Category Archives: Social Networking

Talkeetna Lodging — The Good, the Bad (and the REALLY ugly)

The view from behind Susitna River Lodging

Special bonus blog article this week. In fact, you could call it a PSA (Public Service Announcement). Ursula and I just returned this past Saturday from a trip to Seattle and Anchorage. While based in Anchorage we rented a car and drove north to Talkeetna to view Denali.

Ursula enjoying Susitna River Lodging

So, what’s so special about that, you ask? While in Talkeetna on Wednesday, 12 May 2021, we ran into the inn keeper from hell, which I shall cover in depth during the second half of this article. Until then, just as a teaser, when was the last time you got the third degree on your political leanings, “failed” the test, and were instructed to move on? No. I’m not joking, as you’ll see shortly.

Susitna Views

But first let’s talk about the “Good”. After we were told to take our business elsewhere, we tried the lovely Susitna River Lodging establishment, where we were pleasantly greeted by a charming lady at the front desk. I assume this was Darlene Hunter, as the owners are listed as Howard and Darlene Hunter. The reason I make this assumption is because the next morning at checkout we had a wonderful visit with her equally charming visiting brother Jerry and his equally wonderful wife Pam. During this chat we made what I suspect may be lifelong friends, as we exchanged contact information and vowed to stay in touch.

What started out as a quick “Hi-and-Goodbye turned into an extended chat that must’ve lasted well over an hour, perhaps even closer to two.

Susitna River Lodging office

Sprinkled throughout this part of my two-part lodging review are photos not only of the cabins, but also the Susitna River which flowed just behind our cabin (Cabin #2). Along the river we snapped a few photos of the mountains to the north hoping the tall one was Denali. Alas, it was not, but we captured that view later in our journey.

Our Susitna River Lodging Cabin #2

The cabin was comfortable, clean, and inviting. As inviting as the people who own it and their relatives, I’m sure. Initially the cabin was on the cold side, but it warmed up quickly.

Another Susitna River Lodging cabin

Views from the cabin:

We cannot recommend this place highly enough. Especially in comparison to . . .

The Lodging from Hell. . .

. . . which cowers behind the alias Denali Fireside Cabins & Suites.

Denali Fireside Cabins & Suites

We drove up to office, which had a lighted “Open” sign outside, but a “Closed” card sign in the window. Unsure of what was what, we rang the doorbell. After a few minutes Donald Louis Devore (I looked up this clown later; I now assume “Devore” is an alias for “DimWit”) entered the office through a side doorway, then opened the main entrance to the masked Doug and Ursula. I’m assuming the facemasks may have been the initial trigger here, but who knows? It might have been Ursula’s Swiss accent that set off this small-minded bigot.

The conversation among the three of us went something along the lines of:

  • Me: We were wondering if you had anything available for one night?
  • DimWit: I’ll check.
  • Ursula, looking at some craftwork in the lobby: That’s some lovely things. Who did this?
  • DimWit: My wife.
  • DimWit, eyeing us suspiciously: Where are you from?
  • Ursula: El Paso, Texas
  • DimWit, with undisguised disgust: Oh. Beto O’Rourke. What do you think of him?
  • Ursula: He wasn’t a bad congressman.
  • DimWit, now glaring at me: You a liberal?
  • Me: I wouldn’t call myself that. (Because I’m not; I’m an independent who used to be a conservative Republican)
  • DimWit: We don’t have anything for you.

Okay. Now you get the gist of what sets off this childish snowflake who still hasn’t gotten over the presidential election some 6+ months after the fact. He had no idea who I was, for whom I voted, if I was a military veteran (why that’s relevant in a moment), or anything else about me. All he knew by this point was:

  1. Ursula (a Republican by the way) didn’t think Beto O’Rourke was a bad congressman and,
  2. Doug doesn’t consider himself a liberal

That’s it. That’s all it takes to fail Don Devore’s political litmus test for cabin rentals.

Denali Fireside Cabins & Suites

Why is the fact that I’m a military veteran relevant here? Ask any veteran and they’ll tell you that many businesses make a show of “supporting our military” even though we veterans can smell a phony and know many of them are doing to for PR purposes only. Devore Fireside Cabins & Suites has this line on their website: “We offer a 10% Discount for Active Military.”

