This morning we woke to a treat. Mama and her babies were meandering the compound. Actually, yesterday mama and her babies were meandering the compound until our little creighton, Kenai, decided to bark at them through the window and mama gathered the kids and split. You just don't think she will ever get it, do you?! But this morning we were able to hide their presence from her and enjoy their visit. Again, mama watched me come out just 20 feet away from her and the babies, but allowed me to stay and observe. The two babies were very giddy and playful, as they were galloping around mama and frolicking about. To cute! Apparently my dad experienced the same thing up on the driveway one morning on his way out for his daily regimen to get the newspaper from the road. He encountered them, sweet talked mama, and she allowed him to stay put and observe. Quit an honor. Our visit was enjoyable and the folks got to see more of the peninsula this time around and experience more of the splendor we live in. But like I told them, they....we have only begun to experience yet a fraction of Alaska. Coincidentally, it is official, our deep freezer is now 97% full of salmon, halibut, and cod. It gonna be a fine eatin winter! And I have an unofficial yet close account of this years firewood stock. I am estimating 10 cords as of now....simply meaning that we are good to go with what we have, but ya just never can have enough, when it comes to firewood!
So admidst the visit of my folks, Maryann and I found it imperative to do a roadtrip. Seems as "Sweet Pea" had gotten to Maryann one too many times. Oh yea, that's what I'm talking about, uh-huh!! Maryann ripped her a new rearend up down, sideways and in a circle, and the bitch gained unmentionable respect and effectuation for just where she stands in Maryanns office. Some just don't seem to get it. Anyways, after watching my wife deal so effectively with this ordeal, I just said, "let's go". "Where she asked?" "Let's go to Hope" I said. She looked at me with a scepticle look in her eyes and asked, "is there Hope". Yeah. Hope is a little town across the Turnagain Arm and downwind from Anchorage. As the crow flies it is probably only 30 miles from Nikiski. But the only way to get there is going the couple hundred mile drive towards Anchorage, and it is off the main road tucked away in the mountains, lining the water. When I say small, I mean Dorrington small, minus all of the vacation cabins. There are not many places with running water, and many accommodations there are still using outhouses or community restrooms. We were fortunate enough to find a tiny, old and cozy log cabin off the beaten path of the bustling downtown (sarcasm). The busiest we saw was some little coffee/gift shop with a couple hippies playing guitar on the steps and locals sitting around wasting the day away. Doesn't sound like anything ol Greg and Maryann would like, does it? We found ourselves in complete bliss just lounging around the cabin, doing nothing but unwinding and reflecting, something much needed for us both as it has been a very trying summer with work, lack of sunshine (oh cry me a river, aint it!), and the disappointment of a lousy salmon season for our son. As night began to fall around 7:00 PM, still light out like it was afternoon, we found ourselves wandering the streets of downtown Hope, trying to find a good eating establishment for some local fare. Keep in mind, downtown Hope consists of primarily a campground where the river pours into the Arm, the coffee/gift shop, a few houses and a small diner with a detached bar called the Seaview Cafe. Completely unaware to either of us at the time, it is this Cafe that would invariably impact the fun and loving sector of our souls forever....destiny, if you would. As we ate a quiet dinner with a few other diners, the cook was in the kitchen with his radio going, and conversation abound about the place. Maryann noticed I had a strange look on my face. Now most would of figured I was silently choking on some stray food and trying to conceal my despair as to not denote attention to myself. But no, Maryann knows me better than most and she realized that in fact I wasn't gaging but shutting out the white noise around me to focus and center in on the music I was hearing in the backround. The sounds that were just begining to eminate from the bar, out the back door of the Cafe and accross the outdoor patio separating the two. This music, this sound fading quietly in and out.... My brows frowed as I struggled, searching for the sound. As she sat in utter amasement at my illimitable focus, I found that I could no longer stand it. No, what I was hearing....what no other human in the diner was even aware of at that moment, was what seemed to be an acoustic version of "I Know You Rider", a Grateful Dead set opener, renouned to Deadheads for decades past. I found myself hurriedly yet coy like scrambling for the back door. As I stood in the doorway, my wife sitting there shaking her head with an acknowledging grin and amasement, I hear what I am believing to be, at that particular moment, Jorma Kaukonen, lead guitarist for the fabbled Jefferson Airplane, founder of the acoustic band Hot Tuna....the 'playin whore' of rock and blues..... Naah, although Hot Tuna was just in Anchorage back in May, I konw not of their presence here...now. I wander towards the back door of the bar with my pulse charging, my anticipation drumming. I enter the threshold to find a small acoustic band complete with percussinist...but amiss....it is not Jorma, it is not Hot Tuna. It is a band calling themselves Winterland, and as Maryann and I paid our bill to go into the bar to enjoy what it was Winterland was to offer, found ourselves 2 barstools front row and inches from the band to dig in what would be an evening of Grateful Dead tunes. Yes, not the Dead but a very hot Dead cover band. Our first time in a bar either of us since we got together 15 years ago, we opened a tab and drank, rocked, shaked our butts and wiggled our heads to that band down there playin' the Grateful Dead. Oh what a night! I mean, it couldn't have been a better night for the type of time we needed. In other words, we couldn't bring about a time like this if we tried, and here it falls right into our lap. We made new friends, some locals, some tourists who glued to our every word of life in Alaska, listened to ammusing folklore of tourist antics from the bartender, carried on continual conversations with the band. Man, what fun. They played 3 sets of acoustic and electric instrumentation of many Dead tunes that night, a few even the Grateful Dead themselves had not done for decades.
But as all good times must, so too did this trip come to an end the following morning as Maryann had to get back to work by noon. Yes, just an overnighter, but a heck of a ride! We bared witness days later to a couple of breathtaking and amazing scenes on our way home from taking the folks to the Anchorage airport for their journey home. If you remember, the Turnagain Arm is the place of the 'Tidal Bore' wave, as well as tides that flexuate as much as 40 feet low to high. Here is a pic of that tide on it's way out of the Arm. Now mind you, it looks like a river, but is in fact the low area on this side of the Arm, draining to the Cook Inlet and out to the Gulf Of Alaska. Almost reminded me of a cork being pulled from a tub! If you look to the upper center of the picture, you can see the shallow area starting to expose itself as the water rushes outward. Look at the incredible lengthly swirl the water is making towards the bank on it's way out. Intense! And to top it off as we went through Moose Pass, we found ourselves pondering and again reflecting, only to be greeted by a reassuring glimpse of what could be construed as God himself. As usual, picture do no justice to the real thing, but what an awe inspiring moment it was for two sourdoughs, contemplating their existence in the 'great land'. A couple that took a chance, made a leap, and continues to work through all that comes before them. We are happy to be here with John and the dogs, and feel blessed to be able to continue to share our journey forward. Good night.