Leaving Alaska

Moving out of my cabin in Juneau was pretty smooth. There was the random stuff that just didn’t fit neatly into a category, but I got it all squared away. I don’t know why it took so long to figure this out, but I started organizing my belongings into labeled military duffel bags. That made moving much easier and keeps my belongings organized even when I’m not traveling. The duffels, I bought in Fairbanks for $10 a piece and $14 for the ones in slightly better shape.

My father and I boarded the ferry late at night after learning that my account was ‘open’ meaning that we had to repurchase our tickets, in the end, I was charged twice.

We had a blissfully uneventful trip for the most part, and four days of relaxing was ok with me. We stopped in Sitka, Petersburg, and spent a full day in Ketchikan.

We got off the ferry in Bellingham and met Russell, Shannon, and Travis for lunch in Seattle.

I can’t recall the name of the restaurant, but I can recall their attempt to impress us with silly rituals and absurdly fine scale selections of most everything. My dad and I laughed about it for the rest of the trip.

It all began with the beer selection. You know you are in trouble wheen the waiter refers to the restaurant’s selection by saying ‘I have…in stock’ and blathers on about the flavors of each of the beers as it were wine. It only got more humourous when he spouted about the ‘wonderful cascading head’ that beer pressurized with nitrogen creates.

Oh god, then he got to the oysters, oh the humanity! You ordered oysters from the bed where they were harvested. After a ten minute description of the differences in flavor of each of the fifteen beds, I was ready to run. I was thankful that he didn’t bother us with a detailed explaination of the composition of the napkins and how paper harvested from shade grown fair trade pine trees was superior to everyday average pine trees.

The food was good, but just before we made a clean escape, the waiter returned with lemons and crackers, my heart sunk. What did he have planned for us now I thought. Apparently the newest craze for people that need to feel special is to have lemon squeezed on to your hands and then, get this, crackers broken up and sprinkled over them. What a disgusting mess it made, I was horrified. Good riddance Seattle!

Finally on the road, we drove across I-90 into some beautiful country. What I wouldnt have done to drop a fly in some of those streams.

We spent the night in Cordelene, Idaho and traveled on to Missoulla, Montana which I really liked. It may have even displaced Bozeman as my favorite town. It took me to Billings to get a buffalo burger and it was good. We stopped for the night in Sheridan, which brought back memories from my college days as I had passed through there a number of times and had friends from there.

The following day we drove through South Dakota and stopped by Sturgis. It was dead, but we got some good food and fooled around on some stationary motorcycles.

Somehow we crossed the whole state of South Dakota and ended up near Sioux City, IA.

That day we also toured Wall Drug and the Badlands. I really wanted to see some wild Buffalo, but no luck. Instead, we saw deer, sheep, and some amazing landscapes.

I have wanted to see Land Between the Lakes for quit a while because they are restoring some eastern prarie complete with elk and buffalo. I was pretty excited, but that quickly drained from my blood when I saw the 10 foot fence surrounding the prarie. Instead of a wide open natural prarie, it was more like a big petting zoo. The place was dwfinitely modeled after jurassic park, compl te with flahing red lights and and automatic gate. Wee did see some Buffalo, but the were in an even smaller electrified paddock.

We bolted out of there and madw it to Mont Eagle Tennessee for lunch at the smokehouse. We had the best food of the trip anf stayed warm in front of the open fire our table sat against. Two more more hours and I was in Marietta.

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