Wednesday I became a woman. A woman who rides an all-terrain motorcycle. A woman who excavates things. I went over to Shane’s and he let me play on some of his toys. Here’s me on the motorcycle:
And here’s me using the excavator:
Poor CB. When I was playing, he freaked out, following along behind the motorcycle while Shane and I were riding, running around the excavator while I was using the arm to pick up rocks, barking the entire time. Turns out that whenever Debbie swings on a swing, rides a motorcycle, or goes anywhere CB can’t go, he freaks. She thinks it’s an abandonment thing from his previous owners. And since Debbie was at work, I was the surrogate Debbie. So of course when I was done, he got extra pets.
The motorcycle is cool, but that excavator is SWEET. Shane has a huge rock and dirt pile next to a big hole in the ground on his property; presumably he used the excavator to create that pile and that hole. One amazing thing is how the excavator compensates when you pick up something heavy with the arm. Shane said that some of the rocks weigh 3000 pounds or more (obviously they’ve got to be pretty dense), and when you pick one up with the arm, the cab rises into the air. It was kind of freaky the first time, but then I got used to it. Like a professional. (Not really.)
There are two joystick controls with buttons. By moving the joysticks and pressing the buttons at different times, you can swing the cab around, lift the arm, pull the basket toward you, close the “thumb” (opposable flap with teeth) over the basket, etc. I picked up a couple rocks and dropped them over the giant pile. Then I dug a big hole and tried to smooth it over. It was really fun, although Shane said that after about 6 hours of it it gets kind of tiring. I guess I can see that, but I am so NOT tired of excavating!
After CB and I took another walk on the Perseverance Trail, Debbie, Shane and I had some dinner, including spaghetti sauce Shane had made that had little pieces of moose meat in it. It was pretty good! Lean, apparently. Shane said he hasn’t bought meat in about 7 years because he hunts and freezes his own: deer, moose, elk, bear, wild goat, wild sheep, not to mention all the fish he catches. I’m hoping to get to try some elk and some bear before I leave.
Thursday was one of those days where it rains steadily. All. Day. Long. I honestly can’t remember how we spent the morning. In the afternoon we ran a couple errands, including picking up some salmon jerky from this place
Then we went to Shane’s to do laundry and dink around on the computer. We had been planning to go Mendenhall Glacier and eventually got there, but didn’t hike there as originally planned. Here are some gorgeous pics:
It was a pretty quiet day, capped with a quick walk in the rain with the dogs and with Debbie’s friend Chuck and his 2-year-old son, who showed us how to choose a rock and throw it in the river. The kid is gifted.
So here are some interesting things about Juneau:
1. It is the capital of Alaska. There is some consternation about this among Alaskans in other cities because:
2. You can only get to Juneau by plane or boat. There are those who think the capital city should be more accessible, prompting some to lobby for a highway linking it to a town called Skagway and others to lobby for a different capital city.
3. Since you can only get to Juneau by plane or boat, there are some roads that basically end when the land runs out. If you get to the end of one of these, you have gone “out the road.”
4. Apparently it’s been raining every day for 21 days, and this is a record that has broken the previous record—which was set earlier this summer. In the time I’ve been here, I’ve noticed that the only people who carry umbrellas are the tourists; Debbie and Shane confirmed this. The locals just kind of get wet and eventually dry off. I forgot my umbrella, so I’m fitting right in.
5. People here are wussies about the heat in the same way Floridians, for example, are wussies about the cold. Debbie said that back in the spring, when there was a spate of 70-degree days, one or two of her heavily pregnant clients complained about the "heat wave."
6. Juneau is situated on a body of water called Auke Bay. Auke means “lake” in one of the indigenous languages (Debbie wasn’t sure which one, so we’ve arbitrarily decided it’s Tlingit), so Juneau is situated on Lake Bay.
7. It appears to be a minor crime in Alaska to dislike salmon. I am allergic to it AND I dislike it, so I am safe as long as I push the allergy angle. But even then, you get suspicious looks.
Looking ahead, I'm getting excited for my trip to CA. I’ve been in touch with a bunch of people from nhbgear.com, some I have met before and some I’ve only ever interacted with online. It is going to be hilarious to meet some of them and hang out with others I have met before. The next UFC is next weekend, and a poster named Rude Boy Johnny is having a BBQ at his place. He’s also got mats so we can all roll for a while. I’ll arrive on Thurs afternoon to meet up with my friend Chrissy, and then her husband Brian arrives on Fri morning. I’ll pick him up at LAX and maybe we’ll train during the day.
I will miss Debbie and Shane and the dogs, but I can't say I'll miss the weather!