A Trip To Alaska

•December 14, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Circus Circus Chapter 14

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North Douglas Island – Juneau, Alaska

The next morning, I scrambled to get myself together.  I had not slept well during the night, a few tears were shed,  and my eyes were puffy.  Here I was again, needing help.  Maybe, this was a lesson for me to learn, to humble myself and realize that I needed people in my life, that I couldn’t do everything by myself.  It was the control thing again.

I drove into town, straight to Tag’s.  The door slightly open, I knocked, no one answered.  I took off my shoes  and let myself in.  “Hey, is anyone home” I called, the water in the shower was running, so I sat down to wait.  A few minutes later, Tag walked out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around him as I teary eyed explained what had happened.  He said, not to worry, he would find me a place to stay for the two weeks, did I need some money, as he soothed my frayed nerves, he added, “ I think I owe you some money I borrowed before you left Juneau, anyway.”   I accepted his generosity, gratefully.  He picked up the phone and in a few minutes, he said, “Ok! You now have a city house and a country house to stay, let’s walk over to the Red Dog so you can see, your new place.”

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Mike was waiting for us as we walked through the red swinging doors.  Mike the manager at the Red Dog, had an apartment upstairs with an extra bedroom.  I was welcome for as long I as liked, “can you cook”, he asked, “and you might need to help me out with some cleaning and laundry” as he showed me my room, “any friend of Tag’s is a friend of mine.”

Red Dog Saloon

All Rights Reserved. ©2008 Alaska Red Dog Saloon, LLC. – http://www.reddogsaloon.com. The Red Dog Saloon is doing business in Juneau, Alaska, USA.
www.reddogsaloon.com/ – 2k – CachedSimilar pages

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The apartment was beautiful, I was so shocked that everyone had opened up their homes to me.  If you have never been to Juneau or the Red Dog Saloon, be sure to stop by and ask for Mike or Tag’s, tell them Wendy sent you.




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I spent two nights, then I went out to Fritz Cove for a week.  I stared writing this blog and finished the next 2 weeks in Juneau, with more pictures of Juneau and the surrounding area. The last 4 nights were spent at the Red Dog Saloon.







A restaurant, full bar, music, wide screen TV, history of era gone by.


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A little bit of history

Originating during the heyday of Juneau’s glorious mining era, this world famous saloon has provided hospitality and fellowship to weary travelers and local patrons alike.

Early day proprietors, Earl and Thelma (Petersonn) Forsywth, provided dancing and entertainment. " Ragtime Hattie " played the piano in her white gloves and silver dollar Halter top.Later in Territorial days, Gordie Kanouse would meet tour boats with his mule and wore a sign saying " follow my ass to the Red Dog Saloon. "

Red Dog Saloon

278 S Franklin St
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 463-3658
Get directions

I loved this painting hanging on the wall, The Mayor’s wife, Rosy.  I couldn’t resist writing a poem about her and the painter.

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Hidden beneath veils of a smoky deep blue mist,
Lay the woman in the painting,
The painters’ quest, in plain view.

A tiny pot of opium, lay at her feet,
Spreading the smoky deep blue mist,
Filling the nostrils of a naked reclining woman,
Dozing quietly, as if at rest.

Each brush stroke the painter made,
While casting his glance,
Lay laden maiden, revealing her breasts,
Soft inviting, in plain view.

A sweat to his brow,
Aware in each glance,
Strokes upon canvas,
Hidden from view.

Behind veils of a smoky deep blue mist,
Long sweeping arms of her body,
The painter spread his color,
Of the vision that lay before him, in full view.

She laughed a quiet smile as her lips parted,
Hands stretched to the tops of her thighs
As her leg lifted and spread slightly open,
The painter’s eyes darted swiftly,
at the woman in plain view.

While the painter continued with color and brush,
Long last a stretch and a sigh,
From a pose so still,
The painter knelled,
Close to her side.

The woman he loved,
Hidden in his oils, canvas and brush,
He painted the woman in his dreams,
Of her rosy filled body.

Hidden beneath veils of smoky deep blue mist,
As she lay before him,
in plain view.

@Wendy L. Zake
Juneau, AK
Nov. 15th 2008

A Trip to Alaska

•December 9, 2008 • 1 Comment

Circus Circus  Chapter 13

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Fritz Cove – Juneau, Alaska

I spent all day Monday with Tag and his girl friend Hildegard visiting.  A few other of my friends stopped by to catch up.  My mother had been a state legislature for a number of years, so politics were always a subject we shared.  Chip Toma, a lobbyist now for the state, had some interesting news and had helped to pass a new bill that increased revenue for Alaska from the cruise ships.  We talked briefly about the past election and Sarah Palin, I really hate politics, so I listened politely.   I am more concerned with our environment, then who said what, or what someone didn’t  do!  Actions speak louder than words, people sit around discussing what politicians should be doing, the dismal state of things without doing anything to help.  Lets just say, that if you are unhappy with the state of things, get involved, don’t hide you head or mind in front of the TV, letting the media suck your brains out.  I do not watch TV and I am happier for it.  I get a lot done, I would rather read about what is going on in the world, than have some one tell me.  I can form my own opinion.

Turning the Tides – HOME

Turning The Tides (TTT) is a Juneau grass-roots nonprofit organization working to promote environmentally friendly living and alternatives to plastics.

http://turningthetides.org/ Visit the Site

Here is an Organization that does something!

See video below  OCEAN OF PLASTIC

This was to be my last day in Juneau, I had  spent a week, really wishing that I could stay.  I was trying to figure out why I had left in the first place.  I guess I needed to go for awhile. The past years had been  filled some of the best times of my life and some of the worst.  I needed to find out who I was, learn some heavy lessons and grow. I  published a Dive Magazine for 10 years, fell in love, got married, got divorced, moved to Mexico to open my own hotel and then lost everything after 6 six years. The book will be finished this year and on bookshelves by December 2009 AS THE TORTILLA BURNS.   I was staring over again, I had a new lease on life.  I was going after I what I wanted with new vigor, a straight line this time, with only a few zig zags.  Going in a straight line is hard for me,  I need the zig and zag every now and then, so I can be sure I am alive.  That’s exactly what I am ALIVE and loving everyday I have and every breath I take.

Tuesday morning, I was up early and ready to get on the Kennicott to Whittier.  I was at the ferry office in Auke Bay at 10:30 AM,  I was second in line.   The waitlist actually starts three hours before sailing, the ship would leave at 4:30 PM, so I need to wait until 1:30 pm to get a spot.  At 1:30 I was given a waitlist ticket and I parked my car in line to wait and see if I would make it.

The ferry  had arrived about 11:30 that morning and sat at the dock.  It wasn’t until about 5:00 PM that passengers found out that the elevator that loaded the cars was broken and was being repaired.

I will make this short, as I waited for 13 hours, taking with another passenger I had met, drinking wine and waiting.  At 11:30 that night, no one made the wait list, we were all turned back.  It was a very bad moment for me!

