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Northwest Trip & Alaska Cruise

2nd Most Travelled Passengers
Patty & Craig were the 2nd most travelled passengers on this cruise and the family got this picture with the captain.

The Oregon Coast

supercharger stop in Ukiah

Our trip really started in Napa, CA, at our grandson Caleb's home - he's the one with the bright blue shirt above. Patty had never seen the beautiful Oregon Coast and this was one reason for driving to Seattle, rather than flying - besides, dealing with TSA and airports is just so much fun.

Our first stop was Ukiah, CA, where we stopped to charge our car and eat a delicious lunch at Oco Time, a restaurant recommended by Olivia and CJ. Since Patty owns a red Model 3, we decided this picture was appropriate.

We spent the night in Crescent City, CA - on the Oregon border - with the Oregon coast set for the next day.

Our first stop was in Gold Coast, where the Rogue River enters the Pacific Ocean. We took this picture of the Wedderburn Bridge there.

Further up the coast the road seemed to go on forever through the ocean pines on either side.

Wedderburn Bridge in Gold Coast, ORDriving north in OregonOregon Sand Dunes outside Reedsport, ORSister Rock State Parklooking north from Sea Lion Caves

Sea Lion Caves

Sister's Rock State Park is where we took this picture and it pretty much represents much of the southern Oregon coastline.

Near Reedsport there are a number of huge sand dunes. The weather was overcast and we couldn't get close enough, so this is the best we could do.

We stopped at the Sea Lion Caves just north of Florence. This huge cave houses thousands of sea lions.

Sea Lions sunning themselves

The view north, through this cave, shows the gorgeous lighthouse view.

As we left, we could see sea lions sunning themselves outside.

Oregon Coast

The Oregon coastline is so varied and beautiful it simply demands a return visit.

Continuing north, we crossed the bridge at Yachets and, in the evening, came to Tillamook, OR. This is where Tillamook cheese came from and this is a huge creamery on the north side of the town.

We overnighted in Seaside and continued into Astoria - at the mouth of the Columbia River and the border between Oregon and Washington.

Bridge at Yachets, ORTillamock, OR
Craig carefully petting dear in Astoria, ORAstoria Column

Astoria bridge over Columbia River from ColumnThis was the end of the Oregon coast and we chose to stay a while and eat lunch at '14 Street Cafe' before crossing the Astoria Bridge into Washington.

While driving through the neighborhoods in Astoria - some of the views were worth the drive, even on an overcast day - we saw a deer simply resting on the lawn of someone's house. We stopped and a neighbor said they are tame, as a lady there feeds them all the time.

Testing this out, Craig had to try and pet the deer on the lawn. It really didn't move at all, but Craig was a bit nervous.

Finally, we drove up to The Column, a huge tower at the top of the highest peak in Astoria. Climbing the circular stairs to the top was an effort, but well worth it, as the last picture of the Astoria Bridge shows. From here we crossed the bridge into Washington and continued on to Seattle, starting the next phase of our vacation.

Alaska Cruise

Caleb & CJ watching us cast offCaleb now on board Emerald Princess

Caleb had never been on a cruise ship before and, for CJ, it had been 13 years. They both wanted to watch the ship cast off from their balcony. Since ours was next door, we got these shots.

As soon as Seattle started to recede to the stern of the ship, everyone went topside and this photo was taken of the CJ-Olivia-Caleb family.

leaving SeattleCaleb with ice sculpture Olivia & Caleb at sunset

One of the first things done on board was an ice sculpture. Caleb loved it when he got to touch it as soon as it was finished.

Olivia and Caleb enjoyed watching their first sunset-at-sea from topside. It was the start of a very fun and eventful trip.

sunset on the ocean


We arrived in Ketchikan early in the morning, before the fog lifted. As soon as possible we all got off the ship - with the necessary ship photos recording our first stop.

Arrival in Ketchikan, AKGetting off the ship in Ketchikan
City of Ketchikan, AKCJ & Olivia took a hike north of Ketchikanclimbing a mountain pass

As we left the ship, Ketchikan spread out before us and we split up.

CJ & Olivia took what turned out to be an 8 mile hike up the mountains north of Ketchikan.

It was strenuous and Olivia was certainly happy when she made it back to the parking lot near the ship.

done at lastPatty & Caleb entering Lumberjack ShowLumberjack show

Patty, Caleb, and Craig went shopping and then to a Lumberjack show.

