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Old 06-02-2009, 01:23 AM
 
Location: Bay Area, California
8 posts, read 17,883 times
Reputation: 26

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Hi All!
My wife and I are visiting Alaska for our 25th anniversary. We are making a brief overnight trip to Barrow and would like some advice from the Barrow experts. We arrive in Barrow on the evening of June 24 and depart the evening of the 25...Wish we could stay longer. We are staying at the Top of the World Hotel. We would like to go to Point Barrow. I want to jump into the Arctic Ocean (my wife is far too smart for that!) I would appreciate any help you all could give as to “Barrow musts” as well as advice for getting to the point, taking the polar bear plunge, etc.
Many thanks! Mike Fox, Tracy California

Last edited by Rance; 06-02-2009 at 02:46 AM.. Reason: Got rid of the size / font stuff. It didn't work anyway.
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:04 AM
 
Location: Barrow, Alaska
3,539 posts, read 6,418,205 times
Reputation: 1828
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikefox2hotmail View Post
Hi All!
My wife and I are visiting Alaska for our 25th anniversary. We are making a brief overnight trip to Barrow and would like some advice from the Barrow experts. We arrive in Barrow on the evening of June 24 and depart the evening of the 25...Wish we could stay longer. We are staying at the Top of the World Hotel. We would like to go to Point Barrow. I want to jump into the Arctic Ocean (my wife is far too smart for that!) I would appreciate any help you all could give as to “Barrow musts” as well as advice for getting to the point, taking the polar bear plunge, etc.
Many thanks! Mike Fox, Tracy California
Your wife is way smarter... but if you really want to take a dip in the ocean you'll just have to walk next door to the hotel (Pepe's North of the Border Mexican Restaurant is literally in an adjoining building) and ask either Joe The Waterman or Fran Tate (Joe's mother, BTW). Call them at 907-852-8200.

Another thing to do is ask Joe about a trip to his museum, at 10:30 on the night you get here. That's an absolute must see.

For a trip to the point there are two outfits going out there. I don't know who/what one of them is (they use a Hummer), the one that I'm familiar with is available at 907-852-2700 (which is UIC car rental). Ask for Sam Leavitt, and if he isn't available just tell them what you're looking for.

One last comment: 24 hours in Barrow is absolutely not an efficient way to spend your money. Two days minimum, and 3 or 4 would be far better. You'll be sorry.
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Old 06-02-2009, 09:01 PM
 
Location: Bay Area, California
8 posts, read 17,883 times
Reputation: 26
Talking Not only is she smarter...

she's a lot better looking too! Thanks Floyd. We have been surfing the net since my wife said she booked the trip to Barrow and want to make as much as possible with what little time we will have. We want to visit Joe the waterman's museum (how big is his house anyway?) but the only Point Barrow trip we had seen was a midnight from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am and a trip to the point is a priority. As far as not enough time in Barrow, it was overnight or not at all. We are renting an RV for seven days and will be paying for it to sit in Fairbanks while we travel to Barrow. The whole trip to Alaska is stretching our budget to the max and we have both put in as much overtime as possible. Alaska has been a life-long dream of mine and Barrow has intrigued me as long as I can recall.
Thanks again Floyd for your quick reply! Take care, Mike
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Old 06-03-2009, 03:46 AM
 
Location: Barrow, Alaska
3,539 posts, read 6,418,205 times
Reputation: 1828
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikefox2hotmail View Post
she's a lot better looking too!
That is good to hear... because I was figuring on taking pictures of you turning blue at the gills when you get your head wet. But that takes just one exposure, and then I'd be bored with nothing to do. If your better half is good looking though, I could take pictures of the expression on her face! Ahhhhh, that has some real human interest possibilities, eh??? :-)

On to serious stuff...

