Resurrection Day – Alaska Day 3

There was a Russian captain that was in a very bad storm and was forced to retreat into the bay in the Golf of Alaska. When the storm settled it was Easter Sunday so the bay and nearby Resurrection River were named in honor of it.

And that is where our third day started.   As I type this, I am a day behind, I have been caught up in the exictement of our Alaska adventure!

The Boat at the Holgate Glacier

At the Holgate Glacier 

We spent the entire afternoon riding a tour boat around Resurrection Bay.  Just 10 minutes into the journey we encountered a pod of Killer Whales (Orcas).  Living in East Tennessee just doesn’t prepare you for the shock and thrill of seeing so large an animal come up out of the water and then dive again.  The ocean here must be full of them, because we saw them almost immediately upon starting our tour.  For the next several hours we had one surprise after another.  Approaching rocks jutting out of the water we saw a small colony of Stellar sea lions.  The large male had a harem surrounding him as he raised his head into the air, his body dwarfing all the females.  We then entered another fjord (a narrow, deep bay carved by a glacier), where we encountered humpback whales that would come to the surface and we could see their spouts from their blow holes, the curve of their back, and a few times the tail waving at us as they dove.  A special treat greeted us later as we saw a Killer Whale breech (jumping out of the water showing his entire body).  Too quick to capture on a photo but still very amazing.  At the foot of Holgate glacier, we saw a Black bear walking along the shore and Harbor seals lying on shards of ice.  Bald Eagles, Tufted puffins, seagulls, and other animals surrounded us almost everywhere we went.

God’s creation is amazing and we were able to see a bunch of animals and amazing scenery in a short time that we have never seen in the wild in our lives.

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Alaska Day 2 Priorities 

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Laughing until peeing in my pants kind of day. Well, almost. (I took care of that problem years ago when I had cancer and they had to remove all my “woman parts) but I could have peed in my pants.

No, it was not because of the friendly people here in Alaska, or the amazing coffee that they serve everywhere in Anchorage. Or when we were leaving with rental van from Avis car lot, Gordon started driving the wrong way on a One Way street, not once, but a couple of times. Or after seeing the faces of the people that were looking at us, doing sign Languages trying to tell us that we were about to died. Although, that was also priceless.

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After spending the whole day, in my dream state, seeing gorgeous mountains with snow tops, rivers, ocean, waterfalls, enjoying all that God has created, I have to say that dinner with my family, my mother in law and her husband was the most fulfilled, fun time of the day. We cracked jokes, we laughed loud, we ate a bunch, and we cried laughing.
God made us for relationships, God made us to love each other. God made us to enjoy all that he has created. And we are!
Love Alaska

But love my family more!

Family in Alaska

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Up for 25 hrs and counting…Alaska…

I was up before 4:00 am this morning to get ready to drive to Atlanta to take the plane that will take us to a place that I have longed for so long to visit. The plane was a Boeing 757, with tons of movies to choose from. I was on introvert heaven.  After a 7 hours plane ride,  numb legs and numb  butt  (Next time, must wear compression socks) ,  we landed on Anchorage. First thing Natalia says to me, “Mom, look there is a big city here, we are going to have stores and bathrooms.!”    I don’t remember when I told her that we weren’t. 348A1480

The photo above was taken at 10:00 PM, from our hotel window, the Sheraton in Downtown. We were welcomed by the Chugach Mountains and a moose.  I cried. I couldn’t believe I was finally here.

We took a taxi and headed to our Sheraton hotel in downtown. By the grace of God, we survived a 20 mins drive in a sardine can.  Do not attempt to get 6 people with 7 luggages into a taxi ever again. It was epic but we laughed.

The dinner was provided by the famous Humpy’s Alaskan Alehouse and all of their fish is fresh. To make things more amazing,  their TV’s had the Tour Of California on.

It’s almost midnight, here in Anchorage, Alaska, my brain is fried. I need sleep. I can still see the sun.

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11:30PM Downtown Anchorage May 20th, 2017

 

Over and out.

 

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“If you look like the passport picture, you probably need the trip.” Alaska, take me away!

In less than 24 hours, we will be arriving to a place that I’ve been longing to see for 50 years! To prepare, we have watched countless episodes of Life Below Zero on Netflix. The more I watch, the more I wonder if I should take my camping gear instead. It has taken us months of preparation for this trip.  I got my winter jacket, my gloves, my hat, my new Canon 5D Mark iii with all the lenses, memory cards and my hiking boots. I think I am ready! Hoping I can buy the Alaskan Ulu knife when I get there. I almost ordered it on Amazon but wasn’t sure if the Airport Security would let me pass it. After all, I have all my toiletry in a plastic clear bag.

Natalia’s expectations:

She is very excited about this trip. But I have hidden from her, all that I learned from Life Below Zero. She doesn’t know that there might be grizzly bears chasing her, she doesn’t know that they eat Russian rats (Muskrats) not just salmon and she doesn’t know that most people have red foxes as pets, not just Alaskan Husky. I am praying she doesn’t get too mad at me.
I better get going here. I haven’t had the chance to practice shooting my rifle in case we encounter a grizzly or a caribou. Because it is a remote area, we don’t know where or when we will find our next meal.

