A Few of My Favorite Things…

Happy Monday After Christmas! Whew, I need a vacation from Christmas vacation. Do you? AK Fam had a beautiful, wild, and meaningful Christmas, but now I’m antsy to put my best traveling foot forward for 2011. It seems many of you are too, for comments are flying in from readers whose Christmas tree held such goodies as snowshoes, skis, scooters, and such. I even heard of a trip to Hawaii hiding in one Christmas stocking; now that’s the gift of travel!

Thanks to thoughtful relatives in the Lower 48, AK Fam also reaped a bounty of travel-related items to make our sojourns to places near and far more comfortable. Some favorites? AK Dad received an Eagle Creek travel pillow big enough for an adult (what a concept) yet small enough to be stashed conveniently in carry-on luggage or, as will be our case, a backpack.

AK Kid received a pair of ultra-cool ski goggles from his Grandma in Portland; a welcome bonus item since their big old lenses cover a multitude of chilly eyelashes, eyes, and cheekbones during the winter. Not just for alpine skiing, goggles are great for extra cold days partnered with a balaclava. This pair is especially treasured due to cammo-style artwork on the strap, and our son has been wearing them night and day, as you can see by the photo. Why not?

One of my favorite gifts consisted of a nifty Zip Travel Daypack from REI that folds into a little zip-closure envelope when not in use. It is a self-storing masterpiece, in my opinion; 1,200 inches of cargo space allow for camera, snacks, and raingear to comfortably exist together, and, my friends, there are real backpack straps with which to carry it all. No flimsy nylon here; wide straps with comfy padding and two mesh pockets for water are perfect for the traveling family.

Another good gift was the Buff, to which I am now devoted like a child with a teddy bear. A Buff, for those not in the know, is a tube of fleece and function that can be converted into a balaclava, hat, scarf, kerchief, and possibly even a splint should the occasion arise (knock on wood). One Polar buff can be worn eight ways, which drastically reduces space in luggage, and takes care of just about every weather situation. I love it. AK Dad is seen here modeling the Buff in its Cap form. Isn’t he the cutest? Thank you, dear, even though you haven’t had your first cup of coffee in this photo. Check out this video of Buff usage, too, because some of us need a play-by-play tutorial for these things.

All of this gear is going to come in particularly handy for AK Fam this week as we pack up and head north to Talkeetna for a New Year’s Eve hangout at the Talkeetna Roadhouse. Owner Trisha Costello is fixing up a special Supper for all who stay at her cozy inn, and we’re looking forward to a little relaxing time, as if we haven’t had enough already. Fireworks, a little skiing and snowshoeing, a lot of good food and drink, and AK Fam is is ready to usher in 2011.

Don’t forget to join my co-host Scott McMurren and I for tomorrow’s Alaska Travelgram Show, 2-3 p.m. AST,  where we’ll celebrate the ongoing holiday season with more prizes!  Goodies from Mermaid Imports and the Alaska Railroad are just burning holes in our pockets and we need some people to call in and win. If you can’t pick up a signal for KOAN am 1020, worry not, for you can stream us live right HERE.

Posted in Gear.