Monday, June 29, 2009

1000+ feet Glaciers and 1000 feet glacial lakes

Western Montana looks a lot like the Juneau, AK area. Not a lot of people, Mountains everywhere, good sized water, etc. It is intereesting how the Clark's Fork River valley got dug out. It was ground out by Glaciers millions of years ago. Imagine ice 1000 feet and more high. Mendenhall Glacier is 250 feet at the deepest, so we are talking huge. then a warming took place and there was massive lakes being blocked by ice . All the while, the ice is slowly moving down the valley grinding away dirt and rocks. Some ice breaks off which causes massive flooding of the Clark's Fork valley and even goes on to the Columbia River in WA and OR. The water in these lakes blocked by ice was up to 1000 feet deep, so we are talking massive amounts of water. When the ice flow cracked - the flooding was unbelievable.

Rocks from Montana are found in Oregon - the only way they could have gotten there was from the ice breaking and carrying the rock to OR.

The pictures are of Mendenhall Glacier and sunset in AK. I saw some great sunsets in my travels the last couple of days.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ellensburg, WA to Missoula, MT

In the last 24 hours I have gone from Portland, OR to Ellensburg, WA and on to Sand Point, ID. Today I have gone from Sand Point, ID to Thompson Falls, MT where I happened to run into and old friend. I got the latest of people I know. Many still live in Western MT. I called up one and hope to get back so we can get some hiking in and going into the mountains. We had some great hiking adventures back in the day.
Going back in time is great - my old school looks the same. Teacher houses are still there. Interesting day. They are doing a lot of road work which slows me down a lot.

I also went through Hope, ID and Beyond Hope, ID has changed it name to East Hope. I liked Beyond Hope myself. I thought it would be a great place to retire: Beyond Hope.

Back into the car.

Pictures are from Alaska: Ketchikan and Mendenhall Glacier

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ketchikan, AK

4 cruise ships the day I was in Ketchikan. There were lots of float planes taking off. I had 2 hours to walk around and just missed the tourist shops I guess. I was told that Ketchikan has about 20 miles of roads. I saw a spot with at least 10 eagles flying around - amazing stuff.

After Ketchikan, we just sailed on and on and on. I was able to see mountains, islands and green topped with snow everywhere. There were also homes on a few islands.
I think it would be great to live on a place like that for a few months.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Misc shots on the inland passage, AK

I was on the ferry and way out in the inland passage and I would see boats or light houses. Here are some pictures.

Monday, June 22, 2009

evacuate the ship in open water

Since I was in the boat that went out relatively close to the beginning of the cruise season, we had an evacuation drill. The sounds were super loud and we were also told that it was not real. All the people who worked on the ship, except for essential personnel who were operating it, went to the boats and practiced lowering them. The boats did not touch the water but they took them down, and then put them back up. It went pretty well. I got to watch but ran into a problem when my batteries wore out. On this ship, you cannot go back to your vehicle unless it is in a port, so I did not have fresh batteries and did not get all of the exercise that I wanted.

I am not able to post daily because I am running out of time. I was in Seattle this past weekend and I am helping with yard stuff with my daughter and I have to go through my stuff and repack. I will be leaving for Nevada in a couple of days.

Father's day was great and hanging out with grandkids and kids is always a pleasure.

Evauation: I was able to call my daughter because we had cell phone coverage then and was able to leave a message that we had to evacuate the ship and hope I am able to call later. She was worried when she called but I knew that it was just a drill.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Kayaking in Seattle

I went to Seattle and kayaked on Lake Union. It is great to kayak right in the middle of a big city. I saw fishing boats, yachts, float planes flying in and out, house boat - great one, and all kinds of neighborhood festivals with bands playing as we kayaked by them. It did not rain either. One of my fellow kayakers got caught in the wind and went over. Great day!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Petersburg, AK

Petersburg was a night stop. The ferry got there at night, let off a few people and a few got on and we were on our way again.
We left Petersburg and went into the midnight sun. It never really got dark, dark in Alaska - the midnight sun is true. It got light about 4:30 in the morning.