Pray for us!

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The Power of Just Do It.

This morning was like every other morning. My body wakes up around 4:00AM while my mind is still asleep. I was supposed to ride my mountain bike at 6:00AM before going to the gym for my crossfit workout but, the weather had other plans. I struggled on what to do, should I clean the house?, organize my messy closet, clean the bikes or just ride in the rain. Since I can’t keep track of time; due to a mountain bike accident few years ago; it seem that the time to head to the gym flew by. My trainer killed me, as usual, and then I was supposed to do my cardio workout, bike or not bike. run or not run. I drove to the trail and only a few cars were brave enough to be there. It was sprinkling and i had only slept 5 hours. I sat in the car for few minutes (I think..) and noticed that the train was stopped there too. There was a man in the drivers seat and another man outside the train checking the exterior . And the rain continued falling. I sat in my car watching them as they were working. It was very early morning but they seemed to have been working for hours, or days!

The Tweetsie singing in the rain

As I took a deep breath, I opened the door of my 4Runner (Just like we as cyclists talk about our bikes, we 4Runner’ owners have to talk about our cars); pressed the “start” button of my Garmin watch and proceeded to run on the Tweetsie Trail. As I passed the train, i greeted them with my usual Good morning with huge smile like I don’t care that the drizzling is now a storm, well not that bad just yet but it felt that way in my tired cold body. I consoled myself by thinking about my great grandfather (Actually, my hubby’s grandfather). George Williams, he was once a conductor for the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Train (Or The Tweetsie). He started as the “water boy” around the 1910’s and worked his way up to be a conductor until he retired in 1945, then Tweetsie was retired in 1950. The existence of his whole family depended on the railroad. He worked very long hours for days, 16-18 hours a day. How did he do it?
I sometimes think that they didn’t have a choice. They had families, they needed to provide for and they just did it.
I feel my socks getting wet, my plan was running six easy miles; I looked at my watch and I am at .8 of a mile and now feeling hungry. I have had a protein shake at 6:30AM for breakfast with my coffee but that was long burned off by the time I finished Crossfit. I kept running on what now was puddles of water, i wanted to just head back to the car but I knew that if I did I wasn’t going to have another chance to run today. I kept pressing on, now completely soaked, one foot after the other one. I passed some ladies that were taking covered under a bridge and one said to me: “can you believe this? it sucks!” she said. Then I smiled really big and said, “at least it’s not hot!”
They laughed, I could tell they were “menopauseic” women just like me. Then while thinking about my great grandfather working for about 35 years, 7 days a week and all day, I press on to the finish line of the Tweetise Trail. In case you don’t know where the finish line of the trail is, it is where there are two big stone columns on the side of the trail holding a big metal arch with a sign that says “liarT eisteewT”. #justdoit

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The Evolution of a Town

My grandma (actually my hubby’s grandma) passed away a few years ago at the age of 92. I would often ride my bike and visit her and she would always ask me if I rode my bike to her and how far. She would then proceed to tell me one of her favorite stories of her many adventures. In the 1940’s, She and her best friend decided to go for a bike ride. They started in Johnson city, went to Elizabethton and then to Milligan College. You could see it in her eyes, she was full of joy telling that story. It took them all day but her adventure was not well received; she was viewed a rebel. You see, back then, they rode in dresses, as that’s what girls were supposed to wear and they definitely shouldn’t have been riding bikes. It was difficult but she loved it.

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Today, I commuted from Johnson city to Milligan and to Elizabethton, thinking about my grandmother. The joy that she must have felt when doing an all day adventure on her bike. The route has changed a little, the distances about the same; but I’m sure that the same thrill I experience when riding my bike, she experienced it too 75 years ago. And one day I’ll be sitting telling stories to my grandkids or great grandkids, about the joy I experienced riding The Tweetsie Trail and seeing the evolution of my hometown (in my heart).

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Moving Pictures

I love taking pictures. It is a passion of mine. I have to capture every special moment in a photo. I like to see other people’s pictures as well. I also like to think what is behind the picture, why did they choose that place and what was happening at that moment.

I risk my life everyday just to capture a moment in a picture. You see, I take pictures while riding my road bicycle with the Cycling club. Did I mention that sometimes we are riding 35 MPH or more and If i see something that got my attention, I will reach behind my back where I keep my small Sonny HD 1080 Cybershot Camera in the right pocket of my cycling shirt and snap a picture of something cool like my fellow cyclists riding or urinating.
I warn them about my obsession before I take the picture, but I think they know that by now. I took the above picture without even looking. I was still riding and i heard them talking about the “pee stop”. They slow down and I immediately grabbed my camera from my back packet, put the camera on my right shoulder for stabilization and snapped, got my picture. Is been taking me few months of practice to be able to do that. I don’t recommend it unless you are willing to crash.
In fact, I don’t recommend taking pictures or eating bananas while you are riding your bicycle. That is a picture of one of our fellow cyclist who recently crashed while eating a banana on a rainy day. Who would have thought that eating a banana can be this dangerous!? He actually fractured his acetabulum (hip socket) in many pieces. He gave up on bananas, thank goodness!

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