Hikes and Bites

We seem to have settled into a routine of going for a walk or a hike and going out to eat or drink. That’s OK, that’s what holidays are for.

An early walk with Jyoti in Kincaid Park was interesting because we had to make a detour to avoid getting too close to a moose, not once, but twice.

Follow the yellow-leaf trail….
Mountain bikes presumably – maybe skiers treat this as a challenge too

And then, in the bushes, we saw a group of three mooses all together. Photos? Nah: I’m pretty blasé about seeing them in the wild, now. Yes, it’s still a thrill (for me, at least) to see them, but they all look the same in photos (no offence, mooses)!

Nice signing

Liesel and I had a late breakfast (early lunch) with another long-lost friend at Organic Oasis. We all chose the same item from the menu, but whereas the two ladies went for small, I chose big. We all agreed that none of us know what we want to do when we grow up, having had a succession of jobs, in offices and elsewhere, that in retrospect, were just a stop-gap until the real thing comes along.

The musical accompaniment here was songs by Paul McCartney, then by George Harrison and a bit later, by John Lennon. No solo Ringo Starr, unfortunately, but we did hear the Beatles’ Hello Goodbye just before we left!

Having slipped on the muddy trail a couple of times in the morning, Liesel decided it was time to buy some new trainers, from REI.

We had a coffee, of course, and by coincidence, Una was having lunch in the nearby Yak and Yeti and she joined us for a moment.

While Liesel was having more treatment from the physio, I went for a walk down towards the railway line and the inlet. Despite being close to the city centre, there was still plenty of Autumnal colour.

Actually nowhere near the railway station

Another bear loose in town

At 10:18 on Wednesday 3rd, Liesel’s phone made horrible noise. “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” Well, the klaxon certainly stirred me from my near slumber. But where was my message? I had to wait until 10:28 for mine. And then I received a second message six minutes later. Was the test successful? On Twitter, I saw that someone had received the alert three times. Another person complained that soon afterwards, they’d been sent a message inviting them to a rally being held by the President, and was this related? And of course, there was some fun to be had:

Liesel wanted to go out to have some quality girl time, sans moi. At one point, her plans included having two lunches! In the end, she only had a light first lunch, anticipating a second, which then didn’t happen. Oops.

Meanwhile I went for a long walk to Carrs to buy a mirror to replace the one that broke a few days ago.

Only in Anchorage….
Not a model village, but a whole new neighbourhood built in a big hole

A man walking towards me said, conspiratorially, “And so, the sky’s walking today.” I thought, he thinks I’m a fellow Russian spy, or something, and I don’t even know the secret reponse. Then my brain kicked in and I realised that he’d really said, “It’s all us guys walking today.”

What a long walk, just to buy a hand mirror. Yes, maybe, but I rewarded myself with another massage while I was there.

As it was two days after International Coffee Day, on the way home, I felt obligated to stop at Kaladi Bros on Jewel Lake for one of their delicious lattes. With a breakfast burrito, this time, for a late lunch. Which was just enough fuel to get me home again. Except…

As I was walking home, Liesel drove by and picked me up. We delivered the chalk to the local elementary school. Chalk that was left over from the garage sale and has been in the boot of the car ever since. The staff at the school were grateful, so I hope the children have some fun with it.

At last, we decided on and bought a wireless speaker. It’s not too bulky, nor too heavy, and it means we can listen to music from both our phones anywhere in pretty good quality. And as I type, I can confirm: my phone can talk to two devices via Bluetooth at the same time!

Asa was supposed to take part in a cross-country run in the afternoon but as he wasn’t feeling well, we didn’t have to go and show support nor did we have to risk sending the runners the wrong way in our rôle as marshals! Instead, Liesel suggested to her parents that we go out for dinner.

We went to Siam Cuisine where I had a bowl of curry noodles with tofu and vegetables. When I say bowl, I mean it was nearly the size of a washing-up bowl. No way could I finish it, and I took the rest home in a carton. Klaus had oxtail soup and I recalled my favourite ever oxtail soup: from a vending machine at Waterloo Station, forty years ago or so!

