So the night before we left, I booked us a room at the Driftwood Hotel in downtown Juneau. We originally we’re determined to camp out at the ferry terminal for the night, but those hopes of living on the cheap we’re dashed when we learned that no such thing was allowed, hence the late night booking through Booking.com. I chose this location, as opposed to the Historic Alaskan Hotel and Bar (that was $35 cheaper), because the Driftwood offered a free shuttle. I figured a cab from the airport and then back to the ferry the next morning would easily be in excess of the $35 dollar difference. This spot turned out to be a great location, and was an easy walk to bustling downtown Juneau. The hotel was clean and rustic with a friendly and helpful staff who endured Paul’s jokes. As I had selected the cheapest room available, ours was appointed with surprisingly comfortable twin beds and fluffy down pillows. Next door was a liquor store, and what TripAdvisor rated as the “Best Breakfast/Brunch” place…The Sandpiper Cafe. After breakfast this morning, we concur.
Shortly after we had checked into our hotel, we began our wander of downtown Juneau, Alaska’s state capital. Three large cruise ships we’re in port and the streets were alive with “outdoor” gussied up travelers. Our first stop was Wells Fargo to ensure we had enough cash on hand. Across the street from the Wells Fargo ATM was one of two newly operational marijuana retail stores (Alaska recently legalized marijuana. The state raises revenue by taxing the growers $50 an ounce…so one can only imagine what the retail costs are), and almost next to that, on the other corner, was a Subway sandwich store. A cannabis trifecta! One couldn’t plan a better symbiotic business model.
The only problem is that the cannabis store is only open from noon till 6pm. Not sure how they stay in business. However some local kids (20 something year olds, we met while sampling a flight of beer at the Alaskan Brewing Co. Outpost store on the wharf) told us that “all the best weed is gone” by the time they can get there, because all the “old people” have bought it all out! Poor kids. These “kids” we’re hilarious. They were all tour bus drivers and were blowing off some steam after having spent the day with the cruise boat “public”. When we started laughing, they apologized for being so loud. We told them we more than understood, having retired from public service. From there great conversations and a lot of laughter ensued. One of the gals had done the Chilkoot Trail the previous summer and gave us some good tips. Two of them lived full-time in Alaska, while the other two were only working seasonally before they go back to school in Utah. Turns out they are familiar with the area that we like to hunt in Utah, and were impressed that Californian’s, especially from SoCal, hunted. Before we parted ways, we asked them what were the funniest questions they got from the public. Asking what the elevation of Juneau is (which is sea level) was the most common, but the best was, “At what elevation do the deer turn into moose?”. OMG, Paul and I would so love their job. Of course we would probably not last that long as our witty retorts would most likely land us retired…once more.