Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Travel ... Travel Down Memory Lane

My friend Glenda suggested I do a blog post on a different kind of travel.  It's travel by my usual travel mate, but in this case, it's travel down memory lane.
Bob's job at the Weyburn Comp ends at the end of June and some of his work friends hosted a memorable night which can't be surpassed.

Has he changed much in 50 years?  He has in that he had to wear ties in his early days and now he can be a casual fellow.
The event was Saturday.  At breakfast on Sunday morning our family sat around trying to find the pickiest little thing that could have been better.  Not one of the seven of us could come up with a single thing.

What did these generous and important friends plan for him?


A limo pickup for the whole family:
The limo took us to WCS's original gym where our friend, the talented Vanessa Flavel, took family photos.  Bob spent a lot of his career teaching in this gym so it was so appropriate.

Next we were taken to the Cugnet Centre for the evening's festivities.  There Bob got to walk the red carpet.
I have no photo of the food prepared and served by the McKenna caterers, but it was delicious.

Dessert was an amazing cupcake tower made by Rebecca Olsen.  
I don't know how the organizers got permission for a bar (Bribes?  Lies?  Graft?  Sweet smiles?)  In any case, there was a bar ably run by Taylor and Doug.
That bar and these adorable kids ...
gave me one of the warmest memories of the night.  

Riley needed a drink late in the evening while speeches were going on.  So Mommy and Daddy could keep listening to the speeches, Nathan held Riley's hand and led her over to the bar.  There he had a serious conversation with the bartenders and we could see them leaning over and discussing his request.  They handed over a drink, Nathan checked it out, approved, and held Riley by the hand to bring her back to the table.  He is such a good big brother!

I also have to say that both of them were well behaved for the whole evening.  At age three Riley doesn't always have a nap anymore and she didn't on Saturday.  Even without a nap, she remained alert, cheerful and sweet from the start to our return home at 10 p.m.

STARS entertained and pleased Bob with his favorite Country Roads.  We all loved their God Save Bob King.  Thanks, Colleen, to you and all your students for this great part of the evening.

There were speeches and Bob listened to them from his throne.
Colleen Weimer and Joanne Jensen, two of the hosting committee, chaired the program.  Thanks, ladies.

This photo of speech giver Kelly Glaspey and Bob has to be the winning photo of the evening.
Bob had the last word.
In case you are wondering about Bob's attire, I have to tell you this.  He wore this suit 37 years ago at our wedding and he wore it nine years ago at Rob and Crystal's wedding.  He admits that at Rob and Crystal's wedding, he couldn't exhale too much.  Now he wore it for a third time and it fit comfortably.

As well, Bob doesn't have glasses right now because he had cataracts removed from both eyes.  I think that makes him look really young.

There was a photo booth that was very popular throughout the evening.
One of the props came home with us and it has been appearing in various places.
Bob is so blessed and so grateful for this event which made it possible for him to visit with important people from all facets of his life:  his fellow teachers past and present, his sports, culture, and recreation gang, his various committee friends, Rotarians, and church people ... and, yes, even two friends from his carnival days.

As if the evening wasn't blessing enough, this rainbow ended at our house on Sunday night.  Bob's friends and colleagues are his pot of gold.
I hope it isn't too crass to mention cards and gifts.  Bob has been overwhelmed with the personal notes in the many cards he's received.  I made a beautiful display of them in our living room, but one WHOOSH of wind through the open window destroyed my creative efforts.  Now they are displayed like this:
One of the things I love about Bob (and which can sometimes drive me and the kids crazy) is that he wants to talk to all people and to know their life stories.  It drives us crazy because it always delays us.  We were especially annoyed when the kids were young and we would be ready to leave campgrounds and he still had a dozen people he wanted to meet.

Some teachers only talk to teachers, but Bob likes knowing everyone who walks through the doors of WCS.  One such person is the man who fills the drink machines.  Imagine Bob's surprise when that same man gave him this wonderful retirement gift!  It was unexpected and is much appreciated.

My phone photography isn't great because the part that looks orange here is a lit up neon red.  Riley wanted us to hang it in the living room, but we found the perfect spot in the kitchen.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Knocking the 50th State Off Our Life List

Bob and I like goals and one goal has been to visit every American state.  On Monday we visited Alaska and now have visited each and every one of the fifty states.  In case you think we aren't patriotic people, we have visited our ten provinces as well.

Sunday was our last day with Elizabeth as her show started the touring portion  on Monday.  She and her cast and crew headed to Dawson City.  Jack, the husband of one of the actors, was at loose ends so on Monday he and the two of us hopped in our rental car and headed to Skagway, Alaska.

The trip each way is about two and a half hours.  Was it worth it?  Yes!  First of all, the scenery along the way is magnificent.  Have a look.

We passed a number of signs that said, "Avalanche area.  No stopping."  Inevitably near these signs would be pullouts for scenic views.

