Anxiously Anticipating Alaska
February 05, 2014
We were out of town when the call came. Our Alaskan cruise would become a reality. There was one caveat. We would be booked on an "on your own" tour. Cruise-sponsored land excursions would cost extra. We placed a deposit and buyer's remorse hit immediately. Red flags waved in my mind. Would we wander aimlessly through Ketchikan? Could we find interesting, yet affordable, areas of interest in Skagway? What about the other two ports of call? Because I was far from home, I went to the Mid-Continent Public Library website.
The magazine, Alaska, is available for download through Zinio. The December/January issue includes an article entitled, "Accessing Alaska's Best." The third paragraph I found especially promising: "Alaska's chambers [Chambers of Commerce] and conventions and visitors bureaus (CVBs) are valuable resources for folks traveling from outside and within the state. They can recommend places to stay, suggest activities, answer questions, and share tips that make it easier to explore the state. They also provide online tools, printed guides, and other trip-planning information." I did an Internet search for Juneau's Conventions and Visitors Bureau and was directed to http://www.traveljuneau.com/. Here, I learned that the Mendenhall Glacier is a short drive away, within walking distance is the Last Chance Mining Museum. I started to feel better. Here were two attractions I found with ease.
Alaska,a Lonely Planet Publication, is available both as a hard copy and an eBook. I later learned that the eBook is for simultaneous use. There are no holds and unlimited copies. This means, I won't have to buy a tour guidebook, and could continue to download the eBook when my checkout time expires. I immediately downloaded the eBook version and found out that cell phone coverage is surprisingly good in Alaska. This is a good thing, because my husband has been known to get interested in something and disappear from view for what feels like long periods of time. I also discovered that the Anchorage Museum is "Alaska's best cultural center and one of its top attractions." The museum contains several wings and galleries. Not only will there be plenty to see, but my husband can explore to his heart's content, while giving me the option to track him down.
I began to feel more confident that we could find good resources to research and plan our trip to Alaska. It's reassuring to me that my public library is, literally, right at my fingertips.