Departure: Juneau – Prince Rupert (M/V Taku)
Spent last night on the ferry with the tent on deck – as will become clear later, we didn’t consider/have time to realize that with the amount of gear we are carrying makes for a tight fit in a two person tent.
Other than an interesting 30ish looking fellow with 50s professor glasses avidly explaining to anyone and everyone around him that his Vietnam style water repellent sack for his sleeping bag really, really, really wasn’t a body bag, the ride has been commonplace. Just endless evergreen knots and twists of Sitka spruce and alder butting up against rocky shores. Rolling hills punctuated with jutting mountains often distant, sometimes in your face and cocky in their vastness.
Augustine somehow finds ways not to be mortified by the mundaneness that must be a boat to a child’s eyes. She’s found a Haida looking girl to chase around in the play room. Augustine copies everything she does, so much as sitting in someone elses’ mother’s lap.
Prior to departure (June 28th) we’d had a nice gathering at the home of two of the kindest and perhaps most talented neighbors you could have – Tina and Darrel. They were nice enough to open their paradise backyard with a gazebo like Bar-B-Q area, stage with drums, and benches and tables to seat a small army. Funded by two ridiculously gracious neighbors, Joe and Lorrie, we feasted on Hoonah smoked salmon, fresh red salmon and halibut fillets and drank ourselves silly on two kegs of Alaskan White and Hopothermia. We’ll mention here that if you happen to live in glacier view trailer park, you need to recognize that Joe and Lorrie are two of the best people on the planet.
Around 2AM on the 29th (keeping track now), during a card game that apprently is impossible to ever lose, by anybody, at anytime, no matter how much you’ve imbibed, a Juneau misty shower draped across the sky and we began scrambling to stow away all the food and forgotten items of the night – in somewhat of a challenged halted state of being.
Unfortunately, the next morning for me didn’t go so well. Surprisingly, this wasn’t only because of the two kegs that sang like the Sirens of Titians the whole night through, but also because of a wonderfully dreadful fever I began to run around 5AM, causing me to sweat and shiver and generally contemplate the truth of comeuppance.
This is a good point to mention that Ance and and I are some of the most accomplished and innovative procrastinators of all time, stretching across a universe of squandered time basking in the sun and rain, riding bicycles and squeezing in sleep between those precious hours of play and work.
We’d somehow packed in this wonderful array of tasks to accomplish two days before departing on our trip:
- Finish Outside trim windows/walls (Check!)
- Finish trim inside windows (Check!)
- Paint house (mostly finished!)
- Finalize Ance’s Green Card paperwork (Not actually finished)
- Finalize details at jobs (DONE!)
- Ensure that everything we actually intend to take on the bicycles fits (BARELY!)
- Find out if Ance needs to pay $1200 for thirteen stitches from JoAnnes (More on that below)
- Finalize that everyone in the family has immunizations and medications on hand for the trip (Completed, mostly)
Running a fever, I was completely out of commission a full 17 hours straight. Upon dragging myself out of bed and putting on what constitutes working clothes for myself, I managed a few paint rolling advances and some brush strokes. Turns out, my help amounted to little because the gray we got to finish the outside paint job was a different shade than the original. So our good friend and now renter, partially funding our cycling trip, can now be said to be living in a home of shades of gray – pop culture says that this is some kind of foreshadowing.
It goes without saying that at this point Ance is running the show. She’s painting, running errands and passing me ibuprofen, looking after Augustine and being generally awesome, as always.
The following morning, June 30th (DAY BEFORE D-DAY) I awoke wet with sweat, shivering from a fever that should have been dead already. I had (at that point seemingly stupidly) committed to going to work for a brief bit to wrap things up and saying farewell to good people at work. I was rewarded with a wonderful going away card and good tidings – well worth the commute into work.
We’d portioned out the day for heading to the clinic (luckily) and running the last of our errands. At the clinic Dr. Gillmore was skeptical of the idea that I was running a common fever and ran a swab for strep. Twenty mins after running the test she returned, almost gleefully, with the news that I had strep and a nice elderly nurse injected me in the rear with a butt load of penicillin while Augustine, our daughter of almost three, told me not to cry.
Following this nice family outing, Ance’s mission was to get things straight with JoAnne’s about an Urgent Care bill for $1200. This might be a good time to just emphasize that truth we all know but seldom really realize – life, reality, is truly more tangled and strange than any novel written.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I called Ance after I’d gotten home from by daily commute home.
“I’m at the hospital,” she’d explained, with a strange ironic chuckle.
“I was running after Augustine at JoAnne’s and tried to catch her from falling down and cut myself on the corner of one of the shelves. I’m at Urgent Care getting stitches.”
While I was concerned, I was also stifling back laughter at the humor involved with getting sliced open at a craft department store that desperately wants to promote itself as the safest most family wholesome perfect awesomeness out there. I guess that is every department store.
Augustine and I dropped off Ance to lay down the law at JoAnne’s while we went to indulge in BreezeIn bagels and doughnut holes. Somehow the stars aligned due to Ance’s lingering fury over the un-matching gray paint for the house and a JoAnne’s manager desperately confirmed that Ance’s stitches bill would be covered – a luxury that perhaps all people should be afforded, meaning that all people should be able to afford basic health care needs. But, that is a different topic, for another time and probably a completely different blog.
July 1st finally came and we spent the day being insane finishing up random projects during a Juneau sunny day sprinkled with clouds and wind. Friends, pretty much family, accompanied us by bicycles to the ferry to see us off.
Our arrival into Prince Rupert, BC was hailed with incredibly thorough Canadian Boarder patrol guards who managed to get into our personal finances and challenge our sanity when it came to taking our daughter by bicycle through Canada. After being all hard asses though, they were amiable. We rolled into our CouchSurfing hosts apartment around 4:30AM.
Our hosts are Leo and Lawrence (Say it with a French Accent and know that Lawrence is a wonderful, beautiful woman). They opened up their home to us, going so far as to cook us a Vietnamese dinner the night before our arrival and leaving it available to us when we got in in the early morning, in case we were hungry.
We’ve spent two days now with Leo and Lawrence. They have an apartment on the west side of Prince Rupert that overlooks the ocean. A marmot family calls the nearby shrubs home. An overly tame deer lays in the yard eating grass staring up at the window and just today a humming bird flew into the house through an open window, which we had to catch and release outside before it died of a heart attack.
Being that we’re procrastinators, we may stay here for a few more days. We’ve ordered some front panniers (local shops didn’t carry them) and a three person tent to be delivered to us here in Prince Rupert. In the meantime, we’ll soak up the Canadian rain and hit up one of the only official trails here in Prince Rupert.
The LatvianAlaskan Family