Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Everybody dies famous in a small town

So I stole the title from a country song, but I really believe it's true. It's the beginning of week two. Woohoo!
I walked to the ferry to go to church on Sunday. It's a two mile walk. I got a lot of strange looks, but I had a great time. Then I got to sit on the ferry for an hour and a half. Not too interesting but I talked to a few people. The salmon were swimming next to the ferry. That was cool. I got off the ferry and started my hike to church. It's probably about a mile from the ferry stop and it's literally a hike. It's uphill both ways. The hills are like the hills in San Francisco only the roads aren't that long. So needless to say it was a pretty steep hike. Luckily there's a boardwalk for part of one of the streets. I'm not sure that stairs are better but it does make the hills more bearable. I got there a few minutes before church started. This may sound slightly sac religious, but if you added a bear pelt and a couple moose or deer heads on the wall it would've looked like a hunting lodge. I've never been in a chapel that was wall to wall wood. The upholstery on the benches was green, like I said hunting lodge like. The people were really nice. They sing really loud too. It was awesome. After church I went to a really nice couple's home for lunch and to hang out till it was time to go to the ferry. We had a pasta salad, biscuits, and salmon. Yes, I had fish and it's was pretty good. When I got back on the ferry I ran into a family from church. We talked the entire ride back. They even gave me a ride home. We exchanged phone numbers. Yay for making friends.
Yesterday it rained and rained and rained some more. I still didn't have cable and it'd been a week. Well it turns out that they went to the wrong house. They came and fixed it today. I finally have cable and I signed up for netflix. I have 40 channels and there isn't much to watch. I still have a few boxes left to unpack. Not real interesting but necessary. I think it's raining again. It's done that on and off today. Well it is a rain forest. The scenery is still great. I can't say that there is too much exciting is going on but maybe tomorrow I will go explore more.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Still not quite unpacked

Well we got into Metlakatla on Sunday afternoon. We had about an hour and a half between ferries so we went to Walmart in Ketchikan. It's the smallest one I've ever been to and they by far have the cleanest bathrooms of any Walmart I've been to. We picked up a few things and then waited for the ferry. It is an hour and a half ferry ride from Ketchikan to Metlakatla. It was pretty and very uneventful. My landlord met us at the ferry stop and took us to my house. It's a good thing because I've only seen one street sign in the whole town. I don't know if people even know themselves what streets are what but pretty much everyone knows where everyone lives. It's quite unique to me. After we got in, we got a tour of the house and then my landlord gave us a whirlwind tour of the town. I do mean whirlwind, I think the only places I remembered how to get to from there were the post office and the hardware store. Upon getting back, mom and I started to unload the uhaul. We stopped when it started to rain harder. We unloaded the entire uhaul by ourselves. So of course after that we were beat.
Monday we took to uhaul back to Ketchikan and experienced the public transportation. You can ride the bus for a dollar and get an all day pass for two. It's pretty awesome. Mom and I went to Walmart and to A&P for some groceries. Then it was back to the ferry. We then worked on unpacking.
Tuesday I went and set up my utilities and went to the post office. I also went and introduced myself at the superintendent's office. I've never lived anywhere that I had to apply for residency and a work permit, but that is part of living on a reservation. Everyone is very nice. The district has a new superintendent and a new high school principal. When we got home, we continued to unpack.
Wednesday we explored a little more of town. We went to the hardware store which was unlike any hardware store I'd ever been in. The sell just about everything. We then went to the local grocery store and got a few things like vegetables. It was kinda expensive, but not too bad, and it is an island after all. We unpacked some more.
Thursday, I don't know that we were as productive as we could've been but eventually Mom had to go to the ferry stop. Which is the only thing in town that is far to walk to. It's probably about 2 miles away. (Maybe it's a mile and a half). We started walking there and got most of the way when my neighbor stopped and asked it we wanted a ride to the ferry. We took him up on it. Well mom did at least. I had walked my bike with so I left mom in the care of my neighbor and biked home.
I'm still waiting for cable hookup, so I've watched about half of the dvds that I own. I still have a few boxes to unpack but some of them have to wait until I get the bookcases that my dad made for me put together. Otherwise I have some straightening to do and some organizing. I'll probably take my bike out for a spin today too.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Day 6

Today was our first full day on the ferry. I woke up at about 5 AM Alaskan time which is 8 AM CST. I got up this morning and went outside and took pictures. I have taken lots of pictures on this trip. I will try to get them all posted soon. The coastal mountains are gorgeous. This ferry ride makes up for all the less than interesting scenery along the way. We had some rough waters on our second open ocean passing. I fell asleep and proceeded to sleep through it, so did my mother. Otherwise it has been pretty smooth sailing. Mom is obviously bored because she keeps buying snacks or games to play. I've slept, listened to music, or knitted. My little brother's afghan is coming along well. It's about 6 feet wide, maybe wider, and he wants it almost 8 feet long. So I have 7 feet to go. It has also rained today. Currently we are sailing along through some fog, and lots of it. The trip has gotten foggier as we have gone along.

