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The Iditarod: Experience the Spirit of Alaska

Program Number: 8148RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/27/2013 - 3/5/2013; 3/3/2015 - 3/10/2015;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Price starting at: $1,575.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Festivals, Misc. Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 17; 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Low Salt    

Revel in the festival atmosphere of “the Last Great Race” as the mushers and dog teams of the Iditarod set off from Anchorage to Nome and join spectators from around the globe converging in a carnival of winter fun. Rugged mountains, thick forest and pristine tundra — the intrepid explorers are met with a mix of perilous obstacles and stark beauty on their 1,150-mile trek to glory amid the mesmerizing Alaskan wilderness.




Highlights

• Meet and dine with Iditarod mushers at the Musher’s Banquet and go behind the scenes at Race Headquarters to hear presentations by Iditarod mushers.
• Revel in the gala atmosphere of the ceremonial race start in downtown Anchorage and travel to Willow to see each team begin their 1,150 mile journey.
• Journey to the historic town of Talkeetna, which is at the base of North America's tallest peak Mt McKinley. Talkeetna offers an outstanding view of the Alaska Range, and endless possibilities of viewing the aurora.



Activity Particulars

Some activities weather-dependent. Cold weather, walking up to one mile, standing to watch race start.




Date Specific Information

2-27-2013

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Coordinated by Denali Education Center




Anchorage

Situated between boreal forest, tundra, temperate rainforest and a marine environment, Anchorage was established when the Alaska Railroad was constructed to connect the interior with the coast. The area is home to almost half the state’s population. 



Accommodations
Anchorage: Comfortable hotel in the heart of downtown. Talkeetna: full service hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   Westmark Anchorage
  Downtown Anchorage, AK 6 nights
 Westmark Anchorage
Type: Hotel
  Description: Centrally located downtown Anchorage; Restaurants and shopping within walking distance; Restaurant on site
  Contact info: 720 West Fifth Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99501 USA
phone: 907-276-7676
web: www.westmarkhotels.com/anchorage.php
  Room amenities: Free Newspapers, In-room coffee, Iron and Ironing Boards, Hairdryers, Data Ports, HBO/CNN/ESPN
  Facility amenities: Elevators, Interior Corridors, Guest Laundry, Exercise Room, Private Balconies in every guest room, smoking allowed only on balconies.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Ask for the Road Scholar rate. Contact the hotel directly, let them know you are with the Denali Education Center Road Scholar group. Additional room nights will be reserved for and paid for by participants independently.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Ask for the Road Scholar rate. Contact the hotel directly, let them know you are with the Denali Education Center Road Scholar group. Additional room nights will be reserved for and paid for by participants independently.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Start time: Program begins with dinner at 6pm. Check-in for program at any time between 4 - 6pm You will be staying at Westmark Anchorage that night.
  End of Program:
End time: Program ends at 8 am (after breakfast is served.) Room checkout is 11:00 a.m. You will be staying at Westmark Anchorage the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Participants must sign and return both the Participant Information & Supplemental forms.
  Parking availability:
Cars may be parked for a small daily fee in the Westmark Anchorage parking lots. However, the parking lot has limited capacity and alternative parking is not free.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Downtown Anchorage, AK
  Nearest city or town:  Anchorage, AK
  Nearest highway: Glenn Highway (Alaska Route 1)
  Nearest airport:  Ted Stevens International (ANC)
  From End of Program
  Location: Downtown Anchorage, AK
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Anchorage

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Anchorage Yellow Cab
phone: 907-222-2222
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$20
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15 minutes from Westmark Hotel, the course ending location, to airport. 

 

Anchorage

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Anchorage Yellow Cab
phone: 907-222-2222
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$20
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15 minutes from Anchorage airport to course start location 

   

The Westmark Hotel is at 720 West 5th Ave. between G & H streets in downtown Anchorage.

 
Driving Directions
  Airport To Westmark Anchorage: Start out going NORTH on N TUG RD toward DE HAVILLAND AVE. Turn RIGHT onto DE HAVILLAND AVE, proceed 0.2 miles. Turn RIGHT onto POSTMARK DR, proceed 0.8 miles. Turn LEFT onto W INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT RD, proceed 1.7 miles. Take the MINNESOTA DR NORTH ramp toward DOWNTOWN, and merge onto MINNESOTA DR, proceed 2.6 miles. MINNESOTA DR becomes I ST, proceed another 0.8 miles. Turn RIGHT onto W 4TH AVE, go two blocks; turn RIGHT onto G ST, go one block; and, turn RIGHT onto W 5TH AVE. The hotel is on the left side of this one-way street and the entry to the parking area can be seen after you pass the ground floor restaurant.
  East To Westmark Anchorage: Traveling WEST on TUDOR RD, turn RIGHT onto NEW SEWARD HWY. Going NORTH, turn LEFT onto 5TH AVE. The hotel is on the left side of this one-way street and the entry to the parking area can be seen after you pass the ground floor restaurant.
  North To Westmark Anchorage: Traveling SOUTH on the GLENN HWY (it turns into 5TH AVE, once in downtown). The hotel is on the left side of this one-way street and the entry to the parking area can be seen after you pass the ground floor restaurant.
  South To Westmark Anchorage: Traveling NORTH on the NEW SEWARD HWY, turn LEFT onto 5TH AVE. The hotel is on the left side of this one-way street and the entry to the parking area can be seen after you pass the ground floor restaurant.
  West To Westmark Anchorage: Traveling EAST on DIMOND BLVD, turn LEFT onto the NEW SEWARD HWY. Turn LEFT onto 5TH AVE. The hotel is on the left side of this one-way street and the entry to the parking area can be seen after you pass the ground floor restaurant.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Orientation
(Wednesday, February 27)
   
 Afternoon: Check-in from 4-6 p.m. at the Westmark Hotel.
 Dinner: Westmark Hotel, Turnagain Room
 Evening: Program Orientation and Introductions at 7 p.m.
   
