Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ferry Life (part one)

It's a dog's life:
They say love grows best in little places...and that is certainly put to the test in a tiny cabin aboard a ferry for a 6 day stretch with only a total of about 5 port calls. Hands down, the one to suffer the most are the fur-babies who have to spend that time below deck with a max of about 4 pet calls per day. During those calls, you suddenly ask them to break all the "house rules" and now go to the bathroom inside, while being distracted by all the other dogs, skirting tie-downs, and squeezing between cars. All of this is to happen in 15 minutes max. What's amusing is how desperate people get to have their pets "go", and the bragging rights of the first "master" to get thier dog to go. (Not to brag, but we are the proud owners of the "early goers" trophy). Ha! 

All of the sudden the others are desperately asking where the dog went and if we have any advice. Luckily our fur baby caught on rather quickly, and followed our commands well, so we where able to love on him in the extra time we had. His only real issue being that he was being treated like a dog and not a human. ;)

Being prepared is key:
On our first Alaska gulf crossing, we where not quite prepared and we spent a ridiculous amount of money in the galley on board. While the food is adequate, it's nothing to write home about and certainly not worth the price (although the sticker shock has greatly deminished after living on Kodiak for 3 years). This trip, we decided to be smarter and more prepared and so far, it has really paid off. 

We brought aboard a box and cooler of food. We packed the box with mostly non-perishables like cereal, cup of noodle, hamburger helper cups, oatmeal, popcorn, cereal bars, shelf-stable milk, etc. The cooler sported some fresh deli meat, cheeses, mayo, and juice...leaving room for ginger-ales and waters. We also made a grocery run right before boarding and picked up bread, tortilla shells and bananas. While all of that was a necessity, our true "ace" was our road-kit. 

No...not a normal road kit, this one consisted of our mini-Keurig, coffee, cider, & sweetener. The mini-Keurig is perfect for making coffee and oatmeal or cups of noodles. So far, this preparedness has helped us eat breakfast and lunch in the room and only partaking of galley food for dinner at our choice.
(Road kit)

Port Calls

The port calls are little snippets of sanity interspersed throughout the trip. This is when you are generally able to get off the boat and walk your pet (or yourself). Since our ferry was late, many of the port calls where cut much shorter than originally planned, but at least it's nice to see the different places. Our 1st stop was Chenega Bay, followed by Whittier in the wee hours of the morning. CH Bay sported a beautiful church and other beautiful sights. In Whittier, only man & dog disembarked for a potty break, but I was able to snap some pics from the boat.
(Port and car deck call board)^
(Chenega Bay)^
(Whittier) ^

After Whittier, we slept through Yakutat since it was also in the wee hours and we remembered it being a very tiny port where everything was likely to be closed. We then sailed on for Juneau as the day dawned beautifully....

Monday, April 14, 2014

Rocky Start leaving "The Rock"

Transfer time is often fraught with setbacks and complications...and this one was no different. Our challenges started before the pack out stage, this time, and continued. The most recent to hit has been on departure day. First, our son jammed his fingers throwing the football with his dad. Since it puffed up and turned a pretty shade of purple, mom instincts kicked in and we ended up in the ER for X-rays, just in case. Thankfully it was just a jam...(although I had to endure the "I told you so"-s from dad).

Before those mom instincts kicked in, we got a call that the ferry we where due to depart on was delayed until the wee hours if the morning. Therefore, we ended up paying for a night in a hotel for a few hours of sleep (and sanity)...worth it. 

Even with these setbacks, we are not discouraged. A friend passed on a secret recipe I have waited 3 yrs for, another friends stopped by to say goodbye, the hotel was much nicer than the one we had been staying in, and on the way to the hospital...we where blessed with a rainbow. So, that HAD to mean it's all going to be alright....

After all the challenges, we have cooled our heels for the last 2 hours in the cars waiting for our ride. Even in the dark,she was a beautiful and exciting sight pulling in.

As we wait to board her, I can't help but think about Kodiak and how fortunate we where to be stationed here. It is not our "forever" place, but it was a pretty awesome "for now" place and we will miss so much about it. Goodbye Kodiak, we leave a piece of our hearts here too....

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Leaving Alaska: On the road again

We enjoyed 3, pretty-great years in Kodiak, AK. We have already decided that we will miss summer midnight sunshine, the eagles and wildlife, lack of traffic, and the friends we made here among other things...but, alas it is time to pack up and head out to our next adventure.

Our next exciting adventure will take us back across the country to the Jersey shore. We'll start our trip this time aboard the Kennicott which is part of the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system. We arrived 3 yrs ago aboard the same ferry, and tonight we'll reverse the trip a little wiser and more "seasoned". Stay tuned for the next adventure...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Day 9 and on…

We left Cody, WY by way of Montana and after traveling some dirt roads and apparent back-roads, we finally joined the interstate again and made good time through Idaho and then on into Washington where we unpacked for our last week in the lower 48.

We spent the last few days in the lower 48 in Seattle. We went to a 3D movie, showed the kids the space needle, explored the Market and the 1st Starbucks (a highlight for us avid coffee drinkers)

We also explored the Boeing Factory outside of Seattle, explored the waterfront, and drove by the Seahawks Stadium several times. After about a week in Seattle, we left and headed North to Bellingham, Washington and towards the Alaska Marine Highway (aka Alaska Ferry).

Day 7-8

We spent the next couple of days in Cody, WY. We explored the Buffalo Bill Historical museum and firearm museum, ate in Buffalo Bills old restaurant and hotel the Irma, got all dudded up in cowboy gear, and explored the Buffalo Bill/Cody Dam.

We had a fun few days, despite the never-ending rain fall (which apparently never happens unless we are in Wyoming, lol). However, our exit from Cody did not go as hoped since we where barred from our next destination, Yellowstone, due to record snowfall and threats of avalanche. So, we left Cody after that last day and detoured around.

Day 6: A Summer Surprise

We left Mt. Rushmore and headed into Wyoming bright and early. Soon after passing into Wyoming, our route took us into the Big Horn National Forest. As we began an ascent up the mountain range of Big Horn, we where barraged with…Snowflakes! It was snowing in June! We climbed trough hairpin turns and sheer drop-offs playing "duck, duck, goose" with the salt truck most of the way to the summit. My family was delighted and even bailed from the car a few times to dance in the snow and check out the views…

After the summit, we began our descent and ended up hiking, checking out waterfalls, and anything else that caught our eye as we made our way to our night's destination of Cody, WY. After descending the mountain, the terrain turned more desert-like and we entered Cody rather late in the day. We ended the day eating at a Roadhouse, named Cassie's General Store that was famed to be a former "House of Ill Repute" (or a whorehouse for short). We retired that night to a wood paneled hotel room that had a horse farm in the back and rested up for the next couple of days.

Alaska Bound: Days 4-5

Mount Rushmore:

We spent all the next two days of our adventure at a national landmark…Mount Rushmore. We wanted our children to fully remember this portion of the trip, so we headed into the park and spent hours exploring. We then returned that night to watch the "lighting" of Mt. Rushmore which was a breathtaking and spectacular sight to behold. My husband was even honored to be asked to help retire the colors. 

We spent the next day exploring around Mt. Rushmore and even did a little hiking on the trails around the park. Our time in Mt. Rushmore was well spent and we retired that night to ready for our next adventure.