Brian and I have begun to piece together our summer cross-continent road trip itinerary - which will bring us from Alaska to Florida, our final PCS location as Brian ends an amazing Air Force career after almost 23 years. The beginning part of our trip (meaning the first 5 days of travel) will have us traveling along the Alaska Maritime Highway. Below is the M/V Kennicott, our vessel for which we will be traveling along the Alaskan coastline. It will be a great opportunity after spending 3 years in Alaska and not having travelled yet along the Gulf of Alaska to so many of the small harbors and islands. How exciting! But probably one of the best points of taking the Ferry in addition to seeing some incredible sights is that we will NOT be driving the entire way (like we did in the summer of 2011)... the kids will not be cooped up in the car!
Our Ferry trip will begin in Whittier, Alaska (about 65 miles from Anchorage) and we will head south into the Gulf of Alaska and to the numerous islands of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska’s Inside Passage. Our two major port-of-calls will be Juneau and Ketchikan. The first major stop is Juneau, one of America’s most beautiful state capital. As Alaska's southern most port or “First City”, Ketchikan is the first major community reached by travelers heading north. Founded as a fishing camp, and built on the steep hillsides overlooking the Tongass Narrows, it is also where Brian lived for a short time and ended up graduating from high school there. I'm very excited to be stopping there (even if it is a short time) and seeing a little of where Brian has lived. Both of these stops are considered to be on the "Inside Passage" of the trip and I'm quite sure it will prove to be absolutely stunning and beautiful. Our final stop will bring us into the Lower 48 at Bellingham, WA (located approximately 80 miles north of Seattle) where our road trip will officially begin!
We are still working the road trip itinerary but we already know that it will include stops in Seattle, Las Vegas and Dallas to visit with lots of old friends from year's past, as well as a few short days in Oakland to stay with family. What an opportunity we have to see more of the country on Uncle Sam's dime, see friends and loved ones and experience so much with our 3 kiddos as we get ready to transition for good out of the Air Force and into a permanent civilian way of life.