Monday, May 28, 2012


  Memorial Day Weekend 2011, in Kodiak.  We drove several hours down to Homer then put our VW van on the ferry for an overnight sail onto Kodiak.  Our friends Kevin and Rachel from Colorado flew into Kodiak and we met them there.  On their flight in they saw whales from the plane.  We saw more whales a couple of days later on our drive on one of the few roads on the island. 

The "Tusty"
Boat made famous on Deadliest Catch
Blue skies and the beach

Watching whales

We entered a raffle and won some cod.  Part of the fun was going to the Westward Seafood packing plant to pick it up. 

Camping with Dora
Sunbathing above the Kodiak harbor

View from our campground - Kodiak Island, AK

Dora Van

The town brought "The" Alaska Carnival rides. They were brought over on the ferry too.

Fun House fun

The Carnival had to leave a day early, so the town decided to have an "old school carnival" and did some fun, simple games for the kids.  One was casting.  Above is Hope  with an original Kodiak fisherman, casting as far as she can for a prize.
 Kodiak Crab Fest

There were a few Russian Orthodox priests doing the annual Blessing of the Ships.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Hope is ski jumping! Hope is now doing the Nordic Combined (cross country skiing and nordic jumping) for the winter. She skis two nights a week and jumps one night and Saturday afternoon. Here are a couple of videos.

Hope ski jumping the 15 meter jump.

Hope got the courage up to do the 40 meter ski jump on the last day of Christmas jump camp.

Here is Hope doing the 40 meter jump for the second time.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ski Portage Lake and Glacier

On Saturday, we skied across Portage Lake to get up close to Portage Glacier. It's not quite summer up here yet!

Posted by PicasaA few weeks ago, a coworker's wife invited Hope to a dog mushing lesson. She passed the final exam by making it around the 1/4-mile track with Blitz.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mexico - October 2010

In October, we travelled to Houston to attend a cousin's wedding. We had a super time at the wedding - thank you Valerie, Alex, Bernice and Ken (and thank you Lange family for the Hope Taxi!). We had to take advantage of a plane ticket to Houston, and we went on to Mexico.

Below, Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw with Hope. And below that, most of the girl cousins (the photo is missing Valerie, the bride, and Veronica who is busy with college life).

We first went to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where we stayed with a family for a week and took Spanish lessons.

Above is the big church in the center of town. Below is the front door to the family's house where we stayed.

This is the San Miguel family. We thoroughly enjoyed their warm hospitality, delicious meals, and help with the language and culture. Below that is a photo showing how beautiful San Miguel is.
We went to a hot springs one day. It had tunnels leading to a series of pools. Hope really enjoyed exploring all of the tunnels!

Below, Hope is playing a pick-up game of futball (soccer). The boys seemed impressed with her ability to keep up and fairly assertive playing. We were enjoying some cervezas and fajitas in a restaurant that's to the left in this photo.

Leaving San Miguel, we then went to Guanajuato, Mexico - about an hour away. There are few roads running through town in Guanajuato since it was established before cars.
We rented a house in Guanajuato. Hope is at our front door. We could only access the house via a series of pedestrian alleys.

In front of our house was the donkey rest stop. The town still uses donkeys to deliver heavy items. We had 3 to 5 donkeys taking breaks in front of our house several times a day. (That's our white house in the background.)

Hope, the photographer, capturing us coming back to the house from one of the alleys.

Views of Guanajuato.

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Spring in Alaska 2010

Spring in Anchorage allows for all sorts of activities. The cross country ski trails were still being groomed in town. We all set off and did a long, tough 8 kilometer trail called Spencer's Loop. It was Hope's first time doing it. It was a sunny and warm day. We were rewarded with great views of Denali and the Alaska Range at the top and a fun ski down.

Below is a video of Hope cross country skiing down Spencer's Loop. Click on the arrow to play.

