First fruits from the tomato garden. Small. Not many buds left to turn into tomatoes. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong...

But i CAN grow sunflowers from seed!
Today was my visit to the eye doctor and I got a new prescription for stronger reading and stronger distance glasses. Figures.


I bet you'll never guess what's in this thing.
My grad student gave it to me. It's precious!


Dan wired my lamp!!! It was a pain in the rear end for him.
Now for a lampshade that doesn't belong to another lamp, and I'll put it in my bedroom.


Can you believe I took this photo with my iPhone? The museum is lovely tonight!

And 200 people are here playing games :)

I made a mobile from found objects and handmade ones. Dan calls it my VooDoo thing. I didn't know, but "mobile" means "able to move freely." Makes sense. I never thought of that before.


Nana is learning how to use Pokemon GO from her grandsons TheBeard and Squirt


I finished my first baby blanket. I'm not sure who it will go to, but my plan was to give it to my first grandchild. I knitted it in Alabama, and in Alaska. It has the scent of a campfire and the fresh air of mountains.


Yesterday was all about going to Montgomery to a neurologist who put me on more medicine and told me, "My mother always said, 'shut up and do what I tell you' and that's what I'm telling you." I didn't like his bedside manner, but hope the meds help.

Dan bought the stuff to put my birdhouse on a pole in the garden at the border with the woods. He pounded the pole into the ground today and we mounted the house. I hope some bluebirds find it.
Ran around this morning, and went to an art talk with my mom at a gallery nearby. Talked with a friend about making jewelry. It was a good day.


I gave blood today. To the lab to be tested. Five vials. Looking for anything the may be causing the facial nerve pain. I'm resigned to live with it forever and relish peace and joy when they visit. Thank God for K, the love hate medication that saves my life every day.


I made a creative dinner for family and friends tonight. Tried out a few dishes I'd had in Alaska (got pretty close) and some new ones. This is freshly picked figs and strawberries on a honey infused cream ricotta vanilla sauce.


Today my Nana would have been 108. I think about her every day. Seriously. So grateful for the love she gave me in my early years. I was held and cherished.

I tried the game. It's not addictive yet.


What day is it?
We landed in Atlanta this morning, and it was 9am by the time we got home. The usual unloading and unpacking and washing of laundry ensued along with naps, dinner at Mom's and an early bedtime. Today I picked flowers from the garden, still experiencing my Alaskan Range High. 


Headed home. We had breakfast at the Roadhouse Inn in Talkeetna this morning, re-packed our suitcases and left for Anchorage. Killed some time at the really good Alaska Zoo and saw all the critters we didn't see in the wild (and some we did). Met my high school friend for dinner, and off we go on a red eye to ATL. We will land tomorrow morning!
The Roadhouse
A brown bear at the zoo
My friend and I are celebrating our 35th high school reunion in Alaska. Too bad the rest of our classmates couldn't come too!


The birds were chirping and bright sun was pouring through the slit in the canvas tent on the Jeep roof. I was relieved THAT night was over. Looked at my watch. 4:00 am. After a hot night of poor sleeping we packed up and left for Talkeetna. We decided to stay indoors and found a funky little International Hostel (as opposed to a Youth Hostel) called The House of Seven Trees, and immediately took showers. Visited the museum and examined the ticky tacky for tourists. The view from the river bank was worth the stop, for sure. 
That's Denali there to my right. We went to a local brewery for a flight of beers and set to organizing our stuff for tomorrow's flight home. 

9:00 pm post script on the Hostel situation. 78 degrees outside, even hotter in this upstairs room. Dog barking. Motorcycle. Cars. Loud laughter from hostess. Loud talking with new guests. Phone ringing. People schleping up and down the narrow stairway with backpacks, an open air restaurant under the open side window -chatting, dishes clanging, drinking laughter- , the bunkhouse conversations wafting up into the open back window, and it's 9pm, bright as Noon, and the dog is barking again and the middle of this little town seems like a hot Times Square. Some guy just knocked loudly on my bedroom door. "Oh, sorry, wrong room."

Now I understand why a BOX of earplugs is on the dining room table. 

 I'm trying to be still and quiet to avoid Meltdown #4. 

Pretty much convinced I need a quiet life in nature. 

PPS: it quieted down eventually and so did I. It was a pretty nice place, actually. 


After a night spent in a campground near what sounded like the Indy 500 (the Park Hwy) we headed south and decided to stop at Denali State Park and grabbed a perfect, quiet, wooded campsite. After a well needed nap, we went for a kayak trip around Byers Lake. The view of Denali from the lake was like being in a painting. We spent about 90 minutes on this crystal clear, glacier fed lake. 
See Denali (Mt. McKinley)? It's the white thing that looks like a cloud. We saw and heard Trumpeter Swans getting angry at a dog on shore. 
Tomorrow the plan is to find a place to sleep indoors in Talkeetna and eat out. The MREs we bought are good, but getting a bit old and I've consumed a half a jar of peanut butter. 


