Sunday, September 30, 2012

I'm back

In case you have been wondering, nothing is wrong here. We just had a brief interruption in internet service at the house because of a rabbit containment failure.  It seems Kahuna has developed quite a liking for cords and wires.  But all is fixed now.

I'll try to post the rest of the Alaska photos sometime this week.  Meanwhile, we finally got new carpet!  It looks and feels great.  It's so nice to finally have this whole flooring project finished.  I'll post pictures later.  Right now I'm pretty lazy after staying up late at the casino and then running a 5K this morning.  And by late I mean about 11:30, so that may or may not be late to some of you but it sure felt late when we got up to run this morning.  I didn't get a terrible time but not too bad considering my smoky lungs, lack of sleep, and cool weather (I don't like to race in the cold, hurts my lungs).  I ended up 4th in my age group (just out of the medals, grrr) but 4/74 is not too shabby I guess.  And last weekend I won my age group so I guess that makes up for it.

Oh, and back to the carpet.  It seems my beloved Dyson has too much suction (the new carpet is pretty fluffy) and you can barely push it across.  So now we have to get a lesser quality vacuum for our higher quality carpet.  Something doesn't seem right about that but oh well.

As far as agility news I've got the contact equipment raised to full height but haven't really used it yet.  But hopefully that should at least inspire me to start "Step 2" this week.

I think that's about all for now.  Time to catch up reading everyone else's blogs now.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Alaska Part 3

This post is mostly pictures.  They can speak for themselves.  These are all from Glacier Bay.  It was chilly and foggy the day we were sailing here but I think the mist really made for better pictures.

The glacier in these pictures was huge.  It's the biggest one we saw (might be the biggest in the world, can't remember the exact statistic).  And it was truly indescribable.  Really, you have to see it for yourself, but I tried with to capture it with the pictures anyway. 

Seriously, isn't this the best hat?  It has built-in mittens in the paws!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Alaska Part 2

The next port we visited was Skagway.  Skagway is a tiny town, formed by the gold rush and kept alive by tourism.  There are 900 year round residents and only 400 year round jobs.  The rest are seasonal. 

Skagway is home to our only international (Canada is 10 miles away) airport with no control tower.  The biggest planes allowed to land there carry six passengers.  Pilots just look at the runway as they approach and if it's empty, they land. 

Skagway also has no doctor and no dentist.  They have a couple of nurse practitioners to help out but if you have an actual emergency, requiring an actual doctor, you will be airlifted to Juneau.  Also for this reason, no babies are born in Skagway.  There is actually a town ordinance that proclaims when a woman reaches her ninth month of pregnancy she has to go somewhere with a doctor and a hospital until the baby is born.  This way, they avoid any complications the town "hospital" can't handle. 

There has never been a major fire in Skagway, so most of these buildings are from the original town.

Most of the shore excursions/guided tours in Alaska were pretty expensive, so we only elected to do one in Skagway-that's how I obtained all these interesting facts!  We chose the bus tour into British Columbia and the Yukon, with a train ride part of the way back.  There was a cheaper option for just the train ride, but it was so much better to do the whole thing. 

The bus ride took us up through the gold rush territory where we even saw some of the entrances to old mines.  We also learned about the gold rush.  So here's what these crazy people did.  First, they traveled to the west coast.  Then, took a boat to Skagway or other similar town and headed back east to Canada.  Upon entering Canada they had to buy 2000 lbs of food-enough to last a year so they wouldn't run out and starve over the winter.  Then they had to haul all their stuff through one of two mountain passes.  The shorter one was 30-something miles.  That's a lot of trips carrying food on your back! Once you moved all your stuff through the pass you had to build a boat, float down the river and arrive at the gold fields just for a chance to find something.  The entire journey took about a year. I think I would have rather stayed home and been poor. 

Some of the scenery on the way up

There is a desert in Canada-left behind glacial silt.  Weird huh?

We stopped for lunch at a little tourist attraction that also had a sled dog team and some other animals (live and stuffed) on display. I'm not sure how I feel about the life of a sled dog-they pretty much just stay chained up outside when they are not running.  Also-the dogs used are "Alaskan Huskies" which one of the mushers up there admitted are just "highly technical mutts."  So even though it's for the purpose of a working dog I'm not sure how I feel about them breeding mutts-I"m pretty sure I can round up a whole team of dogs that look like this at any shelter around here!  They say they love the dogs and they are well cared for but I think most agility dogs would probably be horrified if they had to live sled dog style lives!

There was also this pony...cutest pony ever!  I wanted to find a way to ship it back home with me.

This is Emerald Lake-there is a certain kind of glacial silt and fossilized shell that makes the green.

