In Alaska

I like Alaska. This is my third visit here. The first was in 2001. At that time, we rented a motor home and tooled around covering 2,200 miles of roads. Our second visit was via a cruise (documented in this blog — just search for Alaska Cruise), and now we’re doing another cruise. Where the first one was a round-trip from Seattle, this one is a one-way from Whittier to Vancouver.

But first, we had to get here . . .

We flew United from Chicago to Anchorage. For them interested in such things, that’s a 7 hours flight. We used to weather such flights a lot easier before the airlines started packing passengers like sardines.

Aside the mad rush to secure an overhead bin, aside the fact that even though your assigned seat space has shrunk the average American has done the opposite, and aside the fact that our best chance to pick up some sort of virus is sitting in a confined space, it’s still amazing that we can shoot around the world in just a few hours.

That said, neither of us can sleep on a plane . . . Although, I’ve come up with an idea which helps me at least rest for a good part of the trip. Here’s what I do . . . Wait; first, you know those half-moon-thick stuffed things you buy to wrap around your neck so that you can sleep upright?

Yeah, them things. Well, they don’t work. They might work for some people, but not for me. So, keeping that in mind — that the main problem is that you cannot lay down and it’s difficult to sleep sitting up — here’s what I did and will do on the flight back to Hawaii. I take the blanket they give you and fold it so that it’s a long narrow strip. I then have it across my eyes and I wrap the ends around the headreast portion of the seat (not around the seat, there’s a portion that allows the blanket’s ends to be wedged in and secured) and that keeps my head from flopping around as well as block off any extra light.

Even if I do fall asleep, my head is held up. I may devise an actual device that does this and patent the idea. Doh! Now, someone will steal it, I’m sure. I hope they’ll have the decency to pay me some royalties or at least a fixed amount for the idea.

We are in Anchorage for a day, and that gave us the chance to go for a five mile walk around Lake Hood. Lake Hood is the largest and busiest Seaplane Base (I assume it’s only the US, but it may be the world . . . Wait; I’m one of the people who actually clicks on links . . . It’s the world.)

The lake shore is lined with little inlets like this one, each with a plane in it.

It’s difficult to see in the wide shot. Once I get back to the condo, I’ll be able to post better photos and videos (yes – videos; I have a few below, but I have better ones).

Each of those inlets have a little cabin next to the floating docks where the planes “park.”

Here’s one of the signs about the place . . .

Let me try to link a few movies I took using the phone. The first video is shot using the Open Camera app (I suggest people look at it; it takes nice photos) and I was trying to adjust the zoom as the plane approached, passed by me, and then receded from my position.

*** NOTE *** these suckers are loud; start with the volume low and adjust to your individual preference.

The next video is of a plane taking off . . . This is even louder because they gun the engine to get airborne.

And a couple of more planes landing . . .

If those don’t show up as inline videos, just click on the links.

I saw a few other things during my walk . . .

I think that’s some sort of bug burrowing into that second mushroom, but I couldn’t get a clear enough photo to identify if that was the case.

I now want to put up a photo from the local paper. This photo is from the paper Alaska Dispatch News and credited to Loren Holmes. I have my name on it because I modified it, but I claim no copyright or any rights . . . But, I do want to point out why I’m duplicating it here.

This is a photo of a spruce tree that was knocked down by some recent high winds here in Anchorage. Now, take a look at that photo and the tree in particular. See if you can discern a figure. Specifically a big creature-like thing in a sitting position. You should be able to see the face (two eyes, a flat nose, and an open mouth) and just below what looks like two knees and shins. If your imagination is good enough, you might even see the arms on the side.

Now, here’s the thing . . . If you don’t see it, I can’t help you.

OK, maybe I can help a little. I drew that with the right arm resting on the knee, but there’s another interpretation that has the right arm supporting the head. Take your pick.

In other news, these were our first meals in Alaska. I had baked Halibut and Melisa had a very good Chicken Ceasar Salad . . .

. . . and as we ate, this fellow kept an eye on us . . . I don’t think it blinked even once.

Well, this was a long post . . . let me leave you with a shot from O’Hare airport. This is a particularly difficult photo to resolve because the overhead windows are pretty bright as opposed to the ground level.

This photo was tweaked using Snapseed . . . I think it did a great job bringing out the upper details of the skeleton. The original photo was very washed-out to the point that it was difficult discerning the head and neck.

Well, we’ve made it all the way through to the end. As usual, please excuse errors. I proofread, but it’s a small phone and I’m old. My attention wanders.

Tomorrow we board the Coral Princess . . . basically, a floating restaurant. We have been training for years, so we’re confident we’re up to the challenge.