Quote:
Thanks Floyd. We have been surfing the net since my wife said she booked the trip to Barrow and want to make as much as possible with what little time we will have. We want to visit Joe the waterman's museum (how big is his house anyway?)
Not big. He lives on the second floor and has a large double garage on the ground floor (which once upon a time held a couple 2-1/2 ton water trucks). A reasonable tour will take 30-45 minutes. Longer if you have a particular interest in old ivory, ancient tools, or that sort of thing, or if you just like to get Joe talking.
Quote:
but the only Point Barrow trip we had seen was a midnight from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am and a trip to the point is a priority.
I highly recommend going with Sam. He's about 60 or so, was born and raised here, and has the ability to articulate his rather extensive knowledge. I've gone out there on a couple of trips with him, and we get going on all sorts of things and it is really fun.

On the other hand. Seriously, if you cannot get a regular tour I can probably get both of you out there on 4-wheelers (I'll guarantee one, and probably can find somebody else that will haul the other one). It means you'd see it, but the "discussion" wouldn't be nearly as good as you'd get with a regular tour in a van where talking is easy.
Quote:
As far as not enough time in Barrow, it was overnight or not at all. We are renting an RV for seven days and will be paying for it to sit in Fairbanks while we travel to Barrow. The whole trip to Alaska is stretching our budget to the max and we have both put in as much overtime as possible. Alaska has been a life-long dream of mine and Barrow has intrigued me as long as I can recall.
Well, that is precisely the reason you'd want to schedule things differently!

Think about it in a different way. It is going to cost you an arm and a leg just to get to Alaska. So once you've invested that much into getting here, you want your money's worth. One way is to rent a vehicle and tour the highways. People drive from Anchorage to Fairbanks and back, or down to Kenai or Valdez. All fabulous.

The problem is that while fabulous, it is also exactly the small part of Alaska that is the most similar to the Lower-48! You can drive the same number of miles through almost any part of the Lower-48 and see things that are also fabulous in much the same way. They are a little different, but with a few exceptions they really aren't much different.

If you spend that much to get to Alaska, why not go see the part of Alaska that isn't like anything anywhere in the Lower-48? Get on a plane and spend as much time as possible in Bethel, Kotzebue, or Barrow. If you are really adventurous try finding a way to spend some time in one or two smaller villages. Kipnuk is a place where the kids all speak Yup'ik. Point Hope is a wonderful place to visit if you can find a place to stay. And there are many other villages (like, a couple hundred or so) that have their own charm.

The thing about all of those places though, is that they really are distinctly different than the Lower-48. They are uniquely Alaskan. And that is an adventure which will make the money you spend to get to Alaska worth every penny.
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:55 PM
 
Location: Bay Area, California
8 posts, read 17,883 times
Reputation: 26
Smile Thanks again Floyd

As far as my gills turning blue...that's not the parts I'm most concerned about turning blue. And one exposure is all there should be time for! The look on my wife's face is usually along the lines of "I do NOT know this man!"
I've seen some pics of Joe the Waterman's exhibits and had wondered if had any room to actually live...You've heard the stories of the recluse with 51 cats, 19 tons of newspaper stacked all over the house to the ceiling and sleeping in the bathtub. Just concerned for Joe's well-being.
I plan to call Joe this weekend as we will be arriving in Barrow three weeks from today (Wednesday)!!!
Just the mention of 4wheelers got my wife all excited. I have some cool pics of her on some quads when we went to Mexico. By the way, can you out-run a polar bear on one? If not, could I be on the faster of the two?
We are already talking about the possibility of visiting Barrow in the winter to see the northern lights, polar bears, etc. I've had frostbite three times so the thought of BELOW zero gives me chills. Of course I still go for another gulp of that margarita as the ice-cream headache goes away.
This trip to Barrow is purely luck. We decided to take an Alaskan cruise for our 25th anniversary and it has just morphed into the proverbial "once in a lifetime" that I hope we can do again using what we learned from this trip to improve it.
I would love to buy you a cup of coffee while we are in Barrow. Hopefully we will bump into each other. Many thanks again for your help!
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:31 PM
 
