Saturday, July 30, 2016

Call it Home

"When Tom e-mailed me, asking about the trip, I told him Vancouver is nice, it's a great place to visit, but I'm more at home in a cabin in the woods.  I have a feeling that when we are old, Chip and I will indeed be crazy enough to live in ours full-time.  When that happens, we will walk by Tom's place every time we go to town, maybe even with a grandchild or two in tow, and I'll tell them how the old editor of the Chilkat Valley News is a bit like Thoreau, that he dreamed of a quiet place in the country and he built one.  Then we'll probably stop in and help Tom with the shingles, or maybe even a new water system. There's a Buddhist saying that when your house is done your life is over.  I hope Tom works on Camp Weasel forever."
...a passage from Alaskan journalist and NPR writer, Heather Lende's book "If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name" which I purchased in an Alaskan bookstore.

Below are photo-paintings of some of the smaller homes and and more quaint places that I saw during my travel through Alaska, each revealing the strength needed by people, and perhaps, the loneliness of living there.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Signs of the Times?

I still have lots of fodder from that trip I took a month ago and it is too hot for those "little gray cells" (please read with a Belgian accent) to come up with anything more interesting than a photoblog post.  I hope some of these bring a smile to your face.

Best breakfast in town.

When we put Fairbanks into our GPS it deadended here at this community garden shown above in downtown Fairbanks.  Our GPS knows us well.

It is an old joke but still made me smile.

This sign above was posted outside a small hotel in a famous mountain climbing town in Alaska.

Lots of these signs above posted outside communities.

These are all symbols and banners of captains of ships that have sailed into this harbor in Skagway(?).

Another garden in another town.

This was in a fancy restaurant "ladies room" in Vancouver.  They also had tiny phone screen size TVs on the back of the bathroom doors.  You would never miss that goal shot!

This sign is in that town that is so far way even an RNC celebrity could not make it to the convention on the mainland.

This speaks for itself.

Not enough for a Thursday Thirteen...but it is all I've got.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Mad Hatter's Tea Party

On my prior post I got some interesting guesses on the towel art.  I think the first was a sting ray, the second a seal or walrus, the third a scottie dog, and the last towel-with-eyes a monkey of some kind.  Well that was fun and since I am in a bad mood with this election and all of its craziness making me a reluctant voter, but a voter still the same, I will add some more fun from the cruise.

Up ahead we cruised by The Made Hatter's Tea Party.  The guy on the left sleeping is the Dormouse.

The guy on the right is the Mad Hatter.

And here comes Alice.  "No room!  No room!" cries the Mad Hatter.

And Alice replies "Of course, there is room!" and gets her ample rump up there and stakes her claim.  The Dormouse remains undisturbed.

Then before she can sip her first cup of tea, Alice sees something just below her and starts shouting "No room!  No Room!"

The one in the water looks pretty big and there is certainly no room for him/her floating below.  The Dormouse opens one eye and the Mad Hatter ignores the ruckus.

He/she gives up and swims away and the rest are enjoying their victory as they bask in the sun.

Life in the slow lane in the inner passage at Alaska.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Nightime Visitors

Hubby and I have been at cross purposes for days.  I do not know whether it is the heat, the stress of grand children visiting, my immaturity, or his failing hearing.  Anyway I need some humor and escape from reality.  Cruises are an escape from reality. The steady motion of the boat, the moving scenery outside large windows, the huge selection of foods you would never prepare at home make for a temporary magic reality.  And then at night you get magic reality with humor.

Can you guess the animals? Those plastic stick-on eyes do help.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Let Us All Just Cook/Cool Off!

Today reached record levels where I live.  The deck was so hot I barely got outside.  My grandson went fishing with Hubby and while he was miserable he did catch a bunch of fish (all of which were below the 18 inch size and had to be returned).  I have pictures of Alaska which may be worth a bunch of money in a a decade or so because Alaska also had temperatures in the high eighties and even nineties Fahrenheit!  Record braking breaking. Below are some pictures (no, they are NOT National Geographic) taken in Glacier Bay with some actual retreating glaciers.   Get some iced tea, turn on the fan and put on your tiniest outfit and cool off!  Click on the pictures for more air in your face.

