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My Alaskan Adventure
October 18-28, 1999



In September, my brother Tom visited Betty and me for dinner. One of the topics was his plan to have me serve as travel companion/bearer for Mom and Dad on a trip to Seldovia, Alaska. My duties would be to meet Mom and Dad's airplane in Minneapolis, MN, get them and their carry-on bag to the Minneapolis-Anchorage leg of the trip and generally serve as their guide/bearer as we spent a couple days in Anchorage, fly in a small plane to Seldovia and the return, which was scheduled for the 27-28 of October 1999. This, we agreed, would allow them to see Mary and Mike's now completed "fishing shack" in Seldovia and allow me to spend some time with Mom and Dad since Betty and I had to cancel our trip to attend the family reunion last summer in northern Wisconsin.

 Tom's plan and schedule were excellent, especially compared to previous air trips and the reports of airport congestion and delays confronting today's air traveler. Betty, unfortunately, got stuck catsitting for William's two cats as well as ours--It could have been a blessing.

Monday, October 18, 1999:


Afternoon, our flights are on schedule. Wow! But, Minneapolis is a large airport and my flight landed in "St. Paul" so I had to rush to meet Mom and Dad as they deplaned from Madison, WI. Tom had packed their pills, bags, a couple of Christmas gifts, and them off to the airport. The airport provided courtesy service for Mom and Dad to our next gate (it could have been Duluth) while I jogged behind, as the dutiful companion/bearer. I/we arrived just in time for pre-boarding and a quick call to Betty to say that we were off to Alaska. 
 


The bear at Anchorage Airport. 
Mom is there too.

 We arrived in Anchorage on schedule and, since the airport is much smaller than Minneapolis, no courtesy service to the terminal so Dad opted for show and tell with his spiffy new walker in lieu of borrowing a wheelchair from Northwest. It was a long walk. I parked Mom and Dad in the upper level of the terminal while I sought out the baggage claim--no mean feat. My bag arrived fairly soon, but since I didn't know exactly what to look for, it was a while longer before I retrieved Mom & Dad's bag.

Returning to find only Dad, I learned Mom had gone to the ladies' room but had not returned. The ladies' room, just around the corner, was declared Mom-less thanks to a kindly user I caught on the way in. A trip to the baggage claim area revealed a kindly, bewildered lady watching for luggage at a now empty carrousel. Having found Mom , I learned that she hadn't been to the ladies' room, so we had another stop before taking the elevator back to Dad.

 I had summoned the hotel courtesy bus prior to returning to the missing Mom situation, and was pleased to find it still waiting at the front entrance. The bus whisked us to the Barrett Inn, where we were greeted by a rainy evening in Anchorage and warm welcome from Hubert McCallum at the hotel office. A short trip to our room, and a six pack of Bud courtesy of Hubert, and we were in for the night. A couple of telephone calls, war stories, and greetings for/from Dorothy after she successfully tracked down her husband Hubert.
 

Tuesday, October 19, 1999

Good friends & good food.
Ede, Dorothy, Hubert & George.
A walk in the morning rain down to the Lake Hood seaplane landing area behind a neighboring hotel showed that it was still dark until 9:00 am--even with daylight savings time still in effect. Cold and damp--but my first time in Alaska. Returning to the room with coffee that I was the only one drinking, we agreed to meet Dorothy and Hubert for breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Good.
Hubert and I ran a couple of errands after depositing Dorothy at an appointment. A couple of trips around and through downtown Anchorage seeking a parking space, a stop at the Cook Inlet Book Store (415 W. Fifth Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501 2309), for a back issue of Alaska Geographic showing Dad, Hubert, et al. exploring Unga, Alaska on a previous trip, and the Club Paris next door (417 W 5th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501-2309, Phone: (907) 277-6332) for a couple of brewskis and we headed for a Carr's store for fruit and snacks before returning to the hotel for more war stories, brew, and some of the Wisconsin cheese Tom had packed for Mary and Mike. I was very impressed by the selection of produce at the store as I had never seen so much of so many kinds of fruit and vegetables. I was also surprised by how expensive it was but it was really a stunning assortment for mid-October, or anytime.
Wednesday, October 20, 1999
Breakfast again with Dorothy and Hubert at the hotel restaurant. The courtesy bus delivered us to Great Northern Airlines at the Lake Hood Airpark, where we met Lynn the administrator and Charlie Pike, our pilot for the noon flight to Seldovia. After loading Dad's walker, our luggage, and flowers for an afternoon funeral, Mom climbed into the back seat of the Cessna and Charlie stuffed Dad in behind the pilot's seat. I climbed into the co-pilot's seat and we rolled down the road to the runway for an on schedule departure to Seldovia. 


A southerly route from Anchorage to Seldovia

The flight to Seldovia over Lake Tustumena and Homer--See Homer's Spit?
It was a beautiful day for flying, and we headed south over the Kenai Peninsula toward Homer. Passing nearly directly over Homer we crossed Kachemak Bay and landed at the Seldovia airport shortly after 1:00. Mary and Mike met us at the airport as Charlie unloaded Dad, Mom, the funeral flowers, and our luggage while I climbed out of the right-hand seat. The Native Association's 100 pounds of jam for the convention in Anchorage, was not waiting at the airport, so Mike and I stopped by the office on our way to the house to let them know Charlie was ready for the return flight to Anchorage.

The view from the living Room

Welcome to the "fishing shack" mom.
The fishing shack? Beautiful. I can see why Mike is trying to get a reunion scheduled. It's a beautiful place and an even more beautiful view. Every day, and all during the day, it is a slowly changing panorama. Sometimes you see the volcanoes, sometimes you don't, but always it's beautiful. 

 
The kitchen from the loft. Right: Mike and Mary in the living room from the loft.
Mom and Dad nap while Mary, Mike and I go on a mushroom hunt and hike out to the point to get a navigation light's eye view of the house. A bag full of mushrooms, a hike around to the beach and walk back through town is good exercise and chance to wave at and meet a number of the locals.
 
 
The house from the point (Just above and right of Camel Rock).

Camel Rock, Gold Rock, and the point from the house at high tide.

Panoramic view to the point.

Panoramic view toward the bay and volcanoes (not visible in this shot).
Living in a no-shoes fishing shack was not a problem. Good food, comfortable, and a good book (a tip from Tom) filled in between passing sea otters, eagles and conversations about the past two days. Mike was a good host and kept trying to keep me active and get Dad involved in non-exertion things to keep him entertained. Mom volunteered to help Mary around the kitchen and began turning out washcloths.
The following days included ocean kayaking through the town of Seldovia, spruce hen hunting around the city reservoir, clamming at low tide on Jackaloff Bay (Saturday and Sunday mornings), a trip to the dump, tour of the ferry, and a walking tour of the city of Seldovia.

The view from the guest room.

Thanks for the crab and clams.

 

Mary and I at the Dancing Eagles B&B--just walking around.
Pictures:

Kayaking we will go

In front of the fishing shack in a kayak.

Kayaking by Dancing Eagles B&B

The clamming grounds at Jackaloff Bay.

Clamming at Jackaloff Bay.

Dad & I and the hero of Dante's Peak (the truck).
Author’s Note: If I don’t get this uploaded and stop spending hours with this computer I’m in big trouble.
More pictures on the way (I already have others) e-mail your questions and requests. slw 12/23/99

George and Edith Webber

My mother, Edith Webber passed away December 10, 2000 and George Webber, my father, died June 6, 2001. Both deaths were unexpected and quick. They were special people and after 63 years of marriage, I believe, they are happy to be together again.



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