Today was all about Denali. Getting there. Dealing with crowds. Riding a bus with 50 other people to see some Alaskan Huskie sled dogs. We went for a hike and saw a momma moose and two babies, a beaver, and some funny birds. I did NOT like the crowds. We left at dinner time and stopped at a campground for the night. It overlooks a river, and the other side is Denali. 
The campground looked ok but the noise from the nearby highway was too much. 
Meltdown #3


Today we tried to drive the Denali Highway, a 130 mile road with only 20 paved miles. We got 10 miles into the gravel and shredded a tire. Fortunately we purchased a jack the previous evening, and had a spare. The Jack was not tall enough to lift the car high enough. So we engineered a series of rock maneuvers to prop the car up on rocks, then use more rocks to jack the car. Engineers, we are. 
We just happened to find a mechanic on a Sunday who was not at work, just at the shop working on his own car. He sold us a used tire and mounted it on the rim so we could have a spare.

At that we decided no more gravel roads. So, we took the long way up and through Fairbanks to head south to Denali. 
We found a nice campsite about 45 miles away from Denali and plan to get an early start tomorrow. 


Today we decided to go for a flight around the glaciers near Kennicott and McCarthy. It was 40 minutes of sublime peace with amazing things every second. I took lots of photos and videos but here is one. 
Then we packed up and headed for the Denali Highway. We made it off the McCarthy road without any more flat tires. After that we found an auto parts store to buy a car jack, a compressor, and a tire plug kit. We found a primitive camp site around 7pm. Flies. But then the wind kicked up and no flies. It looks like Scotland up here. 


Ok so today was 180 degrees different from yesterday. Yesterday I had six different reasons to be miserable. Pretty much they were all based on dehydration. See, sleeping on the top of a jeep makes sleeping a bit challenging. It also makes mid-sleep bathroom breaks even more difficult. So, in my infinite wisdom I decided to not drink as much water. So that did not work in the long run. Last night after a wicked migraine I medicated up and drank a gallon of water and slept it off. Today, instead of hitting the road again, I decided to give this place one more chance, and was that ever the right decision. Tonight, we are in a beautiful lodge overlooking a glacier. We toured a 100 year old copper mine. We have all the luxurious of life that a jeep lacks. Tomorrow it's back to rugged, but today is all posh. The photo above is our view from the lodge. Seriously. 


Today was awful.
We are in McCarthy and I don't like it one bit. We got two flat tires on the road here. Two. At the same time. We camped in an awful rocky "campground" with an outhouse that smelled of ammonia, poo, cheap air freshener and Raid. 
Meltdown #2


Our drive today has been really interesting. We stopped at a Musk Ox farm plus a lot of other places I can't remember right now. We are near the Matanuska Glacier stopping for the night. The pop up jeep slept well last night. 1x cell coverage for now.
Doing great. 


Today we headed out of town on our adventure north.


We spent the morning at the Anchorage Museum. It was so interesting and soothing. I was there for something like 4 hours. 
Then we rented a tandem bike and rode out to a fish hatchery.
Below is our view from the B&B. We leave tomorrow to go Into The Wild. Hope to find some wifi to keep up my blog. If not, maybe a weak cell signal will let me update with words alone. 
I'm doing better. Slept last night finally with my new eye cover thingy. It has a moose on it and says, Almoost Asleep.


We went to the Alaska Native Heritage Center today and it gave me a bit of peace. This is a kind of gathering place found on the Aleutian Islands. Afterwards we walked all over downtown looking for a face mask since our place in Anchorage does not have black out shades and I did not get much sleep last night. It was so bright in our room at 3:00am I could read in bed. So today was a grumpy day.


Tunnel to Whittier. On our way to Anchorage we took this side track. The tunnel was cool. The small town with more vehicles than residents, not so much.

See the glacier? Portage glacier? Lake at Begich-Boggs Visitors Center just before the tunnel. Arriving in Anchorage was sensory overload and put me into a sort of depressed shock state. After being in nature for a week, the city was too too much.

Meltdown #1


Today our big adventure was taking a ferry to Seldovia, a fishing village only accessible by water or air. We saw a pod of whales along the way. And sea otters. It was raining so we could not kayak. Dan went for hike in the rain while I sat in a cafe writing postcards and drinking a latte. It was such a quaint little place. So isolated yet so sweet and well taken care of. We saw bald eagles and their young. I want to move there and live in one of those little houses on the water and be a writer and artist. Dan can kayak and fish and climb glaciers. I can live in nature and be creative. Sounds idyllic. Of course, there is winter... and this is Alaska. A minor detail.


This morning we went to the visitors center. I was so tired it was hard to read all the information on the displays. It feels like swimming in molasses. But I slept well last night. Th bed was comfy.
After that we drove around, visited with friends of one of Jes's friends, and then ate lunch at a post office. No, it was a video rental store. Oh no, wait, it was a grocery store. A liquor store. A deli. A local gathering place....
On the spit is a junk yard with old broken boats. Here is a photo of it.
This place is a strange juxtaposition of raw beauty and man made crap. The buildings are nothing to look at. The streets are just like any in sprawling America. But the feel- the air- the flowers- the mountains- the water- and the earthy granola vibe. That's what I love about this place. Unpretentious.