“Mea Culpa”. I know it’s been a long time since
I updated all my travel stories and many friends keep asking me when
I am going to do so. Life kind of got in the way but here I am in
November of 2008, poised to go to Africa and I realize I must at
least, do a quick overview of what’s been happening since the
summer of 2007.
With friends Joe and Sylvia Karcher, we went to Norway
and Iceland in August of 2007. First to Oslo, then took a train over
the mountains to quaint and fascinating Bergen. There we boarded
a boat the goes up the coast of Norway stopping at many ports. We
went way above the Arctic Circle and were less than 1200 miles from
the North Pole at one point. The beauty of Norway is overwhelming
and as they were having the hottest summer in 10 years, we often
found ourselves wearing tee-shirts at 6AM on some shore excursion
way up north! We ended up in Kirkenes and after flying back to Oslo,
took a plane to Iceland. Renting a car we spent 5 days in and out
of hot bubbling pools, exploring glacier bays, waterfalls. A wonderful
visit to a country I dearly love, this my third visit.
we went to visit Jim’s sister Shirley and husband Willie Shorten
in New Hampshire, and we were there just in time to see the leaves
turning red and yellow. We also squeezed in a visit to Vicky Linville,
sister of musher Debbie Moderow, in nearby quaint and beautiful Weston,
Vermont. I had met Vicky in Anchorage when we were both working the
phones for the Iditarod.
I thought it would be fun to celebrate Thanksgiving
in New Orleans and since November is also Jim's
birthday month, I gave him the gift of a meal at the famous restaurant "Emerils".
We did a lot; walked all over the French Quarter,
once on our own, another time on a tour with a Park Ranger. We
took the paddle wheeler up and down the river, visited the aquarium,
tried lots of interesting foods. On Thanksgiving Day we wanted
to eat someplace special, but had been turned down the day before
by the Court of Two Sisters because they said they were booked.
But as we walked by there, we spotted a large group of people entering
(turned out they were from Norway) so went to the back of the crowd
and enterered with them. Spotting an empty table for two near a
window, we sat down and hoped for the best. Had a fabulous buffet,
champagne and orange juice, amazing deserts. Wow. Confessed to
our wonderful waiter that we had sneaked in and he said he knew!!!! But
had decided to give us a great time. He got a good tip from
our Katrina tour, we spotted this plane which landed in someone's
The signs on the building mean it had been searched and no bodies
The most interesting thing we did was to take a Katrina
tour, and it was disheartening to see how little had been done, three
years afterwards. We both love New Orleans and its people and its
food and want to go back.
At Christmas we decided to do something different, as we had spent
last year mired down in the snows of Denver. We drove to Baja
California, ending up in a charming B&B, sleeping in
a Mongolian style “yurt” in picturesque San Ignacio.
We also explored nearby Mulege and on our way home,
had a lobster in Santa Rosarita Beach. The border
crossing back into the States was very slow and tedious and it was
about 10 PM by the time we reached Temecula. We were
heading for Redlands for a goodbye party for Pastor Sylvia as she
had resigned her post at the little Redlands church. We made it over
the next morning and spent the rest of the weekend in Redlands.
Saw lots of friends.
Our wonderful Yurt outside...
...was just as wonderful inside.
In January and February, we decided
to do some exploring in our home turf, the Greystone mansion one
weekend, the old movie palaces of downtown Broadway another time.
At the end of February I made a quick trip to Anchorage for a long
Iditarod weekend to attend the mushers banquet, ceremonial start
and restart, respectively in Anchorage and Willow and met lots of
race fan friends in dinners around the town.
In April we celebrated
our third anniversary in Carlsbad, combining that weekend with good
friend Raegan Mathew’s wedding shower held at the same hotel.
In March I went to Nome for two weeks, for the All
Alaska Sweepstakes, a sled dog race held only every 20 years or
so. It starts and ends in Nome. I worked the night shift at headquarters,
answering the phones and doing many other chores. Jim joined me
for the last week and helped out working in the dog lot on the
We got to go to the finisher’s banquet. While
we were in Nome we had some great salmon and halibut burgers at Fat
Freddies in Nome. And let’s not forget the delicious reindeer
sausages and eggs for breakfast.