Inspiration's Journey Home Page

Malia's Journal Updates

Alaska - Part 1

May 15 -
May 20, 2003

Journal Updates


Columbia, SC
Blue Ridge Parkway
Computer Crash!

2005 - 2006
Happy New Year
Hawk's Message
I'm Published!
Sharing Spring
Ways of Writing
Edmonds, WA
Degenerate Neck
Desert Depression
Post Quartzsite
Grandma Malia

2003 - 2004
Alaska Planning
Alaska 1
Alaska 2
Alaska 3
Alaska 4
Alaska 5
Alaska 6
Alaska 7
BC & Alberta
To Lower 48
2004 Recap
Giving Thanks

2001 - 2002
Inspiration's Off!
To Charleston
N. Carolina
To Orlando
Florida Tour
Back in Austin
Albuq. to WA


On the Way (Canada)

Alaska at Last!

Tok to Valdez

  Mineral Creek
  Lu-Lu Belle Cruise

Russian River

  Misc. Pics

Whittier Road

Portage Glacier

Backyard Bear!

  Kenai Cruise

  Flightsee Denali

Denali Nat'l Park

Kluane Lake

Cassiar Hwy. Bear
  Highway Scenes

  Waterfall Road

Jasper Nat'l Park
  Maligne Lake

Icefields Parkway
  Athabasca Falls
  Athabasca Glacier
  Overnight at Glacier
  Lake Louis Road
  Lake Louise

Banff, Alberta

Johnston Canyon

Misc. Pics

Fireweed Pics

Skagway (side trip)
  White Pass RR
  Return Trip

Alaska Journaling

My Article About
This Alaska Trip

These are misc. journal entries written while in Alaska (besides the ones included with the picture pages)

May 15, 2003 - Alaska at Last!

It was crying-with-joy-time again when I saw the Welcome to Alaska sign. I made it!!!

May 17, 2003 - Valdez

Today I didn't wake up until 10:00 and went outside to drink my coffee with the seagulls. I've seen a couple of eagles soar by, but not as many as I thought would be here. Now that I'm finally able to relax, I realize how exhausted I am from driving almost every day for weeks now and all I was able to muster the energy for was to sit in front of my house and drink in the incredible view. I managed to wash my car and half my RV of at least the first layer of Alcan Highway dirt before I had to sit again and just pinch myself that I am really finally in Alaska and all I really have to do now is just enjoy it.

May 18, 2003

It was a beautiful day and I treated myself to lunch in town and visited the Valdez Historical Museum. I was surprised at how little info they had on the infamous Exxon oil spill and the curator told me it's more or less a political thing. Since the community depends on the refineries for all types of support, they don't want to bite the hand that feeds them. Way across the water I can see the end of the Alaska Pipeline and the ships docking there getting their fill of oil. The owner here filled me in on the process- it takes about 24 hours to pump each ship to capacity and you can watch the ballast lines disappear as they sink under the weight of the load. I can't remember how many barrels of oil they can carry, but he said the tourists are always asking "What do they do with the barrels once the oil is transferred to the ships?" He tries not to laugh as he explains that a barrel is just a measurement, the oil is not really carried in actual physical barrels.

Monday, May 19, 2003 - Cloudless skies and snowy mountains

It's still a little chilly and a bit windy on the water, but there was not a cloud in the sky today and the snow-capped mountains against that clear blue sky were achingly beautiful. I was going to get out and drive to Lake Louise, but then I realized that everything I wanted to see and do in Valdez was right outside my door. There just could be no better view and since I'm still pretty tired and feel more in need of rest than more driving, I decided I'd just stay home, get out my lawn chair and read by the water when I could tear my eyes away from the sparkling water and the enchanting mountains. Binoculars are a real treat to have here - besides the closeup of wildlife, the patterns in the snow-covered mountains are fascinating and an endless game of "that looks like…."

After breakfast, when I was cleaning the coffee pot, I had the thought: "I'd hate to break my coffee pot now and have to try to find one in this little town." About 2 seconds later, while rinsing it, I hit it against the cutting board and heard that sick breaking glass sound, and I just could not believe it! I had to laugh in gratitude that not everything I dread comes to me that fast and furious!

Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - Friends

It was nice getting all the email I received today. Being alone makes contact with my friends all the more important. I wonder if they realize how much their words of encouragement mean to me. I wonder if they know how much I am heartened by the words of wisdom I receive from those that take the time to let me know they are thinking of me and are with me in spirit. Lee's promises of prayers are not taken lightly as I firmly believe that contact with God on my behalf is a true blessing in more ways than one. Thanks for sicking St. Jude on me, Lee - I could certainly use the patron saint of the impossible sometimes, for sure! I was especially touched by Kerry saying she actually cried with me when reading of my mini meltdown. And Judy wrote:

"I've always thought that pushing to the brink (with some caution, of course) was what life was meant to be. Too many people just don't get it. I feel so fortunate to have met someone who does and who shares her experiences so willingly."

Isn't that just so cool? So many others share their good wishes that I can't believe it's possible I can still feel so alone sometimes. My kids and my mom continue to be inspirations to me - even though they miss me, they never try to make me feel guilty for following my own dreams and tell me that it inspires them to follow their own (which is my fondest wish for them).