Cafés and restaurants often (usually?) play music from the Beatles. Well, Siam Cuisine didn’t, they were playing Siamese music, I think. But they did have this blackboard as a nod to the fab four:

All you need is love…

Jyoti’s car is now just like me: re-tired. Yes, Jyoti took her car in to have the snow tyres fitted in anticipation of it being snowy and icy when she returns home from her forthcoming trip to Indianapolis and the east coast.

She drove us to Hilltop for a hike through the woods. It was quite chilly and I was very nearly tempted to put on my jacket. But I managed to stay warm enough, the trail was undulating and we had the place to ourselves. Apart from the lady near the beginning who walked by hurriedly with her dog close behind. Hurriedly, and we soon found out why: her big dog had left a big steaming pile on the trail. Very unusual for local dog owners.

The only other person came by on his mountain bike at about 90 mph. Twice. We saw a moose in the distance, thinking about having a go on the ski-jump. Other than that, and a spruce-head bird, nothing. Although Liesel was heard to say “There’s too much wildlife in Anchorage”.

Not all evergreens are ever green
Spot the moose eyeing up the ski jump

When Liesel and Jyoti are walking, they are also talking. I can’t talk that much. Don’t know what they’re talking about as I listen out for the sound of animals in the bushes!

And I think I’ve found out why they call Autumn ‘Fall’ in America: it’s because that’s when the trees start falling over like drunken teenagers or Judge Kavanaugh.

One…
Two…
Three… Timber!

Yes, I know we used to call it Fall in England too until a couple of hundred years ago, when we started to use the French word Automne!

Oh guess what I found in the email Spam folder? A message from the estate agent that sold our house, asking for a review. Here’s the link, it said, to make it easy for you. Except the link just took me to the page that I would see if I Googled the name of the estate agent. So, sorry, they won’t be getting a review.

In the evening, we joined chef Jyoti at her house for supper: aloo gobi, saag paneer and rice. Us two, Jyoti and Jyoti’s daughter’s boyfriend’s brother Calvin! It was cold and raining when we left, but we were well sated.

Soccer 2 Airports 1

Sunday was an early rise. We drove to Snow City Café and there we met Catherine, another friend from a long time ago. I think the last time we saw her and her husband Hans was when they took us out on their boat into Prince William Sound, maybe ten years ago.

She and Hans now live in a big house outside Seattle, bigger than the whole block of five flats where we now live! It was, as ever, great to see Liesel and Catherine picking up where they left off.

Liesel with Catherine

And while we were eating our breakfast, watching the fog slowly dissipate, who should come in but Una’s family!

After bidding farewell, we went for a quick walk before visiting Sagaya for coffee (me) and a cookie (Liesel) and then the really exciting part of the day: a trip to CostCo.

It’s the end of the outdoor soccer season in Alaska and in the afternoon, Gideon and his team played two games, which I though was a bit unfair, especially as their second opponents were fairly fresh.

We couldn’t walk to the venue on this occasion as it was by Waldron Lake. And I thought, what are the chances of that? Waldron Lake. Sam Waldron is a character in the Postman Pat stories. These were much enjoyed by Jenny and Helen when they were young and, of course, hinted at the final ten years of my working life. Jenny and Helen also liked another animated children’s TV programme, Rosie and Jim. Both were devised by John Cunliffe and the sad news is that he died this week. A slightly tenuous link there, but that’s how this old mind wanders during a football game!

Arsenal 07

As well as the games, we witnessed geese flying in the wrong direction if they thought they were heading south for the Winter.

Geese flying west for some practice
The perfectly calm Waldron Lake

Daylight now arrives much later in the morning. When you wake up, it’s dark, it could be 3 am or 7 am. So easy to go back to sleep until after 9 am. But I hope to hit that habit on the head pdq. We rose early yesterday and I’m sure I can do so more often than I presently do.

Liesel called downstairs to see if I was alright. Yes, thankyou, why? She’d felt an earthquake and I hadn’t. Unlike the one a few weeks ago, that I felt while in bed but Liesel had missed. Leslie had felt it at work that day too.

In the afternoon, I went for a long, solo walk. When I set off, the fog was still rising and I was able to enjoy the sight of some early afternoon dew.

Grass with dew

I enjoyed looking at the Fall colours again and wondered what do Americans use instead of the adjective Autumnal? Fallal? Fallic?

