Posts Tagged ‘Juneau’


Song of the South

11.Sam Arriving AtlantaLinda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas –July was Sam Time. Sam is my youngest grandchild, born and growing up in the Pacific Northwest. He went to Juneau with me on the Journey back in 2012 (read all about it in Juneau) where we went whale-watching and dog-sledding and he got to know a capital city up and down. He flew into Little Rock last summer and spent three weeks with me in Arkansas, where we made a quick-trip into Oklahoma and Texas. But I figured it was time this boy had a bona fide real-time southern experience and learned about his roots. After all, he was teetering on the cusp of teenhood, and you know how fast that goes. I planned a full-fledged Journey through the south, worthy of a Fodor review.

I met Sam’s plane in Atlanta. His “unaccompanied minor” status required a direct flight, and we were headed for Gatlinburg anyhow, so that made sense. Did you know that Hartsfield International in Atlanta is the busiest airport in the world? 95 million passengers annually, coming into 7 terminals, exiting through 201 gates. Sam emerged through Alaska’s Gate D3 (at the far end of nowhere), a little taller than last year and wearing a Seattle Seahawks shirt. “Welcome to Atlanta, home of the Braves!” I grinned. And so began Sam’s Song of the South, Scott1stSteps66subtitled “Where Your Dad Grew Up.” I’d filled a notebook with pictures of family members he’d meet, and details about each stop we’d make. “First stop tomorrow is South Carolina,” I explained in our Atlanta motel room that night, “Ware Shoals, where we were living when your Dad was born.” I had a picture of his Dad taking his first steps, in our kitchen there on Dairy Street. My plan was to drive by and show him the house. You won’t believe how that turned out. » read more


Behind Me Now

01 me and all at Scotts

My Northwest Family in Washington.
Back – Andrew, Matthew, Rick, Jake, Alec, Scott. Front – Kayla, Linda, Tami, Sam.

Linda Burton posting from Edmonds, Washington traveling from Juneau, Alaska to Helena, Montana Twenty percent. That much of the Journey Across America is complete. Twenty percent! That amounts to ten capital cities, ten places on this earth that I have come to know. The hardest part of the trip is behind me now. I have done the flying part, visiting those states that refer to the contiguous 48 as the “mainland”, or the “lower 48.” I have boarded the cats for two-week sessions twice. (Awful for me; awful for them.) I had the joyful company of my two youngest grandkids in two cities, and the added advantage of two points of view. Kayla wrote some excellent posts from Honolulu, took and edited hundreds of photos, and verified anomalies (more people in Waikiki wear black than floral prints!). Sam interviewed everyone he met in Juneau, made friends with the homefolk, and described the far-off sights to me while peering through binoculars. I also had a two-day visit in Olympia from son Rick, grandson Andrew, and Kayla once again; we explored the capitol, the coffee-roasting place, the 17 Brett and carriver and the falls; they loved it all. And there was home and family – the gatherings at son Scott and Tami’s house, the food, the sit around and talk, a Kramer-dog to pet (and throw the ball a hundred times). There was friendly business too; the visits with three members of the Board – Jim and James and Bob, all sharing their ideas and showing their support. I’m ever grateful for it all. (I’m including Brett’s photo, right, from my Arizona stop in March, can’t leave a family member out!) Now, want to see the stats? » read more


Highs and Lows

Linda Burton posting from Juneau, Alaska – “Come over here Sam,” June said. “Stand by your Grandma and me. I want our picture together.” We posed, smiling; Mark came out of the office to snap us with June’s camera and with mine. “Are you sure you can drive this van?” Sam asked as June pulled her seat way, way forward. “You’re not much taller than me.” June and I burst out laughing and assured Sam that height didn’t affect driving ability. Then we proceeded to swap stories about our early driving days and near accidents we’d had. “I’m not going to listen,” said Sam from the back seat, covering his ears. It was 14 miles to the airport from downtown’s Driftwood Lodge along the Gastineau Channel; the tide was in at the moment; we’d seen it at low tide when it was mostly mud. Highs and lows. Hugs at the front door of the airport; the kind you have when you know you will truly miss a person. “Goodbye June in Juneau,” Sam said, and we wheeled our luggage in; easy maneuvers in this small airport. The nice ladies in Security chatted with Sam about his visit and gave him a TSA sticker for his shirt; he eyed me grinning “I didn’t have to take off my shoes!” Grandson Sam and I are leaving Juneau now, feeling high and low. High to get back to regular life – Sam to his Dad and Mom and a new neighborhood; me to my kitties and the rest of the Journey. Low because we’ve adopted Juneau in our hearts. So many nice people! » read more


Ike and the 49th Star

Sam’s Photo

Linda Burton posting from Juneau, Alaska – In Juneau, it was 9:02 AM. Back east in Washington, DC, it was just past the noon hour as President Dwight D Eisenhower inscribed his name to the document of proclamation that made Alaska the 49th state. Then he signed an Executive order setting a new design of 49 stars for the official flag of the United States. The date was January 3, 1959. The new design had seven staggered rows of stars, with seven stars in each row, and the traditional thirteen stripes. It had been chosen by a four-man selection commission and formally approved by the President but didn’t become official until July 4, 1959. The New York Times reported: President Eisenhower told one of the guests at the ceremony today that it was not the design he had preferred, “but I was overruled by all my advisers.” His choice was nine rows of stars, alternating five and six stars to a row. » read more


