Our cruise to Alaska

Published 11:32 am Friday, May 31, 2024

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Our great friends Jim and Judy North went on several cruises. They enjoyed Alaska so much that they invited us to join them on a second voyage. This was in 2005, just after our 50th Anniversary and my first open-heart surgery. I told my surgeon that I thought I could walk his prescribed 30 minutes a day on a cruise ship just as well as in my yard at home.

Dr. Ely agreed and wished me “Bon Voyage.”  

The cruise left from Vancouver, British Columbia, so we booked a flight to Seattle, where we visited with our good friends, the Hal Whiddens. I went to college with Hal, and he is like a brother to me.

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The Coral Princess sailed in the waterway between Vancouver Island and the mainland. I walked 30 minutes a day on the Princess promenade deck as my doctor had ordered.

We dined regularly with four delightful English ladies who had been everywhere, including using the “chunnel” to go to Paris. Our waiter was always helpful, reinforcing our orders with a cheery “Excellent choice!” If he did not say that, we ordered something else.  

We went down to the docks in Juneau, where floatplanes were waiting for the excursion I had bought. There was a DeHavilland Beaver and several Otters. I chose the Beaver and its pilot flew us down a large river to the Taku Glacier Lodge  restaurant. There we had a delicious lunch of fresh salmon.

The local bears cleaned up the outdoor grille after we ate. 

Our pilot put me in the right seat going back; Judy took my photo, so I have “the Happy Copilot” to remember that wonderful experience. It is all the big Otters now; no Beaver at the restaurant dock on Taku inlet nowadays.

The Coral Princess sailed into College Fjord where we saw many glaciers calving. The glaciers are named for Eastern colleges. We also saw many whales, mostly their backs; occasionally the flukes as they took a dive after coming up nearly out of the water and slamming back down to make a big noise as well as splash. 

On the bus ride into Anchorage, we saw a tree full of bald eagles, more than a dozen perched on its leafless branches!

We flew back home, so we left Alaska from Ted Stevens International Airport at Anchorage. There were 747s everywhere, many from China. Good to see so many of “my” big birds; now I watch “Ice Airport Alaska” regularly on TV. 

Our son gave us a 55” TV, so it dominates the living room in our apartment. But we really enjoy that big window on the world, as it transports us all over at our bidding. We also watch the evening news to keep us informed.

Tryon seems to be a little bit of heaven, protected by nearby mountains. The celebrated “Thermal Belt” usually protects us from severe cold in winter. 

We love our mountains; like our children, we have given them names: (west to east) Hogback, Rocky Spur, (the Valley), Warrior, Round, (Howard Gap), Miller, Tryon Peak, and White Oak. Tryon Peak is my “homing beacon,” for I know where it first comes into view from all roads approaching Tryon. Even Wildcat Spur is visible to the right of White Oak when coming north from Spartanburg. 

Interesting to me is the view south from Pisgah Inn: Our row of mountains, all laid out in reverse order. Even in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we can see that we are not too far away to see the mountains of our home!        

Garland would like to hear from you at 828-859-7041 or garlandgoodwin7@gmail.com