Matt And Dorian’s Alaskan Adventure

After a long, COVID-induced  year at home, Staples High School Class of 2019 friends Matt Almansi and Dorian Phillips wanted an adventure.

How about Alaska? They designed a week-long trip, with fishing at Cooper Landing, then a long drive north to hike at Denali National Park.

They booked, confirmed and double-confirmed a car rental from Dollar and Hertz. As 20-year-olds, they knew it’s the only rental car company that rents to drivers under 25.

Dorian Phillips (left) and Matt Almansi, as they set off on their trip.

After an 8-hour flight, they landed in Anchorage at 1 a.m. They ollected their bags, then went to pick up their vehicle.

But the rep at Dollar/Hertz refused to give them a car. He claimed they needed to be 25 — despite their policy clearly stating they rent to 20-year-olds for an extra fee.

Matt and Dorian had no idea what to do. How could they possibly get around in Alaska without a car? Did they have to return home?

Turo (like Airbnb, but for cars) was an option. But those rentals are very expensive. And they require advance notice.

At 2:30 a.m. — out of ideas — they called the host at their B&B, Larry Michael from Arctic Fox. They explained their situation.

Larry told them to Uber to the B&B. He would help them figure out a solution in the morning.

Exhausted, hungry and feeling somewhat defeated, they headed to Arctic Fox.

After a good night’s sleep, Larry came through big time. He called fellow B&B association member Karen French, who drove a car over.

Larry and Karen saved the day — and the week. Karen even gave Matt and Dorian a can of bear stray (just in case…).

Karen French, Matt Almansi, and bear spray.

The rest of the trip went flawlessly. The Staples grads met wonderful people, saw very cool animals, and enjoyed amazing scenery.

Matt Almansi and Dorian Phillips made it to the mountains.

The vehicle worked out perfectly.

And — despite coming close to bears — they never needed that spray.

Close encounter of a bear kind.

PS: Larry greatly appreciated his $100 tip. Tourism has been way down in Alaska during COVID. Every little bit helps his staff, he said.

No Alaskan photo gallery is complete without a moose.

One response to “Matt And Dorian’s Alaskan Adventure

  1. Mark Yurkiw

    Excellent trip, I highly recommend it. Did a similar trip at their age. Drove “the top of the world highway” all the way to Dawson city Yukon from Anchorage.
    Had a similar car rental experience about 10 yrs. ago in Scotland. Even though i had a reservation they didn’t have a car for me. We were stuck at an airport! The car rental agent took pity and suggested we call this guy who collected cars but would occasionally rent them out to keep them running. Tooled around in a 1976 convertible TR6 in concourse condition for a week; $400.The worst problem turned into the best solution. You never know where you are going till you are at a dead end.