where were we

Oh, yes.  STILL posting stories and photos of Alaska.  Are you sick of them yet?  Too bad because this bloggy thing is multi-functional.  Or multi-tasking.  Or multi-purpose.  You know . . . . it's around for many reasons:

1.  So I can remember what I have done with my time when I am feeling like I never get anything accomplished.

2.  To reciprocate and communicate with the fabulous people in my computer.

3.  To keep my husband up to date on my shenanigans.

4.  To bring awareness to Type 1 Diabetes and share how our family conquers battles lives-in-fear-of gets along smashingly with the affliction.

5.  So my family members who never visit can see what we are up to. 

This is fair warning to click 'close' if you do not want to see beautiful photos and read funny commentary.


Oh look!  Another family photo!  And in this one Dave is really happy, despite the terse face.  He's from a long line of stoic Swedes . . . . this is about as good as it gets.

These photos were taken inside the park on one of the many nature trails you could hike.  Once again, the weather was beautiful and we stayed outside as much as possible to soak in the atmosphere

These photos, however, were taken by other family members because I, Dave, Ellie and Ben were not able to take the wildlife nature bus tour (8 hours) deep into Denali.  (1) Mt. McKinley  (2) a brown bear  (3) moose poop (4) witch's broom ~ fungus on the tree that grows and is a home for squirrels and helps the forest service and continue the circle of life ::cue Lion King music::  . . . .

Back to the not going part:  It all began the night before while having dinner at the lodge. 

Well, it probably started before that but the symptoms arrived just as the waiter was placing a steaming plate of reindeer meat loaf in front of Dave.   I saw Dave place his hands on the table as if to push away and that is when I noticed his face . . . . it was ghostly white.  He hesitated for a moment and then announced to the table he was terribly sorry but he needed to excuse himself; and with that he high-tailed it back to the room. 

By the time I got to the room an hour later, the shades were pulled tight and Dave was a shivering lump underneath a pile of covers. 

Food Poisoning.  Or something along the lines of an extreme intolerance to something he ate within the last 12 hours.

Not only were we concerned about not being able to go on the wilderness bus tour the next morning, but an 'off the record' conversation with our tour guide informed us if Dave was not symptom-free by the next afternoon, he would not be able to board the cruise ship.

Picture this:  Here we are almost in the middle of nowhere, stuck in a tiny room with one parent down for the count and the other parent wondering what in the heck she is going to do with the 9 and 7 year old (the 13yo was bunking with the grandparents). 

No hotel pool, no television, no internet connection and no 'safe' place to run around outside given the fact we were half way up a mountainside.  Oh yeah, one of the kids is T1D so sitting down to a junk-food fest in the lobby is also out of the question.

Long story short (you can thank me later for leaving out the details) the evening was a long one but by mid-morning Dave was feeling better.  We tested his stomach with a hotel breakfast and then spent the rest of the day in and around the Denali Visitor's Center, exploring the trails and learning more about dog sledding.

The remainder of the group DID ride the bus into the depths of Denali and saw bear, moose, caribou, Dal sheep and other wild creatures of the forest.  They were also able to get pretty up close and view Mt.McKinley, the highest peak in North America.

All is well that ends well, and the visit at Denali National Park ended very well.

By now it Friday, tour day number 4, so we traveled south by motor coach (seen in photo) driven by Rick (L) and spent the day listening to the rich history of Alaska as recounted by our tour guide, Andy (R).

:: Trivia Question ::  Do you know the difference between a bus and a motor coach?  The addition of a bathroom.  So glad we had the motor coach.

We even drove through Wasilla, home to former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin.  We drove by her home and FOX TV news station she had built but could not see a thing through the rude and obnoxious hedge of trees and wildlife.  Geesh.

It didn't matter because by now we were anxious to get to Seward, Alaska and board the Radiance of the Sea cruise ship!


Everyone seeing the ship for the first time.  It really is a pretty cool sight to take in if you have never seen one in person. 

The second photo is our actual ship, taken from one of the ports where we docked off-shore.  Tenders (the 2 smaller boats next to the ship) ferried us to and from the dock.

(1) Ben playing ping-pong ball on board the ship.  Notice the mountains and low-flying clouds in the distance.  (2 & 3) Ben and Ellie playing miniature golf on the top deck of the ship.  It was windy and about 50 degrees, but these hardy Midwesterners didn't even flinch. 

By now you may have noticed many of the photos do not include Maddi, my oldest daughter.  She went on vacation with us, but once at the first hotel she and her cousin roomed with the grandparents in order to spread out the kids and have 4 to a room.  This rooming situation continued on board the ship and I have to say this was the most difficult part of the vacation.  While I understood the need to divide the families, it made it difficult to communicate with and meet up with Maddi to make sure she was spending time with us, too.  We did not have the use of our cell phones on ship due to spotty satellite connections so we played a lot of cat and mouse.

The rock climbing wall on the outside face of the bow aboard the cruise ship.  This thing was TALL!  All three kids harnessed/helmeted up, climbed the face, rang the bell at the top and then repelled back down . . . . repeatedly.  Another 'first' for all three.  (1) Maddi  (2) Ellie  (3) Ben

This day I 'caught' the Maddi mouse, trapped her in our room and reveled in the moment of seeing my three kids watch the passing mountain coastline and rolling waves outside the stateroom portal.  There were moments when you could catch a seal peeking his head up, eagles flying along the rocky beaches and whale tails surfacing just before diving down for food.  Simply amazing.

And that is a perfect place to pause.  Until next time . . . . . .


Lora said...

You guys have been busy and it sounds like you had an awesome vacation... aside from the food intolerance. Or maybe it was just the thought of eating reindeer meat loaf??? Is it REALLY reindeer?? Please say no!

NikDuck said...

AWESOME pictures!! Really enjoyed looking through them and reading about your vacation. What an amazing experience for your kids. I had to laugh about Dave not smiling for pictures. My husband is exactly the same. He thinks he is smiling, but he isn't. We've been working on that, because I told him the kids think he looks like he is mad in pictures. So now, I tell him to show me his teeth when I take his picture...and he just came up to see what I was typing and I had to explain to him that there is someone else like him who doesn't smile for pictures!

Our Diabetic Warrior said...

I'm really trying to not be envious Amy, but I'm having a horrible time over here!!!! Just gorgeous! That's all I can say.

The picture of Ellie playing golf looks like a magazine ad. Maybe we'll see her in the upcoming ads for Alaska cruising???

Did the cruise ship have an indoor pool? Though, who needs a pool when you have whales and seals outside your window?

Football and Fried Rice said...

GORGEOUS family picture in Denali State Park - is it framed yet?? You definitely need some framed photos around your house :) Not that I noticed that whil we were staycationing!

Sarah said...

wow...I love the pics and captions. I love that I am not jealous, but grateful that others are enjoying places like this and sharing it with me. Someday, I say someday....

Holly said...

Those are wonderful pictures! Even the moose poop... heehee : )
I'm glad Dave got better fast-that's awful on vacation! and Junk Food Lobby? Scary with diabetes!!
And your kids in shorts in 50 degree wind-you guys ARE tough! : )

Misty said...

Your pictures are just stunning! I can only imagine what it would be like to have experienced that in person (well, all except for the unfortunate food poisoning party!). Thanks for sharing!