I wandered over to the airport hoping to take some exciting photos of aeroplanes, but the security fence that surrounds the airport is a bit intrusive.

I wanted to cross the road but this subway was too small

I saw one guy taking pictures with professional equipment. I didn’t take out my smartphone until I was well away from him: zoom lens envy is not a pretty sight and he had one the size of a World War 1 cannon.

A small aeroplane overhead
Ted Stevens Airport buildings with mountains in the background

Again the mountains were visible in the distance and I’m sure every time we see them, there is more snow on them. In fact, Liesel said that snow was forecast, on the Yahoo! site, for Anchorage at the end of the week. But I checked the BBC weather site, and it didn;t mention snow at all.

I had a quick look at deLong Lake on the way back and I’m glad I didn’t fall in deWater.

The slightly sloping deLong Lake

As it was International Coffee Day, on the way home, I felt obligated to stop at Kaladi Bros on Jewel Lake for one of their delicious lattes. With a bagel. Which was just enough fuel to get me home again.

And, as it’s the first day of the month (just where did September go?), I caught up with some of the monthly admin tasks. Yes, I found an activity even more exciting than going to CostCo!

Well Played, Kincaid

We visited the ZJ Loussac Public Library in Anchorage. Liesel was researching Japan while I enjoyed admiring glances from a young guy. Well, not me, but he did point approvingly at my portable keyboard and smartphone combo!

JK Rowling gets everywhere

Later in the day, we went for a quick walk to Kincaid Park and back.

The following day, we again walked to Kincaid Park, this time all the way to the football arena, soccer pitch, where Asa was playing again. Trotting towards us on the path was a baby moose, maybe looking for his Mom, but certainly not bothered by the humans walking and cycling by. Not as worried as my GLW, anyway! (Haha the picture looks upside down to me but the video played the right way up, so good luck!)

The air was perfectly clear, we could see mountains all round. We even saw Denali, the highest peak in north America, from a distance of about 136 miles. That’s how clear the air was.

Possibly one of the most picturesque stadiums around
Distant Denali looking fine

The soccer was a bit more controlled than the last time we’d seen a game here. The ball was only kicked into the surrounding bush a couple of times.

At halftime, I walked down to the Chalet and I was delighted to see some vending machines. I really fancied a coffee and the price was just $1.50. But I must have pressed the button for sweet brown sludge by mistake.

After walking back home, we had a bit of a rest before Pam and Owen picked us up. We joined Una’s Dance Party to celebrate her recent installation.

What a lovely cake this was!

It was a fun evening, many of Una’s family were there. Her aunt came all the way from India and as far as I know, we were the only vegetarians, so we hung out together! The venue was a house belonging to a friend of Una’s and by luck (!) there was a soundproof music and dance room at the back of the house.

The band was good, playing lots of well-known songs from the 1970s and 1980s. Just about everyone danced. I danced. And the good news is, I didn’t stomp on anyone’s foot. I also confirmed that I can’t take good pictures of people dancing while I’m jogging on the spot at the same time.

Adrianna and Ashwin (Una’s brother)
Blurry Christalyn with Neha
The three of them, back together
Una’s Aunt Sheela
Una and Phil

The clock on the wall was a repurposed vinyl album and I thought I recognised the triangle design. Close inspection revealed that it was indeed Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon!

Time: Dark Side of the Moon clock

Judge Una

You don’t often have to opportunity to witness history in the making. But it really was a privilege, an honour and a delight to witness our friend Una being installed as Judge of the Superior Court of Alaska. at the Boney Memorial Courthouse, Anchorage.

Una with here parents Lalita and Sharad, brother Ashwin and sister Geeta

This was such a positive event compared with what was happening on the other side of the country. Brett Kavanaugh has been appointed to the US Supreme Court. But several women have accused him of sexual assault. Will he take the seat? Probably. The pictures from Washington DC show old, white males, even if they believe the accusations, just not caring. It’s too horrible to contemplate. So I’m going to stick to events in Anchorage.

Alaska Skies by Suzanne Donazetti at the back of the courthouse

I don’t pretend to understand the details and niceties of the Alaskan judicial system but it was wonderful to hear five other judges, from various courts, speak about Una in such glowing terms. We’re really proud of her achievements. The Installation, sometimes referred to as Intubation, Inauguration, Ordination, depending on who can’t quite recall the correct terminology, was a very positive event.

