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Valdez Visit and Update

June 17, 2011

(This part of the post was written last Friday…)

Checking another one off of our Alaska Bucket List, Matthew, Levi and I headed to Valdez last week to see that part of the state and go on a glacier/wildlife cruise.  Those cruises are probably one of the most popular “tourist” things to do, especially for cruise ship visitors.  However, I hadn’t really seen a glacier here yet and it seemed like an excellent way to one.  So, Tuesday afternoon, after a few annoying delays, we headed south to Valdez.  It took exactly six hours, including a short stop in Glenallen for fuel (at $4.61/gallon) to arrive at the highway’s end on the water in Valdez.  The drive featured the most beautiful scenery I’ve seen in Alaska!  Of course, I didn’t take any pictures…that would’ve been too smart.  So, if you don’t live here or haven’t seen it, you’ll have to make the drive yourself.

Levi was acting slightly ill that morning and even threw up once on the drive.  So, I drove while Matthew sat next to him in the back seat  to keep him busy (I get too car sick in the back seat).  We had rented a cabin in Valdez – an adorable little room with a tiny bathroom.  It was far more fun (and slightly cheaper) than a hotel, and much more comfortable than camping, since Valdez tends to be pretty rainy.  We got in pretty late (9:30pm) and so ate a late dinner and headed straight to bed.  Levi slept great and we were grateful for a good night of rest!

We all slept in Wednesday morning and got up just in time for the cruise.  Levi loved wandering the docks (well, he was riding on Matthew’s back) and looking at the boats.  And the rocks, grass, water, birds, and anything else he could name.  We boarded the boat and, thankfully, it was fairly empty since it is so early in the season.  We got most of the lower level to ourselves for much of the trip, so we felt better that, even though Levi was not his usual good-natured self, we didn’t have to make sure he wasn’t ruining anything for anyone else.  He did love it once the boat started to move and he was a fan of the wildlife!

We saw otters as soon as we left the harbor and the wildlife kept on coming!  By the end of our trip, we’d seen mountain goats, puffins, sea lions, orcas, humpbacks, and porpoises.  The water was a beautiful blue-green…it looked tropical thanks to the glacial runoff.  The iceburgs and smaller ice chunks floating in the water were quite surreal.  According to our captain, they would all be gone and replaced by new chunks within 24 hours.  We even saw a few that had recently flipped – they flip over once the underside melts enough.  The Columbia Glacier was a little underwhelming, but still very neat to see in person and the beauty of the rest of the cruise was certainly worthwhile!  I suppose the seven-hour cruise was made even better when we put Levi down for a nap under one of the benches and he was asleep in less than a minute and stayed that way for nearly two hours!

Once returning to land we found a little spot to have battered fish and fries (definitely a must in Valdez) before heading back to the cabin.  We relaxed in the cabin for a bit before bed.  Matthew and I both agreed ice cream would finish the day, so we walked over to the store and grabbed some.  It was perfect.

The following morning I woke up with a sore throat.  Levi still wasn’t feeling much better, either.  We got ready and left by 9:30am – not bad!  Levi slept for about the first hour of the drive, but woke up cranky.  It was sad because he was so sick.  My throat hurt so badly I was unable to talk for most of the trip, so it was a quiet ride home (except for the back seat whining).  About ten minutes before we got home Levi fell asleep (classic, no?).  Matthew had to head off to work to drop off some of his stuff, so we left Levi in the Jeep.  I checked on him every so often, but he stayed sleeping in his car seat for TWO HOURS!  Long enough for Matthew to finish up at work and for us to go to our next appointment: a farewell BBQ hosted by Matthew’s co-worker.  Most of the officers from the department came to wish Matthew and another officer adios.

If you’d like to see pictures of our Valdez trip, please visit this link to my facebook photo album.  I am no photographer, but there are lots of wildlife pictures!

(This part of the post was written today…)

So, in other news, Matthew’s last day of work was last Friday!  How strange, especially in an economy such as this one, to be without income…on purpose.  We are at peace with what God wants us to do and being without a job.  But, I think both of us are think it’s odd to experience such peace.  Shouldn’t this be stressful??  Ah, there is enough other stress in ours lives that perhaps there is just no room for one more thing!  🙂

In the week since we’ve returned from Valdez, we have spent much of the time packing all but the bare necessities.  We had a showing today – our first since replacing the floors – and perhaps this will yield good results?  We dropped the price a little, hopefully to expose more buyers to the property.

We’ve also had a drastic change of plans to leaving Alaska.  As we looked at our list of things to do and the number of days left in Alaska, it was determined that it was simply not enough time.  And, because we have MAF training in Idaho in July for two and a half weeks, we had to move our plans by a lot more than we wanted.  In the end, Matthew and his brother won’t be driving out of Alaska until the middle of August, though Matthew will be in the Lower 48 for a month this summer to fulfill training and other obligations.  It was such a tough decision to make, but we know the Lord is sovereign and we are depending so much on Him in all of this, and some decisions are harder than others.  In case you are wondering, Levi and I are flying to Washington on June 27th (yes, just over a week away) and, besides going to Idaho for training, we will not be going back North.

Please pray for us this week that the price drop on the house will generate more interest, that packing will go smoothly, that the extended time in Alaska will be what Matthew needed to wrap things up here, and that we find a new home for our cats soon!

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