Alaska Day 4: Mush! Mush!

My entire family (me, mom, 2 aunts, 2 uncles, and 1 cousin) all took a cruise recently to Alaska. Now that we are home and have a stable internet connection, here are long travelogues from the trip, complete with pictures.

~Lynda

Today was FAN-FREAKIN’-TASTIC. Today was the one excursion I was DYING to go on. The Dog Sled Experience. I had to be on the pier at 7:20 to meet my group, and, once again, no one at Princess or with the tour groups had ANY idea what the heck is going on or where anyone was supposed to be. 

Once on the tram though…

I met Tim. Tim was our driver. He was funny and friendly and made everyone feel comfortable and welcome, and gave the impression he really loved what he does. He picked us up in the tram, and we headed to “base 1.” 

 

Base 1 is the lowest of the area owned by this dog sled group. It is a small camp with pens for the puppies (OMG THE PUPPIES!), a lecture area, and a small gift shop, and a couple of bathrooms. That’s pretty much it.  From there we took this weird vehicle. I never got the name of it, but it looks like all those military transport vehicles you see in movies. You know the ones. Where the Big Evils go and pull back the tarps to reveal the crates of guns, but instead…BIG DAMN HEROES WITH GUNS! Yeah, that. But without the tarps. And OMG was it COLD. So up another 900 feet of altitude, to the next area. 

 

From here we get off the off-road vehicle and get into this thing that looks like a 6-seater dune buggy or golf cart, but without the engine. Attached are 16-17 dogs. SMALL dogs. I KNOW! I was as surprised as you, but these dogs only weighed about 50 pounds or so EACH. My aunt’s Springer is probably larger than these dogs. I KNOW my uncle’s Goldens are. But these dogs just whipped us around like we weighed nothing. And they did it laughing. These dogs wanted nothing more than to RUN FAST! RUN FAR! CAN WE PULL SOMETHING?? HUH?? HUH?? CAN WE?? PLEEEEEEEEEEASE?????

 

After the run, we got to meet our dogs, and they were beautiful, and you could see such personality in their eyes. I do have to say, though…it was FREEZING!!!! And after the ride up the hill, I was already cold, so this didn’t help. LOL. 

 

Once back down the road, again freezing my butt off, we got to hear one of the women talk about the Iditerod and what equipment they’re all required to carry, and what the dogs eat, how often they rest, etc. I also got to “meet” an Iditerod veteran. He was very sweet and willing to pose for pictures.

And then the puppies. OMG THE PUPPIES!!!! SO FREAKIN’ CUTE. They were about 8 weeks old, and into EVERYTHING. If they could reach it and bite it, they were gonna keep it, even if they had to pull it off you to do so. LOLOL. At one point I had a dog chewing on each leg of my jeans. LOL. They were adorable, though. The whole litter (5? 6? of them) were named after chess pieces. So we had Rook, Bishop, Knight, King, and (the only girl) Queen. I think that’s all of them. I may have missed one in the OMG THE PUPPIES!!!! frothing. 

 

Here’s Tour Guide Tim with one of the puppies.

On the way back to the ship, I saw a few interesting things. One is this street sign. Apparently when you pay for a street in Alaska, you get to  name it. This one was done years ago, and, unbelievably, the sign isn’t stolen that often!

Then a little bit farther down the road we saw this guy. All I could think was how much he looked like Sam the Eagle. LOL 

I was back on the ship by about 11:00. We waited around and all went to lunch, then back to the cabin for a well-deserved nap. 

Once again we ate in “our” dining room (Bernini) and once again I’m kind of unimpressed. The selection is decent, they have interesting things, and the wait staff is unparalleled, but the problem is almost everything has nuts (which will kill me) or chicken (which will make me wish I had eaten the nuts). Tonight was the spaghetti & meatballs which was okay. Liked the pasta at Sabatini’s so much better. After dinner it was another pina colada for me, and back to the room for a bit.

The ORIGINAL plan was for Aunt K and Uncle J and Uncle Dr J to meet us in front of the Vista Lounge for this song and dance muscial thing. Sounded like fun! Until…Aunt K called our cabin and said something to mom about Cousin A falling getting out of the jacuzzi and she had to go to medical. That was it. All we heard. So Uncle Dr J and mom and I went on to Vista ALLLL the way at the very end of the ship. Our rooms are near the FRONT of the ship. It was a long hike…only to find out there was no second performance of the show. 