The show was a lot of good-natured fun.

Caleb got a 'husky' hat with mitten arms to keep warm and showed it off, both at the show and while returning to the ship.

Returning to the Emerald Princess

Tracy Arm Glacier

The following morning we made our way to the Tracy Arm Glacier. The ship wasn't able to get next to the glacier, but two smaller ships took passengers on a paid tour of one of the two arms of this glacier. Here are Craig & Patty along with Olivia & CJ, each standing on their respective balconies.

Craig & PattyOlivia & CJWale watching in Tracy Arm

On the way we saw a whale surfacing near the face of one side of the Tracy Arm inlet. Of course everyone crowded the deck to see this sight.

almost thereCaleb & Olivia watching an icebergPatty and Tracy Arm Glacier southglacier runnoff

As we traveled up the inlet we saw more and more icebergs. On a previous trip in 2005 Craig & CJ couldn't get to the glacier because of all the ice. Now we wouldn't be able to reach the glacier because it had receded beyond where it was safe for the ship to go.

Finally we reached ship's limit and you can see Patty looking toward the glacier beyond the small island in front of the ship. The next photo is a close-up of the glacier and you can even see a ship making its way back to us after taking passengers closer to the edge of the glacier.

We were able to see a leading edge of the glacier as it peaked over a mountain pass.

glacier spilling over mountainGlacier cuts in the mountainswimming while in glacier country

Leaving the glacier we saw huge high bowl cuts where the glacier carved out the mountain. Finally, this curious picture of people swimming while we left icebergs behind.

Patty & Craig - on to our next stopOlivia & CJ bidding the glacier goodby

We end this morning in Tracy Arm with goodbye photos of Patty & Craig and Olivia & CJ.

Now on to Juneau this afternoon.


Olivia & Caleb on Deck 19

Approaching Juneau in the afternoon CJ, Olivia, and Caleb all checked out the running track, basketball court, miniature golf holes, and croquet area on Deck 19 - the very top of the ship reachable by the passengers.

Arrival in Juneau

Passengers spread out on top of the ship's bridge to watch docking in Juneau.

For Juneau we had reserved an excursion that included panning for gold. It started with a tour of an abandoned mine and mill - the Gastineau Mill.

Touring the Gasteneau MineFamily at main mine entranceCaleb panning for gold

First we toured the mine and posed for a picture in front of it.

Then everyone got a chance to walk around the mill foundations and pan for gold.

Patty, Olivia, CJ panning for goldabandoned fire truck

The mill foundations included this old fire truck, long since abandoned.

Returning from the mill, we took a tram to the top of Mt. Roberts.

View of the ship from gondolaOlivia & Caleb atop Mt. Rogers)atty & CJ comming out of the Red Dog SaloonThere was a fine view of the ship on the way up and Olivia & Caleb posed at the top.

Finally we made our way to the Red Dog Saloon for a bit of ribald revelry, drinks, and a filling dinner.

Since the ship was docked almost in front of the saloon, there wasn't much to go wrong in getting back before the ship left for Skagway.


Emerald Princess in Skagway

This picture of the Emerald Princess really shows her immense size. The two globes at the top of the ship are the location of the 19th deck - where the family retreated to play Caleb's version of croquet.

Three ships were in Skagway at the time we were there and we were all glad we had reserved a seat on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. This was the one excursion CJ remembered from his 2005 Alaska trip and he really wanted his family to experience the ride from Skagway to the Canadian border.

The train comes right down to the docks and you can see the ship in the window next to Craig & Patty, as they take their seats for the trip. Pulling away, you can see CJ, Caleb, and Olivia. You cannot move from car to car, but you can step outside your car on either end to view the scenery.

Craig & Patty leaving SkagwayCJ family on Skagway trainCaleb & CJ on trainOverlooking trail to the Yukon

The train makes its way up the eastern side of the famous White Pass Trail - one of the two main ways to get to the Yukon, during the 1897 gold rush days.

Here we see Olivia, Caleb, and Patty taking in the river cutting the path the trail followed. This was a brutal trek, particularly in the winter, when the entire trail had to be carved through deep snow.

Caleb and CJ are trying to find a good spot to take some spectacular pictures.

Leaving the summitEngine switching ends at summit

White Pass - the US-Canadian border - is the end of the 20 mile train trip. Here the train stops, the engine is switched from one end of the train to the other, and we begin our return trip down the long grade.