I was out of money and scared about how I would manage the next two weeks.  I was confirmed on November 18th.  It was too late to call anyone or go back to the hostel, so some other waiting passengers and I shared a hotel room.  We all needed to get our bearings, to figure out what we would be doing the next day.

A Trip To Alaska

•December 4, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Circus Circus  Chapter 12

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The Red Dog Saloon, Juneau Alaska

I was at Tag’s door in flash, with smiles on our faces we recapped that past twenty years.  Through the years we had kept in contact through mutual friends.  There had been a group of us, all family to each other during the years we lived in Juneau.  Tag and my friends had a band, Ben Roe.  Tag, Mike and his wife Barb, Billy, Sherry and all of our kids, we are still friends today.  It seems Tag was down in Santa Cruz visiting with Mike and Barb when I arrived in Juneau.  I had been to see them just a few months before, my cat Tody had jumped out of car during my visit and is still living there.  I guess he wasn’t up for this trip.

It’s amazing how much we have all developed spiritually along the same lines.  There are only  a few people I have  known for more than 30 years, It doesn’t matter if you see them every day or every 20 years, they are still your friends and love you unconditionally and are willing to do whatever it takes.  We all do it for each other without question.

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So Yes, there are Human Angels and my friends have been there for me, as I have been there for them.

We spent the day talking, eating and laughing.  I went back to the hostel that night and promised to come back the next morning for breakfast.  It was going to be my last day in Juneau, I was hoping to get on the wait listed ferry November 4th.

Tag works at The Red Dog Saloon as the infamous Phineas Poon entertaining  1000’s of tourists that arrive via the cruise ships every summer.  He is a legend in his own time.

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A Trip To Alaska

•November 17, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Circus Circus Chapter 11

To The End Of the Road

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As it turned out, I was unable to reach any of my friends in Juneau.  I had left a message of where I would be staying so when if they returned, they could get a hold of me.  I met people at the hostel and one clear day I gave a ride to a visitor from England out to the end of road for pictures.

I would be spending at least 8 days in Juneau waiting for the ferry to Whittier.  I was wait listed on a booked ferry with my car.  The weather in Juneau is often rainy, so when the sun shines, everyone heads outside to enjoy the profound beauty.  My new traveling companion had never been to Juneau and was looking to take some pictures.  I was his tour guide for the day.

There are only 30 miles of road in Juneau. Once you leave the downtown area and pass Auke Bay you will find pristine forests, majestic mountains and the sea.

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The Shrine of St. Therese

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Amalga Harbor

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End of the Road

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Auke Lake

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Mendenhall Glacier

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A wonderful day of site seeing, my companion Dan was delighted with the pictures we had taken.  He thanked me for trip, he said he would have never been able to experience Juneau in this way, if I had not offered the ride.

My week was coming to a close, I had a few more days left, my money was running out.  I had enough to pay for the hostel, my food and gas.   I was saving $50.00 for the ferry ride to Whittier, so I would have enough gas to drive.  The trip had taken a turn for the better, it had been on a rocky beginning.  I was thankful for the days as they passed.

Sunday morning just before leaving the hostel at nine, I tried calling my good friend Tag and sure enough, he answered, at last, he said he was expecting my call.  I walked downtown to meet him,  Wow!  After not seeing him for twenty years, we looked upon each other, as if it was just yesterday.

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Beings of Light
Human Angels

During each of our journeys, there are those inevitable moments when someone comes into our life at precisely the right time and says or does precisely the right thing. Their words or actions may help us perceive ourselves more clearly, remind us that everything will turn out for the best, help us cope, or see us through difficult situations. These people are human angels – individuals designated by the universe to be of service to those in need at specific points in time. Some human angels make a commitment before their births to make a positive contribution to the world at a particular moment. Others were chosen by the universe. All human angels, however, come into our lives when we least expect them and when we can most benefit from their presence.

A few of the human angels we may encounter are in professions where helping others is an everyday occurrence. But most of them are regular people, going about their daily lives until called upon to be in the right place at the right time to bring peace, joy, help, or heal someone when they most need it. You may have met a human angel in the form of a teacher who gave you a piece of advice that touched your soul and influenced your path. The person that momentarily stopped you to say hello on the street, delaying you long enough to avoid an oncoming car or a collision, is also a human angel. They may offer nothing more than a kind word or a smile, but they will offer it when you can draw the most strength and support from their simple action.

You may be a human angel yet not know it. Your fate or intuition may guide you toward other people’s challenging or distressing situations, leading you to infer that you simply have bad luck. But recognizing yourself as a human angel can help you deal with the pain you see and understand that you are there to help and comfort others during their times of need. Human angels give of their inner light to all who need it, coming into our lives and often changing us forever. Their task has its challenges, but it is they that have the power to teach, bring us joy, and comfort us in times of despair.

A Trip To Alaska

•November 17, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Circus Circus Chapter 10

Juneau, Alaska – The Juneau Hostel

A Trip To Alaska oct-nov 2008 351 Mendenhall Glacier

Juneau, Alaska has been a very dear place to me.  The scenic beauty surpasses just about anywhere I have been.  The mountains and glaciers that rise from the sea are a true wonder.  My favorite things, where the Mountains meet the Sea .

The unloading of the ship takes just a few minutes and by 7AM I was heading towards downtown Juneau.  It was too early to call anyone, I drove through town looking for the Juneau Hostel.  It was easy to find, straight up to the top of Franklin St, there is a sign to turn right.  Down a few blocks, right on the corner is the Juneau Hostel.

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It looked great to me.  I have never stayed in a hostel before.  I owned an small Inn for 5  years, while living in Mulege, Mexico, this would be a new and different experience.  The Hostel operates differently than a hotel or bed and breakfast.  The Juneau Hostel opens at 5PM daily, it is closed during the day.  I would come back later in the afternoon and check availability.  I found a place to park my car and then walked down the hill towards town to make some calls.  It was great to be back,  seeing all the familiars sights. My mother had lived here for many years this was where she had, had some of the best years of her life.  I could feel her surrounding me, as I walked around town. Juneau has the feel of San Francisco in the early 1900’s, narrow steep streets, brightly painted Victorians and views of the Lynn Canal.

A Trip To Alaska oct-nov 2008 367 Juneau is the Capital of Alaska, the capital buildings are located in the downtown area, everything conveniently located within walking distance.  The World Famous Red Dog Saloon, The Alaskan Hotel and many more restaurants and gift shops.  The cruise ship dock is a short walk to Franklin St.   I spent most of the day wandering around taking pictures and sitting in Heritage Coffee Shop, a long time favorite.

Unable to reach anyone by phone, I went back to the hostel at 5PM to check in.

A Trip To Alaska oct-nov 2008 259 The hostel has a great reputation for offering a very clean and comfortable house to weary travelers.  The cost per night is $10.00, WOW!  A great deal.  You are asked to do a small chore each day that you are there. I swept floors, did some vacuuming and kept the kitchen clean.  You pay nightly, but you are able to leave your packs and belongings either inside or in a storage locker outside.

