Monday, August 27, 2007

The end at last, the end at last. Thank God Almighty, the end at last!

Yes, I readily confess that the recapping of the vacation has taken four times as long as the vacation itself. I think subconsciously I didn’t want to reach the end, because then I would have to admit it was over, and give up on the fantasy I still have that someone will show up at my house, as if I were still on the cruise, and bring me food and put my napkin in my lap and make my bed and leave little chocolate mints on my pillow. Alas, it’s not to be. It appears that I don’t have Blaine trained well enough, and sadly, I can’t afford a valet of my own.

So, I concede defeat, and am sharing the pictures of our last day of vacation. Well, technically, not the last-last day, but I doubt you want to see pictures of us driving to Anchorage and stopping for pizza and sitting in the airport waiting for our flight, going to the airport gift shop when we remembered one person for whom we forgot to buy a souvenir. Or, pictures of the mess the stewardess made when she dropped the tray of ice cream toppings on the floor of our first class cabin and suddenly, our first class “ice cream sundaes” were downgraded to “a bowl of vanilla ice cream”. I mean seriously, when am I EVER going to fly first class again? And she DROPPED the chocolate sauce???? Geez. The injustice of it all.

Our last day in Seward, we took what was supposed to be a nine-hour boat tour of the Kenai Northwestern Fjords. This was the trip I affectionately refer to as PukeFest 2007, and because of the bad weather and rough waters, they had to re-route our tour and cut it short a bit. We weren’t complaining, however, because everything we saw was beautiful, AND they reimbursed enough of our money (totally unnecessary, in my opinion, but appreciated nonetheless) for Blaine, Keith, Renee and I to treat ourselves to a lovely dinner out that night.

We drove ourselves to the harbor and parked the car, then waited at the tour offices until time to board the boat. It was a pretty good sized boat and I’m sure could have held around 100 people (?) In the inside cabin, there were benches along both sides near the windows, and movie-theater like seats in the middle. Up front there were more seats, and I think on the top as well, although I never ventured up there. I’m all about the view, but I’m also all about staying warm and dry. Although once the people around us started in with the retching and gagging and heaving into little bags, my sympathetic-gag-reflex and I were out on the open back area of the boat, in the fresh air, for most of the remainder of the trip.

We did see some great scenery and wildlife, though:

Had the sun been shining I’m sure it would have been even more beautiful, but even overcast, the views were gorgeous.

Alice Glacier. I think …. Is that right? Alice?

Well, whatever it was called, it was pretty. No calving like we saw at Glacier Bay, though, so a bit of a disappointment. Funny how quickly you become immune to it all ….. like, “Oh, *only* a glacier? No active calving? Don’t waste my time…. Hey, are those complimentary cookies I smell baking?”

We saw lots of wildlife this day, as well:

A porpoise

Sea lions.

A mama otter with her baby on her back. I know the image is pretty crappy, but you’ll just have to believe me, it was neat to see.

Sea lions swimming.

Ooh, look! A whale flipper!

Ah, yes. Yet another of the 800 shots I took of whale humps.

This was my beautiful-moment-view. The moment on the back of the boat when the sun peeked out for just a brief minute, and the sky was blue and the white birds were all over this rock, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra was playing on my ipod, and all was right with the world.

Lastly, the money shot. The one I was hoping for the entire cruise, which I didn’t get until the very last day --- a whale breaching the water. I did crop and zoom a little for this picture, but I would estimate the whale was no more than 100 feet from our boat when he put on this show.

It was amazing. The entire trip was amazing. And now, with this entry, it's officially over. I guess I need to buck up and remind myself of one of my favorite phrases, which sums up this vacation that we saved and planned and waited so long for:

Don’t be sad that it’s over, be glad that it happened at all.

Or something like that. You know when I plagiarize people I never get it exactly right.


kim-d said...