This abandoned bridge presents a photo opportunity - if only the sun would shine.

Approaching abandoned bridgeMountain and streamsCraig outside carPatty outside car


Any number of rivers made this scenery breathtaking, even in the depths of summer when the rivers are almost empty.

Like the rest of us Patty took this opportunity to leave her seat and stand in the clear air of the Alaskan wilderness.

It was chilly near the top of the grade, but Patty caught this picture of a bundled Craig, experiencing the invigorating feel of the ride.

Nearing the return station

Near the end of our return trip we passed this abandoned caboose, just outside the switching and storage yard for the railroad.

Skagway antics

Upon our return to Skagway we walked through the town to find a recommended eating place for lunch and browsed through as much shopping as the girls could force upon us.

In our travels we came upon this wall of totem poles and were able to get a picture of the entire group.

Finally we returned to the ship and the guys migrated to the bow of the ship on the 8th deck for these pictures before leaving Skagway.

CJ & Craig at bow of shipCaleb & CJ at bow of ship

Finally we see the wake of the ship as we leave Skagway - a beautiful view, even if the sky has been overcast all day. We ended the day with dinner at the Crown Grill.

Leaving SkagwayAll of us at the Crown Grill

Day at Sea

Informal family photoCaleb with sled dog puppyFamily outside on deck

We had a day and a half at sea before we got to our last stop - Victoria, BC. So we crammed in as much activity as we could.

Caleb got some time with a sled dog puppy, putting more pressure on his parents for the animal resolution.

The family took advantage of casual portraits and got this patriotic picture of themselves.

Deck 7 is called the Promenade Deck because there is a traditional outside sitting area where people can walk, read, or simply look out at the ocean. Here CJ, Caleb, and Olivia are relaxing and taking in the ocean.

On this cruise Craig & Patty were the 2nd most travelled passengers. This meant there was a luncheon for them and they got to sit at the captain's table, there was an evening party where they got a couple of bottles of wine and a picture with the captain - see photo at the top of this page - and the entire family was invited to the party. Below we see Craig & Patty and Olivia & CJ. Patty finally got to wear that fancy black dress she packed for just such an eventuality.

Craig & Patty 2nd Most Travelled partyOlivia & CJ at 2n Most Travelled party

Victoria, BC, Canada

Caleb arriving in Victoria, BC

On our way back to Seattle, we stopped for an evening in Victoria.

Caleb sort of got obsessed with his form of croquet and here we see him taking time out on Deck 19 to observe our docking in Victoria.

Since Victoria is so close to Seattle and we arrived late in the afternoon, we stayed until almost midnight. Lots of time, but not enough energy.

Olivia & Caleb overlooking Victoria harborAtop stairs near Victoria harborCaleb & Olivia eating in Rebar CafeCraig & Patty eating in Rebar Cafe

We took a bus into Victoria and got off in the middle of the shopping area. Then we walked to the harbor area, where these two pictures were taken.

Patty found a little vegetarian restaurant (Rebar) and the food was scrumptious. Then we caught a busy bus back to the ship.

Fairwell Alaska trip - you ended too soon
Olivia, Caleb, CJ say goodbye for now

Family in Spokane

Patty with her aunt LitaPatty, Aunt Lita, Cousin Suzie

We drove across the state to Spokane to visit Patty's relatives. Her aunt Lita is 97 years old, but still looks pretty healthy.

Cousin Suzie accompanied us to  Lita's home and she and Patty caught up on all sorts of recent history.

Patty with cousin Rainey

Patty also visited with Suzie's sister Rainey. She and Patty swapped stories over drinks at the local 'hot spot' Twigs.

bottoms up toastPatty & Suzie at Spokane farm driving home through fire smoke in Oregon

Patty, Craig, and Suzie visited some local Spokane orchard farms and then had lunch in Coeur d'Alene, ID. Both these short trips were through the beautiful farmland that surrounds and supports Spokane.

With the family visits made, it was time to head back home. As we had left home, fires were starting in California, Oregon, and Washington. We hadn't seen much evidence of them until we crossed the state of Washington for Spokane. However, fire-polluted air was encountered all the way from Spokane, WA to Southern California. The picture on the right was pretty much our view all the way home.

Now it was time for Patty and Craig to bid farewell to this vacation and start our picture essay about it.
Patty & Craig - Goodbye