Una becomes the first brown woman, or ‘woman of colour’, appointed to this position. Four out of the five other justices were women. We felt bad for the token white male. No, we didn’t: he was just as pleased to be there as the rest of us.

Administration of the Oath of Office: Una with the Honorable Susan M Carney, Justice, Alaska Supreme Court

The award for the best personal address of the day goes to Geeta, Una’s sister. She was very funny and I just hope someone recorded this talk: a little bit of self-deprecation but a beautifully told story of a close, supportive, if competitive family.

Liesel, Una, Leslie
The big family photo

After the formalities concluded, many of us went to the Snow City Café for the Reception, a chance to mingle and meet old freinds and new.

Liesel and I had picked her Mom up from work, leaving Dad at home. At Snow City, we drank wine, toasted Una and generally ligged.

Later in the evening, we repaired to Una and Phil’s house where a box of old photos provided much entertainment.

I’m going to be a judge when I grow up, just watch me
Liesel, Una and Jyoti when they were very young

Una’s been a good friend to Liesel for many years, decades even, and I too am very fond of her. Why?

Reader, she married us.

Mountains

It’s Wednesday again. The day the cleaners arrive by 7.30am meaning that we have to be up and out of bed. So we went out for breakfast. It was cold that early in the day, brrr, Liesel even suggested I put on a coat and long trousers. Pfft. Later on, the weather lady on TV confirmed that it was indeed the coldest start to a day since mid-May.

We went to see Yoshi, a friend of Wayne’s, for some advice about our trip to Japan. He’s been organising tours for many years and knows the place backwards. He’s also Japanese. While speaking with him in his 12th floor office, we watched a bank of fog roll in over Anchorage and roll away again. We have our train tickets sorted and a tour of Tokyo a couple of days after we arrive.

Later on, we went for a walk with Jyoti down in Kincaid Park. We hiked along a very damp grassy trail, quite hilly in fact, and we ended up overlooking the inlet and Fire Island and some mountains way over there.

Jyoti and Liesel plus a lovely view

We came across an old open-cast car-tyre mine, which is obviously no longer in operation.

The old tyre mine

The snow-clad mountains look like a postcard. Looking at a map, this is either the Neacola or the Chigmit Mountain Range, but as always, I’m open to correction. Either way, the snow came down much further than that in the Chugach range. So far, but the season is young.

Proper Mountains
Another Mountain

Good Greeff, another unusual sign. And no, on this occasion, there were no high-speed skiers or mountain bikers coming our way.

A reminder that we were on a ski trail

Nutburgers and chips for supper. I listened to Word of Mouth twice (because I nodded off during the first attempt) and to the Cerys Matthews Blues Programme.

Autumn Colours (again)

My mission, which I chose to accept, was to sell some items left over from the Garage Sale a few weeks ago. We have old National Geographic magazines, old jigsaw puzzles, a set of German porcelain and some other bits and pieces. I’m not having much luck. Nobody showed any interest on eBay. Facebook Marketplace keeps giving me error messages. And Craig’s List won’t let me upload more than one photo at a time. It really is Mission: Impossible. But I shall persevere and I will make some progress before the end of the movie.

On the way to see her financial advisor this afternoon, Liesel dropped me off elsewhere. I had a fantastic massage: my muscles and bones creaked and groaned as she used thumbs, elbows, knees and feet to gain maximum pressure and leverage. She must have thought my fingers and toes were telescopic, the way she pulled at them, clicking each knuckle in turn. And she really messed up my hair with the head massage. But it was great, I think I feel better for it, much less tight and coiled up.

Afterwards, I walked home as it was warm, the sky was blue, the wind had died down and it was a thoroughly pleasant jaunt.

I was thinking how clean the roads are here compared with England. There are $1000 fines for littering, and sections of the highway are taken care of by different groups or organisations.

You too can sponsor a section of highway

Today, though, I began to notice things that were out of place.

Quite a pretty thing: I think it’s dry, now
This is universal: a traffic cone in the wrong place
And the ubiquitous plastic bag of course
This is a great idea, next to the lake
Someone came all the way from Manchester to throw this old cupboard into the bushes

But never mind the rubbish, the views are still fantastic.