Palin: Sarah was making noise about a joke by David Letterman. Letterman apologized and some Palin freaks made dumb comments outside the studio where Letterman does his show. If you looked, you find at least 10 jokes by other comedians but they did not upset Sarah. I think Sarah needed some attention so she made a lot of noise about this one particular incident. If you see Sarah: Ask her how much they have to pay for Todd's Snowmobiles and How much they pay for Arctic Cat clothes. (They get them at cost, I am very curious how much they saved from what you or I would pay.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sitka, AK

We stopped in Sitka and here are some pictures. Looks like a nice small town. I was not able to get off. They have 10 miles of roads in Sitka. I had one fellow from Sitka say, 'I wish we had a long road like you do in Juneau.' Roads are a source of jealousy in AK. There were no paved roads in the village where I was last year.

The coast guard is aa big employer in SE AK towns.

Midnight Sun

As I was on the ferry, I went out and took pictures at midnight. In Oregon it is quite different - dark by 10 PM. It looks like it is raining in Juneau.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Open Water

On the ferry from Alaska to Canada, I saw lots of open water. There are islands galore. Everywhere you look there are mountains and more mountains, accessible only by boat or sea plane. You see lots of trees and a mountain with a house down by the water.
I was hoping to see some bears waving at me but I didn't. Then it was pointed out that the water is salt water and bears will hang out at fresh water areas. That was a 'duh' moment. I knew that, it only makes sense.

I ust say that Juneau sure is a beautiful place. I feel blessed that I was able to be there for a yer. I am still not sure where I will be next year. I have been getting ideas with every stop I took in my trip back to oregon. We had sun for my first day back and that is always good.

Saw two grandkids yesterday and it sure is good to be around family.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Alaskan Inland Passage, In Oregon

I am in Oregon - finally. 3 days and 2 nights on a ferry, 1500 miles driving from Prince Rupert to Portland and I finally made it. I stayed by Mt. Baker, WA one night and in the San Juan Islands another night. I had dinner in Seattle and checked out my old stomping grounds in Tacoma, WA. I drank A LOT of coffee during the trip. In Canada, at 3 AM, they confused battery acid for coffee - strong stuff. I could not have fallen asleep even if I wanted too after that stuff.

Seattle sure is a busy place. After Juneau, I have to get used to traffic and lots of people again.

It is now past midnight and I will unload the truck tomorrow! I get to drive my hybrid starting tomorrow.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

AK Marine Highway - Juneau

The trip on the ferry was amazing - saw a whale jump. Saw porpoises, Eagles and various ports along the way. The weather was great generally. One day was cloudy.

I will put up pictures of the ship evacuation when I find it. it is hiding from me, interesting though. I met someone who filmed for 'Into the Wild' the Sean Penn movie about the guy who went to AK.

I spent Wed night in a cabin near the Canadian border (WA side) and it was awesome. Scott and Kim say hi. Ash and Brian - when are you going to visit? They were wondering.
It felt good to sleep on a futon after sleeping on the floor of a ship, which was also good.

Did I mention that the cabin would easily fit in Juneau. The trees are huge at the cabin and there is a stream right outside the door. It was just like being in Juneau as far as scenery goes.

I took the ferry to the San Juan's today, Thursday, and will spend the night here. I think I will head south tomorrow or Sat at the latest.

Great trip so far. I will be returning to Canada some time in the future to check out Whistler and the Frazier River valley. They are quite spectacular. The San Juan's are spectacular as well - what can I say, a slice of heaven. Remember: Any picture of this trip is actually about 100 times (maybe more) better in person.

The weather has been great except for one downpour in Vacouver, Canada. I think the rain was upset because I did not spend enough money there. I traveled 1000 miles in Canada in less than 24 hours. Next time, I will slow it down and check things out more. The truck is running great. People are interested in AK when they see the AK license plates.

