Happy Birthday, Big Red!

 big red birthday

One of the things I missed the most when I was living in China was driving. So the first thing I did when I moved back to the States a year ago was to buy a car. In fact,  one year ago today I bought this car, and promptly christened her “Big Red.”

She’s had a busy year — 2 trips to central Indiana, and one trip to Southeast Alaska and back, not to mention numerous afternoon drives around eastern Minnesota / western Wisconsin. Everyone of the 20,000 miles has been fun!

In honor of her birthday, here are some pics of her travels to/from Alaska!

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At the start of the Alaska Highway, in Dawson Creek, BC.

A Yukon picnic

A Yukon picnic

 

Her first ride on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry - from Skagway to Juneau

Her first ride on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry – from Skagway to Juneau

Waiting to board the ferry in Juneau for the 5-day trip home.

Waiting to board the ferry in Juneau for the 5-day trip home.

 

Alaska Cruising

As far as I can tell, there are two kinds of people in Juneau. Those who love the cruise ships and those who hate them. Every day during the cruising season (May to September), anywhere from 2 to 5 giant cruise ships dock in downtown Juneau disgorging thousands of waddling tourists, all wearing sweatshirts and fanny packs. I say waddling because I’ve been on one of those ships and know how much food is consumed.

My niece told me of riding the bus to work on the final day of cruising season last year and when the bus driver announced “there goes the last cruise ship of the season, half the people on the bus cheered and the other half sat in stony silence. Those cheering were thrilled that they could now have their city back without the hoards, while the glum ones felt like their last link to the outside world was being severed.

As for me, I enjoyed watching the ships come and go from my niece’s place across the channel from the docks and on our various excursions.

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Cruising in Tracy Arm Fjord

 

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Cruising in Tracy Arm Fjord

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At the dock in Juneau

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A busy evening in Juneau harbor

If you have the time and resources to take an Alaska cruise, I highly recommend it. And if you’re not the cruising type, then consider a trip on the Alaska Marine Highway. The price is of course lower, but the views are the same! We took 4 ferry trips, and I’m ready to spend the rest of the summer on board one of those ferries.

Quick update: We are on our way back to Minnesota. Gracie (mom) flew back on Wednesday, so it’s just my sister and me. Hoping to be back by The Fourth!