Friday, October 31, 2008

Settled in Seattle

We made it off the ferry today and are spending our time on car stuff in the Seattle area.

We picked up a UHaul trailer and moved more dirt around (load/unload truck, load trailer, load truck some more). Then, we got our truck topper installed and are now at a dealership getting an oil change and some other stuff done.

For those keeping track, the mileage logged in Alaska the past 16 months was around 3500 miles! We can't believe gas is only $2.39 here -- a real bargain compared to the $4.69 we were paying in Gustavus.

Once we're done here, it's driving to Ellensburg, WA (or something like that) and trying to adjust to lights, traffic, McDonald's, general culture shock and driving for more than 9 miles in one stretch.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

High winds, high seas and high-speed internet

Wow, what a rough night in lower Chatham Strait last night. Seas were 15+ ft. The 408-ft Malaspina was creaking, groaning, pitching, yawing, ugh. My stomach gets queasy all over again just thinking about it. It was hard to believe we were on the Inside Passage!

The Malaspina now has internet access. Despite the 40+ knot wind, horizontal rain and extreme weather conditions, we were able to get online from our cabin! (If we'd been at our house in Gustavus, that surely would not have happened.) Had I been able to read, type or stay focused on anything but remaining not sick and wondering why there are no survival suits on board, I could have blogged.

The ferry stopped for a few hours yesterday in Sitka. We met up with a bunch of our friends for lunch at our favorite sushi place (Little Tokyo). It was great to see everyone, and my friend Karen P. from Thorne Bay was there, too, on one of her many whirlwind trips.

Today, we're on our way to Ketchikan, stopping for a few hours and meeting up with one of my SEAtrails board members for lunch.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

From one wilderness to the next

Our truck finally made it out on the barge from Gustavus to Juneau. It took 3 tries because the barge kept turning back due to rough seas and high winds.

We were treated to some great wildlife sightings, including a bear running down the road and a moose swimming the river. (We also have seen an eagle and a moose consorting with geese on the golf course.)

Loading the truck was only slightly stressful, but due to Robin's watchful eye, things went smoothly.

It's hard to leave such an awesomely beautiful and wild place. We truly enjoyed our time there, and found creative ways to cope with not having TV and internet.

See some pictures of our final days in Gustavus, including a baby porcupine nursing, a python, a toucan and more.

Monday, October 20, 2008


my sweet, sweet husky dog, has died after almost 16 happy, fun-filled years.

I was so looking forward to seeing her next week.

I am heartsick and overwhelmed with grief.

To get a small sense of her great spirit, watch her sing happy birthday.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Weather report

Weather reports are pretty easy around here. In fact, I can say with all honesty that ~I~ could be a weather forecaster here and be accurate 90% (or more) of the time. Here's a recent sampling:

Wednesday: Rain likely. Highs around 42. Lows around 41.

Thursday: Rain. Highs around 43. Lows around 42.

Friday: Rain likely...heavy at times. Highs around 43. Lows around 42.

Saturday through Sunday: Rain. Highs around 46. Lows around 45.

Monday and Tuesday: Rain likely.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Post office postings

In almost all of Southeast Alaska, there is no home mail delivery, which makes the post office the center of activity. To get mail, you have to go to the post office to pick it up. The same is true in Gustavus. Because there are virtually no services in Gustavus, this also makes the post office even more the hub of activity. As such, this becomes the catch-all place for postings of events, notices, for sale and lost and found items.

For example, here are some recent postings and things at the post office:

  • Stolen: Crime is running rampant. Someone stole the money and the money jar (it's a clear glass jar) from the golf course clubhouse. The golf course works on the honor system. It's $2 for 9 holes of golf, plus $3 or $5 for club rental, depending on whether or not you want the deluxe set, which is not bent and dented. (If you see someone with a bunch of quarters and dollar bills, this could be the culprit!) Someone also stole a statue from in front of the art gallery. Information is also wanted for anyone who knows anything about whoever painted Gus, the bear statue, as a panda bear during the Olympics.
  • Poultry: There are postings for ducks for sale (excellent slug control according to the posting) and 3 extra roosters (but not meat roosters, whatever that means). I don't know why anyone would want poultry with all the bears, wolves, coyotes and other predators looking for food around here.
  • Lost and found: Items including a mixing bowl, a metal spoon, a jacket and several sets of car keys are on the counter, awaiting owner pick up.
  • Helpful notes: If you need to borrow a chimney brush, you can check one out from the fire department. If you need a surveyor for your house/property, several Gustavians are getting together to schedule one and share trip costs to get him here. There is also a calendar of when the clinic doctor is in town.
  • Community involvement: If you want to join the cemetary committee (folks interested in getting a cemetary built here because there isn't one) participate in bunko night or find out about banned book week at the library, you'll find all the details.