Fresh off a Family Camping trip and I am having a hard time focusing. I think it might be the incredible lack of sleep. Maybe it is the pouring rain during the trip. Maybe it is that everything I own is wet, rx muddy or caked in wet mud that dried into a ball of crumbling brown/grey mess. I am not sure. At any rate, I had this blog listed as "I Hate Camping" but decided it was more like "I strongly dislike Camping" as I know hate is a pretty big one to be throwing around.

The trip went great with my co-leaders: Rob, a teacher from Michigan and Elise, a girl preparing for law school and Emily, headed to the Peace Corp. An eclectic bunch, we had a mess of guests who never really socially gelled which meant it was like dealing with little kids at a Jr. High dance all the time.

Two glorious days off and then into a long haul of work that will take me all over the state and I will breathe a huge sigh of relief towards the end of the month when the craziness ends and the different craziness begins. Time is so precious and it is only trip leading you start to see how much value there is on your time.

I feel like this blog was written by a fifth grader, so now is a good time to flip my laundry and have some lunch.


A typical Backroads spread. Delicious...

Kayaking in Homer on one of my last trips.

From Ididaride- we go and see the puppies that are bread to one day race the Ididarod, a 100 mile race through the Alaskan Winter in dog sleds.

The little otters poke their heads up sometimes when we are kayaking... like this guy!
I am tickled by little things like this. From the Bathroom in our warehouse in Anchorage.

Indie store on Spendard that I love.
A water logged passport, symptoms see the story below...
Homer Spit, pharm from atop the hills...
Boats on the water in Homer Spit. For you Dad!
Some of the wee stores on Homer Spit...


Currently: I am sitting inside on a old wooden bench indoors at a Coin Laundry close to our Anchorage home. It is Monday afternoon and there is a low drizzle outside. This Laundromat might only be a few blocks from our home but is in a neighborhood that is a world of difference. I bought some detergent from the Handy Mart next door (it also sells guns and glass pipes) and snuck into the queue for washers. I have my own trip laundry and the sheet from the house, pilule so I am using a bank of six washers in a row. For a $1.75 a wash I am working to create a clean house and a clean Holly. Off of trip late Saturday night I am tired but satisfied, relieved to put that Family Trip and its entire unfortunate hang ups behind me. There are six days off ahead and I am grinning just thinking about all the marvelous time I have on my hands ahead.

Yesterday, driving from Homer to Anchorage. The drive is five hours at best. Shuttling our six adults in the ‘Adult’ van, we are stopped in construction for 1 hour and 55 minutes. The adults nerves are fried and so are mine. One particular couple is on edge as they have a 8:30pm departure from ANC which they were TOLD (they keep reminding me) that they would MAKE THEIR FLIGHT. BACKROADS PROMISED THEM THEY WOULD MAKE THEIR FLIGHT. Yes, that was when the shuttle was supposed to be from 1pm-6pm, not 1pm -7:30pm due to pouring rain, wind storms and two hour road construction delays. We do a van switch and I drive like a terror through inclement weather to the airport. The children cheering me on every time I pass a car in the Ford 350 Industrial van with 16 bikes on top.

Preparing lunch in pouring rain on day one at nighttime. It is sleeting and we can hardly see the van, and we are outside chopping vegetables for the next day picnic. It is a moment in time where I wish that everyone could see me, for all the times people tell me how exotic my life is, you cannot see me with the dull knife cutting carrots and arranging the plate with shapes in cucumbers.

Continuing with the rain theme, The Harding Hike on day two of our trip. We take all our people up a 12.3 mile grueling hike made worse by a sudden rain storm we encounter 5 miles in. Too far to turn back and too stuck to move, we huddle in a cabin support on the mountain hoping for a break in the weather. Finally braving the storm we trek slowly down the mountain. I am soaked through every single layer I own, rocks and terrain slick with the precipitation, we inch our way back to safety. On our way down we run into a set of mountain rangers combing the mountain for us- they are advising people off the mountain because it is the worst storm they have had all season. My waterproof pants are sticking to my legs and my boots are squishing water up through the toes and top. I cannot remember when I was this cold (the only memory that comes to mind is Grey Cup 2003 in Saskatchewan, but there is no real prize for finishing this one besides survival). We safely bring all our folks back down, I sit in the van and have a quiet moment admit the chatter on the way home and shed a tear and Thank God we didn’t die on the mountainside. Arriving back at our hotel us three leaders take stock. I empty my (also soaking wet) backpack and pull out my Backroads wallet. Horrified, I empty it. Inside are both of my passports. They are absolutely soaking wet.

The night before my trip started six of us from the Anchorage leader house had a Mountain Dew Roller Skating Party. One of our favorite gals, Nicole, was headed back to Utah. We combined her favorite things and did them: mountain dew and roller skating. Unfortunately the roller rink closed early that night so we settled with several rounds of neon bowling, dance dance revolution (I’m still awesome at it by the way) and pitchers of Alaskan Amber.

A Float Guide we had on day four was named Carey. She is doing her PhD in Statistical Mathematics and moonlights as a raft guide in Alaska during the summer. Awesome.

Bernard from The Maritime Hotel in Bantry, Ireland is still asking about me. I’m thrilled.

I made a friend at the gym by our house, The Alaska Club. He is a former pro cyclist and cut me a deal to work out for cheap all summer. I love random connections like that.

The dress code in Alaska should be listed as “supreme casual”. Skinny jeans and boots doesn’t turn heads in a wow-she –is-attractive sort of way, it turns heads in that she-is-a-freak-for-not-wearing-gortex-and-flannel kind of way.

I visited a winery in Alaska. The Bear Creek Winery in Homer does local berries plus wine grapes to equal wine. I bought a bottle of Shirazzberry. It might not be Napa, but I am starved for wine culture and David Walker Wines seems so very, very far away…

My attempts to load photos are below. The internet is slow and thoughtful, brooding. I have also tried another first… to load some video from my camera to my blog. I am hopeful it works but also know that it quite possibly will not.

I have to change the laundry into the dryer. It is time to go back to my Alaskan life now.