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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Alaska Marine Highway

Surprisingly enough we made it through the entire list of things we wanted to do while in Washington before catching the ferry in Bellingham. The ferry leg of the journey went very well. The ferry is nice (although very different from cruise ship). Our stateroom is quite cozy but we've made it work so far.

We left Bellingham at 7PM on Friday afternoon and made our first stop in Ketchikan on Sunday morning. The town was interesting. We made the 5.5 mile round trip walk into town to explore. Nothing was open! We finally found a place to eat lunch and it cost us $45! We're definitely not in Missouri anymore. We took pictures of some of the totem poles, the welcome sign and Creek Street, famous for stilted houses.

The ferry set sail again 4 hours later and made two very short stops but before reaching Juneau this morning. Juneau is a very beautiful city with much to offer. The people are very friendly and helpful. We explored Mendenhall Glacier, visited the UA campus, toured downtown and drove across the channel to Douglas Island. Douglas Island was the original tent city during the Gold Rush.

Tomorrow we board a new ferry to make the cross gulf trip toward Anchorage. We will make one stop in Yakatat before docking in Whittier. We'll send more pictures as soon as possible.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Michigan-Colorado-WY-UT-ID-OR-Washington

Well we made it safely back to Colorado after spending time with the Fox family in Michigan. The weather in Colorado was definitely more inviting at 50+ degrees (MI=13). My Dad picked us up from the airport and took us home where Mom had made a farewell feast and invited everyone over. Once we were stuffed and all the bags loaded we headed west. We spent Sunday night, December 7th at Hill AFB in Ogden, UT and got up early to finish the drive. We encountered heavy snow fall just north of the city but beat the storm and had nice travel weather all the way to Seattle. We have to let you know that we thoroughly enjoyed our lunch stopover in the town of Baker City, OR. We ate at a hoppin' diner called the Oregon Trail Restaurant! The food was great as well as the prices. Stop there if you ever get the chance.

We arrived at Jay and Elizabeth's place around 9PM on Monday and enjoyed a week full of fun!

Tuesday: Pike Place Market, Starbucks, Fresh Crab and Puroskys. Then we met up with several Fort Lewis/USMA friends on Tuesday night for dinner. It was great to see Collin, The Lesters, Jon and Woody (in order of appearance).

Wednesday: Dan had an emergency root canal (yippee), lunch at the Steilacoom pub with Corey, Jon and Collin. A long and intense trip to the commissary and class 6. A nice home cooked dinner in Seattle at Jay & Elizabeth's home.

Thursday: Snoqualmie Falls, IKEA, the jewelery store, Johnny's seafood, our "arrival" pic from Fort Lewis, cooking expedition and drinks at the neighborhood pub.

Friday: We pack up, tour a winery (purchase a case of wine) and head to Bellingham to pick up an engine block heater and battery warmer before driving onto the ferry and shoving off toward the last frontier.

We will be on the ferry for 6.5 days with a stopover in Juneau, AK on December 15th. We will arrive at the port of Whittier, less than 100 miles south of Anchorage on December 18th! We can't wait, but for now it is back to packing, loading the car and applying Sea Sickness patches!

Pictures will follow soon -- As soon as we can find a cable to download the camera!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Visiting Michigan

We arrived late Tuesday night at the airport in Detroit. Wednesday Dan and Dad went duck hunting while Amanda and Mom gathered ingredients for holiday treats and preformed a recon of a nearby Christams tree farm and successfully harvested the tree. They were able to get in set up and in the house before the boys returned home from their adventure.

Dan and Amanda then drove down to St. Clemens to visit Dan's friend Eugene and his family. We enjoyed the visit with the entire French family and playing with Eugene and Krstal's 13 month daughter. It was great to caught up!

Thursday we spent most of the day at home baking cookies and working on Christmas lights. We spent the afternoon and early evening with Aunt Brenda, Uncle Jerry and baby Lauren! What a beautiful girl...although she had not slept all day and had no intention of napping. We really enjoyed seeing them and meeting Lauren. She'll be so big the next time we are able to make it back home!

On the same road (without any turns)....

We left Jewell very early Thanksgiving day. We made sure that we filled up on gas at the first opportunity. No one wants to run out of gas driving through Kansas in the dark, off the main highway on a holiday. By about 5:30 (still dark) we were both getting sleepy and pulled off the road to catch a few zzzs. We hit the Colorado state line about 8:00AM. We kept driving and soon the the low fuel light came on! Little did we know there were no fuel stations on highway 36! We went nearly 55 slow and agonizing miles before we found a gas station! Oh, I forgot to mention that we had not seen another vehicle in either direction for at least 300 miles. So, it would have been a long walk had we completely ran out of fuel.

We made it to the Prall family cabin at Indian Mountain, CO just in time to make the mashed potatoes and eat Thanksgiving dinner. Afterward we set off to cut Christmas trees in the forest.

Mom, Dad, Amanda and Dan stayed at the cabin until Saturday taking in the scenery and solitude and headed back to town for Aunt Frannie's 92nd Birthday party.

We had a jammed pack stay in Colorado taking family pictures, visiting friends and family and touring Colorado School of Mines. On Tuesday afternoon we caught a flight to Michigan to visit the Fox's.

On the Road Again...

The moving process is both chaotic and draining. We left Fort Leonard Wood on Tuesday, November 25th around noon. It was later than we anticipated but with a few changes to the plan we were able to driving to Pontoon Beach, IL to drop off Dan's truck for shipment before we headed west toward Colorado. We hit St. Louis just in time to get stuck in rush hour traffic. After careful consideration we decided to call and cancel our reservations with our very gracious friends the Eggars and called up Amanda's great aunt in Jewell, KS. We arrived in Jewell around 1:30 AM and quietly crawled in bed for a few hours of sleep. Little did we know that the tornado siren sounds promptly at 7:00AM, 12noon and 5:00PM each day and it is located right outside our bedroom window. Surprise!

We stayed in Jewell all day Wednesday visiting with Amanda's family. Cousin Sara had driven in from NM early in the week and we help her with projects around the house. Aunt Jeanine made a wonderful breakfast and "dinner" for us. We visited the town, walking both to "Scoops" the icecream parlor and to the grocery store. We enjoyed playing cards and hanging Christmas lights before many cousins, aunts and uncles arrived to the Thanksgiving feast! We hit the road early (3:15AM) heading to Colorado for Thanksgiving dinner.