My dad continues to travel with me and I feel his encouragement and affirmation that it's best not to wait for the perfect timing that may never come to pursue your dreams. And I got a kick out of hearing advice given by Frank Sinatra in an old interview I happened to catch on TV: "Live each day like it's your last - because someday you'll be right."

Music is another blessing that seems to get me through and sends me messages that I especially need to hear at opportune moments. Since I've found it interesting to observe my emotions being all over the board lately, mostly with no rhyme or reason, I sometimes get a kick out of the timing of the songs that come on. I've noticed since I've been here in Valdez that the weather, the glorious views and the birds have consistently been great - it's only my moods that shift the perception of them. Sometimes I look out my window and cry in happy wonder of it all - sometimes I cry in wonder of what in the hell I'm doing so far from "home" (wherever that is) all alone in the "wilderness." Nothing else has changed - no outside force or danger has presented itself - it's only my mind playing games and bringing every emotion in its warehouse out to play. I remember reading that Alaska is still a wild place in many ways and that's the draw for some people. But it's not a place to hide because nature and the forces here are so powerful that it won't let you get away with that. The enormity of the mountains can make you feel small and insignificant or make you feel larger than life when you realize you are part of and connected to everything in ways our minds just cannot grasp most of the time.…So when I get the blues or a bad case of the doubts, I try to wait it out with the knowledge that "this too shall pass." And the mountains will wait until I can see them with a lighter heart and the sea will still sparkle when my eyes aren't wet with tears. Since waiting for anything is not my strong suit, I was so struck with the words of a Sarah McLachlan song (Wait for the Way) that just popped up with perfect timing:

All my travelin' times
Running circles around my dreams….

... I know that heaven holds amazing grace
When you trust what you feel inside
And a true heart opens at its own pace
And I must say goodbye

And wait for the way…
Through the valley of my shadow of doubt
Through the winter of my discontent
Sometimes it feels like all my hope is spent
There's only one prayer I pray…
Wait for the way…

I guess I still have not fully reconciled with the fact that Don is not parked beside me. I still get a lump in my throat when I see an Airstream and I still expect to hear his key in the door in the morning to get my sleepy self going. It's hard not to talk to a man every day who has been an ever present part of my life every day for almost 2 years. He doesn't have reliable cell phone service yet, either, but I know from the couple of times we've spoken that he's struggling with it, also. Timing sucks sometimes, but at least we've promised to meet again in the next lifetime with better timing and closer in age, and I fully intend to hold him to that promise.

Good or bad, it definitely is a different dynamic being alone. People seem to relate to me differently - or maybe it's just me relating differently, who knows? RV people have always been very nice and helpful, but they seem especially so now, especially after finding out I'm on my own. That feels pretty good and is comforting somehow. The owner here also runs the local Tesoro station and when we discovered I had a flat tire yesterday, they're going to send someone over here to air it up enough for me to safely drive it in. In all the reading I did about Alaska before I left, I heard that the people here are really nice and friendly, and that is definitely proving to be true. Most of the people I've met except one moved here from other places after coming just for a visit and staying once they fell hopelessly in love with the place.

I totally understand that because that's the way I felt about Hawaii, which led to me living there for 3 of my life's most happy years. I also do not see that happening for me here. I definitely don't see me ever spending a winter here - I really have too much an aversion to cold weather for that. Especially since Keala has decided to move back to Hawaii at the end of this month, I've recognized that when I'm really ready to settle down again, I'm willing to bet it will be in Hawaii. Of everyplace I've ever been, that's still the place that holds the most magic for me and where my heart's true home is. But I have a lot of wanderlust left in me and as long as I can afford to support myself and travel at the same time, that's what I want to do. I haven't even made it to Colorado yet and that's on my list of summer destinations in the future, that's for sure.

Anyway, I've enjoyed meeting the resident birds around my new "yard." The seagulls wake me every morning sounding like they're having a party to start the day. The Arctic Terns dive bomb into the water and then come up celebrating loudly carrying their little catch in their beaks. They're beautiful and hilarious! Of course, I've been privileged to see a few eagles soar by, but they seem to be more frequent in town for some reason - city birds, I guess.

I hope to see more bear in the wild at some point. I'm going to approach some of the operators of the boat and airplane tours to see if they'll barter a tour for some of my office services. I like the idea of at least trying to do those kind of extra "luxury" things that way. Those kind of expensive tours would generally be too much for me to do, considering my goal is not to do my "normal" thing and work as a legal secretary, at least this summer.

I'd say my budget was blown already with the seemingly constant infernal repairs that have been necessary on the RV lately, but the simple fact is I never set up a budget at all. I was afraid if I did, I would figure out I couldn't do it, and I didn't want to spoil the fun with that reality. I just know I need to be as frugal as possible if I want to end up with any money at all when I get back to Austin finally and get back to work for a while. Everything is pretty expensive in Alaska and one of the things I've learned is that I should have stocked up more on basic things in Portland where things were so much cheaper. I didn't know this, but Alaska - like Oregon - charges no sales tax, but even so, toilet paper is $1.25 a roll at the only store here!
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