Friday, September 21, 2007

North to Alaska

After spending some glorious days in Ventura, it was time to start heading north. We left Ventura on Sunday, September 2 and drove to the wine country of California. What a beautiful drive! We stopped in Monterey for lunch, and enjoyed seeing the colorful kites flying high above the beach, and a bit further up the coast we were amazed by the adventurous spirits flying high on their wind boards!

We spent part of the next day visiting Imagery Winery, which is part of the Benziger family of wines. This is one of my favorite wineries in this I did not want to miss! Not only do they have fabulous wines, they also have a beautiful gallery of original art, which has been designed as labels for their bottles. We ended up purchasing both wine and art at this place!
After a wonderful lunch at The Girl and the Fig, in downtown Sonoma, we hit the road again, making it as far as Ashland, Oregon. We arrived after dark and had to get an early start the next morning, so we didn't get to see a lot of the town. It's very pretty around there, so I would like to go visit again when I have more time!

So, this is the last long haul of the trip before boarding the cargo ship. We drove to Issaquah and stayed with Bunny our last night in Washington. It was fun to catch up with her, since saying good bye to her in Phoenix!

Roxane's Mom was scheduled to fly back to Anchorage, with adorable little Gaia. We got them both checked in, and then headed to the port in Fife, which is where the big cargo ship adventure was about to begin! With the car all checked in and organized, we boarded the ship around 4:30 in the afternoon. The ship was not scheduled to leave until around 1am, but we had to be on board before they started unloading and loading vehicles. It was an amazing procedure to watch. The speed at which they unloaded and loaded these huge trucks was like watching a carefully choreographed dance!

We stayed up for the beginning of the voyage, so we could see the city lights of Seattle as we passed by. It was quite a beautiful sight! I played around with my camera, trying to have some fun with night mode. I really need to take some photography classes!

Our accommodations on the ship were wonderful, not to mention the fabulous food they fed us! We looked forward to the three meals a day, for sure! The waters were pretty calm, all but one day, and I was amazed I never once got sea sick! Dramamine is a great thing! The 3rd mate and the Chief Engineer gave us some very interesting and informative tours of the ship. This is quite an operation, and I have a new appreciation for all of the everyday things we are able to buy here in Alaska stores because of these cargo ships hauling goods back and forth!

This is a shot of the sky our last night at sea. After being in the fog most of the day, the sky brightened enough for a beautiful sunset. We were passing by Anchor Point, but still had about seven hours of sailing to go before reaching the port of Anchorage on Sunday (Sept. 9) morning. We enjoyed one last breakfast on the ship. Roxane's car must have rolled off the ship first, as it was waiting for us at the TOTE office . We were ready to head to our homes and families. It was a wonderful trip, and I want to thank Roxane for being such a great travel partner, and to her husband, Curt...... and TOTE for giving
us the opportunity for such a unique Alaska adventure!

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