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I was  not sure the first night, how long I would be staying, but I checked to see if  8 nights were available.  Normally, you are allowed only 5 nights per month, this would be over the time allowed.  But, if I was quiet,  did my chores and if there was room, I might be able to stay, I was told.  I paid my ten dollars, was given clean sheets and towels and given a chore.

Check out time was at 9:00 AM the morning.  The doors are locked during the day and you check back in at 5PM.  This was the only annoying thing for me and other guests during the day, especially during the winter.  I spent most of my in the library, staying warm and reading and using free internet service.

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A full kitchen is provided, 2 sinks and 2 stoves, a large fridge and freezer, coffee pot, dishes, pots and pans. I was surprised that all of the supplies were provided.  There was a shelf of community food, things left from other travelers, pasta, teas, sugar, rice.  You are able to cook whatever you bring and I found most of the other guests shared, I found this to be a very pleasant experience.

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The Juneau Hostel sleeps 50 people in rooms that sleep up to six. Men downstairs with a large bathroom with many sinks and showers.  The women have similar rooms upstairs and one small room on the main floor that sleeps four, is also a handicap room.  A coin operated washer and dryer can be used.  Free wifi on a new computer loaded with Microsoft Vista sits in the living room along with a free phone for local calls.

The Juneau Hostel was a great experience.  I would definitely recommend this to travelers, whether you are on a budget or not.  The views from the living room were some of the best of any offered by other hotels.

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Downtown Juneau, Franklin St.

A Trip To Alaska

•November 17, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Circus Circus – Chapter 9

Bellingham, Washington to Juneau, Alaska

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Finally aboard the Malaspania, I found a spot in the lounge.  If you have never ridden on the ferries in Alaska, you will find them comfortable and warm.  If you have a cabin, you have all the comforts of a cruise ship.  I prefer not to get a cabin, I like sitting and sleeping in either the lounge area or the heated solarium.  This trip I chose to be inside, I have ridden the ferries many times with my car and animals.  It is a comforting journey that takes you slowly away from the Lower 48, through the pristine beauty of the Inside Passage.

A Trip To Alaska oct-nov 2008 244Once on board with all my belongings and blankets, I looked around to see the people I had met before boarding.  Richard and Maria, both were traveling single and we became buddies during the next few days.  The trip from Bellingham to Juneau takes three days and three nights.  We departed on time at 6:00 pm Friday and I would arrive at 6:30 Monday morning.  So I settled in for the trip.

Amazing to say, I slept well on the floor of the lounge my first night,

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and so did my neighbors, one guy brought an inflatable mattress to sleep on!

The ferries offer a dining room, a bar, an observation deck with lounge chairs, also a small movie theater where movies are shown nightly.  A second lounge area, where I slept, has comfortable chairs that recline and along the sides, tables with lounge chairs, which are a lot better for sleeping.  There are hot showers and large bathrooms.  The outside solarium is covered and heated, located at the aft of the ship.  This is a great spot during the summer months.   Those of you traveling with animals, you are allowed down to the car deck several times a day to give your animals a break.  The Alaska Marine Highway is a great way to travel.

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The ship rolls from side to side,

the cool wind of the Pacific Northwest, sooths my face.

The Sun is low in the sky, a warm reminder, as frosted waves dance on the sea.

A Trip To Alaska oct-nov 2008 245The Queen Charlotte Straits, lay ahead, taking me home to Alaska.

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The sounds of a strong engine, a humming that lulls you to sleep. There is so much joy in the journey we call life.  Winging my way, to forward thought, grateful for blessings that have brought me this far.  A Journey Home!

The journey through the Inside Passage, is one that you should take often as you can. To me, I find it very soothing, slowing down, drifting along, as beautiful islands appear, as if by magic.  The spouts of Whales, The Orcas and Eagles are frequent sites. As you leave behind the noise and life of a busy world, your senses are engulfed by the endless beauty that cannot be surpassed.

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The Lighthouse

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We were headed out to open sea, after passing around the lighthouse.  Several hours of rough seas lay ahead.  Actually the crossing is not as bad as I have seen, when fishing or sailing in similar water.  For the sake of people on board who have not made the trip, or are not familiar with traveling by water, an announcement is made, to remain in your seats and use the handrails when moving about.

I spent several peaceful days, making new friends, listening to stories about Alaska, writing and taking pictures.  The days passed quickly, too quickly for me.

A Trip To Alaska oct-nov 2008 252 Maria and I shared stories and exchanged the books we were reading. She was traveling to Haines and then to her home in the Yukon Territories.

Another traveler, Mike, gave me the name of a hostel to check out, if I was unable to reach my friends.  The Juneau Hostel on Harris St.  On Monday morning at 6:30 am, we arrived in Juneau, I had made another leg of my journey safely.

A Special Thanks to Richard.  He was traveling home to Juneau, after being away from his new wife for several months.  He helped me out of jam, while I was in Bellingham.  The key to my car broke in the lock one day.  He was coming out of the ferry office, while I was there trying to figure out what to do next.  He gave me a ride to a locks smith, where a new key was made.  The three of us, Richard, Maria and I, spent time, sharing our food and stories.  A memorable time!

A Trip To Alaska

•November 12, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Circus Circus – Chapter 5

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Now What Was I going to do!

Wow!  I could not believe this was happening to me.  What was I going to do!  I could go back to Tahoe, a straight drive down Idaho to Nevada, a long days drive.  No, I didn’t want to go back.  I had friends in Portland and there was a iffy job on the Oregon Coast.  The job was running a  Bed and Breakfast, I was all excited about it.  The woman I had been in contact with, over the course of the last month,  seemed to be a little flaky.  I decided maybe it wasn’t what I wanted.  But, maybe this was a sign or something, maybe I wasn’t supposed to go to Alaska.  These were my thoughts as I drove slowly back to Post Falls.  I would have to make up my mind by the time I reached the cut off, to either go South or West.

When I reached Sand Point, I took a different route , my car just made a right turn on WA 2 going west.  It was a two lane highway scattered with lakes, trees and fall colors.  I was calming down and heading for Spokane.  It was raining lightly, even though the scenery was beautiful, I just could not bring myself to stop and take pictures.  I knew that there was a ferry to Juneau, but I could not remember if it was on Friday or Saturday.

Today was Friday, it left late in the afternoon, I thought, I might be able to make it, if I drove and did not stop along the way.  I was trying not to panic.  I kept telling myself that everything happens for the best, there is reason for this I am sure, something better would happen.  It always does, just wait and see.

I wasn’t wasting my energy on being mad, it was over.   There was no time for the pitty pot, I would write an article about it later and that would be my way of dealing with the problem.  So that someone else did not make the same mistake, because it was obvious that Canada  did not care, that they were leaving people stranded on the highway.  When the going gets tough, the tough get going, that’s my MOTTO.  Then something happens, you start to laugh!  It was like  Circus Circus, bring in the clowns.  I mean, I can’t remember  missing a plane, an appointment, I am always early, something was redirecting me into a  totally different direction, why fight it.