Greaaaat. I called Uncle J and Aunt K and Cousin A’s room, but no answer, so I left a message and we went on to the comedy show…which was in the Princess Theater…2 floors directly under our stateroom. *sigh* He was funnier than I expected, even though he, like most male comedians, think the best jokes are centered around dicks or Viagra.

We cut out a few minutes before the end, because we knew from experience if we didn’t get to the elevator right away we’d be there for another half hour at least. When we got back to the room, I called Cousin A’s room, but no answer, so I left a message for them to call no matter what time. I called down to Medical and she said she left a few minutes ago.

I hang up the phone, and it rings immediately. My Aunt K. Apparently my Cousin, Miss Grace herself, was getting out of the jacuzzi and walking down the wooden stairs next to it, when she tripped or slipped or something on the last step. Now, for most people, this wouldn’t be a problem, but she managed to step on something and slice open the bottom of her toe, scrape up a few other toes, and even break one of them. Two days before she’s supposed to go salmon fishing. LOL. She’s mobile and okay, which is why I can mock her mercilessly.

But you can bet her mother, who broke her foot on the last cruise they went on together, will have one or two things to say to her as payback for all the rude comments and lack of sympathy Cousin A gave Aunt K back then. LOL

Okay, it’s now 11:30 and I have to get up at 5:45. *gulp* Glacier Bay tomorrow, so it’ll be worth it, but still…5:45!!! AM!!!! That’s MORNING!!!!!! I’m so glad I bought an extra Diet Dr Pepper the other day. It’s gonna be one of those mornings. LOL.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish Out Of On The Water
aka Fish With Sticks 

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Alaska Day 3: Juneau & The Whales

My entire family (me, mom, 2 aunts, 2 uncles, and 1 cousin) all took a cruise recently to Alaska. Now that we are home and have a stable internet connection, here are long travelogues from the trip, complete with pictures.

~Lynda

Today was an adventure! It started with mom, Uncle Dr J and I heading to the dock in Juneau at about 11:00 a.m. We were REALLY early for our excursions, but wanted to make sure we got where we were going. Found a nice bench to sit on, and just people watched. I ran into the “general store” there and found some Christmas ornaments (I collect them when I travel) and some bottles of water and soda. STILL no Diet Dr Pepper, though. *sigh* I’m starting to wonder if I have a teensy tiny addiction? Maybe?

After a while, Uncle Dr J left for his excursion. He had a variation on ours. We were just doing a whale watching tour on Juneau Bay, but he was doing a Mendenhall Glacier “Photo Safari” first, so he was on a different boat. 

Mom and I found where were supposed to go, with no help from the Princess employees or the tour guides *rolls eyes*, but we got there in the end. We met a really nice couple (Brad and Barb) who were both charming and helpful. The whale watching tour was, for the most part, uneventful. We did get to see a number of Humpback whales come up and then flip their tales (or show their flukes, according to the naturalist on board).

Photo courtesy of Uncle Dr J

Lots of pretty scenery, though, and a great look at how large the bay really is. We also got to see a couple of glaciers (Howard and…um….yeah….) and a whole PILE of seals. Literally. A pile. And they are LOUD. They weigh up to 800 pounds EACH, so ow you have an idea of scale. LOL.

Once we got back to the dock, Uncle J and Cousin A picked up mom and took her back to her room, and I went on to the Mt. Roberts Tramway. It was a $29 “excursion” which is just an aerial tram that takes you up the side of the mountain in front of the pier. There’s a fantastic gift shop up there, as well as some other things to do, including hiking, but I really just went for the photo ops and the shopping. *grin* and I scored on both counts. 

 

On the walk back from the Tramway, I found the Alaska Commercial Fishermen’s Memorial. It was a really wonderful memorial. It’s this little half-circle with a few stone benches and names engraved in the wall. It’s a quiet, peaceful little spot which looks out over the water. 

As I turned to leave, I spotted this wonderful cross. It hangs on the railing facing the very center of the memorial, and, while I’m not usually a big fan of religious icons of any sort, I thought this was beautiful and perfect.

Tonight’s dinner was at Sabatini’s. Italian all the way. Very tasty, and excellent service, but really, I have yet to find anything to top the Crown Grill and their S’mores desserts. Although, I DID find something that would be a very close second. It was the Peanut Butter Cup at the International Cafe. It’s a little espresso cup filled with the lightest, creamiest peanut butter pudding EVER, and topped with this really delicate chocolate mousse. OMG YUM.

