Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Grizzly Greetings, friends and family!!  This will be our blog for our first venture into Alaska.  If you've followed us before, you already know that these posts are displayed in reverse order.  So if you fall behind in reading them, start at the bottom and work your way back up.  If you're new to our travels, and you want to catch up, you can read about our trips to Australia and Spain.

I have a special treat for this blog - a new camera!!  It's digital, HD-quality, and fairly complicated.   I'm really rusty after about a 20-year absence from this type of photography, so I hope I can capture some awesome picture to share with you.  If not, maybe I'll at least get a few happy accidents.

We're 8 days out and I'm struggling with how to pack for this trip.  The weather will likely be highs of 50-60 and lows (brrrr, too cold to discuss).  It's a good thing this trip is only 2 weeks.  I don't think I could possibly pack enough warm clothes for any longer.  There's a huge difference between our usual shorts and sandals and this trip's sweaters and boots.  The airline restriction of 50# per bag is really challenging.  But I shall overcome!

We will begin the adventure by flying to Vancouver 2 days before the cruise so we can meet up with my long-time friend, Helen.  We met in a rather unusual manner.  Back in the early 90's we were both horse owners and subscribers to equestrian magazines.  Helen, who was living in her hometown of Perth, Australia at the time, posted an ad in one of the magazines requesting American pen pals.  I thought it would be so cool to do this.  So I wrote her a letter - this being in the days before the internet.  We actually wrote letters and mailed them with stamps and everything.  It would take them more than a week to arrive.  Helen received letters from 200+ hopeful pen pals.  She decided to select only 10 people to continue to communicate with.  I was one of the lucky ones.  We wrote back and forth for several years, developing a great bond.  She's someone I instantly felt I had known forever.  She came to visit me in the mid-90's.  We had such fun exploring the Colorado mountains and Denver sites.  We've stayed in touch all these years, through many life changes both up and down.  And now she lives in Vancouver.  I'm so excited to get to see her in person again!  And Vancouver is a new city for us to explore.  It will be a great way to kick off this big adventure.

For this cruise we've planned a few fun excursions:  hiking to the bear-viewing platform on the Spasski river, hiking the Mendenhall glacier, a train ride through a mountain range, a whale watching tour, etc.  We'll also have plenty of time to explore the port cities: Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Icy Strait Point.  We'll be cruising past the Hubbard Glacier and the Inside Passage.   We'll be switching ships mid-way through, doing the first week on Radiance of the Seas and the second week on Rhapsody of the Seas.  We've spent significant time on both ships:  40 days on Rhapsody on the Australia trip and Radiance took us through the Panama Canal and the Mexican Riviera.  The adventure will end in Seattle.

So... stay tuned...

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