Costco to stock up on a month or more of meat. The campground owners have a freezer in the back office that is for our use, so we wanted to be able to fill it up. We brought two coolers, purchased ice, and when we got to Costco they were completely out of hamburger, ribeye, and chicken thighs. I don’t mean running low, I mean completely out.  Yes, it was Memorial Day weekend, but seriously?? So we ended up going to Walmart (selection was pretty good but prices were on average 25% higher than any Walmart we had ever been in) and then to Fred Meyer which is owned by the same company as Kroger. We loved the Fred Meyer and it is in Palmer which is an hour closer to us. We may still want to make a Costco run later in the season, but next time we will call ahead and check their stock levels first.  We also need to do the math because $50 in gas plus the cost of lunch and maybe dinner as well must be offset to make the trip worthwhile.   We also experienced first hand what a long-time former resident of Alaska had explained to me in Quartzsite.  There is one road in and out to Anchorage from Glennallen and if there is any issue on that road you are waiting until it clears.  We sat in traffic for awhile coming back because there was a bad accident between a pickup truck and a semi truck.  It didn’t look like anyone was hurt, thankfully, but both vehicles were trashed.

Semi sunk to it's axles in the marsh next to the highway

Semi sunk to it’s axles in the marsh next to the highway

Once we were out of Palmer though we were back to the beautiful views and driving back they were completely different.  Lee stopped several times for me to take pictures, and since by this time it was after 7pm the lights and shade made for completely different pictures.


King Mountain is my absolute favorite

King Mountain is my absolute favorite


Slide Mountain


Matanuska Glacier is our first glacier sighting







Oh, and did I mention that one of those times we pulled over to get a shot of the glacier, Lee calmly said “How about taking a picture of that Moose?”.  Huge beautiful moose right in front of us and he/she was kind enough to pose for a long time.  This was a big, big deal because despite 15 years living in New Hampshire and numerous trips to Maine, Lee had never seen a moose and I had never gotten a picture of one.  It was really special, and a wonderful way to cap off the day.



After the moose sighting we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at Eureka Lodge diner.  Sitting at a little table with glacier views we ate a BLT and a hamburger and talked about the day.  I don’t know if these trips will always be this special, and I can certainly see how over time that long of a drive to anywhere could be a burden, but for right now I am enjoying our 12 hours round trip visit to the grocery store and the moose moment is something I will cherish for forever.





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