Next up: DOG SLEDS! 

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka Fish Out of On the Water

 

Alaska Day 2: A Day At Sea

My entire family (me, mom, 2 aunts, 2 uncles, and 1 cousin) all took a cruise recently to Alaska. Now that we are home and have a stable internet connection, here are long travelogues from the trip, complete with pictures.

~Lynda

Today is our first full day on the ship, and it’s a day at sea. We don’t get to Juneau until tomorrow, I believe, but I’d have to check…and right now I’m nice and cozy sitting on the bed. LOL. 

Mom and I got up early and had croissants in our room, and just slowly took our time getting ready. No rush, and, in fact, I actually went back to sleep for another half hour. LOL. We finally got a call from Uncle J and Aunt K that they were heading up to breakfast. Uncle Dr J had already left to go take photos, although, with the weather, there really wasn’t much outside to take pictures of. Aunt J was reading, but said she’d go up with Mom and me. A family breakfast it is!

Uncle Dr J took a break from taking photos to join us, and after breakfast we all wandered around the ship a bit. Got to see the tail end, and went up into the Skywalkers club to see the views from the highest public point on the ship. Beautiful. Would have been spectacular if we had seen any sun.

We found our embarkation photo. Well, sort of. Mom and I went in a different way separate from everyone, so they didn’t take our picture. I bought one of the group of Uncle J, Aunt K, Cousin A, Aunt J and Uncle Dr J. Between them they’re holding a 24-pack of Bud Light and 6 bottles of wine. We won’t talk about what’s in the “water” bottle. *grin* Let’s just agree that everyone knows it’s not really water. We also saw the photos the photographer took at dinner last night. Mom’s wasn’t very good, and Uncle J looks like he should be twirling his moustache talking about the dastardly deeds he’ll be doing later. Aunt K’s picture was beautiful, but she photographs well anyway. I picked up my picture, because it wasn’t too bad. Mom really loves it. I wish I had the time to remove my glasses.

We wandered in and out of some of the shops, and it ended with everyone going their separate ways. Cousin A went with me to one of the bar areas and I FINALLY got my first drink! The Ultimate Mai Tai. Now, I’m not big on mai tais in general, but this one is AMAZING. Too bad the server tried to kill me with nuts. LOL

We’ve made reservations to go back to the Crown Grill on the night we’re in Victoria. I’m already planning my meal. LOL And wondering if I can get 2 S’mores desserts. *grin* I bet I could.

I’m doing TONS of walking on this cruise. I’m trying to not say no to something just because I’d have to walk there. Although, I AM tired of being hot and sweaty. LOL. Later this afternoon is Bingo, then back to the room to get dressed for Formal Night. We’re taking pictures. I’ve insisted. 

****************

L-Y-N-D-A and BINGO was her name OH!

Yup. That’s right. I won Bingo. $200, baybeeeee! My cousin won $400, so YAY for Team FishWithSticks! My Uncle J and Aunt K…Zippo. Uncle J says every time he plays with Cousin A, she wins and he loses. LOL. Bingo again in a few days. Maybe I’ll try my hand at Roulette tonight. I do well with Roulette.

After Bingo was Trivia. Yeah, we sucked. Did you know a baby porcupine is called a porcupette? Who knew? Well, apparently the team behind us, because they got it right. LOL. We got 15 out of 20 right. Would have been 17 (and the winning team) if we had only listened to Uncle J. LOL. Ah, well. Next time.

Formal night was tonight, so before we went in to dinner we got our pictures taken. I really hope they came out, because we all looked gooooood. Our dinner was at our “regular” dining room, Bernini. It was good. Crown Grill was better, of course, but still tonight was tasty. Most of our table had Shrimp Newburg, and it was good. I OD’d on shrimp, as I had the Shrimp Cocktail appetizer, too. 

Then at 9:30 at night we went back to the room where I took a picture of the sky before sunset. When I travel north I’m always amazed at how different the light is. Pretty chilly out there on the balcony, though. *grin* Especially as I was not wearing a jacket. Brrr.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka Fish Out of On the Water

Alaska Day 1: Bon Voyage

My entire family (me, mom, 2 aunts, 2 uncles, and 1 cousin) all took a cruise recently to Alaska. Now that we are home and have a stable internet connection, here are long travelogues from the trip, complete with pictures.