We have sailed through several straits and seen great waterfalls. This morning we also saw whales. The most of the whales that we saw were the tail. We also saw blow holes. It was probably the most exciting thing that has happened on the boat that they made an announcement about. Unless you count the presentations on how to be aware with bears.

In the morning we will get into port in Ketchikan, or Ketch-a-chicken as many of my friends have called it. We should arrive in port at 7 AM. We will then get the truck off the boat and make a run to walmart before catching the next ferry. The ferry from Ketchikan to Metlakatla leaves at 10:30 AM but we have to be there two hours early. So if we are lucky we will get about an hour away from the ferry docks. We'll see what happens.

Mom has talked to a lot of people while we have been on this trip. You know how your parents always told you not to talk to strangers as you were growing up? That didn't work really well with my parents because they talked and still talk to anyone, so growing up it was hard to tell who the strangers were. We have met a lot of nice people on this trip.

Well we have a busy day tomorrow and bed is calling my name. I will post again as soon as I have internet access again. Thank goodness for wireless on the ferry.

Days 4 and 5

Day 4 - We spent the entire day in Bellingham. We didn't do anything very exciting except look for rain gear. I am going to a place that gets 10 feet of rain a year. Yes I did just say 10 feet. We looked through the mall. It's the smallest mall I've been to with so many major department stores. We met some very friendly people.

Day 5 - We got up and went to see Dark Knight. Yay for the new Batman movie. I enjoyed it and was very surprised that places played movies at 9:00 in the morning. We also drove around trying to find Grizzly Tool. We found a warehouse but didn't successfully find a showroom. I need a square drill bit to screw a few bookcases my dad built me but didn't assemble, they're easier to transport that way. We also struck out at Home Depot and Lowes. We went to Walmart to do a little grocery shopping. We got non-perishable food stuff since it's probably cheaper than what we'd find in Alaska. Then it was off to the ferry. I went and got the tickets while mom waited in the truck. The nicest guy was behind the counter, he wasn't too bad looking either. After that we went to the loading dock. The guy at the guard shack was very nice and he picked on mom, which was fun. Then we played the waiting game. We went and sat in the line they told us to be in. We got things ready for the trip. After about 30 minutes they told us we could park on the ferry. That was a new experience. Mom had loads of fun, not. The guys directing her started to get a little frustrated because she would over turn the wheel. It all turned out ok. We were one of the first people on the ferry so we staked out a couch to sit on. It was pretty nice and we put our names on the waiting list for a cabin, we were 8th on the list. We wondered around the ship and finally settled in the forward observation deck. Lots of people talked to us.
We were finally underway and sitting eating some decent ship food when all of a sudden over the speaker came my name. Mom practically ran down to the purser's desk. We had gotten a cabin. She was so excited, now we didn't have to sleep on deck chairs. It's a 4 person cabin, so two sets of bunk beds, a sink, a chair, a small table, and a bathroom. We also have a great window view. We then talked to some more people including a women who is going to Barrow to teach grade school. Then it was off to bed.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Day 3

We started our trip in Montana and drove the last 100 miles through there. The scenery was nice but nothing too exciting. Next we drove into Idaho. Very hilly. When we drove through Coeur d'Alene it reminded me of being at Lake Como in Italy. After that Idaho got flat. It was like that through a lot of Washington. Eastern Washington wasn't very exciting. When we got to the Columbia River, we pulled over at a scenic view and took some pictures.

After that the scenery was much better. It was probably the best scenery so far on this trip. Of course that meant more mountain driving. After we got out of the mountains we were in Seattle. The sun was in our eyes a lot. Next it was off to Bellingham.