View over the inlet
View towards the Chugach mountains

Apart from the views, though, walking around this part of Anchorage is not as interesting as, say, walking around Chessington. There, I can make it up as I go along and I can make sudden changes to the planned route, left, right, right, left, etc. Here in Anchorage, though, the roads are long and straight and I can’t deviate or decide to take a shortcut and take a long detour. There is one route from A to B and that’s it.

A cyclist stop to warn me that there was a female moose further down the road, and that she was a bit grumpy, so this cyclist and her children were going to cross the road. She set off, her daughter set off, but her son stayed put. His chain had fallen off so I did my good turn for the day and put it back onto the derailleur. I can report that Alaskan grass is just as good as English grass at wiping bicycle chain oil off my hands.

I was hoping, of course, to see some wildlife: moose, bear, wolf, yeti, wolverine, polar bear, sasquatch, orca, beaver, otter, marmot, marmite, eskimo, something big and interesting, but again, I was disapppointed. I did see and nearly trip over this alien though:

A big black caterpillar from Mars

After supper, Liesel and I went for another quick walk, this time to Kincaid Park. Liesel is still suffereing some discomfort, sadly. Having a rest day or two helps a bit but walking any distance seems to bring back the pain to some extent. The Sun was low in the sky and really lit up this tree, you could almost warm your hands on it.

Not a fir tree but a … fire tree

All the runners that passed us waved hello, such a friendly, young and fit bunch of people.

Autumn Colours

Sunday morning, Leslie and Liesel went to the shops. I declined the invitation to join them: instead, I caught up with emails and other administrative tasks. They brought me back some Japanese noodles for lunch, in an attempt to expand my Japanese palate.

We went for a quick walk in the afternoon before being joined for dinner by Aaron, Jodi, Asa and Gideon. Enchiladas, since you ask. And yes, plenty of leftovers.

Next day, Liesel went to the dentist very early. We then drove to Girdwood, just to see the colours of the trees changing. First stop was Kaladi Brothers for coffee. There are a couple of pictures on display here that we’d like to buy. The one I like is, of course, the more expensive. The one Liesel prefers will match our new curtains better!

Autumn’s Glory by Teri Lidseth – Liesel’s pick
Serendipity by Teri Lidseth – Mick’s pick

The views were really gorgeous, especially when the Sun was out. We stopped for an early lunch at The Bake Shop in Girdwood but decided it was too misty and murky to take the lift up the mountain on this occasion, but I hope we do so before we leave Alaska.

A bit of a storm on the way home

After driving back to Anchorage, Liesel visited the physio again while I listened to a lovely hour of radio. On BBC 6 Music, Tom Robinson interviewing Eddi Reader and playing many of her songs. Catch it while you can!

After stopping at Carrs, a supermarket, Liesel drove home while I walked the three miles or so. It was windy but warm and very pleasant. And very colourful. The snow on the distant mountains is called ‘termination dust’, as it’s an indication of the end of Summer.

Snow on the mountains

Autumnal Equinox

After the medics, a couple of days of pure fun. No more dentists, no more doctors, at least for the time being. Then the following dialogue:

Liesel: My tooth just fell out.
Mick: Oh no, not again.
Liesel: Out of my purse.

Yes, Liesel was hoping the tooth fairy would visit her purse and leave a bright shiny sixpence for the piece of tooth that fell out of her actual mouth a week ago.

Liesel got up first, as usual, and I stayed in bed with Cerys. Her music show on BBC 6 Music is probably my favourite and I’ve been missing it for a few months.

Later, Liesel and I were meeting up with Amrit for lunch. We arranged to meet at Pad Thai, which was closed last time due to refurbishment. And, guess what? It was temporarily closed today as well, due to a gas leak. We’ll have one more attempt before accepting that the cosmic forces just don’t want the three of us to eat at Pad Thai.

Instead, we went for an Indian buffet and that was very enjoyable.

We walked to the Performing Arts Center to buy tickets for an Anchorage Symphony concert in a couple of weeks time.

