30. September 2005 · 4 comments · Categories: Blog

Apparently the Comment section is not working on my blog. Heather notified me this morning, and I notified my technical help desk (a.k.a. Daryl), but so far it is unresolved. I hope it will be back up soon. I really enjoy reading your comments.

Our plans are firming up for our trip east. Glenda’s dad is having two procedures next week, so we have decided the best option is to fly to Boston, rent a car and drive down the coast. That will take about 8-10 days off our trip (with all the expenses that go with those 10 days on the road — gas, food, lodging) and we can actually cover the cost of airline tickets and rental car for what we will save.

We made our reservation for October 12th, and I spent last evening reading my “Frommer’s Guide to New England”. I have highlighted the top sights I want to see and am trying to put together a routing plan so we can hit all the locations I’ve targeted. We will have to zig zag the area, but that is not really many miles at all. I have been comparing everything to locations in the state of Arizona. Boston to Portland, Maine is about the same as Tucson to Phoenix. The Norman Rockwell Museum (western Massachusetts) to Boston is a drive from Phoenix to Flagstaff. Plymouth Rock to Providence is Tucson to Casa Grande. I think we can see some great highlights in four days, and then head toward New York City and Philadelphia on day 5. We will spend three days in Washington, D.C. and then head south toward Florida. Our return flight out of Orlando is October 29th.

Mom said something that had me in a panic. She wondered if the fall colors would be gone by the third week in October. I checked my guide book, and it indicated the southern areas (Massachusetts, Connecticut, etc) are at their peak in mid to late October. Vermont and New Hampshire may have begun to fade, but nearer the coast should still be beautiful.

I’m disappointed that I won’t get to see Wendy this trip, but she reminded me that God puts us where He wants us, and certainly Glenda and I need to be here for now. We won’t enjoy our trip if we’re worrying about her father. I know how that feels. On my last sabbatical, I flew to Alaska the day after Dad’s big thoracic surgery and he was still in intensive care. It was a couple of days before he was upgraded and moved to a regular hospital room and I could relax and begin to enjoy my vacation. I don’t want Glenda to have that same kind of burden on her mind. This plan will reduce a lot of stress and also save 7000 miles on my car! That’s a huge plus in itself. Ken had some frequent flyer tickets from Southwest that he can’t use anymore (Southwest doesn’t fly to Alaska) and they gave them to me. I used one of them for this trip, so further reduced my expenses. Thank you, Ken and Robin!

Brian and Carrie are taking Nathan to California this weekend to visit Disneyland, Legoland and Sea World. He turns 3 in another week, and this is a birthday trip for him. (He also gets free admission to the theme parks until then.) I’m considering driving over to join them in Sea World. I have the time, so why not? I could stay with them and sleep in Nathan’s bed.

I’m going to bring the kids over to my house today. I haven’t seen them since I got home from Alaska because I had that cold, but I’m okay now. Carrie is trying to get ready for their trip and can make good use of the time the kids are here. I better go put things out of their reach.

I bought a new camera today. I wish I had gotten it before I went to Alaska. It boots up in 1.5 seconds, so I would have gotten 6-7 shots in the time it took my other digital to boot up (10 seconds). On top of that, it’s TINY. I have been doing some research at this website, and decided for my budget, the Canon SD300, a 4 megapixel, 3x zoom camera was the one for me. I love my other Canon (2 megapixel) Digital Elph, but my two main complaints are the weight and how slow it is to boot up for flash. This new one is just the ticket.

I stopped into Best Buy today just to look at them, and they had them on sale. Voila! I became a new owner.

I arrived home from Alaska Thursday morning after flying most of the night. I was so tired, I immediately zonked and slept for 3 hours. I’m still feeling a little logey because I have a slight cold that I picked up from Steven.

It was cold and rainy at 1:00 a.m. Thursday morning when I left Anchorage with a forecast low of only 28, but it’s 100 degrees here in the Valley of the Sun today. It’s amazing that the temperatures can be so significantly different in parts of the same continent.

I’ve had requests for more descriptive information on Robin and Ken’s property. Right now, they are renting a three bedroom duplex in Eagle River, and their property is in the process of excavation. This 3/4 acre piece of land is on a heavily wooded mountain just above Eagle River. There is lots to be done to make the house Ken and Robin are designing fit on the property and maintain the views. Since is in such a beautiful area, there will be big windows on all sides to take in that view. There’s a small pond on the lower corner. They will move a lot of ground around in order to make a flat enough place to set the house. There was a huge boulder smack dab in the middle of the lot that had to be blasted apart to even move pieces of it. The well has been dug and septic tank is next.

We did a little sightseeing. I already wrote about driving down to Portage Glacier. I’ve posted some pictures of that trip.

