We hugged Bob and Bebe goodbye and came back into the house. I filled the tub with hot water and rested motionless in a bath for some time, only my eyes and nose above water, my hair floating around my head, ears full of a deep, muffled nothingness, while something like this (see video) passed through my mind. After a good sob and an even better scrubbing, I hopped out onto the dense bleached-white rug with bare feet, wrapped myself in a thick, oversized towel, and sighed. Walking out of the bathroom, my hand grazed the wall-plate (with its three oddly arranged switches) to turn off the light in the natural way that only the master of a house would know. And in that humbled manner with which the cradle of the heart has a way of responding, the truth of the moment was tangible: We were, finally, home.
After over 10,000 miles of travel all within the state of Alaska over the last six months, we're back in Charleston. Jim starts a 4-year oral surgery residency in just four days. Our wonderful parents picked us up at the airport and welcomed us to our home which they had cleaned and stocked full of food. The contents of the fridge were almost too much to bear: real milk (we've only had shelf-stable since last December), eggs, chips and hot sauce, Sarah's favorite pickles, Publix sandwich meat and cheese, cokes, fresh fruits and vegetables, slice-and-bake cookies. It felt like the final scene in Miracle on 34th Street, when the little girl has wished for a house and she gets it, table set for Christmas dinner and gifts under the tree. And you know what the best part is? When it runs out, we'll go to the store and get more. We couldn't have asked for a better homecoming, and we're so thankful.
Our Two Favorite Grills (4,521 miles apart)
A Five Minute Walk
Anchorage. Transporting our stuff from South to North terminal (Alaska Airlines to Delta). "Nah, we don't need to take the shuttle. The guy said it was only a five minute walk." This was after we asked a homeless man for directions, trudged through a construction site, and dumped the whole cart of luggage in the middle of a crosswalk.
We got to ride on the 95 foot-long Hovercraft from King Cove to Cold Bay, where a short flight took us to Sand Point. The Suna-x cost $8.8 million to build and has a primary purpose of medevac-ing people to Cold Bay for a flight to Anchorage. It hovers about 5 feet above the surface of the water and can reach speeds of 75 mph.
We saw seven bears on the 30 minute ride from King Cove to Cold Bay.
Jim did some dental work on me this weekend (replaced amalgams with composite, filled a new cavity, buffed the leftover orthodontics glue from my teeth [we left Naples in a hurry]), and I have such a problem with sensitivity, he had to numb the whole mouth just to clean my teeth. All said and done, there were 11 lidocaine injections, leaving me with the feeling that I had a huge clown face drawn on (see video). Incidentally, there was no laughing gas involved.
Shower Curtain Hugs
Back in King Cove, everything has started to turn green. There are tender boats anchored everywhere in the cove (these are boats that anchor at the mouth of the cove, so they can take the fish from fishing boats into the Peter Pan fishery, so fishing boats don't have to come all the way into the cove).
Some People Are Hurtful
Apparently, Sarah has extraordinarily small ears, as her family has enjoyed a laugh or two in this department at her expense for years now (staring at her ears, perplexed, then speaking towards one side with cupped hands "CAN YOU HEEEEAR ME?", asking if she had some sort of accident with acid as a child, also calling them "squirrel ears," to name a few). And she never can seem to get the Pen-Air foam earplugs to stay in for the ride (they're supposed to fit snugly in one's ear canal). Some people found it amusing to mock. Some people are hurtful.
Back To King Cove
Bob Rich Is The Man
Remember the post Water Tower Restoration? Well, the man at left (Bob Rich) has stumbled upon it and informs us he owned the cabin for some time in the 1970s! He has stories about and pictures of it at this link. And yes, Bob, since we totally ripped the navy photo off your page, you definitely have permission to use any of our pictures you'd like. Thanks for the story.
All Fun & Games...
Daytrip To Denali
We took off on Sunday for Denali National Park, with a detour back to Talkeetna. We lived on cold Coca-Cola and Crunch bars until dinner at Mountain High Pizza Pie, enjoying the finest weather we've had in Alaska (accompanied by an almost empty highway, Jerry Jeff Walker, Old Crow Medicine Show, and a live ten-minute version of "Rain King" on repeat) for eight truly glorious hours of driving.