Category Archives: Photos

The Alaska Adventure

Last Summer, I entered a contest on the Hilton Garden Inn Facebook page on a bit of a whim. It was late, I was doing research in Facebook (or avoiding homework, more likely), saw their “Life’s Ultimate To Do List” contest and was curious about the consumer experience on the back end, so I entered it. Yes, the social media geek in me entered a contest just to see the back end of it.

Fast forward a few months to when I received notification from Hilton Garden Inn that I was one of eleven winners for the contest. I couldn’t believe I’d won, since it meant I’d be going to Alaska on a cycling adventure. See, riding a bike in all 50 states has recently been added to my bucket list, so when I entered the contest, I shared that and picked the state that I thought others would laugh at and would never win. Everyone wants to go to Hawaii or Florida or California. Who would have thought they’d send me to Alaska!? I never expected to win (doesn’t everyone say that about a contest?), and purposely picked a place where no one would go nor send me. The entire concept of this trip was just crazy to me and here I was, going. To make it even more insane, the trip had to be completed by December 31…and I wouldn’t be able to take vacation until after Thanksgiving.

And so began the #AlaskaAdventure. Once I established I was going during the Christmas holiday, I started researching gear, bikes, and my destination. Dayna and the team at Emanate PR planned all of the details of my travel and accommodations in Anchorage (the Hilton Garden Inn leg of the trip), and I took their hard work and extended three days into ten. I worked with Aaren at the Alaska Railroad to craft the perfect solo adventure and to see as much of Alaska as possible. Billy at Arctic Cycles took care of my bike and gear needs. Nick connected me with his Alaskan friends including Valette, John, Marian Call, Karen, Michael, and MANY others. And I started preparing to be very, very cold. The Alaska Adventure proved to be the trip of a lifetime, complete with a bike ride around Anchorage, a 14-hour train ride through the Alaskan wilderness, and a trip into the Arctic Circle.

I traveled by myself to a place few people ever dream of going. I met people who were more generous with their time and energy than some “friends” of mine. I saw some of the most stunning scenery in the world. I stood outside in unbelievably cold temperatures and watched the Aurora Borealis move in the sky. I encountered a moose. I took nearly 3,000 photos. And I crossed Alaska off the list.

Thanks to Hilton Garden Inn for giving me the opportunity to take this adventure. Thanks to Ann who very, very generously lent me her expensive camera since I didn’t have one of my own. Thanks to everyone who supported my wild adventure, offered ideas and suggestions, and followed along on the Alaska Adventure. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed capturing them.

My Alaska Adventure

If you want details about any part of my adventure, I’m happy to share – just leave a comment.


The leading edge

I didn’t know what a wall cloud was until I moved to the Midwest. For my Midwest friends, now’s the time to laugh (and answer my ‘water in the ditch’ question!!). For my California friends, a wall cloud is the precursor to tornadoes. They literally look like a wall of clouds moving across the sky AND QUICKLY. Sunshine and clear in the front, dark and tumultuous and stormy on the back side. Midwesterners do not mess around when they show up. Meaning, Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park (where the College World Series is currently being held) was evacuated. Tornado sirens went off. Patio furniture comes off the deck. And you head for cover. Normal people get to a place where they’re safe and then stare at the clouds. Kinda like what my trainer and I just did…

And for the record, I’ll take an earthquake ANY DAY over Midwestern tornadoes. I’ve heard every argument: you know when tornadoes are coming, you can’t predict earthquakes; earthquakes level entire cities, tornadoes can be limited; you name it. But still…give me earthquakes. I’ve lived through the biggest ones Southern AND Northern California are likely to see in my lifetime, so I’m not that worried. But when wall clouds show up? I make sure I’m safe at home, then pull out my camera, because they can present some of the most incredible images I’ve ever seen. Here’s a link to a few more (not so good ones)…

June 20 Storm – Omaha

New York – August 2010

A business trip to New York City for BlogHer 2010 was extended courtesy of United Airlines, so I spent the day bumming around the city: Central Park, SoHo with A, Lincoln Center, the Empire State Building with J…all around, a wonderful diversion.

Winnipeg – July 2010

After Washington DC, it was off to Winnipeg to meet up with J on a visit to L & K for a three-fold birthday celebration. There was considerable hilarity, lots of laughter, a spectacular chocolate cake, and even some wedding dress shopping. Here are just a few pictures.

Washington, DC – July 2010

I extended a business trip into a long Fourth of July weekend to enjoy one of my favorite places in the world and to see family and friends.  It certainly didn’t disappoint.  Here are just a few of the pictures I took.