I have been a travel writer for over 20 years, I was starting to write seriously.  I was taking myself seriously, dropping everything to pursue to my dream.  I had starting writing books, I was writing script for films and this trip  was an adventure that had some plans, but really I wasn’t on a schedule. I had no deadlines to meet, this was my own story.  No one was paying me I could go and write what I wanted.  I have always had a fairly good sense of humor,  why not just make it fun and funny.  Ya, sometimes I appear to be a bit too serious, when was the real person going to emerge, maybe it was today.

I felt like Alice in Wonderland, it was all new, a bit scary, but I was an experienced traveler, this was not my first rodeo!

I loaded up the CD player and sang to myself, out loud.  Revisiting the places I thought I would never see again.  The Wild Horses Monument flew by, the bridge, I was on a fast rewind and I was trying to keep my mind going on a slow forward.

It finally stopped raining, I was making great time and now I was wishing for a perfect spot for a photos.  In the next minute Eaton Pond was on my right.  The afternoon light was perfect, the glowing light of the sun as it was  about to set was my favorite light, a lucky break in the clouds, everything had a golden hue, I pulled off.

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Falls Colors were every where….

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I was slowing down and breathing again, the break gave me back my confidence.

Seattle was another hour, it was four o’clock, I knew that I would not make the ferry.  By the time I reached Seattle it was rush hour traffic, I reached for an apple and inched my way through, looking for an exit I recognized. I was heading south now, back to Olympia where I had dropped off Jen, just the day before.  Maybe she would be home, I could call down to Portland to see if my friends were home.

I do not have a cell phone, I am one of the few people on the planet, that does not use one.  I am a computer geek, if I am not online, you can not get hold of me.  I am religious about checking email, I hate the beeping at times when I just don’t want to talk to anyone, its annoying.

I found Jen’s house, I do have an excellent sense of direction, it comes in handy at times.  She was not home…….hummm, I thought, now what!  I could try and find a store and buy a phone card and a phone booth.

It was raining again and now it was dark.  I went to five stores, no phone cards, no one uses them anymore, everyone uses cell phones.  Then I thought maybe I should drive down to Portland.  Maybe just head to the Oregon Coast, No!  Finally I found a store with phone cards and a phone booth.  These two things are becoming extinct.

I called down to Portland, no one home, I left a message I would call back.  Then I called my sister in Alaska, to let her know that I was delayed and needed to figure out what I was doing.  I would call her the next day.

I had been driving in circles for what seemed to be hours, when I looked at my clock it was 8:00, I had been driving for 12 hours.  I needed to find a place to sleep.  I drove back to Jen’s and parked in her driveway.  I thought maybe they would back soon.  I rearranged the back of my car, so I could sleep.  I had tons of quilts and a pillow, I made a narrow bed on top of my books, crawled in and laid down.

I would figure this out in the morning, I could not think for another minute, I was dizzy.  The first time sleeping in my car.  It felt strange, I was really out there and I was all alone.  A very earthshaking moment.  What had I done to myself, maybe everyone was right, I had really lost my mind, maybe my dream was going to be a nightmare.

Tomorrow, in the light, I would make a decision about which direction I would go, North or South.  Tomorrow, I told myself and I finally fell asleep.

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A Trip To Alaska

•November 11, 2008 • 4 Comments

Circus Circus – Chapter 4

Crossing The Canadian Border

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If you are planning a trip driving to Alaska or Canada, you need to read this.  While I know, that not everything in life goes just the way you want sometimes, some things can be avoided.  In my case, everything always does work out for the best, I guess I am a believer, if you’re not, you could be in for a rude awakening, when you get turned around at the Canadian Border and do not have a back up plan.

I had spent the night in Booner’s Landing, about 30 miles from the Canadian Border.  I slept well, I had a long hot shower, stopped at the grocery store across the street and picked up supplies for my day of driving.  I was going to be driving through the Rockies and Banff, inching my way towards Edmonton to see a friend for a few days, before continuing on to Alaska through the Yukon Territories.   I was in good spirits, the day gray and raining, so I decided  not to stop and take pictures, but just get going.

The two lane road dotted with farms, lakes and trees was  beautiful.   I was traveling as a single woman with a dog and a cat, I had studied the immigration web site on what you needed to enter Canada.  A passport, or birth certificate with a photo ID and health certificates for my animals.  The Following web site information:

Canadian and U.S. Border

List with Go Northwest!

Disclaimer: This information is provided as a service to our visitors and no guarantee is made as to its completeness or correctness. All information should be independently verified with the relevant authorities.

The Pacific Northwest (as defined by Go Northwest!) has the distinction of encompassing two countries. The Pacific Northwest region includes Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington in the USA and the province of British Columbia in Canada.

Visitors to the Pacific Northwest might encounter the laws and practices of both the USA and Canada, as when the USA city of Seattle, and the Canadian city of Vancouver are on the same itinerary. You will want to be prepared when crossing the international border.

The following information is presented to assist you in your travels.  For additional information, please visit either of the following web sites:

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP)

Visitors to the United States from other countries also may want to visit our US-VISIT page and acquaint themselves with policies and procedures recently introduced by the US Department of Homeland Security for entering and visiting the United States.  These policies deal with enrollment requirements, how the program works, current ports of entry and privacy information.  US-VISIT currently applies to all visitors (with limited exemptions) holding non-immigrant visas, regardless of country of origin. US-VISIT does not apply to U.S. citizens.

Crossing the Canadian / United States of America border
Rules governing the entry of foreigners are subject to change and you should check with the relevant authorities close to the time you will be making a crossing.  Generally crossing this border is straight-forward and will include going through immigration customs both ways.  The biggest hassle is usually the length of the queues, so consider avoiding peak times such as public holidays and the start and end of the working day.

Ensure you have the necessary papers.
Identification papers such as a passport or birth certificate are recommended. Visit the US Customs and Border protection Agency web site for more information about identification requirements. You also may be asked to show a return air ticket or proof of sufficient funds. Know the rules and make sure your appearance is not cause for suspicion (probably not a good day to be wearing your “legalize marijuana” t-shirt!). Customs inspectors do have the power to ruin a vacation. If you come under strong scrutiny for any reason, answer questions directly and politely. Tempting though it may be, wise-cracking and rudeness will only be to your own detriment.

When crossing the border on public transportation such as ferries, trains and buses, you will if necessary, be reunited with your luggage in order to take it across yourself. Transport companies take the inspection time into account in their schedules, and while mass transit is usually treated efficiently, the companies have no power over delays. Vehicles may be searched at the discretion of the customs officials, whether or not the traveler feels that he or she has complied with customs requirements.

Standard questions you might be asked by a border guard include: “Where are you from?”, “Where are you going?”, “How long will you be in Canada?” (sound like you know for how long, even if your plans are flexible, and ensure the intended length of your stay is within the legal limit), “What is the purpose of your trip?”, and “Are you bringing anything with you that you intend to leave behind?”

Driving across the border
Border officials are on the lookout for stolen cars, or people attempting to avoid paying duties on bought cars. So you will want to be carrying documentation to show you are not perpetrating such scenarios.

