Monday, March 22, 2010

Visiting the Last Frontier

























In February of 2001, friend and author Shawna Delacorte and I attended the Left Coast Crime Conference held in Anchorage Alaska.

It was the absolute best time of my life.

Not only did I have the chance to hang out with some awesome mystery writers – which we always did when we attended this conference – but I got to do things there that I hadn’t done before.

My introduction to Alaska was arriving at midnight and the city looked like a fairyland with houses decorated with twinkle lights. It might have been closer to Valentine’s Day than Christmas, but you’d never know it.

Good friend and fellow author, Shawna Delacorte and I were there to network, sign our books and I even got to do a ‘a talk with’ section. Along with incredible workshops and roaming the city, we participated in some fun activities.

The FBI held a get together at their building. We got to talk to the SWAT officers there, play in their Hogan’s Alley, tour the building – I saw a huge polar bear pelt on the conference room wall – and see items they’d confiscated over the years. I also had a great time talking serial killers with one of the agents. And my introduction to reindeer sausage. I’m sorry, I ate Vixen, Comet, and Dasher.

We also were part of a group that got to go dog sledding. Talk about fun for someone who’s a total dog lover! We visited the Alaska Native Heritage Center, which showed various tribal cabins and you were able to tour each one. And we took a three-hour cruise out of Seward in a small covered boat on a day that had ice rain along with visiting the aquarium in the town. Yes, Shawna and I did sing the Gilligan’s Island theme before boarding the boat! Going outside the cabin to take pictures was cold cold cold! Only one I missed was a Bald Eagle perched on a railing when we returned to port. We even ventured out into the Bering Straits a bit and saw a newborn Orca.

We saw a moose outside the hotel, walked what they call the snow shuffle down to the Snow Sculpture Contest, and visited the carnival and fur auction that went on for Fur Rondy.

It was new to us to go outside in the morning and find it still dark. Days were still short then. And having to watch our steps on the snowy and sometimes icy sidewalks.

I spent the week with hat hair, living in jeans, heavy sweaters, a borrowed down coat, and hiking boots. I met great people, had experiences I only could have dreamed of, and I’d happily do it again.
The state and friendly people allowed my imagination to wander and even nine years later, it’s still going strong.

You never know when it will show up in a book!

Linda

18 comments:

  1. Great post. On of my favorite TV shows was Northern Exposure. It was the first thing I thought of when you said a moose was wandering through the motel parking lot.

    But it made me wonder something I should have wondered a long time ago. What was the moose doing there? I mean, animals don't go sightseeing as a rule and they're not big on what Southerners call "visiting."

    Animals go where they do because they're looking for food, sex, or shelter. Why would a moose expect to find any of those in a parking lot?

    This is a rhetorical question,

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  2. Great post, Linda!

    My aunt lived in Alaska with one of her husbands. (she had lots, not all at the same time though!) She loved dogs and had a couple of Alaskan Malamutes. And fur coats...the place you could really use them.

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  3. Great post, Linda! Loved the moose and the ice sculpture, but is that a CHOCOLATE fountain?

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  4. This was a cool post, no pun intended! Yeah, right! Anyway, it was very fun to read.

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  5. Oh man, Alaska looks to be a stunningly beautiful state in every photo I have ever seen. Yet I think it ranks wwaaayyyy down the list of places I would want to visit. This hot weather gal hates the cold with a passion even a romance writer cannot understand! I am shivering here just looking at the pics and it is 75 degrees outside! LOL!

    But thanks for the wonderful story. Your experience does sound like a once in a lifetime adventure.

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  6. MM,

    A bunch of us were outside the hotel watching the moose and we immediately hummed the 'Northern Exposure' theme.

    I think he was hungry. When Sharon and I walked down to the snow sculpture contest, we found him further down. He wasn't leery of humans although I made sure to keep my distance, but he was still friendly.

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  7. Terry,

    Malamutes are great. I grew up with a Malamute/wolf mix.

    I pretty much lived in a borrowed down coat. :}

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  8. Yes, Cheryl, a REAL chocolate fountain and next to it was a huge display of chocolate bars. Courtesy of Hershey and you couldn't touch either.

    I've got a pic of me standing by the fountain.

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  9. Sharon,

    It was a once in a lifetime experience. I also met the owner of a B&B who invited me up to stay at her place and I could play with her dogs. Very tempting!

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  10. That sounds like an AWESOME trip! It's on our list of places to visit.

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  11. It was a great week, Judi. And Fur Rondy was so much fun. I still have my pin since you had to wear it when you were out or you'd get 'locked up'.

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  12. Awesome, Linda! It must have been truely awesome! Well, except for eating Vixen and Comet....

    Amelia

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  13. Thanks Amelia.

    And Vixen and Donner. I stood at the buffet table in the FBI bldg muttering "here's Comet." I wanted to try as many new experiences as I could

    I did leave Rudolph alone.

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  14. Ain't that the truth, Linda. I think my time in Guam and Okinawa still winds up in some of my books. But, oh, I would love to see Alaska... :}

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  15. Kathryne,

    At one point my hubby was going to be transferred to Barrows, Alaska. I don't think I would have liked that at all!

    A week in Anchorage with the side trips, meeting so many people, and hanging out with writers from all over the world was definitely fun.

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  16. Wow Linda, that looks like an amazing trip. I think Alaska would be really interesting to visit, sort of like a last frontier. I understand wanting to try new things (though I appreciate your restraint with Rudolf)!

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  17. Linda~

    Alaska is definitely on my list of things to do before I die. I want to go salmon fishing. Friends of mine in Idaho go every year and used to bring me back tons, I miss it.

    I think I'd go in the summer. I hear it's breathtaking.

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