Accommodations: Westmark Anchorage
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Mushers Banquet
(Thursday, February 28)
   
 Breakfast: Westmark Hotel, Turnagain Room
 Morning: Discover the Iditarod and the history of the Iditarod trail through the eyes of veteran naturalist, wildlife biologist and musher Nan Eagleson.
 Lunch: Westmark Hotel, Turnagain Room
 Afternoon: Enjoy an exclusive exploration with the curator of Anchorage's Wells Fargo Museum. This hidden gem features an amazing collection of Alaska Native artifacts, traditional clothing, a seal-skin Bering Sea kayak, fine art by Alaskan artists and pieces representing early business and military history in the region.
 Dinner: Dine with the mushers and fellow Iditarod fans at the Musher’s Selection Banquet in the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center.
 Evening: Attend the selection and drawing banquet, where each musher is assigned their starting position in the race. This event is a great opportunity to meet mushers.
   
Accommodations: Westmark Anchorage
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Meet the mushers at Race Headquarters
(Friday, March 1)
   
 Breakfast: Westmark Hotel, Turnagain Room
 Morning: See the great race through the eyes of veteran musher who will participate in this year's race. Revel in the behind-the-scenes excitement of Race Headquarters at the Millennium Hotel on the day before the race. Enjoy book signings and a chance to meet the mushers.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Get introduced to the geography of Alaska in a class at the Alaska Public Lands Information Center.
 Dinner: Westmark Hotel, Turnagain Room
 Evening: Enjoy the friendly folks and faces of Alaska and discover downtown Anchorage with the First Friday Art Walk. Experience the city at its best, when galleries are open late and artists, mushers, locals and visitors join together in a celebration of the season.
   
Accommodations: Westmark Anchorage
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Ceremonial Race Start and Alaska Native Heritage Center
(Saturday, March 2)
   
 Breakfast: Westmark Hotel, Turnagain Room
 Morning: Celebrate the festival atmosphere as downtown comes alive and all of the dog teams gather. The morning of the ceremonial race start in Anchorage provides your first opportunity for close encounters with the teams of endearing and enthusiastic sled dogs whose devotion and determination inspire mushers from around the world to enter this challenging race.
 Lunch: Westmark Hotel, Turnagain Room
 Afternoon: Experience the history and culture of Alaska Natives at the Alaska Native Heritage Center during Iditarod Day. Arts, crafts, dance presentations, films, language classes and explorations of life-size samples of traditional homes for five distinctive cultures will be available.
 Dinner: Westmark Hotel, Turnagain Room
 Evening: Gather for a private talk given by a visiting musher.
   
Accommodations: Westmark Anchorage
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Official Start of Iditarod Sled Dog Race
(Sunday, March 3)
   
 Breakfast: Westmark Hotel
 Morning: Depart hotel by motor coach to travel to Willow, Alaska, for the Official Start of the race (weather permitting). Visit the year-round Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla en route.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Get close to the action at the race re-start in Willow. Watch each team of dogs and their musher leave the start gate. Every team has its own unique style, every musher has big dreams, and each dog runs with astonishing enthusiasm. Catch the excitement.
 Dinner: In a Wasilla restaurant (near the location of the race re-start)
 Evening: Return to hotel by motorcoach.
   
Accommodations: Westmark Anchorage
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Musk ox, caribou, bears, and more...
(Monday, March 4)
   
 Breakfast: Westmark Hotel, Turnagain Room
 Morning: Depart by bus for the scenic oceanside journey to the historic gold-mining town of Girdwood and environs. Visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center to see and learned about rescued wildlife, including caribou, musk ox, moose, grizzly bear, black bear, elk, bald eagles and more.
 Lunch: In the field
 Afternoon: Enjoy free time in Girdwood. Some activities are available for an additional fee: exploring the historic downtown, visiting the Round House museum, taking the Alyeska Aerial Tramway, skiing the mountain, going dog mushing, or taking a sleigh ride.
 Dinner: Westmark Hotel, Turnagain Room
 Evening: Program wrap-up and farewells.
   
Accommodations: Westmark Anchorage
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Program concludes
(Tuesday, March 5)
   
 Breakfast: Westmark Hotel, Turnagain Room
 Morning: The program ends at breakfast with independent departures. Note: To extend your Alaskan adventure, enroll in "Winter in the Interior: Adventure, Adaptation, and the Aurora Borealis," program #14630. This small program departs from the Westmark on the morning that the Iditarod program concludes. With this program, experience the winter worlds of small town Alaska and subarctic wilderness, through exploration of Talkeetna, Denali National Park, and Fairbanks.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Arctic Dreams


Author: Barry Lopez


Arctic Village


Author: Robert Marshall


Coming Into the Country


Author: John McPhee


Last New Land


Author: Wayne Mergler


Make Prayers to the Raven


Author: Richard Nelson


Minus 148 Degrees: The First Winter Ascent of Mount McKinley


Author: Art Davidson


Naturalist’s Guide to the Arctic


Author: E.C. Pielou


Ten Thousand Miles With a Dog Sled


Author: Hudson Stuck


Two Old Women: An Alaskan Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival


Author: Velma Wallis


Two in the Far North


Author: Margaret Murie




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