North to Alaska
Well, not really more like bear overboard.
I slept surprisingly well last night for an old man sleeping on a deck lounge in the rain with several broken ribs although I would be delighted if my name comes up on the stand by for an available cabin. Barbara, the purser, says theres a pretty good chance one will become available before we get to Bellingham, WA.
Im grateful I brought my camping gear although some folks pitched tents on the aft solarium deck, I opted to just roll out my Therm-A-Rest and sleeping bag on a deck lounge. There are large ceramic heaters in the ceiling which kept me pretty warm all night the fine misty rain occasionally blew across the deck, but, all in all, it was much better than I expected.
When I got up this morning, I noticed that the little girl sleeping next to me had lost her bear during the night. As she was still sleeping soundly, I quietly picked up her bear and put it next to her hand hoping she would never know that her treasure had gone overboard to the deck.
There is beauty beyond belief along the inside passage.
Marine Highway System.
I have never considered myself a cruise ship weenie, and I guess I justify this part of the journey because they call it the Alaska Marine Highway. Whatever you call it its not a cruise it is a journey through some of the most magnificent parts of America and something you just have to do. I didnt plan to do this had it not been for the accident in the Badlands I would have ridden every mile back to the lower 48 but I have learned from this experience that not all of Americas beauty can be beheld from the back of a motorcycle. There are virtually no roads here. After you land at one of the cities along the shore you can perhaps drive 10 or 20 miles in any direction but then the roads just end.
We stopped for a couple of hours in Sitka this afternoon and I hustled over to the Sitka National Historic Site to get my passport stamped although I wont count it in the number of parks visited for the Iron Butt Association because I didnt ride to it on the motorcycle. Nevertheless, it is an extraordinary site with a spectacular walk along the totem trail.
I stumbled upon the Sikta Lutheran Church a delightful place with a rich Finnish heritage and, since my wife is Finnish, spent a long time talking with some folks there about the Finns who came to this area as part of the Russian American Company from Czarist Russia. The sanctuary, unadorned, simple yet elegant in the Finnish style with natural wood crosses and plain wooden pews looks like it could have been floated here from Turku.
Thirty minutes out of Sitka, the purser called my name and assigned me the most beautiful two-berth cabin on the starboard side - outside with private shower. Goodbye cheap seats Hello Hollywood.
I just keep having these rich experiences because I had to change my plans and find myself more and more On Yukon Time.
So to you and Iowa Sioux and Jacative, Malinois, Hampton, MA I say goodnight from the M.V. Columbia on the Alaska
Index, Day, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 thru 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32&33 34