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Gold rush miners have a peaceful cemetery in Skagway



Bargain shuttle ride into town



They run dogs in the summer up
on the Denver Glacier



Sarah Jane on the trolley in
Whitehorse, Yukon territory




On the "Cold Mountain" set,
Castel Studios


June and Sarah Jane
shopping in Bulgaria


Home hosted meal in Serbia


The ancient Jewish
Cemetery in Prague


Concentration camp
outside of Prague




Overlooking the wonderful
harbor in Malta


Exploring the Catacombs in Malta




Mines in Bisbee


I get to explore one of the mines



I renewed my friendship with Rachael Scdoris, the blind musher



At the Ceremonial start of
the race in Anchorage


They're off!


We wish G.B. Jones luck
before the re-start


The start line in Willow


Working the phone lines
every morning
UPDATE, April 2005:

I went back to Alaska in August 2004, this time with Sarah Jane. It was her first trip to that wonderful state, which, I usually visit in the winter. It was quite a different trip for me too, as I had never been to the lower part of Alaska. We flew to Seattle, caught a shuttle bus from the airport directly to the ferry slip in Bellingham, Washington, where we went on board the MS Columbia. The ferries are operated by the State of Alaska and the system is known as the Marine Highway. We had a small cabin but found the ship very spacious with a good cafeteria, plenty of deck space and many salons. There were daily lectures and slide shows by the resident ranger on board, usually held in the amazing front salon of the ship, which featured an almost 180 degree view of the Inland Passage.


Loved this mural of the ladies from the
gold rush days in Wrangell

I make friends with Hugh Neff's dogs

Our ship stopped in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Juneau and Haines and ended in Skagway. We were able to disembark at all the ports and 3 ½ days later we arrived in Skagway. We stayed in that gold rush town for 5 days, had lots of adventures like taking a helicopter up to the Denver Glacier to take a sled dog ride and riding the White Pass and Yukon Railroad up towards Canada. We also rented a car for a few days and explored nearby Dyea, where I was able to renew acquaintances with Hugh Neff, whom I had met in Nome last year. Hugh was the rookie of the year in the 2004 Iditarod and was spending the summer with his dogs giving rides for tourists near the Chilcot Trail. We met up with Hugh and his girlfriend Tamra for lunch the next day in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory after a beautiful drive from Alaska to Canada. Visited the Yukon Quest Headquarters in Whitehorse and took a trolley ride along the Yukon River.

This year Hugh intends to do both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod sled dog races. Sarah Jane was very taken with him and became one of his sponsors.


EASTERN EUROPE

In October, another trip with Sarah Jane, this time to Eastern Europe which included a delightful trip on the Danube from the Black Sea to Budapest, Hungary. As soon as we landed in the Bucharest Airport, I was met and then taken for a visit to Castel Studios where the film "Cold Mountain" was shot. I later wrote about the visit on the Women In Film web-site. We spent a day sightseeing in Bucharest and then took a train to Constanza on the Black Sea.

After a few hours walking around that seaside resort town, we boarded our beautiful boat, the River Adagio. Later that afternoon we sailed through a canal which got us back to the Danube. We were on the boat for almost a week and visited many towns in Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Serbia. Our cruise ended in Budapest, Hungary where we were taken ashore to a hotel to stay for three days. It was wonderful to be back in that fascinating town, and I was able to look up old friends and also spend an afternoon soaking in the hot springs complex in the center of the city.

We then went by bus to the Czech Republic, stopping for a home-hosted meal in a small village in Slovakia. Later that afternoon we reached Prague. We stayed in Prague for 4 days and I fell in love with that beautiful city. The old town was fascinating. I was very moved by my visit to the Jewish quarter in the town where a memorial next to one of the synagogues and cemetery listed the names of the Czech Jewish citizens who had died in concentration camps.


Hot Springs complex in Budapest

Jesse Littell in his studio

I was also able to look up and have dinner with Jesse Littell, the artist son of my dear friend writer, Bob Littell, whom I had visited in France last summer. Jesse has a wonderful studio on the top floor of an apartment building that he owns and had put together.