We stopped one more place before getting on the train, the tiny town of Carcross.  I have no idea why people live in a place like this but a few do.  This place is so isolated they only have schooling up to 6th grade.  If anyone wants to go beyond that they must go to Whitehorse, Canada.  Although if you plan to live in Carcross your whole life, that probably isn't necessary.

Of all the ports we went to Skagway gets the least amount of rain.  Naturally it rained the day we were there.  So after we got off the train we only stayed in town a short time.  Then back to the boat to get dry!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Alaska Part 1

This was too much of a photo-editing project to do in one sitting so I decided to do it in installments.  As I know certain people are waiting (not naming any names, Dad). So, here is our boat, the Coral Princess...

The boats look huge from the outside but from the inside you just kind of think of it as a resort and it doesn't seem so abnormal.  Anyway, this was our first time on a cruise and we really enjoyed it.  We would definitely cruise again but it's also not going to be the only kind of vacation we ever take.  I think they are really great if you are wanting to visit several places that are not close together because there is no wasted travel time.  While you are sleeping, eating or otherwise enjoying the provided entertainment and ship amenities you are transported to the next location-very convenient. 

From the inside...
While there was plenty of food available at all times, I have to say for the most part it was not fantastic.  The pizza, grill, and ice cream were pretty average.  Most of the food in the main dining room was very good (only one night did we not like what we ordered) but the selection was somewhat limited.  Of course a lot of this stems from the fact that I don't eat seafood or most "semi-exotic" meats like lamb or duck (I'm kind of a picky eater).  The buffet was decent, but kind of hit and miss (again seafood, and stuff I didn't want to try).  But they did have waffles and french toast every morning!

A few views of the open decks...

As you can see not a lot of takers for the hot tubs and pools in Alaska!  The indoor pools and tubs were somewhat more popular.

Alaska was really amazing-the landscape and culture are very unique and we really enjoyed visiting, but it's a little too cold to want to go back! 

The first port we visited was Ketchikan-a small fishing and tourist village.  It rains here almost every day but we lucked out and had a mostly sunny day.  We only had a half day here so we spent most of it seeing the town and shopping.

 This was our view as we pulled into port.
Our next port was Juneau and we decided to do some hiking here.  Juneau also gets quite a bit of rain, but again we lucked out. First we went to the Mendenhall Glacier-complete with icebergs and a waterfall.
 Yes, icebergs and glaciers are naturally dirty-this is not pollution. 

And here is Nugget falls
In this one you can see the spray from the waterfall making a rainbow

And here you can both the glacier and the waterfall together

And just a photo from the same park

The glacier is just outside town so when we finished there we returned to the city and tackled Mt. Roberts.  There is a tram you can take to the top...for $30.   At the top there are some more trails, restaurant, shopping, etc.  Then you can hike back down or take the tram ($30 gets you the round trip).  But, if you hike up the mountain (about 2-3 miles) then you can ride back down for $10, or for free if you spend at least $10 in the gift shop.  So, that's what we did-better exercise and more savings! 

A few pics from the way up-and we didn't see any bears here.

The interesting thing about Juneau is that there are no roads going into or out of the city.  The only way to get there is by boat or plane.  Crazy huh?  And it's the capitol!  There were float planes taking off and landing the whole time we were there-the water was like the local highway system. 

Next up...Skagway!

Friday, September 7, 2012

North to Alaska

I've not just been lazy, we have been on an Alaskan cruise since the weekend.  So far it has been really great and we still have quite a bit more to see.  But already we have seen whales, bear, caribou, bald eagles, glaciers, waterfalls, and icebergs.  We have also done a lot of shopping, eating, hiked up a mountain, ridden a train, toured the Klondike highway all the way into the Yukon, and visited with sled dogs.

I know, where are the pictures?  Internet on the boat is not fast and also not free so all the pictures and details will have to wait until we get back next weekend.  But I think they will be worth the wait.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bunny update

It's been raining here for 2 days.  Which, is good, but not much fun.  So I thought I'd brighten my day with with some bunny pictures!  Some of these were actually taken before we put in the new floor-I'm a little behind posting pictures.

We had hoped that with the new living arrangement Kahuna would stay in the pen.  The idea was that the new floor would be too slick for him to be able to jump out and that he would enjoy Summer's company so much he would not want to jump out.  Neither of those seems to be the case.  He can, and will jump out as he pleases.  This means we have to keep a baby gate across the doorway to their room at all times.  Because if he gets out, he will seek and destroy wires of any kind.  Lesson learned the hard way.

The good news is though, that if he jumps out, he has figured out how to jump back in if he gets hungry, thirsty, or needs the litter box.  I guess that's good enough for now.  Still hoping he grows out of this.

This picture is not taken in the greatest light but you can see how much they love each other now.
I'd say they have a pretty good life...