Exploring Anchorage

March 11, 2004 Leave a comment

I took a long walk on the outskirts of suburban Anchorage to see some sights and do some shopping, and had a close encounter with a moose along the way.

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Dog Sled Tour

March 10, 2004 Leave a comment

Claire and I drove from Anchorage, up the Alaskan Highway past Wasilla to the Big Susitna Bed and Breakfast, which also runs a dog sled touring operation. Taking a mushing tour was something that I had always wanted to do, and it was a blast; everything that I had expected and more.

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Volunteering at the Iditarod

March 9, 2004 Leave a comment

After a long flight from Pittsburgh via Chicago and Seattle, I landed in Anchorage late in the evening on March 8, and met my friend Claire, who had arrived a couple of days earlier. We did some volunteer work with the Iditarod sled dog race.

When racers leave ailing dogs at checkpoints along the course, they are flown back to Anchorage. We helped unload them from the airplanes, then helped the veterinarians check them over.

Categories: Events, Travel Tags: , ,

Psycho Voice Mail

February 4, 2004 Leave a comment

I received this unusual voice mail message tonight on my home number.

Here’s a transcript of the message if you don’t feel like listening:

Hi, Kevin. This is Theresa Schuck. I’m trying to get out of here, trying to get out of this, um, psych ward. I’m at 412-246-6734. My family is waiting on me at Station Square, from all over the country. Please call me back. Help me, please.

The next day, a couple different friends of mine, out of curiosity, called the number above, and confirmed that it was indeed, from the Western Psychiatric Institute Clinic in Pittsburgh. I called the main number of the Clinic on the evening of Feb. 6, thinking it would be wise to report the incident. After I explained the reason I was calling to the main operator, she transferred me to the “safety” department. The gentleman there asked me what I would like them to do about it. I explained that I just thought that they would want to know about it, so he suggested that I talk to the clinical staff, which I assume meant the people who might actually be caring for the mysterious caller. When I spoke to them and described the incident one more time, they did sincerely apologize for the intrusion, but did not seem too concerned about getting the details about the call; they did not take down the phone number that was left on the message.

Categories: Uncategorized

Western Road Trip – Graceland

January 17, 2004 Leave a comment

I went into Memphis and made my pilgrimage to Graceland. No photos are allowed within the house; these photos are at the Presley grave site at the end of the tour.

I drove all the way through the afternoon, evening, and early morning to arrive back (sort of) home to crash at my mom’s in Ohio.

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Western Road Trip – Oklahoma!

January 16, 2004 Leave a comment

Leaving Amarillo and continuing east this next morning, I took a detour off of I-40 to see a piece of pop art inspired by the “Cadillac Ranch ” (I believe in Nevada) and other similar work. I also stopped to see the largest cross in the Western Hemisphere, the National Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Elk City (better than the National museum in Clinton).

As I continued east through Oklahoma on I-40, I approached Oklahoma City. I decided to stop and see the memorial for the Oklahoma City bombing. I had never heard or seen any information about this memorial before; I just assumed that there must be one. It was easy to find in the center of the city.

Even though I did not personally or indirectly know anyone killed in the bombing, I have never been more affected by a public memorial before. In an ideal world, displays like this would not be necessary. But given that they are, this one was done right.

The Gates are Time are the primary feature of the memorial. The are at opposite ends of the reflecting pool. The water in the pool in only and inch or two deep.

There are 168 chairs in the field, representing the 168 victims killed in the bombing. They are arranged in nine rows, representing the nine floors of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Nineteen of the chairs are a smaller size, representing the nineteen children victims.

Elements such as the graffiti painted on the wall of the neighboring building have been preserved. The building is the former Journal Record Building, which is now the memorial’s museum and visitor center.

Following my visit to the memorial, I went over the Bricktown, which is Oklahoma City’s entertainment district. I had a delicious steak and stout at the Bricktown Brewery.

I continued east on I-40 into Arkansas, and got a room at a cheap hotel just short of the Tennesee border.

Western Road Trip – Taos, NM

January 15, 2004 Leave a comment

On Wedneday morning (14 Jan), I said my goodbyes to Brad and the city of Boulder. I decided to head south on I-25. I stopped for lunch at Rosie’s Diner in Monument, and a car wash in Pueblo. I took a detour off the Interstate further south, I drove through the Spanish Peaks wilderness area in order to head towards Taos, New Mexico.

When I got to Taos after dark, I found a cheap room at the Best Western, then went into town and found the local microbrewery for a cheeseburger and a couple of stouts.

It had been a light snow year so far in the Southern Rockies; there was no snow to be seen around the town of Taos. I headed up to the ski area Thursday morning. There was decent snow on most of the marked trails and slopes where they had snowmaking, but most of the terrain that Taos is famous for was roped off. I get in a few hours of skiing before I got bored, then headed back to town, and got some lunch to go from Wendy’s before hitting the road again.

I drove on the Enchanted Circle, which is the name given to the highway connecting Taos to some of the other mountain towns in the region, including Eagle’s Nest and Angel Fire. As I left the Enchanted Circle and Cimmaron Canyon, I came to the town of Cimmaron. Here the land flattened out abruptly. High plains and buttes continued for a little while as the mountains gave way to the Great Plains. The final few photos in the gallery are pretty much the view I had for the next couple of hundred miles. It was the flattest terrain I had ever seen, even more so than Kansas, or as I would later learn, Texas and Oklahoma.

I continued driving into the evening, and got a room at a Motel 6 in Amarillo, Texas.

Categories: Skiing, Travel Tags: ,

Western Road Trip – Another summit in Boulder

January 13, 2004 Leave a comment

On Tuesday 13 Jan, Brad took went in late to work so we could get our last hike in, this time up Green Mountain. It was pretty icy there, plus it was getting late, so Brad turned around about two-thirds of the way up to head to work, and I proceeded to the summit.

I spent the rest of the day on Tuesday exploring around town some more, including The Hill area near the University.

Western Road Trip – A Brick Workout in Boulder

January 11, 2004 Leave a comment

Sunday 11 Jan was designated as super-workout day. In the morning, Brad and I headed up once again to Mt. Sanitas. Then, we immediately headed out on our bikes to Lee Hill Road, a 1200-foot climb.

On Monday 12 Jan, I spent the day taking a rest from exercise, and wandered around town looking at the many gear shops again. I test rode an Ellsworth Truth mountain bike (very sweet) and a couple of Rocky Mountain bikes. I spent too much at the Performance Bike store.

Me and Brad on the summit of Mt. Sanitas

Categories: Hiking, Travel Tags: , ,

Western Road Trip – More Nederland, CO

January 10, 2004 Leave a comment

On Friday 9 Jan, I headed up to Eldora Mountain Resort to ski for the day. It was a decent hill, but it has a reputation for being very windblown. The front side on this day was in pretty good shape. I ventured over the the back side once, but the main slope there was a solid sheet of ice, and the more interested backcountry terrain was closed. The front side was enough to keep me having fun for the day, though.

On Saturday 10 Jan, Brad and I headed back up to Eldora for more snowshoeing. It warm a warm and beautiful day, and the people-watching was good, with lots of other groups of snowshoers and cross-country skiers out.

After the mountain excursion, we stopped in the town of Nederland for coffee, then headed back down to Boulder for a fantastic lunch at Hapa Sushi Grill. Their happy hour rates allowed us both to eat our fill of sushi rolls for under $20.