Tag Archives: Talkeetna

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

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

Skipping Ahead — Anchorage, Glacier Brewhouse, and the Road to Talkeetna


Road to Talkeetna

Road to Talkeetna

Starting next week we’ll be taking a look at the glaciers of Alaska, including some stunning video of gigantic chunks of ice calving off glacier walls and crashing into the chilled Alaskan waters below.  But first I’m going to skip ahead a bit to our trip after we departed the Norwegian Sun.

Anchorage

Anchorage

Anchorage

Anchorage

I’ve done blog posts on Anchorage before, as you can see here (link to: Anchorage).  As such, I’m going concentrate instead on our favorite Anchorage eating establishment, Glacier Brewhouse, which I’ll review toward the end.  Before that, I’m going to briefly share some sights we encountered on the road toward Talkeetna, which we took on our way the Mount McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge for a quick look at Denali (formerly Mount McKinley).  Ursula has been desperate to see Denali every trip we take to Alaska, and we’ve been thwarted each and every time save for a brief glimpse of the 20,308-foot/6,190-meter mountain.  Alas, this trip was no better.  Denali remained hidden to us for our entire stay at the resort.

Here are a couple of views along the way, along with the photo at the top of this post:

Road to Talkeetna

Road to Talkeetna

Here you can see the devastation that resulted from the massive 2015 “Sockeye” wildfire north of Anchorage:

Road to Talkeetna

Road to Talkeetna

Now for a tasty treat.  I’ve reviewed Glacier Brewhouse before, and we dined there twice again this trip.  The first time was with our friends Lisa and Al Fittipaldi.  The second was after we went separate ways (they to Wrangell–St. Elias, and we to our failed attempt at seeing Denali).  Upon our return from the Princess Wilderness Lodge and before our red-eye flight back to the Lower 48, we stopped once again.

Glacier Brewhouse

Glacier Brewhouse

 

Glacier Brewhouse

Glacier Brewhouse

The Glacier Brewhouse is a charming, yet very large establishment.  If it lacks anything it would be intimacy and quiet, because the Brewhouse gets extremely crowded and a bit noisy.

Glacier Brewhouse

Glacier Brewhouse

Expect a wait unless you have reservations.  To reduce the wait, make sure you arrive before 5:00 P.M.

Glacier Brewhouse — brewery behind the glass

Glacier Brewhouse — brewery behind the glass

Glacier Brewhouse

Glacier Brewhouse

Glacier Brewhouse brew not only their own beers, but also brew house-made root beer and cream soda.

House-brewed Root Beer (also cream soda)

House-brewed Root Beer (also cream soda)

No trip to this establishment is complete without at least a taste of their incredible Alaskan seafood chowder, which can be had by the cup or in a dinner-sized bowl.  It is, quite simply, the best seafood chowder I’ve had anywhere.

Alaskan Seafood Chowder — Alaskan seafood, roasted corn, shaved fennel, sweet red peppers, crisp bacon, creamy crab broth, splash of dry sherry

On this trip Ursula was tasty for something light in preparation for our night flight.  She chose the Brewhouse Blue salad.

Brewhouse Blue salad — Seasonal mixed greens, red flame grapes, caramelized pecans, blue cheese crumbl

Brewhouse Blue salad — Seasonal mixed greens, red flame grapes, caramelized pecans, blue cheese crumbles

I, on the other hand, am a sucker for their artisan pizzas.

Zoe’s spicy coppa and pepperoni, Italian and Andouille sausage, crisp bacon and fresh mozzarella with house made marinara

Zoe’s spicy coppa and pepperoni, Italian and Andouille
sausage, crisp bacon and fresh mozzarella with house made
marinara

On your way out take a look behind the counter:

Pizza Oven at Glacier Brewhouse

Pizza Oven at Glacier Brewhouse

Awaiting delivery at the Glacier Brewhouse

Awaiting delivery at the Glacier Brewhouse

Next week begins:  The Glaciers of Alaska

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