~Lynda

Today, a day of travel, has been an excruciatingly long day, and it’s only 5:30 pm. LOL

It started out with my alarm at 3:45 in the morning. Any day that begins HOURS before the sun rises is sure to be long. LOL Luckily mom and I had packed, and packed well, and were on the road by 5:30…exactly when we said we would. We met Aunt J and Uncle Dr J at the airport. I was worried my luggage was going to be WAY over weight, as it felt really heavy, but when Uncle Dr J took it out of the car, he commented on how light it was. Turns out: 37 pounds. WHOO HOO! We had to laugh when we got to the dock, though, because we thought we lost mom’s suitcase. Turned out it was so small we couldn’t see it behind everyone else’s.

We got the wheelchair for mom, and headed to the gate. These airline escorts go through that place like they’re in a race! Cousin A upgraded herself to first class…the brat…Mom, Aunt J and I were on one side of the aisle, and Uncle Dr J was in the window seat across from us. Uncle J (not to be confused with Uncle Dr J) and Aunt K were WAAAAAY in the back.

The flight was uneventful, and then…SeaTac. Ahh, SeaTac. How I loathe you so. It took a couple long walks, and 2 stops on a train, and then another LOOOONG walk before we were able to find the taxi stand. 

Next dilemma: 7 people…8 large suitcases…6 decent sized carryons…and a Prius taxi. Umm…No. So we got them to send a Yellow Cab van, and while I wouldn’t want to take a road trip this way, it wasn’t bad. From the airport we headed to a state-run liquor store for the booze. Unfortunately, it’s May 26 and on June 1 Washington is doing away with state-run liquor stores and allowing the grocery stores to carry hard liquor. So…no one has any. LOL We got some wine and some gin at the liquor store, then headed to a Safeway for the beer. Cousin A emptied out 2 large water bottles and filled them with the gin. *grin* That’s one water bottle you DON’T want to gulp from. At some point we started referring to it as the Holy Water. 

Check in on the ship was relatively smooth. Aunt J and Uncle Dr J have the room next to us, and we had our Stateroom Steward, the fabulous Rosalie, open up the door between the balconies. We’ve Mustered ourselves (security lecture/life-preserver lessons), obtained our souvenir glasses for our drink packages, and we’ve been to the cafe for a little snack. By that time it was 4:00 and the last thing we ate was breakfast sandwiches at 6:30 am. We were STARVED.

Everyone’s in their own staterooms now. Mom’s napping on the sofa. We have the sliding door open and the water is beautiful. We’re still within sight of land, and I believe we will be most of the night. Well, I’m off to nap for about a half hour before we have to get ready to go to dinner. 

Later: Crown Grill for Dinner.

Next Up: A day at sea. Should be wonderful and relaxing. I can’t wait.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka Fish Out of On the Water

Knitterly Adventures (#2 of 30)

This summer I’ve had a few Knitterly Adventures. I was going to put them all in today’s post, but…hey! I’ve got 28 more days to go! I’m gonna drag this puppy out as far as it’ll go. LOLOL.

One of the things I did this summer was take a trip to WEBS. Oh. My. God. WEBS. This was the entrance to heavennirvana…the store…

And unlike last time, it wasn’t 107 degrees with a non-knitter and two dogs waiting for me in the car. I had all the time in the world, as I was with a crocheter (mom) and another knitter. We spent way too much there, but oh was it worth it. The Madelinetosh alone. *swoon* And the Noro! On sale! BAGS of Noro!

If you’ve never been to the wonder that is WEBS, here are pictures of the inside. The place is so big, I had to take two pictures. And that doesn’t show the back room. And by “room” I mean “warehouse-like cavernous space full of yarn.”

Here’s the left side…

…and the right side…

Mom and I also went to an Alpaca farm. The people at Marlee Farm Alpacas were wonderful! Very friendly and informative, and best of all we got to walk among the alpacas! And even feed them! That’s mom’s hand, by the way. I talked her into going with me, and she had just as much fun as I did. 

She had no idea how cute they were up close until we went. 

I mean, seriously…How cute are they? And they were all very friendly and sweet and willing to let us pet them. They might have been looking for food, but I choose to believe they just liked us. LOL.

Those faces! I just can’t get over them. Soooo cute.

Okay. Tomorrow should be Vogue Knitting Live! Franklin Habit! Weird Knitted Items!

