I have absolutely no idea how that information is ever going to be of import but I have filed it away for possible use somewhere down the road.  Mt. Roberts also afforded us a great opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of our floating hotel…

In spite of the plethora of activities and accoutrements designed to keep the most finicky of passengers entertained, my Bride and I found that even the trapeze artists dangling from 6 decks above the ship’s atrium were nothing compared to this maintenance worker installing covers over the lounge speakers…

“The Red who???...girl????... what girl????”

The next day was spent cruising the Tracy Arm Fjord dodging icebergs and enjoying some magnificent scenery…

It was here that I discovered that although my Bride, whose arms are too long to fit into any long sleeved item in her size, still does not have a wingspan equal to that of the American Bald Eagle…

Our buddy, Larry, aka The Duck, was working aboard the ship during our cruise as the acupuncturist and massage therapist so we arranged to get together that evening for dinner…

This guy is precariously balanced between a railing and window support with nothing but a sheet of glass between him and the deck 30 feet below. “Hey, buddy, you got the time?”

Our last stop was Victoria, BC and a visit to the historic Empress Hotel…

It is August 17th and we turn yet another page in the annals of my Bride’s never-ending celebration of her birthday and anniversary.

On the afternoon of August 15th, having successfully completed Phase 1 of the Zookie’s Birthiversary Month with a 3-day stay on San Juan Island, we returned to our rolling asylum, now at rest in the campground of the Puyallup, Washington Elks Lodge, and busy ourselves with washing a mountain of dirty laundry (How the hell can you accumulate a mountain after only 3 days on an island?), switching out overnight luggage for extended stay luggage and re-packing virtually everything we own into 3 large wheeled suitcases, a pair of garment bags and a Salvation Army acquired steamer trunk, adorned with about 50 travel stickers including SS Titanic, to begin Phase 2 of our annual cardio stress and endurance test.  Our “essentials” I carry in a backpack large enough for a Sherpa to haul a week’s supply of food, as well as the occasional stray llama, up Mt. Everest.

Thusly loaded we arrived at the Seattle Cruise Ship Terminal on the morning of the 17th and began the process of moving all of our earthly possessions from the rear seat, trunk, roof and glove compartment of our Jeep into a closet sized cabin aboard Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas…

At the end of the fjord is Sawyer Glacier…

With Juneau being the capital of Alaska, there is always the possibility of running into someone famous…

Although they have great bar food and frothy libations, behind these hallowed doors you can find the one staple without which the entire Klondike gold rush may have withered on the vine…

The Red Onion Saloon was built in 1897 and served liquor on the first floor while operating a bordello on the second.  I don’t know what the girls charged for their services back then but nowadays even a fat olde guy can sidle up to a scantily clad bartender if he plays his cards right…a generous tip is also a good idea.

Back on the ship that evening my Bride was determined to erase from my mind all memory of the afternoon’s frivolity…

And yet, despite all of the beautiful surroundings, the one thing that truly piqued my interest was this…

I may have mentioned in previous Updates that my Norwegian war bride is a bit thrifty and is always on the lookout for a great “deal” on just about anything.  In booking our cruise she discovered some extra savings if we were willing to take a cabin in steerage, below the ship’s waterline, and stand 4-hour shifts throughout the night to report any leakage through the welded hull plates to the ship’s engineer.  We were also tasked with running from one side of the ship to the other during wildlife sightings to act as ballast to ensure the other passengers could safely snap photographs without fear of the ship tipping over.

Our next port o’ call was Skagway, home to the White Pass and Yukon Railroad…

Victoria is such a beautiful city with such an interesting history that you could easily spend a week or more here without ever seeing it all…

Our destination: Alaska!

After a day of cruising the pristine waters along the coast of British Colombia and Alaska we arrived in Juneau and immediately began the obligatory touristy visitations to every point of interest and infamous watering hole in town…

The Red Dog is your typical Alaskan eatin’ n’ drinkin’ spot complete with the olde sourdough piano player, sawdust on the floor, $14 hamburgers and stuffed wildlife filling every corner…

A picture simply cannot capture the size, grandeur and blue luminescence of these natural wonders.

We spent the next 2 days heading south through the Inland Passage while sitting high above the ship in the Viking Crown Lounge (Where else would a Norwegian princess spend her day?)…

This is an isolated narrow gauge railroad that was built to connect Skagway, Alaska, to the gold fields in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.  Nowadays it is a tourist attraction which makes daily runs to White Horse Pass at the U.S./Canada border and back.  You can make this 3-hour trip for the modest fare of $139.  Remember that thing I told you about my Bride’s thrifty side…anyway, we made the trip some years back when we rode our Harley from San Francisco to Fairbanks and saw quite a bit of the rest of Alaska en-route.  The cost of the ride back then was $45.

Instead of wasting our meager daily allowance on something we had already seen, we decided to hang out with a few of the indigenous folk at a local favorite…

  Birthaversary 2012 - Part 2                                           August 30, 2012

Another of those obligatory tourist functions in Juneau is riding the tram to the top of Mt Roberts…

The white streaks you see may look like paint but are actually the work of one of the local gulls “voicing” his opinion of such a prohibition.  He’s probably thinking, “We’re next!”

Our ship returned us safely to Seattle the next morning and, after hiring 3 porters to transport our luggage and souvenirs back to the Jeep, we arrived home around noon and began the task of unpacking and storing the luggage in the basement until my Bride finds another “bargain” that we simply cannot pass up.

The Duck was also departing the Rhapsody and heading back to Sun Valley, Idaho, for a visit with grandkids so we packed him and his belongings into a niche of our Urban Assault Vehicle, dropped him off at his son’s home in Hailey and are now writing to you folks from the comfort of the Mountain View RV Park in Arco.  Next stop: Yellowstone National Park.  See y’all then!  Hugs, the Mister and Missus

Alaska still retains quite a bit of its early Russian influence in the names of many of its communities, churches and even the occasional Cossack mercantile…