When we were in Italy two years with Jyoti, Suvan and Gita, we visited a lot of museums and galleries, the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Uffizi, all the usual visitor attractions. We greatly admired the artwork of course but at the risk of being struck by a thunderbolt, we did get a bit fed up with all the Madonna and Child paintings. The Pokémon GO of the time.

So imagine our surprise when we visited Kaladi Brothers Coffee Downtown branch

to be greeted by a Madonna and Child. A Leonardo original. Well, maybe not.

Madonna and child and a decaff latte

Liesel: We’re going to join Monica for a stake-out.
Mick: Oh, whereabouts?
Liesel: Sullivan’s.

So, yes, Sullivan’s Steakhouse was where we met Monica for a lovely glass of Glenlivet, so smooth on the tongue. And another reminder that we need our hearing tested!

We’d offered to take Asa out for a meal, but it was quite hard tracking him down.

By mistake, we went into an ice hockey venue, which was pretty cold, surprisingly. But even more surprising was the size of the pucks they were playing with: almost as big as car tyres.

Ice hockey practice

And as a mathematician, I was intrigued by the local addresses being shown in binary notation:

We couldn’t find 11001

Eventually, we found Asa in a different sports centre.

La Cabana was where we ended up after two first choice restaurants had long waits, over half an hour. We had a good time and lots of good food. Too much food, really, for this English person with an English-sized stomach.

car alarm (noun) (1) Device installed in a vehicle designed to wake up everyone in the neighbourhood, in the middle of the night, apart from the owner of the vehicle. (2) Arguably the worst invention ever.

This is how the day began for us. The sound even drowned out the torrential rain that had tried to keep us awake all night.

We walked around to Jyoti’s house for breakfast where I again managed to eat too much.

We both remarked on how lovely the Autumn season is on this equinoctial weekend. It was a little bit cooler today and the headwind was a bit annoying. But the trees are very pretty.

Autumn colours

But Winter draws on too. The first snow has fallen on top of the mountains way over there in the distance. As time goes on, the snow will appear lower and lower down the mountains until it threatens to leave Anchorage knee-deep in snow and ice. One weather app briefly forecast snow for Monday but thankfully, that’s changed, and the person responsible has been severely punished.

There’s snow on them thar mountains

We walked home again and a couple of cars pulled up beside us. We were warned that there was a bull moose close to the path, just round the corner. Well, again, I was torn between wanting to see the moose and wanting to stay safe. We crossed the road, but we never did see the bull: it had probably just crossed the road and gone straight into the woods.

We drove to see Amy and her family for a chat and to taste test Kathy’s peach cobbler. I had to have two slices just to make sure it was OK. It was delicious! I’d met Kathy and Wayne, Amy’s parents, just once, probably over ten years ago. Amy’s sister Kara came by too.

Wayne and Kathy gave us lots of useful tips for our trip to Japan, and we talked about our overall travel plans.

Docs and Glocks

A couple of days of mainly medical matters, not very interesting really. So here’s a picture of some daisies, Liesel’s favourite flowers.

Daisies for Liesel

Liesel went to the dentist as one of her teeth broke a couple of days ago. She also arranged to collect a new batch of her prescription drugs. The pharmacy was inside Walmart so while waiting, I wandered over to the firearms department. The handguns are cheaper than mobile phones. I couldn’t decide which one to go for, but like 99% of the population in USA, I don’t really need one anyway. On a day in which there were three, yes, three mass shootings in USA, I’m glad I decided to save my money.

Handguns – no idea if any of them are Glocks
More firearms – too much choice

We tidied up Jyoti’s house a bit, we were moving back to Klaus and Leslie’s today. Later on I walked home from Jyoti’s house and I can confirm that Autumn is here. The colours are changing.

Autumn colours

In the evening, Klaus watched Blue Bloods on TV. We all did. Too much TV recently. On the other hand, I did listen to some familiar radio programmes so I don’t feel too badly sullied.

It was my turn to visit a doctor today to get a prescription for my meds. Lots of form-filling for such a formality. A man came up to us in the car park. I thought we were being reprimanded for parking in the wrong place. But no. He was interested in buying Klaus’s sports car, the one Liesel and I were using. I was open to offers but it’s not really for sale at this time.

