Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday August 30th

Tomorrow Donna is no longer 10 years younger than me.

We got up and took a 40 mile train trip up into the mountains behind Skagaway.  You will have to check her blog for most of those pictures. 
But here's one, and one of us on the way back to the boat for lunch and rest

This would have been easier...earlier

After the hike to the glacier and waterfall Donna and I got separated for nearly an hour and a half before we found each other.  Then we rode the bus back to Juneau and found a place that sold smoked salmon.  Donna prefers smoked in heat - which cooks the salmon - while I prefer smoked in cool which gives out the smoked flavor while keeping it almost raw.  We bought a half pound of each and sat on a park bench in the sun and devoured the whole thing!   Then we went back aboard, Donna posted her blog, I watched a movie, went to dinner, went to a show, went to a 50s-60s concert (at which time Donna headed to bed) then to listen to some canned dance-floor music, then to bed at midnight.  Up Friday morning at 5:30a.  It was easier when I was younger!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The BIG ice cube

Once we went ashore in Juneau we hopped a shuttle bus to the downtown area then another bus to the Mendenhall Glacier. On the walk there we saw LOTS of sockeye salmon swimming/squirming upstream (the water is less deep than the height of the fish), a porcupine in a tree, and a spectacular waterfall (look at the size of the people closer to the falls). Our weather is spectacular in the very wettest part of America where the rainfall per year often exceeds 200 inches!  It's raining hard in Ketchikan today - but we were there yesterday and in Juneau today where big storms are expected tomorrow. 

The cruisin' life

After a day of walking around Ketchikan, we boarded the ship and met our new friends Tom and Darla [picture] for dinner and a juggling show, then a musical show.  They and Donna trundled off to bed at 9:30p. I headed to an oldies show at 10p but could not stay awake and returned to find Donna waiting up.  This morning [Thursday August 29] we are heading in to Juneau. [pictures]

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

To "my" kids at Hasty and Canton

and to Ms. Minton, Ms. Anderson, and Ms. McFarland...

here's a couple of pictures we just took today for the kids.  One is of a whale's skull. Another is of a stuffed (i.e. dead!) real Alaskan bear.

We ended up coming here because tourist season is over but the weather is great and the tickets were 80% off for the ship and almost 80% off for the airplane up and back.  We are very lucky: it's clear and 68 in Ketchikan which gets over 200 inches of rain some years. It's raining in Juneau today. Tomorrow we go there and it clears there and rains here. 

And here's a picture of our room (you can't see the closet or the bathroom).

If you kids have questions, be sure to ask your teachers to email us and we will try to answer them. 

On top of old smokey

Upon arrival in Ketchikan, while our fellow-tourists watched canned demos and waded through gift shops, my sweetie and I climbed a mountain. Lots of pics but the 1st was at 4:30am on deck - it look (but is not) Photoshoped. 


LAfter the sun rose, the clouds lifted and disappeared leaving a beautiful, fresh morning in the high 60s with flat seas and no breeze other than what we generate motoring.  At breakfast met Dan and Vickie from St Louis. 1 26 y/o daughter w 3 kids. Nurse.  So I went back, got swimsuit and headed for the hot tub.  Donna shortly arrived.  After a hot soak we went in the salt water swimming pool. Met Max's wife Lora from near Moscow.   It might be convection heated. We returned to the room. I dashed off to a Cha Cha class, pausing for 2nd breakfast.  At Cha Cha met Tom and Darla - he works for a seed corn co and she for a MD office in Indianapolis. No kids, 2nd marriages, 32 yrs.  Then to cooking school with T &  D then back to room to catch up with Donna who had been to a orientation on shore excursions.  Lunch with Fen and Betty, who have been married 62+ years - he says the secret is her bad hearing. On to card making with Krazy Kevin at 1:15p then wine tasting ($30) at 2p.  OK wine (and 5 glasses of it each), good cheeses, good company (Richard and Ann) and a HORRIBLE, screaming-for-a-full-hour wine steward who rambled on and on at 90db completely destroying what other would be an amazing ambience.  Stopped off to get ice cream then outside on the rear deck to watch whales. Then to front observation lounge as the Captain navigated us through a 10 mile passage only a quarter mile wide. Next, an awesome stage show, buffet dinner, and back to the room.

Our cocoon

August 27,2013.  We have a beautiful room - inside cabin - one cabin away from the back of the ship, on deck 4 (of 12). Thus in our room there is no sense of motion.  We left the dock at 16:15 headed north.  As of sunset last night we were splitting a wide (10-12 mi?) channel under cloudy skies.  Donna and I had an "A" lunch fruits, salads, tea; and again an "A" dinner (we each chose the chef's special: blackened salmon and I also had the salmon tartare appetizer).  The fish was great but the grilled veggies were A+ IMHO.  I should have taken a photo!

