Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 498: Blah

I don’t know what it was, but it could have been:

Knowing we're at the halfway point of our cruise.
My excitement from the quilts yesterday.
Me seeing I had 25 e-mails from work.
Hubby still not feeling well.
The rougher-than-usual seas.

Whatever it was, I got seasick last night. We had those seasickness patches with us but weren’t using them. Until last night. It wasn’t pleasant, it wasn’t fun, and it has left my day today totally messed up. So messed up that I forgot about another glacier viewing tonight.
I like the one single picture better I took today better than another glacier anyway. It's hard to see, but I like how the low clouds/fog formed on the mountain. Hanging low, kind of like me today.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 497: Full Circle

Today I was driving a Toyota Prius, a car that has some pretty specific steps that need to be taken since it’s a hybrid vehicle. (Nerve-wracking to say the least.) I had to drive that car in a tunnel. A 2.5 mile, single lane, shared-with-the-railway tunnel. A tunnel where you take turns. One end opens for a while, then they close that end and the other end opens. Back and forth all day. Not my idea of fun, but to get from Whittier, Alaska to Anchorage you have to go through this scary tunnel. And I had to get to Anchorage today.

When I started this blog some 497 days ago I couldn’t ever imagine in my wildest dreams a day like this would happen. Back then I started doing charity quilts and pillows and stockings to keep my mind off my issues and focus on doing good for others.

Today it all came full circle. Last year on a fluke I had e-mailed the Alaska chapter of Operation Kid Comfort offering help. Since then they’ve been sending me pictures on fabric of kids and their parents who are servicemen and women. I’ve been putting those pictures into quilts for those kids. As it so happened I finished some more of those quilts on Day 487 as we were getting ready to leave. But I didn’t mail those quilts like usual.
I held onto those quilts. Those quilts traveled across Oregon and Washington, into Canada, and have accompanied me on this cruise.

Until today. For today those quilts and I drove through the scary tunnel to get to the military base in Anchorage.
And I hand delivered those quilts. Dad is deployed in Afghanistan and not returning until November, but three little kiddos pointed out pictures of themselves with their dad in their own individual quilts. Mom was in tears as she hugged me, thanking me for making the quilts for her kids.

There aren’t many times I’m at a loss for words, but I’m not sure what else there is to say.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 496: College Fjord

A “Pastry Extravaganza Buffet” is a good way to start the day. The ship had a block of time when folks could take pictures of the desserts (no eating), but that picture taking time is a bad thing when you have a sweet tooth. I snapped pictures of the desserts I thought were the most spectacular and just knew I would be back to have some desserts later. When I returned the line was huge, snaking back and forth. I stood in line for a few minutes and gave up, figuring it would be slower later. Not 30 minutes later the line was gone. Hooray! Except…

The desserts were gone. Everyone had their fill and there was no more. And my oh-so-ready-to-be-satisfied sweet tooth was disappointed. Thank goodness we’ll be seeing another buffet like this one for our next 7 days. In the meantime, I can dream of good things to come.

And a great way to end the day? Cruising College Fjord. About every space between the mountains is filled with an overflowing glacier, all named after colleges. Glacier after glacier after glacier. Too many to get into the same picture, but I captured some. Many, many more are not pictured.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day 495: Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay National Park is over 3.3 million acres of forest, inlet and shore, mountain peaks, and glaciers. Wildlife is abundant, and I just barely found myself a grizzly (or is it a brown?) bear on shore.
But we’re here for the glaciers. Unlike glaciers in the lower 48, those in the park are retreating and advancing. One of Alaska’ most photographed features is the Margerie Glacier.
Why does the ice look so blue? When light hits highly compacted ice, long wavelength colors (reds) are absorbed and short wavelength colors like blues reflect back through the ice to our eyes. You might even catch some black. Makes for an interesting look.
The glaciers can move over five feet a day so seeing a glacier calving is common. It sounds like the crack of a bat when it’s about ready to fall. You have to be fast to snap a picture, but I did manage one.
We also viewed the Lamplugh Glacier. This one even had caves in it.
When you get a close up look at icebergs, they're pretty darn amazing. One might be a big chunk and the next one a group of pieces that have found their way to each other.
Even more amazing is that a cruise ship can pass through this:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day 494: Skagway

The population of Skagway is 968. During the summer season it doubles, but back during the height of the gold rush the population of Skagway was as high as 30,000.
In comparison to Ketchikan’s 152 inches of rain a year, Skagway averages 27 inches.

The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad – built during the Klondike Gold Rush – is an “International Civil Engineering Landmark” and shares honors with the Eiffel Tower, the Panama Canal, and the Statue of Liberty.
Since we’ve ridden the railroad more than once we skipped it this time around. We did lots of other things. I went swimming again, all alone in the deserted pool. We went into town to find the quilt shop.
When I walked in I realized I had been in there on my last trip. That didn’t stop me from buying some penguin fabric at 50% off.
We hunted down a Thai food place that was supposed to be delicious (and devoid of tourists). Several of the ship’s crew members were eating in there. While I snapped a picture our egg roll appetizers I neglected to take one of our sweet and sour chicken as we dug in before I even thought about it.

But the picture that did me in? It wasn’t the beautiful view on the way up to the Yukon Territory.

It wasn’t the bear that was so close to the window that I couldn’t get a picture of the whole thing.

It was this one right here. Oh God. Take a step. Oh God. Take a step. Oh God. Take a step. But boy, such a beautiful picture!

Why all the Oh God-ing? Well it would be because that picture came from standing in the middle of this bridge:

This afternoon was the time to overcome my fear of heights. I walked all the way to one side of the suspension bridge and all the way back across the same bridge. No one to hold my hand, no one to cheer me on. Just me and my fears. (Did you know suspension bridges move when people walk on them? Yikes.) But whew, check that one off my list!