After skiing on a Saturday we went bike riding the next day, Sunday. Nic pulled Hope around on the trail-a-bike on the slushy, not quite melted Tour of Anchorage Trail. After that we found a big empty parking lot to start teaching Hope how to ride a bike. There were many crashes and Hope's favorite bike accessory, the bell, got such a beating it didn't work by the end of the afternoon. Hope was a little torn up too, but she dusted her self off and got back on. The bike's name is Bella. She was able to make it about 30 feet before falling off. There were a lot of people out enjoying the sunny, warm (45 degrees) weather after a long winter.Next week, May 1, Hope really got it. We took her to the track of our local Junior High School and soon she was riding all by her self.

The track provided a smoother surface, with no hills and a softer landing for the inevitable crashes.

Click on the arrow for a video of Hope on her bike.

This week there is a community wide effort to pick up trash along the roads. Now that almost all of the snow is gone there is over six months of trash accumulation that is now visible. To do our part we walked from our house down to Old Seward Road to pick up trash. We had a competition to see who in the family could find the best trash. I will not tell you some of the things we found, except that Jolie won the prize by bringing home a large blue exercise ball. We ventured off the road and down to the marsh to do some exploring. We saw a bald eagle up close and Nic and Hope found some marsh water that was deeper than they expected.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Castara, Tobago Republic of Trinidad and Tobago 10 Degrees North Lattitude

To quote Jimmy Buffet, "Changes in lattitude, changes in attitude." Well, a 50 degree change in lattitude and an eighty degree change in temperature was just what the doctor ordered for us in Alaska for late December. Twelve hours of daylight versus five was nice too. After flying two days from Anchorage through Seattle and Miami and Port of Spain, we arrived on the small island of Tobago off the coast of Venezuela to find the small town of Castara. The picture below shows what it looks like as you are driving down in to the town.Below is the grocery store we frequented. It was too small for us to all be inside at the same time, so Hope and Nic would wait outside while Jolie went in to pay the owner for his produce. Once we didn't have enough money and he was closing up for the day. "Just pay me tomorrow" he said with a kind smile. Nic drove the rental Suzuki "Jeep" with right hand drive on the left side of the road with constant reminders from Hope and Jolie, to "stay left, stay left" as we would make turns into intersections. Shifting with your left hand takes a little getting used to. One day we went for a drive to check out another beach and coming home we saw two hitchhikers needing a lift. Since they looked harmless enough, especially in their primary grade school uniforms, we put them in the back with Hope and gave them a ride back to their home in the village of Castara that we were staying in. If they knew that I had the grand sum of three days of driving on the left side of the road, in a right hand drive car they probably would have waited for a safer alternative. As it turned out it was an adventure for all of us. They most likely silently wondered why each time I went to make a turn the windsheild wipers came on. We would see them again several days later after school but they denied needing a ride home again. At least from us.

If you go to the beach before noon you won't have it all to yourself. You may have to share it with the 'beach chickens'. Talk about your free range chicken. Not only could you label this organic chicken, Free Range, but you would also envy the life it had outside of the cage.

Most of the time you really did have the beach, the ocean, the waves, all to yourself.

A couple of times Nic helped the locals pull seine. After the fishermen threw their net out one end was pulled in by one group of men and the other end pulled in by more men. After about an hour of pulling the net in, there would be the fish, which would be carried about 30 yards to a fish cleaning table and sold. It was good exercise for Nic to keep up with his Nordic Ski training, and the locals appreciated the help. See if you can tell which one was Nic. No, he is not the one in the white underwear. Keep looking. He has black shorts. See him?

Not all of the fish were keepers, some got thrown back, as Hope is demonstrating.

After a hard day of swimming and snorkling we bought Roti from "Rasta Man". Rasta man had a small shack in the village of Charlotteville and sold Roti, rum punch, Carib beer and other things that make you feel good. Roti is a sandwich shaped like a burrito filled with curry. A man took a machete and chopped open a coconut for us to drink for about $1.00.

Below is the family photo of us on our fishing trip. We trolled for about five minutes when Jolie caught her first three fish (ever in her life not in a stocked pond) - then boated to a beach accessible only by boat. Then our guide started a fire, and cooked our fish and served us up a great lunch with a Carib beer after some snorkeling.

We were able to pry ourselved away from the beach and went inland a few miles and explored water falls on one of our hikes.

And this is the life...