Last night we went to a variety show and then to hear a guy on the guitar playing James Taylor and some surprisingly good original songs including a Buffett-esque " Lazy".  We bumped into Barry and Rilla - newlyweds our age from Shreveport.  He's an AA pilot and she is a research scientist. We might have lunch together today.  I'm up at 5a and alone in the large 12th floor Observation Deck.  I dressed to be outside but it's raining hard at 5:30a so I'm inside.  1st breakfast at 6a!!  I had some trepidations about being stuck for 7 days at a floating theme park, but it's not like that at all.  Norwegian Sun has a great vibe - unlike Carnival - I suspect starting off with really good food is part, but sharing with Donna is the main A+ 

Almost time

We've bought the stuff we forgot (Donna: bathing suit and "things that match" :) ; me: a cord to connect the smart phones to the computers: internet onboard stinks).  We found a real diner and had "real" breakfasts: scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, coffee, toast for me, pancakes for my sweety. We boarded early and missed the crowds. Had a great lunch at the Garden Cafe.  View photo attached. Then we sneaked down to our room (#4313) and took naps!!!  In a few hours we will be underway. But we will only post when we get to US cities as onboard WiFi is worse (if possible) than last night's hotel and costs $100!!!

Sunday, August 25, 2013


IWe have arrived in the land of Village.  "My" kids at Canton and Hasty from last year may remember that the name Canada came from a mis-understanding.  The great explorer Hudson was at the upper end of the navigable section of the Hudson River when he began exploring on land.  He found a local Indian tribe and sought to find out the name of this great country he had found.  They replied "can a da" which, in Iroquois, means "village": they were telling him he was in a village while he was asking a different question.

Anyhow, we have arrived.  It was a 16 hour trip from Waleska to Vancouver: I feel certain it took less time to get to Paris. But I was too excited to get going so we arrived at the airport in Atlanta 3 hours early, we had a 3 hour layover in Dallas, and a 4 hour flight to the Vancouver airport.  The weather is great - and so far - we have seen nothing.  It is 6:30 a.m. on our first day and we arrived late last night.  Thus, also, no photos. 

Today - coincidentally - is the 125th anniversary of the largest and oldest public park in this city which is seeking to be the most green city in the world by park space to living space.  So, we expect later today to post lots of pictures.  0% chance of rain today - but I hope this does not jinx us! 

We headed out to Stanley Park early.  Photo. We rented bikes and did the flat, 6 mile coastal loop in 2 hours with lots of stops. Pictures.  Then we walked all over downtown before taking a shuttle to a suspension bridge.  Initially disappointed in the bridge ($33 pp AAA admission!) but the less-heralded but much more spectacular tree-top adventures was worth the $!  Picture.

Back to hotel - we also walked 6 miles - for shower, nap and take-out dinner.  Great day but we did bite off quite a lot!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Suddenly, it's going to be Alaska!

A last minute trip.  Both of us have birthdays in August so we were casting about for a weekend getaway when we found this cheap trip.  We leave Saturday morning 8/24 to fly to Vancouver for 2 days.  Then Monday afternoon we board a cruise ship for a 7 day cruise to Whittier Alaska. A shuttle bus to Anchorage then a rental car for 2+ days - including 1 night in the Talkeetna Roadhouse which I have visited 2x before: once with Rob Woodard and once with Rollin and James.  Pictures start Saturday night.  We will be back early Sept 5 with 23 days to go to Bury St. Edmund's!

A new week

We started off this week dropping off at the Atlanta Airport our friends Dorothy and Robert Hinton from England.  He is headed to England for work. She is headed to Ft Lauderdale until Saturday. We had lunch with my old friend Cliff Morris (except for 2nd grade, he and I went to the same school from kindergarten thru undergraduate at UGa. Then we drove to Waycross and spent the night.  Tuesday morning we took a canoe 7 miles through the Okefenokee Swamp. Picture to be added later from Donna's phone.  Then we drove to Daytona and both drove and walked on the beach. 1 picture. More coming.  Then we drove to Orlando and spent the night.  Today we are now standing in line at Universal Studios - to get in. Tomorrow: the Longino Ranch. Friday Ft. Lauderdale and Miami.  Saturday lunch in Vero with my cousin's family, then home to see James before he heads out to PC for the summer.