Ahhh...the money shot! That is incredible, and how do you rate that this happened for you the LAST DAY! See, WE know you rock and are special, but obviously someone else does, too...hehe! However, I know you have more pix than what you have shared. As I've already said, I am one of those freaks that LOVES other people's vacation pix--cause I never go anywhere myself. I'd be happy to see all of them...but, once more, I'll just say thanks so much for sharing. Obviously, all of the wonderful things I'd already heard about Alaska cruises are true.

Natalie said...

I, for one, am sorry the trip reports are over! Hooray that you're home and Blaine is doing well--patchy legs aside.

Also, can't believe some bozo is posting about you on your own site. Lame. Go away, Lame Person.

Stephanie D. said...

OMG, the money shot is awesome! I was so hoping that you would get a photo of a whale breaching since you are such a great photographer. :)

I have so enjoyed reading about your trip to Alaska. Thanks for sharing with all of us. I too am glad that you all were able to take this awesome trip before Blaine had to be on a liquid diet.

Hugs to Blaine(and all the Escoes!)

MommyJaden said...

Hi Kristie ... first off I have been reading "ALL ABOUT YOU" for quite a while now but never signed in until now ... secondly I love your new profile photo - you are stunning I must say! And third ... THANK YOU for sharing SO much about your life and all that has happened to you and your family. It takes immense strength and courage to talk about such personal things and to help so many others who may be struggling with their problems ... we all need a way to vent and talk and scream and your blog helps you to do that ... I have started my own as well thanks to you! I am not nearly as good at it - yet - but hopefully I will get there! May God continue to bless you and your family and to hold you close! THANK YOU AGAIN for all the blogging you do!

Faithful reader and NO LONGER just a lurker!

Rebekah from Prior Lake, MN

Anonymous said...

Ahh, I am sad that is the last of your trip. You make me want to go so bad. Maybe when these two punks of ours get through with their college education it will be all about us, us and just US. I can't wait. Hope all is still going well with Blaine, as well as can be on a liquid diet, ewww.
Bubbles in NC

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristie,

Loved hearing all about your trip and sad that it's now come to an end!

Just a quick question! Are you sure that is a porpoise in the first pic? I used to live on the west coast and from the markings I would swear that was a small killer whale! (Also looks like Killer Whale's fin sticking out of water couple of pics down)

Loved the money shot! You caught it just beautifully! You also have a way with words girl that makes me feel like I'm on the cruise with ya!


Grandma J said...

I love the pictures from your last day of vacation. I am booked on the Sapphire Princess Sept. 08 with some fellow retirees. I directed them to your blog to see your photos and read about your adventures. Now I don't know if I can wait a year to experience this adventure but you have to book early to get a good selection of cabins.
It's so nice to hear that you and Blaine are home and that he is on the mend. I can understand him being selfconcious about the dent, but honestly,he is a very good looking man and it's not that noticable.
Hopefully the kids are enjoying school and lager is "maintaining".

Beth said...

Okay - I have got to say WOW to the awesome whale shot - I am so jealous (as whales are my FAVORITE!). I am kind of sad that your trip stories are done, but hey, you have the memories and have even cemented our desire to go.

You do such a great job on your site, don't let one 'fun-sucker' ruin it for you (okay, US). As stated several times in the past, you have come a long way through Kendrie's illness and now what better way to keep an upbeat and hilarious lifestyle going? LOL

Anyway, don't 'bash' my writing "style", typos, etc. :)

Give our best to Blaine and the kids, as you are thought of often.

Alice said...

I didn't know I had a glacier! :) Enjoyed the photos and the stories from your trip. Thanks for sharing.

Patricia-Georgia said...

Oh, beautiful pictures! I'm so glad you got to get away for a little bit and enjoy life! :) And we're thankful that Blaine (and your mother!) came through these past days/weeks with no problems. Yeah! God is good!

Patty House, Jasonville, IN said...

AWESOME picture of the whale! How Cool! =) I loved all the entries and pictures of the trip. I highly doubt I will ever make it up there so I lived vicariously through you. =)