On our last day in Prague, I took a tour to visit Terezin, a "model" town, which the Nazis endeavored to fool the Red Cross into believing it was a settlement place for the Jews, but was, in reality, a concentration camp. They had a very interesting museum there with photos and drawings made by all the children who passed through or lived in Terezin. All in all, it was a very sobering and emotional experience.



MALTA, etc.

In December I went to Malta, an island in the Meditteranean not far from Tunisia. The weather was mild and the islands were filled with prehistoric ruins, some older than the Pyramids or Stonehenge. The towns and harbors of Malta are really extraordinary and we were able to learn a lot about the "Knights of Malta". A few of us took a two day side trip to the nearby island of Gozo where we saw a trotting race in the center of one of the towns.


Horse race on the Island of Gozo

Beautiful old town in Malta


At Christmas, since my new love Jim (see "What's New" on this web-site) had to go to Idaho to visit his daughter and grandson, I decided to take a road trip to Arizona.

Stopped in Glendale for two days to visit a Terry McManus, a playwright interested in doing a play on the Exile summer of the Rolling Stones. Terry was wondering if I would like to collaborate with him on the project so we spent many hours together talking and looking at Rolling Stones books and video. Leaving the Phoenix area I stopped off for lunch in Tucson with Astrid Lundstrom, Rolling Stone Bill Wyman's ex-wife.


Martha Elliott and her altar

Christmas lunch in Patagonia

Then on to Patagonia to spend two days with Martha Elliott, Ramblin' Jack's ex-wife and Aiyana's mother. Got there on Xmas Eve and Martha loaned me a wonderful cabin which was part of an old B&B she was caretaking. I loved that little town and had a wonderful Christmas dinner with friends of Martha's. Drove to Bisbee, a colorful town filled with former copper mines and explored one of them on an underground tour. Finally, went to Tombstone for a quick look and a hot drink and then on to Kartchner Caverns, the most amazing living caves near Benson. Spent the day at the caves with time off for a great spare rib lunch in Benson and finally drove all the way back to Glendale.

The next day I braved wind, sand and heavy rainstorms on my way back to Los Angeles. Picked up Jim at the airport on Dec. 31st and we were able to spend our first New Year's Eve together.



IDITAROD 2005


Vet check at Iditarod Headquarters
Visiting Iditarod Headquarters
in Wasilla

For the fifth time I went back to Alaska in the winter 2005, to volunteer for the Iditarod. This time I went up early enough to go out to the Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla for the vet check. It was amazing to see the many dog trucks in the parking lot and on the ground, vets and helpers checking over all the dogs, one team at a time. The next day I started right in with my phone and email room duties, which I really enjoy. It's not just the fun of being in touch with people from all over the world who are fans or interested in the race, it's the great people you meet who are working next to you. This year was special, because my new love Jim Weeks (see What's New on this web-site) was coming up to Alaska to join me for the race start weekend. It was his first time to that amazing state and it was fun seeing it though his eyes too.

We met all my buddies at the ceremonial start in Anchorage, walking through the thick snow that had been trucked in the night before, and then watching some of the starts from a second floor window. That night we went out to a restaurant in Anchorage and had what Jim claimed was "the best fish and chips he had ever tasted". I think it was local halibut in a beer batter. The next day we were up early and first went to Wasilla so Jim could see Iditarod Headquarters, then to Palmer to visit with Mike Dillingham, Rivers the blind sled dog's dad for coffee and donuts. Then on to Willow for the re-start. On the way up, Denali came out and Jim was delighted as he had always wanted to see that mountain; even if he calls it Mt. McKinley.

Jim could only stay up there for 2 full days because of work, but we crowded a lot into those wonderful 48 hours. He arrived at midnight on Friday and left at midnight on Sunday and I stayed on for another week to continue my volunteer duties. I was asked to bring Chako, an 8 week old Alaskan Husky home to LA with me for his new mom, Kathy. Dog and Aunt June survived the trip, Kathy nervously waiting for us at LAX at 6 AM. But all are doing well!


Alice brings Chako to the
Anchorage airport with his carrier

Happy new mom Kathy at LAX
with Chako's Auntie June

Future plans are a long weekend to Washington, D.C. in April, again with Jim to see some of the new museums and monuments and a visit to Boise, Idaho in May to stay with Jim's daughter, son-in-law and grandson.


Stay tuned...