Now, it’s true that Donald Devore had no clue as to my veteran status; he never thought to ask that, for he was far more interested in my politics than my service. But it’s equally true he didn’t care what my veteran status was. That, in my book, puts him on my list of people who feign being pro military for PR purposes rather than actually meaning it. And I make that statement not knowing, or more relevantly caring, what his veteran status might be. Whatever he might once have been, it’s now obvious to this veteran that Mr. Devore is just another pathetic loser who hasn’t a clue how to run a service-related business while hiding behind a patriotic, pro-military, façade.

Needless to say, excerpts from this review will soon be finding their way onto various and sundry lodging review sites in the upcoming weeks.

Enjoy your review, Don Devore. You worked hard for it, and you deserve every last word of it.

The Alaska Range


Filed under Opinion Piece, R. Doug Wicker, Social Networking, travel, vacation

Bonus Blog, Recipes — Super Dips for the Super Bowl

Here’s my annual Super Bowl Super Dip Recipes (Jalapeño Pesto and Lipton’s® California Onion dips):

First up: Jalapeño Pesto Dip:

The great things about this recipe are:

  • It’s healthy as all get out.
  • It’s so tasty you’ll completely forget how healthy it is.
  • It’s not as spicy hot as it sounds (although it’s definitely not for the timid of tongue, either).
  • It goes great with anything from tortilla chips to corn chips to potato chips to even pretzels.
  • It’s so simple to make even a husband can do it.
  • The leftover jalapeño pesto is great on a whole variety of dishes ranging from omelets to burgers (use as a topping)  and even mixed with ground beef for tacos or chili.  By all means use your imagination with the leftover pesto, because you’ll probably think up dozens of uses for it.


  • 2 pounds fresh whole  jalapeño peppers
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. granulated or fresh crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ⅓ cup good extra virgin olive oil or other healthy monounsaturated oil

Step 1. Bring to boil just enough water to immerse the jalapeños.  Once the water is boiling, add the jalapeños and bring the water back to boiling.  Gently boil the jalapeños, stirring occasionally, for fifteen minutes.  Drain the jalapeños and set aside until they are cool enough to handle.

Step 2. Slice the jalapeños in half lengthwise and remove the stems.  Now, this next procedure is where you control the heat to some extent.  On most of the jalapeños, remove the seeds and the ribs to which those seeds are attached.  Keep the seeds and ribs on approximately one-third of the jalapeños, choosing in particular those jalapeños with very white, healthy-looking seeds and discarding those seeds that are dingy or brown in color.  Increasing the number of seeds and ribs retained will increase the heat; decreasing that number will help to tame it.

Step 3. Place the jalapeños, cumin, garlic, and salt into a food processor.  While pulsing, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  Do no overdo the processing or you’ll destroy those beautiful white seeds and lose texture, but you do want a fairly smooth consistency.

Other uses: In addition to the suggested uses below (besides as a chip dip), I’ve since taken to using this Jalapeño Pesto recipe also as a pizza sauce and in macaroni and cheese.

Serve either warm or cold with your favorite chips (my choice is good quality tortilla chips). Warm is particularly interesting, especially if you contrast that with a well-refrigerated . . .

Lipton’s® California onion dip:


  • 1 envelope of Lipton’s® Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 pint reduced-fat sour cream

Step 1. Mix together thoroughly in a bowl, preferably the day before the Super Bowl; wrap tightly or put back into the sour cream container and chill

Step 2. Serve with the chip of your choice; my favorite for this is Fritos® Scoops!®

Variation: Try mixing together some of the California Onion Dip with my Jalapeño Pesto dip, but go easy and taste frequently until you arrive at just the right kick to suit your tastes.

And since this is listed under Wine & Food the next question would have to be, what kind of wine would you serve with this?  Well, first of all, this is definitely an accompaniment to beer, especially a good, fairly strong ale. Or, one of my favorite Mexican beers, Modelo Negra™.  But if you would like wine with this, it’ll have to be one that helps tame the fire.  That suggests a semisweet white.  Think:  Johannisberg or German Rieslings, Chenin Blanc, or Gewürztraminer.  The cooler white wine serving temperatures supply immediate relief and the sweetness helps neutralize the capsaicin (the compound that gives peppers their “heat”) in the long term.

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Filed under R. Doug Wicker, recipe, Social Networking, Wine & Food

That “X” on the Floor? It’s a TRAP ! ! !

Standing on the “X” is a trap ! ! !

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Filed under Humor, R. Doug Wicker, Social Networking