Driving a rental car across the US-Canadian border is usually not a problem, so long as you have made this arrangement with the car rental company. Make sure you have a copy of the rental agreement with you, and that is states you have permission to take the vehicle across the border.

If you are driving a private car which isn’t registered in the name of someone going on the trip, bring written proof that you have the permission of the owner to take the car into the other country.

Close to the time you intend to cross, it might be worth asking locals about the comparable prices of gas/petrol in each country (factoring in exchange rates), in order to make a budget-conscious decision as to which side to “fill up”.

Going through U.S. Customs
Visitors who are at least 21 years of age may bring the following into the USA: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 2 kilograms (4.4 lbs.) of tobacco; 1 liter of alcohol; gifts to the value of $100. Different restrictions will apply to returning US residents and citizens.

Travel Information from U.S. Customs & Border Protection
More details are available in the “Traveler Information” section of the official U.S. Customs web site. The “Visiting the US” and the “FAQ” links are a good place to start.

Immigration and Naturalization Service
The official INS web site has a page called How do I get legally admitted to the United States?, describing procedures at a port of entry. Another page is called, How do I extend my stay in the United States?

Canadian Citizens Traveling to the US
More information for Canadian citizens crossing into the USA can be found on the Travel Information Report for the United States of America at the web site of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Going through Canadian Customs
Visitors may bring the following into Canada: 200 cigarettes (= 1 carton), 50 cigars, and 14 ounces of tobacco; 1.1 liters or 40 imperial ounces (= 1 bottle) of liquor or wine, or 24 x 355-milliliter (12-ounce) bottles or cans of beer for personal consumption; gifts up to the value of C$60 per gift. To import tobacco products a person must be 18 years of age or over, and to import alcoholic beverages the importer must have reached the legal age established by authorities of the province. You can bring in a small amount of food for your own consumption. Different restrictions will apply to returning Canadian residents.

USA Citizens Traveling to Canada
Citizens of the United States do not need a passport or visa to enter Canada, unless they are arriving in Canada from somewhere other than the USA. They do need to have on them proof of citizenship plus photo identification, although this is not often asked for. More information for U.S. citizens crossing into Canada can be found on the Consular Information Sheet for Canada at the web site of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, of the U.S. Department of State.

Americans in particular will need to be aware that Canada has strict gun laws. Generally, all weapons without legitimate sporting or recreational use are prohibited, and guns used for hunting or competition may be brought in with a permit. (Contact below). Undeclared firearms will be confiscated, and criminal charges may be made.

For more information about going into Canada, phone the border-crossing post directly. For answers to Canadian customs enquiries, or to locate the nearest Canadian customs district office, call the following telephone numbers: From within Canada, call: (toll-free) 1-800 461-9999. From outside Canada, call: 204-983-3500; or, 506-636-5064 (long-distance charges apply).

The following links also will be helpful.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency.
The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency site has information for Visitors to Canada, including the Tax Refund for Visitors to Canada pamphlet. Canadian residents may be interested in browsing the pages about Canadian residents traveling abroad and obtaining more information about exemptions for returning Canadians in the pamphlet I Declare.

The Canadian customs FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page also can be quite helpful in answering questions.

More Related Web Sites

Webcams of four border crossings for lower mainland British Columbia, plus tips for Canadian travelers. (Web site by aacb.com.)

More Information

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) telephone numbers for customer service:

  • Local: 202-354-1000
  • Toll-free (from US): 1-877-227-5511.

The above information is presented to assist you in your travels. For additional information, please visit either of the following web sites:

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP)

This is just one web site with information, there are many more, I included this one, but all of them have the same information.

As I pulled up to the crossing, a woman came out to the booth and asked me for my identification, which I gave her promptly.  She looked at my passport and asked for health certificates for my animals, which I also gave her.  She asked me where I was going, Alaska I said, was I moving there, I said yes,  my car was packed with clothes and things.  I was not on vacation.  I told her I was going to stay with my sister in Palmer.  She asked about guns, tobacco, the usual questions.  I did not see a problem, then she told me to wait in the car a minute and she would be right back.

Then one of the other agents walked out and asked me to park my car and come inside.  I asked if there was a problem, he said he didn’t know, that the other woman agent was checking something.  I said ok.  So I went inside and sat down next to the counter.  The woman agent was on the computer.  I waited quietly for 30 minutes, wondering what was going on, but I knew better, not to ask any questions, but just continue to sit quietly and wait, so I did, with my mouth shut.

Finally the woman came up and asked if I would sign something, I asked what and she showed my some paper work, to check my identity, she needed my social security card, not a copy, but original, which I had.  I went to my car to get more of my paperwork.  At this point, I did ask, is there a problem, she said, she was still checking.  Ok, I said.  She went back to the computer for a few more minutes and then came back to where I was standing.

She asked, if there was anything I would like to say, I said, what do you mean, is there a problem.  She said, yes, you had a DUI.  I said, yes I did have a DUI in 2001.  She asked if I had my paperwork with me, I said yes, It was in my car.

I have gotten into the habit of keeping my paperwork with me.  I had been living in Mexico for the past 6 years, and when I got back to the US, I had Mexican plates on my car, I was stopped by local police.  There had been a mix up with my paperwork, it showed that I had not completed my program.  Which I did, I had to go to court and get it straighten out. So, I now keep all copies  from the court with me, so I do not have a problem again.

When I came back with my folder, she asked my why I did not say anything.  Was I just hoping for the best.  I said, you did not ask me if I had a DUI, I was not aware that having a DUI that was 7 years old was a problem.  She then said, that I would be refused entry into Canada and asked me how much money I had and could she please see it.  I had to go back to my car for the third time.  At this point I was getting scared.  I thought maybe they were going to arrest me or something.  I asked if she was, she said, no.  I did not have any warrants and I was good to go, back to the US.  I was also told, that if I tried to enter Canada at any other crossing, I would be arrested and put into jail.  I could reapply for entry in 5 years and ask for rehabilitation status.  I asked the agent if this happened often, she replied that it happens many times a day. I was stunned.

There is not one word on any site about any of this.  In the few weeks since this happened, I have talked to many Alaskan’s who have also been turned around.   Not just for DUI’s but for any kind of arrest, jay walking, a parking ticket not paid, being a tattoo artist, one man had a DUI in 1950, the list is endless.

I was told that I would have to go around Canada to get to Alaska, that meant taking the ferry as far north as I could.  I was going to Palmer, so that meant Whittier.  I was not prepared for this, I did not have the money to take the ferry.  I had considered it, to Haines or Skagway, but the same thing would have happened, I would have been really stranded.  The ferry to Whittier only leaves from Juneau, every two weeks.  When I checked the ferry for driving through British Columbia, there was NOT one word about DUI’s, being arrested or being turned around.



I then got back in my car, went through the customs drive through for the US, showed them my passport and drove through.  The American Agent asked me if I had been turned around, I said yes, and he just shook his head, I am sure that he would have said more, This is an outrage.

