I know, I promised that I would write a blog a month on turning 60, beginning with August 2012 and ending in July 2013, the month I actually have my 60th birthday. It is late in August and I have not done so---yet.
The idea is for me to do something special for myself during each month, something I would not ordinarily do. Something different. It may be costly, it may not be; but it will be a new thing, or at the very least, a special thing. I am celebrating ME!
|Enjoying a rest stop in Canada.|
OK, so I admit I am cheating a little in August. We just returned from an Alaskan cruise and land trip that was fourteen days long. This WAS different and it did celebrate US, as we look forward to our 35th wedding anniversary in November. In November, we will be in "high wedding mode." There will be no time for any vacations of any kind. So this we do, now!
I have several other blog ideas from things I learned on this trip. Traveling with an educator, if nothing else, assures that you WILL be doing some educational things. I have learned this and appreciate it. There will be future blog entries on some of these things. But for now, we'll just talk about the specialness of doing it, period.
We first cruised four days from Vancouver. The third day we landed at Juneau and did a whale-watching tour, then got on the ship again to cruise overnight and land in Skagway AK, and begin our land trip from there.
Cruising is the most relaxing vacation there is. You don't have to do anything for yourself. You can be as lazy as you want or as active as you want. As we discovered, you don't even have to want to do the same things. The downside is you can't text each other without extra charges, so we had be aware of what the other was doing. We both like the shows. I enjoyed being served in the dining room. But Jerry liked being outdoors on deck, and I took a computer class.
|We did not take this picture. It was|
just blind luck from our fellow traveler
The highlight for me was the whale-watching adventure. I expected, yeah, ok, we'll see a few blowholes and maybe a jump or two--woohoo! This was far more than my expectation. We were able to watch what is called "bubble net feeding," whereby the whales form a circle and swim around the poor little fishies that are not long for the world. The fishes then swim upward to the surface, in order to escape. The other component of this is that the seagulls also want to eat the fish. So you watch the gulls and they sort of are doing their own thing, and then they "organize" themselves, and one gull heads for the water, and in this process all the whales come to the top at once. Our guide counted 13 dorsal fins. My mouth was just wide open.
We watched this repeated four or five times and none of us wanted to come in; even the crew was enthralled by this. We had a marvelous day in terms of weather; and it's my understanding that this happens within about a three-week period, and to have a nice day too was just amazing.
The following day we disembarked in Skagway, and from there took the White Pass Railroad up into Canada. This was interesting in that our engine broke down, and there we were on the side of a cliff of the mountain. No wine to be had! They were very efficient though, and another train brought up a new engine within 30 minutes. We got to witness train maneuvers and then we were on our way.
In Canada we went to White Horse and Dawson, Yukon Territory. During this time I learned a great deal about the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898, and all the history surrounding that. It was very interesting.
From Dawson, with its dirt streets and wood plank sidewalks, we drove in a bus on a highway called "Top of the World." This was another attempt for Denise to lose her mind as we went around perilous curves. We actually had a "lead car" going before us to warn people coming the other way of our approach. If you've ever experienced the "Road to Hana" on the island of Maui, you get the idea. Scared out of my wits! I decided to just take a nap and be done with it.
After one night in Tok, AK, we traveled to Fairbanks and had a nice meal and stern roller riverboat trip. That evening we went to the late show of a salmon bake. The next morning we rode the train to Denali National Park and spent two nights near there. What a completely fabulous area! Jerry went alone on the plane ride over the mountains, not enough wine on the planet to get me to do that, and the following day we had our bus tour of the park. It was about seven hours long, and we saw moose, caribou, dall sheep and grizzlies. It was a clear day and we could see the Mt. McKinley very well, even from the distance.
The third day we got on the train again and rode to Anchorage. This was an eight-hour trip but it was comfortable. We had a nice dinner in the dining car. Arriving at the Hilton in Anchorage, we had about seven hours before we had to leave for the airport. We showered and packed and got a little sleep and then we began the twelve hour (total) trip home. We arrived in Dayton at 10:30 PM.
This was unbelievably special and it WAS expensive! Haha! But I admit, I will most likely never return as there are too many other places I want to see so I just took it all in.
On a side note, I bought myself a Pandora bracelet. I have wanted one for years; but other things get in the way. I also bought a whale charm as that was the highlight of my trip. We won a gift certificate in the Denali Lodge Gift Shop and I bought another one there. So I have two, and my plan is to buy myself (or maybe the kids will buy me one for Christmas...) a charm every month for the next eleven months. Then, when the year is over, I have a visual of my year. The charms won't necessarily match what I do, but they will be something to remember as I celebrate--turning 60!