Steve and Deanna’s home is about 5 miles up the mountain from Robin and Ken. They sit near the summit and it’s all switchbacks getting there. At least the road is paved and well maintained in the winter, and Steve has his own small bulldozer for their driveway, but it still seems like quite a trip into Anchorage every day. I got a few pictures of their home, but not enough to do it justice.

On Wednesday, Tami joined Robin, Steven and me for a trip to Wasilla. We didn’t visit any sight-seeing locations other than to drink in the view along the way. It was very overcast that day, and we couldn’t see Mt. McKinley, but on good days it is usually visible from there.

All in all, it was a great visit with a perfect balance between sight seeing and just relaxing with family and enjoying the kids. I’ve updated my photo gallery, with new pictures added to Robin’s family in addition to the Alaska album. I also posted a few new pictures of Lauren and Nathan in Brian’s family album. Check them all out.

Glenda’s and my trip to New England will be postponed about a week. Her dad has been having a terrible time with infection and nerve pain in his toe so he is having minor surgery on October 3 to insert a pain masking device in his spine. We’re praying he does well and that this eases his pain. We’ve been very concerned about him, and won’t go until we are sure he is comfortable and well situated so Glenda can be gone for a month.

In the meantime, I’m going to do some things around the house, like paint the bathroom and sew new drapes for the living room and other little fix-ups. It will be time well-spent. And now, I better get to it!

20. September 2005 · Comments Off on Thunderbird Falls · Categories: Travel

The last time I was in Alaska (seven years ago), we took a drive up to Chugach State Park, parked in the parking lot and hiked up to Thunderbird Falls. It is a beautiful 1 mile trail and the falls are so pretty. However, when we got back to the parking lot, we found the car had been broken into and my purse stolen. That put a real damper on the rest of my trip because in addition to $220 in cash, I was also carrying my identification, credit cards, Social Security card, airline ticket and various personal items. It was quite a hassle canceling all my credit cards, bank account, reporting the theft, and THEN trying to get cash from my bank account (that I had cancelled and had no ID to prove I owned the account). After repurchasing my airline ticket, I was subjected to a physical search to board the plane (because again, I had no ID.)

Today Robin and I decided to drive back up to the Falls with Megan and the baby, and try to dispel the old bad memories. We packed all of our valuables into the stroller, locked the car and set the alarm and headed out up the trail. When we got back, everything was intact, and we breathed a sigh of relief. Robin put Steven in the carseat while I folded up the stroller and packed it into the back of their Yukon. We were rejoicing that now we had a good memory of Thunderbird Falls to displace the first trip and we headed out of the park. About a mile down the road, Robin asked me if I had gotten her cell phone out of the stroller. I had not, so we pulled over to make sure it was still there. It was not. We turned around and drove back to the parking lot and saw it on the ground right where it had fallen. As we got closer, we could see it had fallen out of the stroller right behind the wheel and had been run over. When Robin picked it up, we knew it had made its last call.

We have decided not to go to Thunderbird Falls again.

The rain has stopped and we can see some blue sky. Yesterday Ken went into town and he called right after he left to tell us to go look out the window toward the Alaska Mountain range. We could see about 200 miles in that direction (southwest) and could see the snow covered mountains just touching the clouds. It was beautiful. I tried to take a picture out the window but there was a power pole in the way.

On Sunday after church and lunch at the Glacier Brewhouse, we decided to drive down to Portage Glacier. Ken had a meeting in town that evening, so we only had about four hours, but the weather was nice and the road down Turnagain Arm has been upgraded in the last few years, so it was a beautiful drive. We stopped on the way to see a pretty waterfall and get a good look out across the bay. There is a brand new visitor’s center at Portage that has all kinds of wildlife depiction and information about the area, the glaciers and the changing environment. You can take a boat tour right up to the glaciers, but of course, we didn’t have time for that.

We had Steven’s birthday celebration last night. Grandma and Poppy, and all of the Browns (Ken’s sister’s family) came over for cake and ice cream. The Browns have 3 kids so with Megan and Steven that was 5. I had made a scratch cake and Robin decorated it with pictures of Steven, and the kids made a great celebration of the evening. It was hard getting everyone settled down after the festivities because the kids were so wound up.

It’s a nice day and I took a walk this morning with Steven in the stroller. He enjoyed it but his little hands were cold by the time we got home. Today we are going to go back up to Robin and Ken’s new property so I can get some good pictures. Tomorrow we thought we’d drive up to Wasilla. It’s only a short distance but a pretty drive and we might be able to see Mt. McKinley. It’s my last day before heading home, where I understand they are still seeing 100 degrees. Oh yuck!

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