Roots on the Rails Roots on the Rails

Upcoming Trips: Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

September 13-18, 2017, An Alaska adventure - Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula.


Come sing with us - songs of freedom, songs of peace, songs of struggle. Join us for conversation, communion, and camaraderie. We'll explore The Great American Songbook, as well as our own songs. Bring your guitar, your voice, three chords and the truth!” -- Eliza, Gretchen, and Mary

We’ve taken to calling this trip “The Peace Train”, not only as a nod to the iconic Cat Stevens song, but also as an appreciation of the unifying power of community and music. Award-winning songwriters Gretchen Peters, Eliza Gilkyson, and Mary Gauthier invite you to join them on a rolling hootenanny through the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska as we explore this amazing land of eagles, sea otters, and seals, salmon, whales, bears and moose while sharing music that finds the light and inspires hope.

If you have never traveled to the Kenai (pronounced "Keen-eye") there is no way we can convey with words the power and the beauty of the region. Our first morning out from Anchorage, the vistas along Turnagain Arm are literally jaw-dropping (on our 2015 trip, the waters were alive with beluga whales!). The rushing majesty of the Kenai River, an unreal turquoise from the glacial silt in the water; the nest of bald eagles just down the bluff from our hotel in Homer; the trip across Kachemak Bay -on our own boat!- with sea otters and puffins to the tiny town of Seldovia. The day-long trip to the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and the awe-inspiring sight and sounds of the glaciers calving into frigid waters. And to top it off, an utterly spectacular return journey to Anchorage on the Alaska Railroad in our own glass-topped, two-story “Gold Star” car - replete with open-air deck - perfect for wildlife-spotting.

By day we’ll adventure, and by night we’ll gather to share music that cuts through the murky layers of life's complexities and brings clarity to the challenges we all face. We’ll learn about the songwriting process, we’ll talk about the great traditions of songs as cultural and political touchstones, and it’s entirely possible there will be a lot of laughing. A lot. Mary, Gretchen, and Eliza are hoping that you’ll bring your guitars and other instruments, including your voices, so that we can make music together, swapping songs and stories into the wee hours.

We can think of no finer environment in which to re-charge one’s batteries, soothe one’s soul, and find inspiration. We hope you’ll join us.

"Get your bags together, go bring your good friends, too, ‘cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a Peace Train..." -Cat Stevens

As any trip to Alaska is a fairly major undertaking for people, we schedule two Roots on the Rails adventures end-to-end; a trip to Denali with Fred Eaglesmith, Mary Gauthier and Gurf Morlix, followed by this trip to the Kenai. The two trips compliment one another superbly - two very different landscapes, two very different Alaskan experiences - united by excellent music and at least one train per trip! In previous years about half our participants chose to take both trips, and, to encourage this again in 2017, we are offering $750 SAVINGS - $375 per person per trip - for those who elect to do both.


MARY GAUTHIER - She sings truth. She writes truth. A spectacular songwriter with an unflinching worldview, Mary Gauthier will make you weep. Tom Waits and Bob Dylan have praised her work to the skies, and her song “Mercy Now” is a modern classic. "One of Americana music's most admired artists, across the US and around the world" - The Wall Street Journal.

ELIZA GILKYSONEliza Gilkyson is a twice-Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and activist who has appeared on NPR and Austin City Limits, who has toured worldwide and whose songs have been covered by -among many others- Joan Baez, Bob Geldof and Rosanne Cash. Her music has always offered a vivid reflection of the times we live in, full of joys and sorrows, each song a window into a life of struggle and triumph in a world she feels is “poised on the edge of moral, economic and environmental bankruptcy.”

GRETCHEN PETERS - Her groundbreaking “Independence Day” (sung by Martina McBride) was Nashville "Song of the Year", but there is much more to Gretchen Peters than just that. She has forged her own artistic path, touring continually in both North America and the UK and Europe, and releasing nine critically acclaimed albums on the way, including the new ESSENTIAL GRETCHEN PETERS. Born in New York and raised in Colorado, she has accumulated accolades as a songwriter for artists as diverse as Etta James, Trisha Yearwood, Bonnie Raitt, The Neville Brothers, Patty Loveless, George Strait, Bryan Adams and Faith Hill. She tours with husband and keyboardist Barry Walsh. 


Wednesday, 13 September
Anchorage hotel check-in in afternoon. Evening concert in Anchorage.

Thursday, 14 September
We board our chartered motorcoach for the stunning trip down the Kenai Peninsula to Homer - literally ‘the end of the road.’ We stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center for a chance to see some of Alaska’s amazing animals - moose, bison, caribou, grizzly bears - up close. Continuing on the journey south to Homer, we’ll pass volcanoes on the far side of the Cook Inlet, lush green valleys and an array of wildflowers. In Homer, we will either have an evening concert in town, or a more informal show at the lounge at our hotel.

Friday, 15 September
Today, we head out for a grand adventure on the chartered Seldovia Ferry, as we cruise through Kachemak Bay to Seldovia. In 2013 this day was a particular highlight, where we saw many, many birds - including puffins -as well as whales and more sea otters than you can shake a stick at. In 2015, high tides and rough seas prevented us from going to Seldovia - instead we explored amazing Tutka Bay, with incredible up-close whale sightings. Arrival back in Homer in the evening as night falls.

Saturday, 16 September
After a leisurely morning in Homer, we traverse the peninsula, stopping for lunch at the Kenai River Raven, an exquisite lodge run by our good friends Stevie and Dick Erkeneff. Spectacular scenery abounds, as we pass through old mining and trading towns on our way to the port of Seward. We arrive at the hotel in the afternoon, with time to explore this seaside town. Evening concert either in town or at our hotel.