Location: Barrow, Alaska
3,539 posts, read 6,418,205 times
Reputation: 1828
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikefox2hotmail View Post
I've seen some pics of Joe the Waterman's exhibits and had wondered if had any room to actually live...You've heard the stories of the recluse with 51 cats, 19 tons of newspaper stacked all over the house to the ceiling and sleeping in the bathtub. Just concerned for Joe's well-being.
Joe isn't exactly a recluse, though in some ways he lives like one. He has no room for himself, but he's never home anyway! He's a wirey fellow with a metabolism that goes about 100 miles an hour. The only person more energetic is his mother, Fran. At 80 years old she can runs circles around anyone. Joe used to deliver water with a truck, and as a result he literally knows everybody in town, and all of their nasty habits. He's a genuine character!
Quote:
Just the mention of 4wheelers got my wife all excited. I have some cool pics of her on some quads when we went to Mexico. By the way, can you out-run a polar bear on one? If not, could I be on the faster of the two?
I just happened to mention, an hour ago, to another fellow that I have sold his rear end to the highest bidder for a 4-wheeler ride to the point. He didn't flinch, so looks like we can make this work if need be.

Don't worry about polar bears. We simply boot one passenger off and skeedaddle down the trail a ways before stopping to take pictures. It works every time.

Quote:
We are already talking about the possibility of visiting Barrow in the winter to see the northern lights, polar bears, etc. I've had frostbite three times so the thought of BELOW zero gives me chills.
Ouch.

Actually, it's sort of hit or miss to see aurora here because we have cloudy skys most of the time, particularly in the early winter when viewing is good otherwise. In February and March can also be good, but it is usually bitter cold then.
Quote:
I would love to buy you a cup of coffee while we are in Barrow. Hopefully we will bump into each other. Many thanks again for your help!
I'm real hard to find! Stop by Sam&Lees restaurant, which is about 1 short block from your hotel. Ask anyone who looks Korean where I'm at.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:35 PM
 
Location: Interior alaska
6,381 posts, read 11,954,033 times
Reputation: 3470
Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd_Davidson View Post
Don't worry about polar bears. We simply boot one passenger off and skeedaddle down the trail a ways before stopping to take pictures. It works every time.
Now that was funny Floyd!

Would make a great poster to sell...
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Old 06-04-2009, 01:21 AM
 
Location: Barrow, Alaska
3,539 posts, read 6,418,205 times
Reputation: 1828
Quote:
Originally Posted by starlite9 View Post
Now that was funny Floyd!

Would make a great poster to sell...
Drop by, I'm sure we can find a polar bear just for you!

I probably shouldn't let him know about the buddy system for bear protection that I use when on foot. The shotgun of course is in the truck or left at home or something (who'd want to pack that thing around), so it's useless if a bear sneaks up on us. But... I have a trusty little .22 rimfire pistol in my coat pocket, and it only takes one shot to do the trick!

If a bear charges, I just shoot my buddy in the kneecap and run like Hell. (I never go anywhere without at least one buddy along. It just ain't safe, with all these bears some of you said are always walking the streets of Barrow.)
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Old 06-04-2009, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Too far from Alaska
1,435 posts, read 2,319,197 times
Reputation: 271
Good thing my list of supplies for Barrow trip is still open... Kevlar knee protection: check!
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Old 06-04-2009, 11:21 PM
 
Location: Interior alaska
6,381 posts, read 11,954,033 times
Reputation: 3470
Quote:
Originally Posted by Floyd_Davidson View Post
Drop by, I'm sure we can find a polar bear just for you!

I probably shouldn't let him know about the buddy system for bear protection that I use when on foot. The shotgun of course is in the truck or left at home or something (who'd want to pack that thing around), so it's useless if a bear sneaks up on us. But... I have a trusty little .22 rimfire pistol in my coat pocket, and it only takes one shot to do the trick!

If a bear charges, I just shoot my buddy in the kneecap and run like Hell. (I never go anywhere without at least one buddy along. It just ain't safe, with all these bears some of you said are always walking the streets of Barrow.)

Whew! Good thing I'm not a "Buddy", but I can help you pop him in the knee for you!
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