More From Alaska…

June 26, 2008

A few of my better pictures…more posts to come, including what it’s like to be quarantined on a cruise ship, an Alaskan reunion, and more…

MEADE GLACIER | Rocks on parade
It’s hard to tell from a picture the enormity of this, but I’m standing on ice here looking “up river” within the band of rocks in the midst of the glacier

Son Addison, 13, studies the ice from his perch on a small rock

‘DONT’T FALL IN’ | This is what to avoid
Our guide, Mario, with a crevice in between. “If you fall in,” he said, “you’re on your own. There’s no way to get to you.” He measured the depth by dropping a rock into the space, estimating it at about 170 feet deep.

A SATISFYING DRINK | Zach quenches his thirst
Son Zachary, 15, drinks from a small stream in the glacier. The age is the ice is about 400 years, and the water was delicious.

Pictures just don’t do it justice…

EVEN MORE | Frozen lake at 3,000 feet

TRACY ARM | Making our way in
In Tracy Arm, just as the ice began to thicken.

…and thicken some more…

LAST BUT NOT LEAST | The lovely Lee Ann



Another Scotch For Your Daughter, Sir?

June 18, 2008














Karis, with a puppy at a sled dog camp, much prefers the taste of a lovable dog to the taste of scotch

ALASKA Diaries | One

A few weeks ago, I ran across an article outlining the differences in how scotch, whiskey and bourbon were made. Not ever having had much interest in any of them, I satisfied whatever curiosity I had about the making of the beverages by skimming the story. I’ve had enough of a taste of at least one of them (can’t remember which, but it was awful) to know it’s not my cup of…well…tequila.

“Horners and alcohol don’t mix,” my grandfather told me long ago. I was just in high school at the time, but even then I had a good idea about what he meant.

I grew up with alcohol in the home; it seemed like every family in my neighborhood had a “liquor cabinet” and as kids we talked in hushed tones about someday sneaking into them. We never did. Nowadays, Lee Ann and I have nothing stronger in our house than cooking wine, and even that came after a lot of debate.

So on day one of our Alaska trip, when a flight attendant on the second leg of our RDU-to-Seattle flight served our daughter Karis, 11, a glass of scotch before take-off, our prudishness kicked in big-time.

Karis had asked for apple juice. A fellow passenger, two rows in front of her and in the opposite aisle, ordered the scotch. Karis got the hard stuff. The offending flight attendant was apologetic. We were apoplectic. What was most irksome was the behavior of another flight attendant, a well-manicured young man who must have said, “Honest mistake! Honest mistake!” two dozen times before finally shutting up. We weren’t thinking lawsuit, but I’d have gone to court to put a gag order on him to shut him up.

He was right, of course. It was an honest mistake. Stupid, but not intentional. A little more concern from him and the other flight attendants – a third turned up her nose at us each time she passed the rest of the flight – would have been appreciated, but given my track record with Northwest Airlines I wasn’t surprised. (I’ve never had a single NWA flight that didn’t have a problem – including two stupefying bouts of lost luggage on trips to Las Vegas. To keep my record perfect, our flight home Sunday arrived more than two hours late, at 1 a.m., at the very end gate at RDU’s Terminal A building, as far as you can get from baggage claim.)

While Karis was coughing up her scotch, it was about 106 degrees inside the plane, which had been loaded with baggage and passengers but was, at the moment, without pilots. We were all stressed up with no place to go because only a pilot could turn on the AC. The flight attendants couldn’t. A flight attendant could have called for a mechanic to come on board to do it, but FAA and security regulations prevented the flight attendants from leaving the airplane. And apparently there was no way to do it by phone. So there we sat on the ground in Minneapolis, on a full plane baking in the sun, with things getting hotter by the second.

Lee Ann made it all the way through high school and college without ever having had as much as a sip of beer or a taste of wine, and we always hoped our kids would choose not to drink. Karis spat out most of what little scotch that passed her lips, thankfully. Hopefully the bad taste will linger long enough to make her avoid it in the future.

We did cool off, finally. Fill-in pilots arrived and cranked up the AC. We managed to land in Seattle less than an hour late, then were blessed with lots of sun in the ensuing days in southeast Alaska – along with perfect temperatures and plenty of ice.

And not a single drop of scotch.