If Canada is going to turn people around they should at least have the decency to explain before you get there, what they don’t want. It comes at a great expense of time and money to make the trip.

Anyone who reads this, please leave a comment and your email address.  I  will be following this up with complaints, letters and more articles.  You see I am a writer,


I hope to have people back me on this !

The rest of this story is about what you can do, if you find yourself stuck, which was exactly what I was at that moment.

A Trip To Alaska

•November 11, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Circus Circus – Chapter 3

Olympia WA to Post Falls ID 344 miles 15 mins

A Trip To Alaska oct-nov 2008 083

Wild Horses Monument – Eastern Washington

Day Two –  I woke early the next morning, anxious to get on with my trip.  The cost of gas and food to Olympia was $180.00, not bad, gas had been cheaper than I expected.  I thought for about one second to take the ferry to Haines or Skagway instead of driving to Idaho and Canada, but instantly put it out of mind.  I made some coffee, got dressed, took Missy out for a quick walk.  I left a note for Jen, thanking her for the nights stay and the fun drive we had.

I was on the road by 7:30 AM, I was  heading north on the 5  towards Seattle. I was driving 344 miles today, I thought I might make the border and get across by dark.

I was taking WA 18 East to I-90 East, I had never driven these roads before, so I looking forward to it.  A light rain continued most of the way.  I wanted pictures of fall colors, I tried taking a few out the windows while I driving, but it was raining with low clouds.  I stopped on WA 18 in Bend, bought some gas, coffee, bananas,  nuts and just kept driving.  I was heading towards Wantachee and Indian John Hill, a very scenic area.

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I stopped a few times for photos, the colors were not as vibrant as I hoped.  This group of leaves was on some kind of bush.

I kept on towards Spokane, the rain stopped and the lakes and trees turned to open farm land.  After climbing a grade I could see water up ahead.

A Trip To Alaska oct-nov 2008 076 Passing over a bridge, I could see to my right, what appeared to be horses, high a bluff.  Then I saw a sign for the Wild Horses Monument, I pulled into the area, where horse trailers were parked.  Straight ahead there was a little dirt road that led to the base of the mountain and a trail heading up to where the sculptures were.  I parked the car, took out my telephoto and started shooting.

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It looked like there were moving, I wanted to get closer, so I headed up the trail to get a closer look.  Wow!  What a treat!

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While standing on top of that bluff the horses actually came alive, there movement could be felt.  There was an overwhelming feeling inside me, it gave me goose bumps.  My thoughts drifted to the time when wild horses roamed freely throughout this part of the country, not too long ago. I stood up there for a  awhile with the wind in my face and the freedom of the dancing horses. I knew that I would not be back this way again, but I was pleased that I had made the effort to walk up and experience the art that was majestically displayed, it was an awesome moment.

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The road ahead was uneventful.  Spokane a fairly large city with lots of turn of the century buildings was intriguing, but I did not stop.

Post Falls was just a few more miles.  Gas prices in Washington were $2.99 a gallon in Olympia and when I got to Spokane $3.46, once I reached Idaho it dropped to $2.46.  So I filled up in Post Falls, the Canadian Border was only another 90 miles.  It was late in the afternoon, I passed through Sand Point, it was beautiful.  The fall colors stunning, against the large lakes.  The light was going, I wanted to stop, or stay an extra day, but I was hoping Canada would be even more beautiful.  I pushed on.  I was trying to get to Cranbrook just over the border, there was a hostel there I would spend the night.  I would head into the Canadian Rockies and Banff the next morning.  I was looking forward to another great day.

I drove through another town, Booner Landing, it was just too beautiful, so I decided to hold off one day and spend the night.  I would be able to go back to the spots I saw, I would go out early in the morning to get some shots of Idaho.  I found a motel for $65.00 a night, a grocery store across the street and next to that a Chinese restaurant.  It was dark by now, I was tired and hungry.  I checked in, got my self settled and went across the street for dinner.  A Chinese plate for one with soup for $8.95.  I had a hearty meal with tea, then back to my room, a bed with clean sheets where I fell asleep.

What a great day, it almost seemed to good be true.  This was a journey of my dreams, I was all on my own and loving every minute.  I dreamt of Wild Horses and the Rolling Stones song ran through my head all night, “Wild Horses couldn’t keep me away……..”

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A Trip To Alaska

•November 10, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Circus Circus – Chapter 2

Reno, NV. to Olympia, WA 689 Miles – 12 hours 25 min

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Highway 89 North to Highway 5

I love taking pictures of the highway, especially when there is no one on the roads.  I like it best when avoiding traffic, endless roads and no cars.  The scenery is much better and usually you can drive as fast or as slow as you want. This trip I was planning on stopping a lot.  Usually I drive about ninety miles an hour, impressed with my self, on how many minutes I shaved off a trip.  I mean, when I lived in Mexico, I would drive 650 miles in less than 9 nine hours.  I rarely stopped, for anything.  Always in a rush to get where I was going.

This trip was going to be different, I thought to myself, I really wasn’t in a hurry, I wanted to take as many pictures as I could.

I picked Jen up around 10am and loaded her pack into the back of my car.  I had left some room for her and her bags.  Off we went, 395 to Susanville and than to 89 towards The 5.  Jen was in charge of music, so she loaded the CD player.

A girl on a journey, she had just finished college and was in search of herself.  She had been on the road since January, quite a long time, I thought.  She was traveling around, she had previously met some girls up in Olympia and was returning to spend more time with them.  They had plans to do some hiking and camping.

We started a conversation about the State of the Universe, and she described her views upon the subject.  She felt responsible to clean up the mess of past generations and was directing her Masters Degree when she returned to college in the next few months, in Agriculture.  Her concern, was providing edible food in the future and restructuring what and how we eat.  A commendable and noble goal, I told her.  After all, people in parts of the world were starving.  While people living in North America were eating fast foods, were over weight and some children I have met, do not even know what fresh fruit or vegetables are.  Sad, but true.

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We finally hit Interstate 5 several hours later.

Mt. Shasta on our right. We stopped for gas and food.

A Trip To Alaska oct-nov 2008 062Missy, my 15 year old dog, crowded into a tiny spot in the back of my car, was in need of break too!  So we got out and enjoyed a walk and lunch.

The Oregon border not far in front us.  The weather was perfect that day, warm and clear.  I was glad I decided to take Jen along for the ride, she was good company and I enjoyed listening to her views.  I do not spend any time with people in there 20’s, so it was interesting to get her opinions on politics and what her life was like.  She seemed to be serious and concerned in a mature and intelligent way, it was refreshing and enlightening.

As soon as we crossed the border into Oregon, the scenery changed, there were a lot more cops on the road.  We passed one very bad accident, it actually really upset me, the car was completely totaled, the front end where the driver would have been was pushed past the back seat.  It took several squeamish minutes for me to stop shaking.