Klaus’s car – not for sale

I really should stop taking pictures inside lavatories, but this little graffiti made me laugh:

Toilet seat covers

We went to the airport to pick Jyoti up: she’d spent a few ore days with Gita and Josh in Portland. While waiting close by the Alaska Aviation Museum, I went to take some photos and Liesel warned me that I was about to walk over a working runway. I looked both ways and saw no planes coming before running across!

A plane with wheels
The Museum with a sad face
A plane with floats

We took Jyoti home and we had time for a quick walk before Liesel’s next physio appointment. More dry needling in the bum, with extra long needles today, woohoo! While she was being poked, and indeed having her back massaged as well, I walked to the post office to send off some items. Lots of form-filling for such a simple task.

Liesel and I met for a coffee before picking up my meds from Target.

Meanwhile, today, Klaus had a haircut and a pedicure. I too need a haircut, so so I keep being told. But I am not seeking treatment for my bashed-up nose.

The good news is that we’ve experienced the warmest September in Anchorage, ever! Maybe paying for temporary gym membership was worth it: we’d rather have the good weather than have to go to the gym because it’s horrible outside.

Today’s front page, Anchorage Daily News

Scandal

Liesel’s birthday was celebrated in style. Her Mom made her famous pull-aparts for breakfast! No birthday cake, though. One highlight was a video from lovely Martha wishing her Oma a happy birthday.

Gita took us to see Josh, who was working today in the nearby Nehalem Bay State Park, with plenty of food for his very late breakfast. His commute between here and Portland is quite a long one, so he sometimes kips in the car near the park. Staying in a house with us all for a few days was luxury.

I walked back to our accommodation, not sure whether I should be talking loudly to myself or singing: I didn’t think to ask if there were bears in the area.

But there are elks. I didn’t see one, but I did see the warning sign on our drive to Seaside later in the day.

Gita drove us: it rained a lot on the way. The main attraction for the ladies was the outlets. I didn’t need to see any shopping centres, I’ve seen the mall, as they say.

So after agreeing to meet up with them two hours later, I went for a walk. I was on the search for coffee. What a disaster that was. Number 1 didn’t look very nice. Number 2 looked interesting from a distance but was closed due to refurbishment. Number 3, despite calling itself a café, only sold wine and beer. And Number 4 was a drive-through coffee shop and I would have felt totally stupid queueing behind a huge 4×4. So, no coffee for me, at that time.

But I did enjoy the walk to the actual beach, infinitely more enjoyable than walking round shops when you know you shouldn’t be buying stuff!

I would have gone for a dip… but…. shark??
Mountain mist

It’s halfway through September so I suspect this little front garden cemetary has nothing to do with Hallowe’en:

Spooky

On my return to the shops, I met Liesel, Gita and Jyoti. Liesel had bought me a couple of shirts (hooray!) and some other bits and pieces for the little people we know back home.

I described my lack-of-coffee experience so Jyoti used her nose and her phone to Google local coffee shops and found one a few blocks away. We drove there and had a great coffee. The barista was very cheerful, happy and smiley, jolly and full of fun and laughter, with red hair and tattoos. I asked for a latte with whatever drugs she was on. (No, of course I didn’t, but I thought about it.)

Seaside Coffee House, a fun place

We’ve noticed that as well as playing Beatles and other British music, many coffee shops support local artists by displaying their works. Most of it is fantastic, some (to me) is nothing special but every now and then, we see a picture that we’d really like to own.

Happy eagle, sad fish

The weather had changed for the better, so on the drive back to Manzanita, we were able to see things. beautiful things, the sea, stacks, so we stopped at a few of the viewpoints and wandered down to a beach.

Liesel and Jyoti with a sea stack
The Oregon coast is wonderful: trees right up to the beach

We didn’t see elk or any other wildlife larger than a seagull and a squirrel. The most unusual creature was a hairy, yellow caterpillar just over an inch long.

It was too cloudy that night to try for more photos of the stars. And the next day, we had to leave this little paradise and return to Anchorage.

Liesel drove along The Pacific Highway, 101, most of the way back to Seattle International Airport.

The music played by my phone was different today. We heard songs from people we hadn’t heard before on this trip. Tom Hingley, Terra Naomi, Bic Runga, Tom Robinson, Pink Floyd, Björk all made a welcome appearance or two. Mary Hopkin’s new recording of Those Were the Days is stunning.