Since I was on an island (Juneau) for a year, it is nice to drive open road again.

Did i mention that I am homeless this year? Looking for a handout. If you see me on the corner with my sign, give me a quarter please

homeless but happy

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In Canada - 1200 miles to Portland

I am in Canada. Got on the ferry in Juneau Sunday 10:30 PM and just got off Tuesday at 6:30 PM, AK time.

Canada customs checked out my truck. A single guy with a loaded truck must be up to something. Do you have guns, alcohol (3 cases of AK beer) and do you have porn were the questions. I begged them to check my external hard drives so they could see.
(My hard drive crashed 3 times while in the village so I backup on external dries because I lost my great Emmonak Village pictures with the crashes.)

My truck was unloaded 1/2 and he then apologized. I repacked it a bit better but I filled up my 2 Gig chip with pictures and have to download them into my computer but I can't find my download thingy now. (I had it set right by the drivers seat before he took everything out.)

The ferry trip was great - lots of pictures to come in the future. I just put up Mendenhall Glacier pictures from winter. They are a lot better than the shots now because Mendenhall was loaded with tourists.

The ferry trip was beautiful! Met some great folks too. I slept on the floor on a sleeping bag. I am now heading to Glacier, WA to spend a night there and then to the San Juan Islands to spend a night and then to Tacoma, WA and then to Portland where two rug rats want to wrestle.

I stopped to eat and they had wi fi so i could get on to write this.

The weather has been great! No rain - I do not have to super tarp everything so I am happy.

We did have to evacuate the ship but more on that later. (Those sirens and whistles let you know that something big is happening.)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ferry leaves in 6 hours

I will probably be offline for a couple of days or maybe longer. I get on the ferry tonight and get off the ferry Tues about noon in Canada. We have 80 degree weather and it is spectacular for sailing the inland passage. There is a slight chance of rain Monday but not severe.

The ferry people were saying that the last three years was super rainy and this is totally different than past years. We have 4 cruise ships in today and it is like Disneyland with all the people about. I went down the road to hang out on the beach but many in Juneau had the same idea and the place is packed.

So, I ended up at a bar with wifi to write this note. After I leave here, I will head out to Mendenhall Glacier one last time and then go get in line for the ferry.
Packing: I have a 3/4 ton truck with lots of room and I have a lot in it. It is funny, I pack better with a small vehicle. If I have lots of room then I fill it up.

I will take lots of pictures.


The picture is of an old mine shaft on Perseverence Trail.

Inside Passage Ferry Ride tonight!

I still have some cleaning to do at my apartment.

I get on the ferry tonight and travel to Prince Rupert BC. It is about a day and a half trip through wilderness areas. It is called the Inside Passage.

It is sunny and wonderful too! I just want to load up and go.

**Note: I will probably be offline for a while as I am traveling. I will be taking lots of pictures though so I will have lots of shots to put up when I do get back to a regular schedule.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I saw two bears today!

I leave tomorrow on the ferry. I have been packing and cleaning. It was 80 degrees and I decided to drive to the end of the road.
I saw two bears.
The first one: I was driving along and saw a bunch of bushes along the railing on the road. Then there was a black furry head among the bushes. I looked at it and it looked at me and then it hit me - That is a bear. I had the camera next to me but as soon as I went for the camera the bear was gone. It was a cub. On the way back, i walked over to where I saw the bear and I heard crashing of bushes as something was running off.

The second bear was about 5 miles towards Juneau. I was driving along and a grown black bear was along side the road eating skunk cabbage. i stopped the truck and I might have gotten a picture, The bear was pretty busy eating so he was not worried about a picture being taken. He was in the bushes so the picture might not be very good. I will check the picture later.

I still have some more cleaning and then I can load up and be gone tomorrow.

It was quite light out at 10 PM tonight.

