Blog


Where To Hear Tunes

What city is the live music capital of the US? Austin? Really? How does Austin out croon Nashville, Branson, and Vegas? Willy, Waylon, and the Boys I guess. Luckenbach is right down the road.


Where to Go, Go to Guys 2

We asked half a dozen professional Themopolisians where we should go to watch the eclipse, but much as they tried, we got little help.  In the nick of time I pointed out the town’s road maintenance yard and reminded Steve that an Alaskan road maintenance guy had given great advice in another situation. Sure enough, he sent us to a perfect hillside overlooking the valley, no one around but a few horses, a herd of antelope, and a couple of highly compatible locals.  When totality commenced we could hear people cheering up and down the valley.  How could we have […]


Berries and Bears

I’ve always loved finding sweet ripe serviceberries (pronounced sarvice) while hiking in the mountains.  The Waterton Park guide called them Saskatoon berries which has an even funner ring to it. Our campsite was overrun with them, so when our dog spotted a bear rummaging around right under our window, I was only surprised that the bear didn’t stay longer.  


Bowhead Blessing 1

I wanted baleen bad, but I didn’t want to go to jail over it — especially in the middle of giving a whale lecture. So when Steve and I set out for Anchorage, I called NOAA and asked how I could carry a piece of a protected species around the world without risking handcuffs. No problem, actually. If a member of a Native Alaskan tribe inscribes the baleen with artwork, it is no longer taboo. Better yet, the agent I talked to, had a few illegal pieces that were cluttering up the NOAA office, and he was happy to gift […]


Blossom Clock

Flaming pink fireweed earned its name by being one of the first plants to colonize scorched earth.  The flower is also a virtual hourglass for its season.  In spring, the lowest buds on the stalk begin to blossom and blooming progresses up until the topmost debut in fall. Everywhere we go in Alaska we see fireweed.  Near Haines Junction the roadsides looked like there’d been a massive Pepto Bismol spill.  The timekeepers are now climbing past their midpoint, constantly reminding us to step lively if we want to hit the high spots and get out while the getting’s good.


Retro Cool

I bought this helmet (clearance priced) in 1975 when patriotism wasn’t cool. Steve and I have worn it for 42 years, off and on, and the only comment I remember about the design was a neighbor calling me a hippie –until last summer. Half a dozen ATV riders on Taylor Park trails thought it was very cool, an Easy Rider throwback!  No one made me an offer though, so I’m still wearing it. Have a groovy birthday USA.


Moving On

A fellow Newfoundland Ferryboater commented on the miles that Steve claimed we’d put on our trailer. I said that Steve is the kind of guy that likes to get there…and there, and there, and there.  The man’s wife upped the smart comment bar by saying: “He thinks he’s a shark and has to keep moving or die.”


Newfangled Park

The promised grand opening didn’t seem promising.  We couldn’t see a park from, the road was still under construction, and who ever heard of an Old West park?  But the road opened, the planners did a bang up job on the play town, and there’s a hand pump feeding a waterfall of sluice boxes.  I can’t wait to thrill a grandkid!


A Favorite Dad Story

“We scouts raised enough money to stay on Grand Mesa for two weeks. The Mesa is the highest flat-topped mountain in the world. It’s beautiful country; forests of blue spruce, ponderosa pine, and aspen with flowery meadows in between. The flat top collects rainfall in three hundred sixty lakes and a zillion marshes. Those wet-lands make for a whole lot of hungry mosquitoes, but we scouts were tough. After two weeks of eating the fish that ate the mosquitoes that feasted on us, we were all blood brothers, and there was no mystery left in the circle of life.” Thought […]


Freya the Sharp Minded

My revered ancestor, Aud the Deep-Minded, had nothing on the five-year-old girl who attended my Viking presentation at the Penrose Community Library.  Freya’s parents had their hands full keeping their busy one inbounds through 40 minutes of adult-level Viking history, but when I asked for questions, Freya popped up with one of the best questions I’ve ever gotten from an audience.  “Why aren’t they scary anymore?” Whoa!  All that fidgeting, didn’t keep her from listening…and thinking.  Fortunately, I knew the answer:  Vikings took the Atlantic by storm because they had better ships and weapons.  When they invaded other countries, took slaves, formed alliances, and fraternized, others picked […]