Friday, May 23, 2008

Our Trip to Alaska and Animals in the Wild

Animals in the Wild

I heard that one lady didn’t like Alaska because “it is just scenery and wild animals.” Terry and I love to travel to Alaska to see animals in the wild.

We don’t always like the road conditions. As we traveled north to Alaska, we noted that there was much more snow on the sides of the road and many lakes were frozen that were clear last year. The dates we traveled were 4 or 5 days later then last year but spring has not arrived in many areas. The only snowstorm that we encountered was around Haines Junction. We drove for about an hour through flurries but the snow did not stick to the highway so Terry kept driving.

This was a hard winter on the roads. Frost heaves are everywhere. An area of the highway that was replaced south of Tok in the summer of 2006 now has frost heaves. Construction workers are continuing the movement of a mountain at milepost 97 to 92 on the Glenn Highway. The Milepost Book says, “A 3-year road construction project to realign and widen this section of highway was begun in 2007 and will continue in summer 2008. In the process, road crews will move over 2.4 million cubic yards of materials and blast through a solid rock hill.” I say they are trying to move a mountain.

The birds we saw were eagles, snow geese, Canadian geese, a red tailed hawk, many robins, flocks of swan, and several ptarmigan. One little fellow did a dance on the road for us as he puffed out his neck feathers.

Deer were plentiful in lower British Columbia. We saw more than 30 bears on the trip from Kitwanga, British Columbia to Eagle River, Alaska. One mama bear scratched her back on a pole while her black bear cub copied her. The brown twin thought it was safer to climb the pole. We even saw a mother bear with triplets but it was hard to get them all in focus at the same time. One moose changed its mind about crossing the road as we came around a bend. We were glad that we did not hit her. Another moose was only about 25 feet from the RV, which made great pictures as she continued to eat the buds off the tree. Caribou crossed the road in front of us. We saw a beaver den with two small beavers and their parents. The adult beaver slapped its tail on the water as a signal for the young to return to the den. We saw herds of mountain sheep on the hillside by Klune Lake and about ten mountain goats far up the mountainside by Little Atlin Lake. Only once before have I have seen a porcupine waddle across the road. Rabbits were getting their spring coats that meant that they had white feet, white bellies and white on the tips of their ears but brown backs. We are not sure if this animal is a small coyote or large fox. What do you think?

Animals in the Wild

Monday, May 19, 2008

Family Events we Missed

We want to make all the major events in our large family but that is hard to do. We missed the marriage of Matthew Klein, our grandson, to McKayla Muniz on April 26 in Pleasantville, Iowa. This is a picture of the bride and groom.

We missed the graduation celebration for daughter, Joy Miller, who received her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, Summa Cum Laude, on May 10. Joy lives in Sea Brook, Texas. Joy will go to law school in August.

The Graduation Open House for our niece, Melinda Block Guerra, was May 17 in Des Moines, Iowa. Mindy graduated with a degree of Doctor of Pharmacy. We did go to her wedding last November.

My sister, Angie Rheuport, had a knee replacement surgery on May 12 in Des Moines, Iowa.

My father, Rev. Clarence Hoven, had major abdominal surgery on May 15 in Ottumwa, Iowa.

We even missed the birth of Sara Mercedes Miller on April 30 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The good news is that we will fly to Robert and Nathalia Miller’s home in Raleigh, N. C. on June 12 for the baptism of Sara. We will also see Joy Miller and have a graduation party too. Our plans are to fly back to Anchorage on June 17.

California to Alaska Trip – People

On our trip to Alaska, Terry and I met and had a nice visit and dinner with Joanne Alexakis and her husband, Nick. She is the coordinator for Penwheels and was the editor of that publication. She wrote reviews for the covers of both of my books. I wondered if I would recognize her since I only met her in person one time and that was five years ago. I knew her right away.

We also visited with Adrienne Kristine each of the three days we were at Fairfield, CA. She not only edited my new book, “More RV Chuckles and Chuckholes- More Confessions of Happy Campers,” but also wrote three articles that are published in it.

During book signings, I also met a chap from New Zeeland who wanted me to autograph my book to “me Mate.” He said that he is RVing through the south of the United States and returning home. I told him that I was pleased that my book is going to New Zealand.

I was invited to Elizabeth’s RV to see her ten cockatoos. She is home-schooling her grandson as she travels. Kay Kennedy, who is another Penwheeler, (Penwheels is a club of writers who are also Escapees) visited with me.

J.A. Valle traded me her well-written novel called “An Arrangement” for my book “RV Chuckles”.

A few people told me that Darlene Miller is an RV friend from Montana. When she approached me saying, “My name is Darlene Miller,” I surprised her by saying, “You must be from Montana.”

After wintering in the deserts of Arizona and California, the lush green of the mountains and fields of Oregon was appreciated. We had an adventure on our way to visit my niece Heidi and her family in Willamina. We followed the directions of our GPS zig- zagging across the countryside when the voice on the GPS said, “in two tenths of a mile keep left and board the ferry.” We watched the swift current of the Willamette River as we floated on the ferry. We also saw something growing that we had never seen before which we learned were hops vines growing up poles that were 10 to 12 feet tall. The green flowers are harvested for the production of beer.

Heidi and Mark welcomed us to their home and fed us dinner. Alax made me a card in which she wrote, “I Love you grat ant.” Alax also loved the Barbie doll clothes that I made for her. The children are pictured L to R Chris, age 11, Jonathon, age 9, Alax age 7 and Justyn age 4 and ½.

When we arrived in Eagle River, Alaska on May 15, we were greeted with hugs from our son Raymond and his wife Teresita.