Thursday, September 10, 2009

Michelle's Excellent Vacation Day 6

Eight hours’ sleep felt good. I dressed & re-arranged my luggage in preparation for the train to Seward & the cruise ship. I had a couple of hours before the courtesy van to the rail. I walked over to the Ulu Factory, shopped & bought a few souveneirs – including an Ulu. The sun was warm, the skies clear & I strolled over to Ship Creek to watch the folks fishing.

The courtesy van pulled up & the driver didn’t agree that I could take the train to Seward – seems he heard all the recent rains caused a landslide that blocked the tracks. “Well let’s just get to the depot and we’ll see” I said with a pseudo-air of confidence.
The depot doors were open, but there wasn’t a soul in sight. I wheeled my suitcase across the concourse following the arrows upstairs that said, “TO TRAINS” At the far end of the room, at one of a dozen tables, sat two women with piles of papers spread about. “Can I help you?” she called out. “Well, I hope so – “ I said, & gave my story from the courtesy van driver’s point of view. The tracks had been cleared, the rail would run. I was in the right place.
Gradually, other folks began filtering in. I struck up a conversation with a couple who had just returned from a remote fishing camp in western AK. Dennis grew up in that area and brought his wife, Sandra to see it. We boarded the train & instead of customary lounger-style chairs, this train had booths with tables. My assigned seat was across from a couple from GA – Janet & William. Just as I was thinking I’d have some room to move about, our car filled up and an elderly gentleman sat next to me. His name was Donald.

The train served food, but nothing appealed to me… I opted for Alaskan amber beer. We traveled through some pretty country – especially Turnagain Arm – which got its name when Cook went looking for the NW passage & became frustrated at having to turn around, or, “turn again” They tell of tides coming in so quickly & silt beds being like quick sand … dangerous stuff.


Eventually we pulled in to port, boarded the ship & located my stateroom - #500 – forward port. The captain announced a mandatory life jacket/ life boat drill – of course I participated, although that stuff bores me & I find it silly. Embarkation was without fanfare, contrary to what I had heard about throwing out the lines, etc

Not knowing any better, I found the Lido Restaurant just mere minutes before closing. Since I hadn’t eaten in 24 hours, I had a plate of less-than-exciting pasta. I found the self-serve laundry, got change at the front office & laundered my clothes form Denali. I finally unwound, and turned in well past midnight.

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