When I left Emmonak last year, May 08, a big brown bear ran from the garbage dump to the airport to see me off. Here in Juneau, I had two black bears see me off. A bear seeing me off tradition continued this year. In Emo, we never saw bears so it was quite unusual. After the bear was seen, a call went out on the scanner and people showed up with guns to shoot the bear if it got near anyone. That bear got out of there fast though. The villagers have the right to shoot a bear that can harm a person.

Juneau - Last full day

I take off tomorrow, Sunday. I will miss Juneau. It is quite beautiful - especially with the 70 degrees and sunshine which we have had the last week. I do have the travel bug though and I am looking forward to getting on the road. The inside passage ferry trip is something I am looking forward to seeing. My plan is to just hang out on deck or sleep in the truck. I did not get a cabin. I felt if I got in a cabin, I would get tired, go to bed, fall asleep and miss first light. Sleeping in the truck almost guarantees that I will be awake when the sun comes up. I want to get a lot of pictures.

Next Year, no set plans yet. I told Juneau I might come back but we shall see. I have a camping trip with family in July and I will start looking at jobs then. I could make a good case for staying around Portland/Vancouver or Nevada or Juneau. Juneau would be easy because I enjoyed the school, kids and the winter had great snow, which I like. Then I think too: I could check out something new: East Coast, Hawaii or even a remote AK village. I will just have to sit back and wait a bit. There are a lot of new teachers looking for jobs and I want them to settle in and get jobs first. I feel very lucky to be able to sit out for a while if I so choose. I am still trying to decide where I want to retire too. I enjoy the being a long term tourist.

I am looking forward to seeing the kids and grandkids and nephews and nieces, family in general.

Today is cleaning day and tomorrow I pack up and leave. I still have a couple of hours at school to finish. When I get on the ferry, vacation begins.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Money's worth this week!

We have 4 to 6 cruise ships daily this week. WE HAVE SUNNY WEATHER AND IT IS 75 DEGREES.
The people on the cruise ships must be saying that Juneau and Alaska is heavenly. We have mountains surrounding us, glaciers, float planes, fishing boats, sail boats, clear water and good fishing. (The great fishing is 20 miles away at Hoonah.) People on cruise ships are thinking that Juneau is the best place in the world. Two weeks ago, we had rain and wind and the passengers on the cruise ships were throwing up because of the rocking motion of the ships caused by the wind and rain. The people this week will have rave reviews of the place.

Today my school had a field day and I was outside all day. I am normally tucked away in a small space with no windows. IT WAS AMAZINGLY GORGEOUS. I saw the kids of course and float planes taking off and landing, cruise ships, eagles flying around Gastineau Channel, Mountains totally surrounding Juneau with the snow melting, and 75 degrees with a mild wind. It was great. I did have a student hit his teacher so I had to walk him to his house to talk to his dad. His dad was out at the time so we walked back to the part and I made him sit and watch the kids play the activities for an hour. That little boy walked like a 100 year old man - slow, slow, slow - to his house. He was very relieved to see that his dad was not home.

Juneau is an amazing place on a sunny day. If you know of anyone on a cruise ship in SE Alaska this week - they will say glowing things.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

70 degrees

What a beautiful week. It was 65 degrees yesterday, 70 today and warmer tomorrow. Too bad I am at school - paperwork and meetings are the norm for this week. Did I mention that the last week is tiring. Paperwork sure gets old.

Juneau is a very beautiful place when the sun shines. Juneau has 4 ships in today. We have bus loads of tourists driving by my school on the way to Sandy Beach. There is a good view of Juneau from Sandy Beach in Douglas.

5 more days and I will get on the ferry to Canada. I am looking forward to 2 days of quiet on the ferry and seeing the inland passage. Everyone talks about seeing the inland passage by ferry. The drive through Canada is supposed to be pretty spectacular too. Being in Juneau, I am kind of used to spectacular.