The drive wasn't very exciting but Bellingham is kinda in the middle of nowhere. I definitely expected something more city like. We will be in Bellingham until Friday afternoon, when we get on the ferry and head up to Alaska.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Day 2

In the morning we went to Mt. Rushmore. It was cool, but it is a big rock with faces carved in it. I did get some great pictures, which I will get up here as soon as I can find the card reader. I think it's in the truck. After mom going the wrong way out of the park (laugh hard now) we had to turn around. On the upside I got to see mountain goats. After that we went back to the 10% down grade. Mom doesn't like any kind of down grade, she's lived in the Midwest too long.

Back on I-90, we ran into a lot of construction. Boo. It was interesting though to see the difference from construction in Illinois to the construction in other states. Wow I sound like a nerd, but when you grow up with some one who does road construction, you know way too much about it. Finally we made it into Wyoming and I fell asleep for about half the state. The only really interesting thing that I saw until we hit about Sheridan was the antelope out grazing on the side of the road. Oh and the people in Wyoming grow hay in the median. Finally in northern Wyoming the scenery was nice. We saw some mountains and a lot of cattle. Did I mention yet that mom doesn't like driving in the mountains.

We got into Montana and stopped at Little Bighorn, mostly because I really like American history and I was driving. Back on the road, nothing very exciting happened. In Billings there was a cloud of coal dust hanging over most of the town. Mom went back to driving and I'm pretty sure I went back to sleep. I don't really remember, which means I probably was asleep. It was pretty uneventful besides some really great mountains. Once again I took pictures. Then we got into the mountains. Mom doesn't like mountains. Needless to say driving through Butte was fun. It is quite a big town, or at least all the lights make it look that way. Finally we were getting close to our evening destination of Missoula. I'm pretty sure I fell asleep again for a little while and woke up to us going down some interesting and very steep, curvy road. I'm pretty sure Mom was white knuckling the steering wheel. Of course it's hard to tell in the dark, but as many times as she hit the brakes hard, which I don't recommend in any kind of steep condition, I know she wasn't happy. It's pretty sad when you start counting down on the mile markers till your exit.

Well now we just have a little bit of Montana, the top of Idaho, and the whole state of Washington to drive through. It's about 560 miles till Bellingham from Missoula. Well shortly we will be getting back on the road.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 1

Today was day one on the road. We started in Antioch and drove north through Wisconsin. Somewhere between Wisconsin Dells and Minnesota I fell asleep. I work up to my mother saying, we're in Minnesota. Well it doesn't look much different from Wisconsin, which sadly doesn't look too different from Illinois. There are more hills. The trip through Minnesota wasn't very exciting. It did take a long time though. Then all of a sudden we were in South Dakota. Which we are currently still in. Right now we are in Sturgis. Well while traveling through what seemed to be the middle of nowhere, we decided to find somewhere to eat. We figured somewhere nice for our first day out on the road so we went to Ruby Tuesdays. The service was terrible. I think that the people in South Dakota are in no rush because there is nothing else to do there. Finally we got back on the road. The sunset lasted forever, ok better than an hour. It was gorgeous. We finally made it into Rapid City, SD to find that every hotel was full. Well duh, Mt. Rushmore is right there. So we drove 20 miles down there road which would be why we're in Sturgis. Tomorrow morning we will back track to go see Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse. Then it's an ever exciting day of driving to Missoula, MT. Hopefully the scenery will be better but we do have to drive through Wyoming first.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Packing and such

It's official. I don't like packing. I don't know how people with more stuff do it. I still have a lot more to do and I'm not looking forward to it. I try to pack several boxes a day and then my motivation runs out. I only have a few more things in my bedroom, a few things in the bathroom, about half of the kitchen, a couple things in the living room, and very little left in my spare room. That shouldn't be too bad. I just need to keep the motivation up and if all else fails, get rid of more. I only have limited space anyway. I hope to be totally packed by Thursday, since I'm picking up the truck Friday. This is going to be insane, but I'm looking forward to Alaska.

I spoke to the Alaska Department of Education on Wednesday, they have received my application packet (back on the 25th of June) and will be reviewing it hopefully this week. I have to call again to double check. This is obviously not a fast process. There is nothing like moving and trying to get everything done before you leave an area. Did I mention that I haven't gotten my change of address stuff filled out at the Post Office yet either. Oy. Too much to do.

On the upside, I talked to the Bishop out there and got the scoop about church. It sounds pretty cool. He also said I was moving to probably the most beautiful island in Southeastern Alaska. That's awesome. He also mentioned that I need to be prepared for the rain. I kinda figured that.

It's really weird to think this is my last week living in Illinois. Crazy. I'm really excited about my new adventure though.