Sunday, 17 September
We travel by enclosed catamaran to the spectacular glaciers of Kenai Fjords National Park. The enormity of the calving glaciers must be witnessed to be comprehended. Truly, this was one of the most spectacular days of scenery-viewing ever on one of our journeys. Sea lions, sea otters, whales (lucky passengers at the front of the boat witnessed a full breach) are seen in abundance.

It wouldn't be a Roots on the Rails trip without at least one train involved, and upon our late-afternoon arrival back in Seward, we board the Alaska Railroad's Coastal Classic for the return trip to Anchorage. Moose, bear, salmon, many types of waterfowl and even wolves are often spotted from the open-air observation deck. We'll enjoy a full dinner on board, pass spectacular Turnagain Arm as the sun sets and arrive back in Anchorage at 10:15 pm, where we head to our hotel for the night.

Monday, 18 September
Hotel checkout (additional nights at our group rate are available with advance notice). 

As with any dynamic event this far out, details may change. Should there be a substantial alteration to the itinerary after sign-up, or if the price increases, you will have a week-long window of notification in which you may cancel with no penalty.

Sign up today, by e-mailing Sarah at, by calling 866-484-3669 (toll free in the US & Canada) .


$2,989.00 per person for five nights hotel (shared room), public and private concerts, chartered motorcoach, chartered Kachemak Bay cruise, Kenai Fjords National Park glacier tour, Coastal Classic first-class "Gold Star" train service and dinner enroute. Airfare to/from Alaska, gratuities and other transfers not included. 

We offer a few payment options for cost savings and convenience. Choices for paying for your trip:
- SAVE $200 by paying in full - one lump sum of $2789 per person - through our online store. 
- Pay $300 per person deposit through our online store to reserve your spot, then within 30 days, either:
      a) Pay your balance ($2689 per person) through our online store.
      b) Contact Sarah at or 802-258-1397 to set up a convenient payment plan.


Solo travelers will be paired with another same-gender traveler for double occupancy of hotel rooms. Supplement for solo travelers wishing private hotel room all nights: $450.00 - purchase by clicking here.


Sign up today, by e-mailing Sarah at, by calling 866-484-3669 (toll free in the US & Canada).

If you sign up via Sarah, credit cards (Visa, MC, Amex) and checks accepted. $300 per person non-refundable deposit must be paid within 7 days of sign-up in order to hold space. Payment plans at no additional charge are happily accommodated. Payment plan must be agreed upon and set up within 30 days of sign-up. Payments outside of deposit, and less 3% credit card fees if applicable, are refundable until 60 days prior to event. Reservations are transferable. Liability release signature required.


We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance for your trip. By purchasing through this link to Squaremouth (an aggregator where various insurance company policies can be compared at no additional cost to you), we receive a small commission (about five percent). This helps us keep our trips as affordable as possible.

Anchorage has frequent, reasonably priced jet service to the Lower 48. For those wishing to extend their trip, additional hotel nights in Anchorage are available.

Travel to and from the Last Frontier can be daunting. To that end, we recommend the services of Lisa Timmons of United Nations Travel. For a nominal fee, she will arrange your travel by air or water. You may reach Lisa by calling 800-234-8685 or emailing

Note: All the Alaska and wildlife photos used here were taken on the 2013 Roots on the Rails Kenai trip. Thanks to Karen Bridges of Beyond the Well Photography. Click here to see all her remarkable photos from the trip.


The payment of a deposit or any part or full payment for a reservation shall constitute consent to all the provisions contained herein. Flying Under Radar, LLC shall not be held responsible for property loss or damage and/or any damages resulting from illness, personal injuries or death which may be sustained by reason of, or while engaged on, any trip or tour whether due to the ownership, maintenance, use, operation or control of any vehicle, hotel, common carrier or any other conveyance used in carrying out these tours. We can assume no liability due to any cause whatsoever whether caused by failure or delay or other irregularity, acts or omissions occurring during a tour under which the means of transportation or other service thereby is offered or supplied by owners, operators or public carriers for whom Flying Under Radar, LLC acts only as agent. Flying Under Radar, LLC reserves the right (at its discretion) to alter or omit any part of the itinerary, or change any reservation, feature and/or means of conveyance without notice or for any reason whatsoever and without allowance or refund and with extra costs, if any, resulting therefrom paid by the passengers. Although all artists are contracted to appear, lineup is potentially subject to change due to illness or force majeure. We reserve the right to cancel any tour prior to departure, in which case payment will be refunded without further obligation on our part. Flying Under Radar, LLC shall not be responsible for any injury to person (whether or not resulting in death) or damage to property. Flying Under Radar, LLC strongly urges individual passengers to obtain appropriate insurance coverage. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely. The transportation companies concerned are not to be held responsible for any act, omission or event during the time passengers are not aboard their carriers or conveyances. The passenger contract in use by the carriers concerned (when issued) shall constitute the sole contract between the transportation companies and the purchaser of these tours and/or passage. By accepting the ticket the passenger also agrees to its terms and conditions. By forwarding of deposit, the passenger certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other passengers. Flying Under Radar, LLC reserves the right to cancel or withdraw any person as a member of the tour at any time. Flying Under Radar, LLC and Roots on the Rails management reserve the right to refuse service to anyone whom it considers incompatible with the best interests of its services or its guests.