Holland America Staff serving some bean soup to the passengers.

A bald eagle with cold feet.

The beginning of the calving of some ice as the first hits the water.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Little About Those Cities

Since some of you asked  (well you actually DID), we spent a few days in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada before boarding our ship for the inland passage cruise and few days in Anchorage, Alaska, USA after leaving our ship.  Vancouver is expensive if you want to eat at any nice restaurants or stay downtown, and since I come from the rural woods, we went with expensive.  The city is nestled against the back of of high mountains.  It is a temperate rain forest climate and rained most of the time we were there, unfortunately.  Weather was a tiny bit chilly as well.  Note the traffic sign below shows a bicycle path! (You have to click on the photo, perhaps.)

We got a "great" (see below) view from our expensive hotel...not expensive enough I guess for a real city view.

But we were only walking distance (in the rain) from our hotel to many restaurants...most with higher price tags.  There also were several reasonably priced places.  Thai food (hubby's favorite) is EVERYWHERE.

Anchorage, smaller in population, sophistication and expenses is a very simple square city to drive around.  Although there are just enough streets that dead end or are one way that make you be sure you have a map.

Just in case you forget that at least 8 months of the year it is hard to do anything outside in Alaska the sign above reminds you.

 Clearly Anchorage survives on tourism with at least two if not three cruise ships coming in each week and an endless supply of planes.

Gwennie's is a popular place for breakfast and has been just outside of town for decades.  Certainly a colorful place that lets you know you are in Alaska.  HUGE breakfasts, so be prepared.

And everyone has a story and something to sell.  The man on the far left is a film photographer and I paid $20 for a handful of nice photos as he was such a delightful "codger" it was money well spent.  We bought the other gentleman's book about dog sledding.  He was involved and raced in the very first Iditarod.  I have not had time to read his book!

And just outside the city and down by the river we discovered that the salmon were running!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

It is always about the people

We did meet people on the Holland cruise, but I first want to write a bit about the people we met when we were on our own.

Many of our wait staff were local but there was a large group from countries like Serbia and Moldova.  These were lovely, exotic, young women certainly hoping to get ahead when the poverty and war in their own country was so difficult.  I learned from one gal that Moldova is the poorest country in the area and they are struggling to be accepted into NATO.  One of our Presidential candidates would give that a big thumbs down and the other would see it as a way to make lemonade.  If you don't get what I just wrote, I am too upset over NATO to explain just now.

We took a very long (all day) Denali road trip by bus with the park service.  Our driver looked like "most white folks" favorite grandma.  She managed that bus like a professional over some very steep climbs and hairpin turns while still keeping up a very good patter about the woods, its animals and even the culture of Alaskans and how they dealt with summer.

And she had to be her own window-washer!  I am sure they do not pay her nearly enough.

Our other guide was a sweet child from Florida who had been a park ranger only 4 or 5 years.  She said she had found her home in Alaska at long last.  Now all she needs to do is find her Prince Charming.  She was good on the plants, admitted her weakness on the birds and took us to a homesteader's cabin that was now an historic part of the park.  (The man on the right was from Pakistan or India and certainly from the Brahman class.  He managed to spoil almost all of my shots from the bus as he was destined to be the only one who wanted to get shots of the animals and thus most of us got shots of the back of his head!)

We learned (as if we didn't already know) that these miners, hunters, trappers and homesteaders were a rough, strong, and determined class of people, although not usually able to complete a sentence without swearing.  Alaska is deceitful in all it beauty, because a wild animal, a landslide, or a lengthy cold spell can mean death to any man or woman.

The nails in the sign above are the Ranger's attempt at keeping the bears from rubbing the signs into oblivion when they scratch their backs.  The sign below was where the road through the wilderness came to an end.

AND we are so small for all the destruction we cause which has nothing to do with signs.