Here we are about to step into our last state.  (A giant step for Kingkind and all of that!)
Skagway is a town of 900 people.  On Monday there were about 920 people as I think there were twenty or so tourists which included the three of us.

The next day would be considerably different as Skagway's cruise ship season was starting on Tuesday.  There would be 7,700 tourists arriving by ship!  On the busiest day in the summer 11,100 people arrive.  One shopkeeper told Bob that he wouldn't have a single day off until October.

A benefit of being ahead of the tourists was that nothing was busy.  A disadvantage was that a lot of the stores weren't open.  This one was included in that number so I sat down on the curb and cried.

Luckily I picked up a couple of northern quilt kits in Whitehorse.

We pounded the pavement ... or rather we clip-clopped the boardwalks.
We aren't shoppers so we are wondering what all the tourists do for their day(s) in port.  There are a couple of small museums and there is a half hour video.  There is a cemetery from the gold rush era.

There are lots of wooden buildings which date to the late 1800s.  It's a miracle fire hasn't wiped them out at some point in history.  There are warnings all over town for smokers to be very sure that their butts are completely extinguished.

The Skagway Fish Company was recommended, but they weren't opening until the following day.  There were workers scrubbing and bringing in supplies.
It's on the water and the view is astounding.
We had to find another place to eat.  We were told that the fish and chips are good at every place in town so we picked a random place.  The fish was delicious but I'm not positive this meal was worth $18 American.
On the way to and from Skagway there are but a few stopping places.  Carcross is one of them as it has the world's smallest desert.  That's it.  Look at the sand and continue on.
The desert is about one square mile and was formed during the last glacial period when silt was deposited from large glacial lakes.  Now sand is added when wind carries it from Bennett Lake.  It can be argued that this isn't a true desert because it isn't in an arid region; some refer to it as sand dunes rather than desert.
We got back to Whitehorse in plenty of time to drop off Jack and to pack our scanty possessions in our carry-on bags for the trip home on Tuesday.

The departure lounge of the Whitehorse airport isn't conducive to wanting to leave.  Look at the panoramic view.
We packed a lot into our time up north.  Visit there if you can.  We recommend it.

Our Favorite Yukon Day

Bob and I didn't have to debate our favorite day.  We were unanimous (if two can form unanimity) that the day we spent at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve and Takhini Hot Springs was the best.

Liz knew the route.

The Yukon Wildlife Preserve is a 750 acre park with thirteen species of northern animals.  Some of the animals are bred; some are not.  Some of the animals are rehabilitating and will be returned to the wild; some will remain in the preserve.  Examples of ones that live there permanently are the three-legged lynx and the three-legged fox.  This preserve is contacted when people find injured animals in the wild.  The goal is to release the animals back into the wild, but that is sometimes impossible as the animals wouldn't survive.

Before we started the tour at the Wildlife Preserve, it made sense to use the facilities.  They were newly built and hadn't yet acquired the outhouse smell.

First stop was the elk area.  Lifting the antlers wasn't easy and we think all elk must have perpetual headaches.
Notice the gopher scampering in the next photo.  They were everywhere except for in the fox and lynx compounds.  Apparently there they are eaten just like we would scarf down M&Ms.
We went on a two hour tour and we were the only ones except for our information-filled guide.  People can hike in the preserve and we saw many families ambling along on this sun-filled day.  The benefit of the tour was collecting all the information the guide could give us.
We got up close and personal with some mountain goats.
Better than that, was spotting some mountain goats on a ridge.  We watched for quite some time and saw how cleverly and elegantly they can pick their way over the rocky terrain.
The Preserve has two moose and the moose have an extremely large enclosure so often they aren't seen.  However, this fellow was happy to visit with us from his side of the fence.  I like how this photo contains him, the mountains, and pussy willows.
He seemed to be saying, "pleased to meet you."  
Liz had never seen a moose, but the next day on her trip to Dawson City one crossed right in front of her vehicle.

I didn't get a good photo of the musk oxen, but I was very happy to see them as I hadn't ever seen any before.  They were sleeping in a huddle but two obligingly rose up as we watched.

The preserve has a photo op area.
We drove a little further to have lunch at Bean North.  The day was so lovely that we ate on the deck. 
The resident dog was happy to sit with us.  He didn't realize that we had just been at the Preserve where we learned that we weren't to feed the animals.  Sorry, doggo, no crumbs for you.
Who brings a swimsuit to the Yukon in early May?  Not me so that necessitated a $23 stop at WalMart so I could soak in the Takhini Hot Springs.  It was lovely to be soaky hot whilst looking at snow on the mountains.  Liz definitely has an old-time Hollywood vibe in this photo.  
Elizabeth was here when there was still snow around.  The lobby has photos of people with frozen hair and it reminded us of her synchro days when she would come out of the Weyburn swimming pool.  She wouldn't dry her hair thoroughly before she left the building and she would have "rice hair" which was crunchy and cold.

This day was so special and we loved every minute of it.