Then we passed another car, pulled off the road and the police had all there contents of the car pulled out and they were searching the car.  Several police cars were pulled up along side.  Jen, started talking about how, the police have the right to pull you over in broad daylight or any other time and search your vehicle.  I had not heard of anything like this.  I have to admit, that I really do live a bit of a sheltered life.  I have spent the last six years living in Mexico, I left shortly after Bush became president, my reason for leaving was Bush himself.  Things in the US have changed dramatically since my departure and returning has sometimes been difficult, culture shock, they call it.

Then all of sudden, out of no where, a police car was following us, he pulled up close to us and looked inside our car.  I got a sick feeling that maybe we would be next.  I kept on driving and he got off at the next exit.  I was driving 55 or 60 the whole way.  Then out of my mirror, about 10 minutes later, he was there again.  This time, I was sure he was going to stop us.  He pulled up close in the lane next to us and peered in at us.  He was right next to us, very odd, I thought.  I just kept driving on and he finally pulled to the center of the freeway and turned around and went back the other way.  I am not sure why I get so upset, when those guys come around, but at the next exit, I pulled off and decided to get some gas.  It was the exit to Coos Bay and Highway 101.  It was almost dark by then.  We still had 350 miles to go, about 6 more hours.

By the time we got to Portland it was raining and it continued to rain all the way to Olympia.  We pulled into Jen’s friend’s driveway about 12:30pm.  Tired and happy to have made it safely to a warm dry house.  I had a futon on the floor and after letting Missy out for a walk, I crawled into bed and was fast asleep in a few minutes.

A Trip To Alaska

•November 10, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Circus Circus

A Trip To Alaska oct-nov 2008 052 My trip actually began a few days before I left.  I was staying with my son in Reno, hence the photo of a local casino.  I thought this would be a great way to start this story.  My departure date of October 15th had been delayed one day.  I spent the two days prior packing up my SUV.  I was leaving the lower 48 for good, this time.

I would be traveling up to Palmer, Alaska to stay with my sister, who had said she could get me a job on the North Slope working for an oil company.  I have been out of work for 8 months, except for one writing job I got with Discovery Channel writing for a new Shipwreck Series.

The money I made was paying for this trip.  Other than that I have been staying with friends and writing.  But at this point, I really needed a job and I would be willing to drive all the way to Alaska for a chance to make some serious money.

My plan to drive through Canada from Reno, stopping in Edmonton, Alberta to see a good friend and spend a few days before finishing the 3400 mile trip.  I was planning to drive through Nevada on Hwy 80 to Winamucca and then head north to Idaho and cross the border not far from Sand Point.  So that was the plan.

I checked out the Canadian Immigration site online, to find out what I would need for entry.  I was traveling with one small dog and my cat.  My car packed with clothes, books, my computer and lots of blankets.  All I needed was a passport and certificates for the animals.  It seemed effortless.  I have traveled all over the world and I have never had a bit of trouble, but I had heard stories about Canada.  They would turn people back for this reason and that.   I wanted to be clear of the legalities before I left, as a precaution

I was not planning on camping along the way.  Mostly driving and stopping for a good nights rest and dinner along the way.  Then taking a few days to visit with my friend Sal, then finish the trip through the Yukon Territories taking photos  and spending a night or two in a small hotel or hostel along the way.  I had researched the potential and it looked promising.  I had made plans to stick by.  Before I left, I decided to put an ad on Craig’s List looking for a rider to share some expenses and maybe help drive.

Looking for Rider Reno to Alaska, my ad was answered the next morning.  A young woman named Jennifer.  We talked on the phone, she needed a ride to Olympia, Washington, she asked, “are you taking Hwy 5.”   “I was not planning on it”, I told her.  She said she really needed a ride, she had $30.00 dollars.  I am such a sucker for a sob story.  I told her that I would check out the mileage and see what the difference would be and let her know.

The difference in mileage would be about 344 miles.  I could drive across Washington to Idaho, I was on a quest to take lots of pictures and I had never been to that part of Washington.  I was hoping for fall colors.   I called her back and agreed to take her to Washington, a 11 hour drive.  I asked if I could stay at her house the night and I would take the $30.00, it would be a sweet thing for both of us.  So that’s what we did.

We left the morning of October 16th, I picked her up in downtown Reno, I passed through the Biggest Little City, and took the photo of Circus Circus, the title for my journey.

A Trip To Alaska

•November 10, 2008 • Leave a Comment

A Trip To Alaska
Originally uploaded by webpressdesigns

This is the beginning of another Blog.  I have a few, this is the story of My Trip to Alaska.   I am calling it The Travels of The Wandering Soul.  It seems to fit, I am wandering, not lost, just on a journey into the unknown, or it seems that way.  Everyday is different, there does not seem to be a plan, yet there was one when I started on October 16th 2008.

This is a picture of the inside of the pocket of my coat. I could hear the camera beep, but I was not sure where it had come from. I knew the camera had taken a picture, I just wasn’t sure of what…..Now, I know….this is a test.

I just wanted to make sure that I do not have a picture of someones dog…..not MINE!!! as the opening to this blog.  I am downloading so many new programs these days, that I get a little confused.

Its not that I don’t know what I am doing, I do this all the time. I am not using my own computer, I have 3 weeks in Juneau Alaska waiting for the ferry to Whittier, so I can drive to Anchorage without stepping foot in Canada.  I am not stupid, I am a single woman traveling around on a spiritual journey…or whatever that is.  Meaning, I am trying to get to Alaska so I can work on the North Slope for the winter.  This is not my first trip to Alaska, but I can tell you, this is the longest it has ever taken.  By the time I do arrive, it will have taken almost 6 weeks.  So many obstacles, blocking my path….some days things just seem to go along fine, and then other days, I wonder what the hell has happened.

Today is my birthday…..so what gives.

So, I have been a travel writer for quite a few years, I have been doing blogs for about four or five years, I can’t remember, its a blur.

I am off on adventure and this seems the best way to get my information out there….

Lets hope that someone reads it and likes what they read. I hope it helps, maybe you will find yourself on a similar trip, without a penny to your name. You are looking for a place to stay for 10 bucks a night, cause you  only have a 10 bucks to your name and you want to take some decent pictures. Well, this blog will help, because this is the kind of trip this is.

From Reno Nevada to Palmer Alaska with $1200.00 dollars. I had planned on driving, but got turned around at the border in Idaho…..you know, where potatoes grow.   So If you are planning a trip to Alaska and you want to drive, you should read this, or you will be on the same trip I am on.  I am  taking the ferry from Bellingham, Washington after driving to Idaho, from Olympia, Washington and back, don’t ask, read!!!!………Hehe! Its all good….and everyday gets better, from camping in my car, to staying in a beautiful house on Fritz Cove in Juneau Alaska.   I have not made it to Palmer yet, but I will, I have a confirmed space on the Gulf Ferry, The Kennacott on the 18th of November.  So I will get there, eventually.

This is a poem I wrote a few months ago.  I was on my way to Africa to work for a Safari company and then things just changed.  The plans I thought I had made were taking me on a journey, it was out of my control.  So why fight it, I decided to just go with the flow.  It’s hard for me not to be in control, so this would be a lesson in trusting the Universe, that seemed to be redirecting my life in some way.  It’s kind of exciting, to finally just let go!


