ALASKA! Juneau, Day 4

Hearkening back to the days of yore, these are the old gold mines in the cliff face at Juneau.

We pulled into Juneau at 9ish or 10ish in the morning so TheMan and I stepped out to one of the viewing decks to watch the ship dock. It was pretty interesting in that we did a 180 and backed into the slip but I expect that after a while it’s “You see one ship dock, you’ve seen them all dock”. Still, *I’ve* never seen a behemoth cruise ship dock before so I thought the experience was worth it. Besides, the ship has sideways thrusters, how cool is that? Once we were docked, TheMan and I ganged way for we were on a mission: We had to find a Juneau emblazoned dog collar for Juneau (sis’s dog), more books since TheMan had already read through our entire stash (he did! In three days he went through somewhere near 1400 pages of books) and a halibut sandwich.

On the way we saw…

A bald eagle! This is after his “scare the shit out of the town pigeons” fly by, which in itself was amusing to see. I don’t know if bald eagles hunt pigeons but they do seem to like bustin’ out from above into a gangling flock of unsuspecting pigeons. We laughed, is that mean of us? Anyway, he lighted on top of this air conditioning unit and stayed there for quite some time.

We quested mightily for a Juneau collar but alas, no such item was to be had. We asked and went everywhere and even found a tourist shop that had dog collars but none of them were town personalized, sad to say. We wound up asking one of the shop proprietors in one of those gifty wharf shops (which we bought some cool stuff at) and she offered to call up at the mall and see if they had any such item. Man, I loved the shop lady! I would have taken her home too, if she would have fit in my pocket with the wine steward and the cooks. She called them again for us after getting a busy signal and then offered to keep calling while we had lunch. She even directed us to a good restaurant near by (The Hangar on the Wharf, if you are ever in Juneau. Fantabulous!) where I got…

[cue reverb f/x]A Mighty Halibut Sandwich. Seriously, it was the BOMB! We had a great waiter too (which I would have added to my people pocket collection too if he wasn’t such a disturbing cross between Cheeto Dave and Goldberg, the wrestler. That’s just not right, even though he was cooler than something which is really, really cool) but the sandwich. Mmmm-mmm! It was just fried up halibut and coleslaw in a wrap but damn if it wasn’t the tastiest sandwich ever. Yum yum! At least we had accomplished one of our quests (and probably got adventure points too). Unfortunately, when we returned to gift shop lady she had finally gotten through to the mall shop and they had no Juneau collars. Sadness, but the whole time we were at lunch she kept trying to phone them. Isn’t that the best?

Our quest for books was marginally successful after being directed to a neat used book store. We were only able to find the next book in the Wheel of Time series but the shop also had a whole bunch of other cool books that we got as gifts. They just seemed to be the jack pot of great books for people we know. I also stumbled on a display of books by Alaskan Mystery writer Sue Henry (these were new, the store had a mish mash of used and new, which was pretty funky cool) so I convinced TheMan to get a few and try them out. He is a huge mystery buff and I don’t think he currently has any good new mystery authors so I just pointed and said “Look!” We picked up three, which he had finished by the time we got home. He really likes them and highly recommends her to all you mystery buffs. Awww, he likes them! I found my man a new author! SQUEEE

Juneau was also our first Shore Excursion to the Alaskan Brewery and Glacier Garden tours. Hee, yes, we toured a brewery! It was great, they are really insistent that you have your sample beer (a giant 8oz sampling, none of this half ounce dribble that I’ve had a most other places) and if you happen to drink your sample beer in the middle of the tour, they are all about just up and leaving the tour to get more beer. One of the guides informed everyone that he was so boring that they would NEED a beer in order to get through his tour. Hee! They had about six different beers on tap (and you could sample them all, in multiple tastings if you wanted, They were cool with that) and if you ever get a chance to try the Alaskan Amber Ale, jump at it. Man, that is some mighty fine beer.

The glacier gardens tour was the next stop and I’ll admit, I forget that most of the BC/lower Alaska region is temperate rain forest, even on upsidown trees. They had a whole raft of these inverted tree gardens all over and they had flowers, ferns, plant stuff, whatever grew in the area all hanging out in the root bowl of the trees. These they planted with annuals every year but others they just let grow wild.

I loved this guy. The story behind him is that when they pulled this dead tree up for inverting, it was firmly latched into the boulder. The fellow who runs the gardens didn’t have the heart to separate the two so up the rock went. Heh!

Here is an obligatory scenery shot of Juneau as seen from the top of the mountain at the Glacier Gardens. It’s high tide, by the way. Usually that channel is mostly weeds and wet sand.

After all that shore walking we holed up and…read! But of course we did, we had new books! I think TheMan may have finished one entire mystery novel that afternoon. Later, having caught dinner on the Lido deck at “La Playa Grille” we came back to find…

It’s towelgami frog! Hey, he is not as disturbing as what we also saw in the room.

OH MY GOD! They left the head! I’m sorry, I’ll love them better! I really will, just please don’t leave us with a frog head tomorrow!

You know, I’m not sure what that was all about but I felt very Godfathered there for a moment. Yes, well then, we have a frog and a…a…errr…wanna go back up and watch the dock? Yeah, me too.

The captain finagled the departure time (by letting the other cruise ship leave first) so that we could catch the Juneau Fireworks. Juneau likes to be on the leading edge of things, they put on a 4th of July fireworks display at midnight just as independence day is kicking off. We secured a spot on the upper deck for viewing and got us some appropriate 4th of July drinks and kicked back until show time. Unfortunately, show time was much earlier for the yahoos on the shore and they were letting off all sorts of fireworks and doing all that yahoo type stuff one does with a pick-em up truck, some beer and a crate of illegal fireworks. Yeehaw. Did you know that the average yahoo firework is about eight or nine stories tall? We know this because the fuckers started launching their bottle rockets AT THE BOAT! They hit it four times, once winging a guy who was standing right behind us. He had to pat out his coat, which was ON FIRE. Asses. What I wouldn’t have given for a wrist rocket and a couple m-80s. OK, I’m not that stupid, but ice cubes would have worked well and they aren’t traceable. Plus, they pack a sting from nine stories up and I guarantee you, firing down is a lot easier than firing up. Heh!

Anyway, we puttered off and then the captain broadsided the boat downriver for a better view (right in front of the first boat which had also stopped to see the fireworks. Doah, sucks to be them), which turned our little staked out corner squarely away from the action. Doah, sucks to be us. Our cabin, however, was on the correct side for viewing, so we hightailed it down and watched from our balcony. We were downwind of the smoke so a lot of it was hidden, but here is a pic of a bit of the festivity.


Last Year at the booniverse: Right now I’m doing a combination of mooching candy and loafing around doing squidgy things that don’t seem like work things but really are because I really don’t want to be doing what I’m supposed to be doing and I can’t get away with surfing the web for the remaining 2.5 hours.

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