We stopped to have a look at and climb up Astoria Column for a terrific view all round.

I counted 164 steps up the spiral staircase only to find that at the top, every one of those steps was numbered and sponsored by an individual.

The Astoria-Megler Bridge
Astoria Column
Detail from Astoria Column
A windy selfie

We’re planning our 2044 holiday already. We want to be here for the opening of this time capsule:

One surprise was when I looked down at the GPS display and it told us we were at Lake Tahoe. I thought we were driving north to Seattle, not south to California and Nevada. How do you explain this? No prizes, just for fun.

Lake Tahoe

We drove over a really long bridge into Washington state: another fantastic feat of engineering.

Astoria-Megler Bridge – the longest continuous truss bridge in north America

Autumn really is coming on, here, the leaves are turning yellow and are just waiting to be blown off the trees.

Our GPS had a couple of hiccups. After we joined the I-5, it tried to take us off on and drive an extra loop before rejoining the highway. Not once, but twice. And as we drove through the Lewis-McChord military base. the GPS displayed no features other than the road itself. Everything else was greyed out.

We dropped the car off, and entered the airport. Good news: the rocking chairs were good fun. Bad news: we sat to eat at a table that was located right by the toilets.

Rock me gently, rock me slowly
Breast-feeders in here

It was nice to see facilities provided for breast-feeding mothers. Or: it was very disappointing to see that breast-feeding mothers are supposed to hide in a cupboard in case somebody takes offence at the sight of a baby with a boob. The hard plastic seat inside didn’t look very comfortable, either.

Well, the flight was OK, I played a couple of games, thrashed the aeroplane at backgammon, I listened to the new album by Florence + the Machine, the one that Felix had played for us the other day. And I read a lot.

Florence

Liesel’s long time friend Amy was kind enough to come out at nearly midnight to pick us up from Anchorage airport. Liesel and I are spending a couple of nights at Jyoti’s house as our room at Liesel’s parents is currently occupied by two young German visitors.

I incurred the first serious injury of the trip when the car boot door tried to break my nose. Fortunately, my glasses were not affected.

We’ve had a couple of relatively quiet days based at Jyoti’s. Reading, listening to radio programmes, binge-watching old series of Scandal. I walked up to the bluff for the scenic view, and into the woods a bit.

A quick walk in the woods

I would have gone further but I kept hearing animal noises. Scary.

We set out to walk back to the folks’ house, a couple of miles away, but Klaus drove by on his way back from the supermarket and gave us a lift home. On the path, though, I did manage to get a couple of photos of dragonflies. Not the pretty blue ones we’d seen close to water. And not on a nice, green, leafy background either. But it was good to see that they can sit down and have a little rest for me.

Dragonfly (good) (background rubbish)

After a sandwich at home, Liesel drove to the physio again for more dry needling. I walked to a coffee shop and met Liesel at Carrs for more food shopping. I was pleased to see the full and correct name of a popular time traveller:

Upstairs to the Tardis?

Today, we went out for a walk with Una at noon along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. We passed many other walkers, runners and cyclists. In fact, at one point there is a display showing how many cyclists have passed by today, this month, last month and the yearly total.

Countless cyclists
Eagles

The photo doesn’t show the display correctly, but there were over 700 today and 58,000 this month. Quite impressive.

Una returned to work at the courthouse and Liesel and I went for a brunch / lunch at The Beartooth.

At Kaladi Brothers Coffee over the road, I confirmed why the world is in such a mess, Bexit, Trump, everything. Someone summed it up in one succinct scrawl:

Reality TV –> Apprentice –> President Trump

Liesel dropped me off to buy some apples and I walked the last mile back to Jyoti’s

Jewel Lake

Jewel Lake is a very pretty lake and there were a few people fishing from the jetty. Close to Jewel Lake, we find Emerald Drive, Jade Street and Topaz Avenue. There’s a theme here, I thought. But I was walking along a big spelling mistake: W Dimond Boulevard. Oops, no. It’s named after Anthony Dimond, a local politician from way back.

Oh: Lake Tahoe. No, we weren’t there, obviously. The screen also displays the name of the song being played at the time and Lake Tahoe is by the fabulous Kate Bush.