Stranger in a Strange Land
The Wanderer
from the I Ching

I was on my way to Kenya Africa the other day,
to work for a Safari Company
as a photojournalist.

I left behind my family, friends and my land,
to find out who I am.

Struggling inside with my desire to be creative,
a paradoxical situation was at hand.

This was the poetry of my undertaking,
deciding my contraries,
without contraries, there is no progression,
attraction and repulsion, reason and energy,
love and hate, all are necessary to human existence.

For a year I worked at a job,
listening to those who loved me, telling me what I should do with my life.
Telling me I should give up my dreams, it wasn’t  important to know who I am,
it was all a scam.

I dislike being told what to do, cops, authority, being restricted.
I like an unstructured environment, free from rules and regulation,
Where I can respond to the needs of the moment.
I like to work in solitude, I am intuitive, my mind works in a non linear fashion,
Sudden insights and flashes of inspiration come to me,
out of the blue, Who Knew!

So I decided to go on a journey,
a detour from my life, that had become restrictive,
to see if I was who I thought,
I am.

Releasing all of my attachments to people, things and thoughts,
from the past, to follow my dreams.
As I have said before,
Merrily, Merrily, we drift down this stream
and life is not what is seems.

I packed up my house and belongings to be stored safely for a time,
to follow my dreams, to let go and not follow a plan.
Clothes, cats and dogs jammed into my car, leaving behind the safety of my land.
I set out on this journey, a homeless creature,
to figure out who I am.

Listening to my guides, trusting the Universe and my instinct,
to experience life, joy, freedom, gratitude, with out fear of the unknown,
to observe life without a plan,
to try and understand why, what and where I am.
A Stranger in a Strange Land.

Feeling the pull of the benevolent arms of the Universe reaching out to me,
to find myself, without money or a place to live,
I could hear them say,
You may not get want you want, but you will have what you need.

Searching my heart and hearing my soul speak to me,
to gain the knowledge I was seeking,
To be free to discover who I am.

I have been a photojournalist, massage therapist, hotel owner, magazine publisher, a writer,
a poet, a lover, a wife, a mother and a friend, but never a beggar or a thief.

My past life experiences have taught me who I was,
My question was where do I belong, to whom, to where,
who am I now.

Some people think I am crazy, disorganized, scattered, selfish, mean, cruel,
a risk taker and lazy.
Others think I am a creative genius, strong, loving, kind, gentle,
organized and adventurous.

Some people hate me, others love me, few understand me,
most don’t know me,
I am merely just misunderstood,
about who I really am.

A rolling stone, wandering through experiencing my life.
It’s the only way I know to learn to grow,
to be the person, I really am.

Who are we anyway, flesh and bones and blood,
or light that shines through our souls,
transcending back from where we come from.
To gain the freedom to remember why we came here,
to reach out, to be the person,
we were meant to be.

To grow and learn, to teach others to remember,
who we are and the soul that says,
I am.

So I stopped in Kern County on my way to LA
to catch a flight, to see a family friend,
while using the computer at Mama Hilly Beans,
I met a clan, my life took a detour, not part of the plan.

I decided to stay another day,
to find out who I am.

I have traveled all over the world looking for a place,
I thought was the promised land, but sometime ago,
I realized the promised land was already in my hand.

Its not a place, but lives inside,
that’s who, I am.

Im not sure if I will stay in Tehachapi,
I could leave for Africa any day,
that was the plan.

I was in Mama Hilly Beans, last Wednesday Night,
to listen to what you had to say.  Holly reminded me, that if
you do not share who you are, no one, will ever know you.

So, I wrote this poem, so I wouldn’t be a Stranger in a Strange land.
My name is Wendy, I know who I am,
that’s what I wanted to say,
and Africa can wait another day,
You know there never really was a plan.

Wendy Zake
May 9, 2008
Tehachapi, California

A Trip To Alaska

•December 14, 2008 • Leave a Comment


Circus Circus – Chapter 15


You guessed it, I made it aboard the Kennicott on November 18th.  I was finally going home.  This is a serious crossing, across the Gulf of Alaska, open sea most of the way.

Rolling waves and a rough sea, a bit of sea sickness, I slept most of the way.  A quick stop in Yakatat, a small village at the foot of the Mt. St. Alias Range.


IMG_0621 The Kennicott is a very large ship, built for this crossing.  I recommend a cabin, the sleeping arrangements are not quite the same as other ships I have been on.  If you are camping there are only two area on the ships where you are allowed to sleep, they are not that comfortable.  The seas are huge, so for comfort a cabin is the best bet.  This is a two night trip to Whittier.




The Purser’s Deck, located in the center of the ship.  A great crew aboard to help with all your questions and needs. 





Arrival in Whittier, unloading cars.






IMG_0663 IMG_0665

Through the tunnel on my way to Anchorage.




My sweet sister was surprised to see me,

after waiting 5 weeks for me to arrive, she just

wasn’t sure when I would show up.



Just in time for Christmas!

Santa Claus Mountain our view out our window!

If you do not believe in Santa Claus, you should,

because we know where he lives!



Wishing you all a Merry Christmas in my usual form   Christmas Card with a bit of humor and news of the past year!

It has been quite a ride   Sledding with lots of changes in the world  Snow Globe

and in my life……

Do You Believe in Santa Claus?   3D Santa

You should!

Because I took the picture of where he lives,   North Pole Sign

Christmas Snow outside my window.

  I told him where you all live, Chimney Santa

so you should make a listSanta and check it twice, 

So if you have been good Christmas Angel  or bad,  Grinch

naughty or nice,

you will be sure to get what you deserve!  Trapped Ornament

Last year we knew that Bush  Capital Building was on his way out!  

Hurrah ! Rockettes Only now we have a bigger mess,

but, lets not pout!   Candy Cane 1

I could tell you a few good stories of where I have been,  Three Kings

that would make you laugh! Golden Ornament

So look at the bright side,   String Of Lights

as we start a New Year!

I have done a lot of writing this year,  Computer Smash

along with a bit of travel,  Movers up and down the California Coast,

working in SO CAL as a script writer for Discovery Channel,

up to Oregon, Washington,

Idaho, you know where potatoes grow!

I took the ferry to Juneau, Alaska,  Cruising and then across the Bering Sea,

writing all the way, Ho Ho Ho!  Carolers

to be where I am right now, Santa Claus Mountain!     Mush

Snow Angel

So even through the up’s and down’s,

Niagara Falls

I know that things only work out for the best!

Presents Under The Tree

Some people say I have on Rose Colored Glasses,

they are right,  I do !   Joy To The World Elf

So put on pair, Eyeglasses 4

  see the world,

St. Basils Cathedral



and today,


with a little color   Mistletoe Kiss to brighten your day!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas

and a Happy New Year!

Santa's Sleigh

Love, Wendy, Mom, Mema, Auntie, Sister and friend……..