Ends of the Road

Linda Burton posting from Juneau, Alaska – Road construction is everywhere. Even when you only have 40 miles of paved roads. “This is my summer job,” Marisa told us after apologizing for what might be a long delay. Grandson Sam got out of the car to look around. Marisa admired the Scion; confirmed she was native-born to Juneau; added she was now a student at Colorado State, a business major. I asked if all the road work was due to a slide from bad winter weather. “No, the road was just worn out,” she answered. “The weather here is awfully hard on our paved roads.” A call came in; Marisa shook her head. “I’m afraid your wait is going to be even longer,” she told us. “We just had a turn-around and the pilot car will have to chase him down.” No cars allowed loose in the middle of all that earth-moving equipment! We were appropriately well-behaved on our ride behind the pilot car when it finally came to guide us past all the hazard zones; the piles of rocks and dirt; giant earth moving trucks; the perilously perched shovels and digging equipment. Sam jumped from side to side in the car, trying to see it all. There’s nothing a boy enjoys more than the sight of giant trucks. Except, maybe, chunking rocks and making waves. He got to do that too. » read more


Big Gulp

Linda Burton posting from Juneau, Alaska – Captain Larry dropped a slender acoustic device into the water as our boat sat quietly rocking. “We’ll listen for a while,” he nodded, “I want to know if they are coming this way.” Grandson Sam’s eyes got big as “whale talk” filled the boat, the device clearly picking up the underwater sounds. We didn’t know what it meant, but it verified that whales were near. Katie, our on-board naturalist, had already gone up top with her binoculars, watching for the sight of birds, and blow. That’s where the whales would be, we’d learned on the way out from Auke Bay, the “blow” being the burst of air expelled from the whale’s blowholes, or nostrils, as they surfaced, causing a visible spray. Just off in the distance, we’d spotted both, a frenzy of circling birds and geyserlike sprays. That meant whales, whales enjoying lunch. “Just like the sight of a parking lot full of cars outside a restaurant,” I thought to myself, smiling, “the sign that it’s a good place to eat.” Then Katie yelled, “It’s Sue! I see Sue!” Captain Larry yanked the device from the water and swung around to start the engine. “I know where they are going now!” he said, and suddenly we were moving again, straight toward the whales. All of us raced to the outside deck as Captain Larry positioned the boat for a perfect view. » read more


Dog Day Afternoon

Linda Burton posting from Juneau, Alaska – “Excuse me, but what exactly is a musher?” I tentatively asked after our instructor wanted to know if there were any questions. Grandson Sam and I were sitting on wooden benches in the “Pre-lim” tent, getting our instructions on how to behave around the dogs. It was Sled Dog Summer Camp for us; a chance to meet the puppies and the grown-up dogs that spend their summer training to pull a racing sled. “I’m a musher,” smiled our instructor; “a musher is the person who drives the dog sled.” A musher, ah. Austin Barr was talking; he’s spending his summer in Sheep Creek Dog Camp, high in the Alaska mountains above Gastineau Channel; living in a tent with a fake wooden front designed to look like an old mining camp; working with other mushers training the 120 high-energy Alaskan huskies we see outside the tent So how did this former Californian wind up here? » read more


The ABC’s of Juneau

Linda Burton posting from Juneau, Alaska – “I’ll bet that was an avalanche,” I said to Sam. We’re peering out the window; our first glimpse of Mt Juneau in the Monday morning daylight. It’s straight-up steep and just a few blocks away; a guarding wall. Patches of snow dot the area near the top; dark green conifers cover most of the mountain; but the tell-tale bright green looks suspiciously new. A few questions throughout the day verified my assumption. Avalanches are a way of life in Juneau, along with bears, and cruise ships. “Don’t carry food around on your person,” we were advised. Bears wander the neighborhood streets, most often during evening hours on a food-scavenging prowl. Residents know to make noise when they’re outside; locked garbage cans are a requirement. And the town schedule pretty much revolves around the schedule of the cruise ships, which bring about 10,000 people into town every day during summer months. » read more


North By Alaska

Linda Burton posting from Juneau, Alaska – Heading for Alaska? Your first thought is likely Alaska Airlines, you know, the one with the Native Alaskan painted on the tail. Distinctive. Grandson Sam and I are headed for Alaska, specifically the capital city of Juneau, where there are no roads in and no roads out. Get there by cruise ship, get there by ferry, or get there by plane. Since we are “on a mission” we chose the fastest method. Seattle was a mass of road closures today; bridges blocked for repair; ramps getting reramped; and a Mariner’s baseball game at Safeco Field to boot. Being a woman of caution, I suggested a four-hour window of safety since we had to pass through the entire north-to-south mess. Turns out of course, it didn’t take long to get there and check in; we made our gate with two hours to spare; time for dinner, time to buy books and snacks, time to relax and read and chill. At 15 minutes to boarding, a wisp of a memory surfaced; the admonition given when I checked my bag –“Pay attention to your gate, it may change.” There were no people crowding around, I realized with a somewhat sinking feeling. At the counter, I got the news, “Juneau departs from D3.” We were at C16, as specified on our ticket. Panic! » read more


Kent Meridian Elementary

Linda Burton posting from Kent, Washington – “Who likes to travel?” I asked. Every hand went up; that means both hands from every kid; double the enthusiasm. I’m visiting Mrs Macey’s 4th grade class at grandson Sam’s school, Kent Meridian Elementary; he’d help me set up the room before this happy bunch came back from recess. “So, did you know you are traveling right now?” I continued. Summer vacation? Going home after school? “No, I mean, right NOW,” I answered back. “Right now, in this room, while you are sitting at your desks.” A young man to my right caught the idea then, “We’re orbiting the sun!” “Correcto mundo!” I praised. “We’re traveling around the sun. Every time you have a birthday you’ve circled one more time. I’ve been around the sun 73 times already!” Oo’s and ah’s, such a large number to comprehend. We discussed how many trips they’d made so far; how many miles that was; an awesome fact. Then down to earth, my Journey Across America. » read more