Signed,
Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks
aka 2 Down and 28 to Go  

Day 8: A Wedding

One of my pals, Emma, is getting married in two weeks! It’s sudden, in that she didn’t expect to be getting married quite this quickly, but it’s a long time coming, in that she and her Soon-to-be-DH Tony have been together for quite a while.

They’re getting married in Vegas, and I’ll be going. I’m kind of excited. LOL I haven’t been to Vegas since I was about 13, and I hear it’s changed a little bit since then. LOL. Two of my friends might be going with me, and it’ll be a fun, quick girl’s weekend if they can both make it. I hope they can.

Any suggestions for things to do/see in Vegas if you’re only going to be there for 2 days?

Lynda the Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

C is for…

Columbia Gorge, Oregon. 

These pictures are from my first trip to Oregon right after my best friend Cyn moved there. I still can’t believe she’s not living here in L.A. And damn it, I miss her!


We took a drive through the Columbia Gorge region, and had a great time. These amazing waterfalls are freakishly close to the major highway through the area. 

These last two pictures are from the famous Multnomah Falls

And if you click for the large photo, and look closely, you can see the teeny tiny people standing on the bridge. That should give you an idea of the sheer size of Multnomah Falls. And like so much of Oregon, it’s a beautiful and friendly place. 

Lynda the Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks
 

As Promised…

Alpacas!!!!

While in Portland for Cyn‘s surgery, we made our annual pilgrimage to pet the Alpacas at Cascade Alpacas. Unfortunately, Tom and Connie weren’t there this time, but their son was, and he was just as friendly as his parents.

The Alpacas were wonderful (as always) and sooo soft and friendly (click for big)…


They refrained from eating Bobblehead Nora (for which I’m grateful!)…


Look! A baby!…


Just taking it easy…


But BOY do they shed! I mean, look at what I found on my clothes when I got home!

On the way back we stopped at a few viewpoints and Bobblehead Nora took in the view…


We THINK this is Mt. St. Helens. We’re not sure, though, because we thought it was Mt. Hood until we turned away from it and in the direction of Portland and we were staring at Mt. Hood. LOLOL…

As we were driving into the sun and any time you put this Guppy in sunshine she channels her inner feline, we pulled over so I could get out and take in some fresh (and COLD!) air at Multnomah Falls…


Then on to Vista House!…


Where Bobblehead Nora once again charmed the locals…


On the way back, we took a weird turn and ended up driving surface streets for a little ways, and discovered Troutdale…


And when we passed through, Cyn insisted we turn back. How could we possibly drive through and not let Nora enjoy the Big Bronze Moose…


And then back to Chez Cyn where we relaxed, I cooked, and we stayed up late, as we had been doing. The next day, though, I headed home to GuppyVille. I really miss having Cyn around where I can see her whenever I want. And I have to say, surgery aside, this is one of the best trips I’ve had up there. We didn’t do a whole lot, but we just relaxed and watched movies and didn’t have a breakneck schedule. And the weather was just about perfect. I think next year an October trip is definitely the way to go.

Lynda the Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

Second Star to the Right…

…And Straight On ‘Till Morning….

Okay, so maybe I’m not heading to Neverland, but I am leaving tomorrow night to go visit Cyn. She’s having a bit of surgery, and I’m going up to be Chaperone/Designated Driver/Drug Pusher/And All Around GoferGuppy. 

I’m planning lots of DVD watching and Knitting to take place this weekend. And possibly even some napping. Weird, isn’t it, that I’m traveling to another state to have a weekend of doing nothing. LOL. 

Don’t worry, though, the surgery is relatively simple and done as an outpatient thing, so it shouldn’t be too traumatic. 

I’ll keep you posted!

Lynda the Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks
 

Looking Back…

3 years ago today, my cousin Allison and I were just pulling into the parking lot here at Loop Head lighthouse in Ireland…

 Loop Head, Ireland, 2005

…When we heard the news of the bombings in London. And we knew her brother Greg was planning on taking the Chunnel from Paris to London that day and we were trying to decide which was better: calling her parents to wake them in the wee hours of the morning to tell them about the bombings, and knowing that Greg was probably fine? Or wait a little bit, let them sleep a little longer, and risk them turning on the TV to find out themselves?

For what it’s worth, we opted to wake them up, and Greg arrived safely in London later that day.

Lynda the Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks