Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Seldovia

Count-down: 25 days until departure for Alaskan Adventure!


Seldovia Harbor, Wikipedia Commons


No roads lead in or out of Seldovia, Alaska.  The only way to get there is by plane or boat.  A tiny town on the Kenai Peninsula, across Kachemak Bay from Homer, Seldovia has been a town since 1787 when it was established as a Russian fur trading post.  Though various native peoples gathered there thousands of years earlier for trade.  Eventually it became a major fishing port when large schools of herring were discovered in the bay.  Canning herring, salmon and other seafoods became Seldovia’s top industry.  

At it’s height it had around 2000 inhabitants.  Then on Good Friday of 1964, an earthquake larger than any that had ever hit North America struck the area.  9.2 on the Richter Scale.  Seldovia would never be the same.  The land dropped 4 feet, putting buildings and the town’s boardwalk in the bay during high tide.   

Today Seldovia has a population of around 255.  The townsfolk seem to welcome visitors to their seaside paradise. They offer fishing, flight seeing, bear viewing, chainsaw carvings, parks and hiking trails as well as sunsets on the beach.  Their website boasts that Seldovia is Alaska’s Most Charming Seaside Community.  

I hope it is.  I’m really looking forward to seeing if they’re right.


Seldovia's grocery store, CrabPot. Wikipedia Commons


For more info:
 Seldovia
Wikipedia


Kathy :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rocinante

Count-down:  26 days until departure for Alaskan Adventure!

In 26 days we pick up our rented RV from the Winnebago factory in Forest City, Iowa!  I’m so excited.  I don’t know exactly what it will look like inside, but I’ve seen pictures of RVs that are similar to the one we’ll have and they look pretty nice.  It’s amazing what they can fit into 28 feet of vehicle.  It has a kitchen with stove, refrigerator and cupboards; a little dining table, bathroom with shower and beds for the five of us.  It even has a coffee maker and teapot in it!  

The first night of our trip, we actually sleep in the RV at the factory.  The next morning, we get up early for an RV orientation class.  Hopefully this will teach us everything we need to know.  I hope it includes a driving lesson too! It might take me a while to get the hang of driving that thing!  

And then we’re off on our adventure.  

Because my husband and I kind of resemble the bumbling knight errant, Don Quixote and his trusty companion Sancho Panza searching far off lands for adventure, we’ve decided to name our RV after Don Quixote’s noble steed, Rocinante.  We’ll just have to watch out for windmills.


Kathy :)


Rocinante will be similar to this one, from Wikipedia Commons
If you'd like to take a peek inside of RVs today, check out this link: Minnie Winnie RVs

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Quest

Count-down:  28 days until departure for Alaskan Adventure


Most of my childhood was spent in imagination.  My head was filled with faraway places, King Arthur stories, Disney Princesses, and Star Wars.  How could I keep my thoughts to Earth in the present?  I wanted to be a heroine going on a quest, finding magical worlds, hidden truths, and talking animals.  To be saved by my Prince or me saving him.

As an adult, I’ve had to spend a little more time in Earth-present doing those everyday things that have to get done, though I always jump at a chance to leave it all behind and go explore new lands.  Our trips are always wonderful and exciting but they are mere vacations.  

This trip to Alaska is a Quest.  We will discover frozen, magical lands with powerful beasts.  At times it will be difficult and may be dangerous.  Luckily, my Prince is traveling with me. Whatever we encounter we will journey to the end and be changed because of it.  I’m not sure what we will find along the way, though I have a feeling we will uncover hidden truths within ourselves.  

As for the talking animals... anything is possible on a Quest.


Kathy :)

Prepared


Count-down:  29 days until departure for Alaskan Adventure


On our drive to Alaska we need to be flexible and prepared.  Prepared for whatever might cross our path, whether it’s a pristine glacial waterfall, snowy roads, or a bear.  That doesn’t mean packing for every possibility.  It means we have to be mentally prepared to encounter surprising and sometimes uncomfortable situations.  It means not worrying too much about our exact itinerary and being able to improvise.  It means not being in total control.

But when in life do we ever have total control? 

No matter how hard I try I can’t control the world around me.  I can only control my reactions to it.  If I’m mentally prepared for different situations no matter how difficult, I’ll be able to think more clearly and handle them better.  

“P” is also for Procrastinate, which I definitely did with this post! :)




Kathy :)  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Opportunity

Count-down:  30 days until departure for Alaskan Adventure

When my husband came home one day and asked if I wanted to drive to Alaska in an RV with the kids, my first thought was, “Of course!”  Then the more I thought about it, I wondered how we could make it happen.  Questions and doubts swirled around my head.  Could we really do it, having never even ridden in an RV before?  What about the kids schooling? They attend an online school from home, but they still have deadlines they have to meet and there won’t be much connectivity on the road to Alaska.  Maybe it wasn’t the right time. Maybe we should wait until next year.

Then it hit me.  We had a chance, an opportunity, to go to Alaska at this moment.  Not next year, or five years from now.  If we didn’t do it now maybe we would never go. The opportunity may never be there again.  

That’s when I decided, “Okay let’s go.”  We’ll figure out all the other stuff along the way.  We will make it work.  And it will be the trip of a lifetime for all of us.



Kathy :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Native Peoples

Count-down:  31 days until departure for Alaskan Adventure!


Tlingit totem from Wikipedia Commons


I found out recently that my grandpa’s grandmother was a Native American.  I always thought Gramps was kidding when he said he was Native American.  He was the kind of guy who said everything with a straight face and you never knew if he was telling a tall tale or the truth.  About fifty percent of the time it was the truth.  My Native American heritage happened to be a truth.  I wish I had talked to him about it before it was too late.  Now he’s gone, and I don’t have any information about her other than the fact that she really was Native American and probably from the New York area.  I hope to have the time eventually to research and discover more about my Native heritage.  In the meantime, it has sparked the desire to learn more about all Native Peoples, their histories and cultures.  


In Alaska, the Native Peoples are divided into eleven different cultures speaking eleven different languages.  I’m hoping that when we are in Anchorage, one of our stops can be the Alaska Native Heritage Center Museum where I can begin my journey to the world of Raven and Whale spirits and learn the meanings behind their totems.  

Here's a list of Native Alaskan Peoples according to the Native Heritage Center Museum:
Raven pole, One Legged Fisherman Pole,
and Killer Whale Pole
From Wikipedia Commons


Athabascan
Unangax
Alutiiq (Sugpiaq)
Yup'ik
Cup'ik
Iupiaq
St. Lawrence Island Yupik
Eyak
Tlingit
Haida
Tsimshian

I'm excited to learn more about each of them and come home with a better appreciation of their cultures and languages.

To learn more about Alaskan Natives check out:


Kathy :)




Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Moose



Count-down:  32 days until departure for Alaskan Adventure

Alaskan Bull moose, Wikipedia Commons

When I think of Alaska, I think of a land of mystery.  A frozen world with hidden dangers, savage predators, and savage weather.  Of close encounters with bears and icy precipices.  I don’t often think about moose.  

I actually love moose, I’ve always wanted to see one, they’re just not on my “Think of First” list.  A couple of years ago we were out in Yellowstone and I kept searching for moose but we never saw one and I was a little disappointed.  I guess in Wyoming the moose is elusive.

In Alaska, moose are a common sight.  In fact according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, more people in Alaska are injured by moose each year than bears.  (Yay! I’d much rather meet a moose than a bear.)  In order to stay safe they advise that you recognize when a moose is agitated.  

Here are some things which make a moose agitated:

Being hungry
Dogs barking
Tired of walking through deep snow
Children or adults throwing snowballs at them
Traffic
Hmm, all those things make me agitated too.  

An angry Alaskan moose Wikipedia Commons

Their advice on what to do if a moose charges at you?  Unlike with bears, you should run, as fast as you can.  But since moose can run at speeds up to 35 miles an hour and the fastest human on the planet, Usain Bolt, Olympic gold medalist, can currently only run at about 28 mph for 100 meters, they suggest you find something to hide behind; like a tree.  A tree sounded good until I remembered that some moose have antlers up to 6ft wide and can weigh 1600 lbs.  I guess look for a giant tree.  



Other Moose facts:

Largest of the elk family
Great swimmers, even underwater for short periods
Mostly solitary
Eat land and aquatic plants

If you want to read more about moose check these out:

National Geographic- human running speed


Kathy :)


I can’t believe today is the halfway point for the A-Z!  I’ve had so much fun reading everyone’s posts. I just wish I could get to everybody!