Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Home Sweet Home

There have been a lot of requests for pictures of the house. We haven't been home much during the day, and there were a few foggy days that didn't seem too picturesque. Today, the sun is bright and the weather is warm.

So, here is a a shot of the house, downtown Juneau and Mt Roberts across the channel. Right across the channel is where they unload all the freight barges so we've been keeping an eye out for all of our stuff thats supposed to be here anyday now. This image is the view from our deck looking south down the channel.

There are also a few other photos that we've added to our flickr account and look at the ho-juneau set.

We stopped out at Auke Village Rec area again because it was so beautiful. The Chilkat Mts were just spectacular. We also took a drive farther Out the Road to Eagle Beach and plan to come back over the weekend. There's miles and miles of walking to do here. If its not completely wet out we'll come back and spend the day. Along the way we stopped at Amalga Harbor which is about 22 miles Out the Road. We spotted some kind of whales breaching and some sea lions bobbing around in the waves. Didn't get any pictures because they were too far away for our little camera.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Weekend Adventures

Our first weekend at the new place was pretty spectacular when a beautiful sunrise was welcomed into clear skies. We’ve had quite the show in the water. So far we’ve seen sea lions, Stellar’s Jay, mallards, bufflehead, goldeneye, Barrow’s goldeneye, scaup, harlequin, geese (Canada or Brandt’s – we aren’t sure) horned grebes, raven, crows, gulls, surf scoters, a few eagles, boats, a tug boat pulling a huge barge. We saw a couple of deer on our drive out to Auke Bay where we saw more ducks, grebes, and of course gulls and crows. I forgot to bring the binocs with us so there might have been more birds but it was pretty bright (there is a sun up in the sky). Here’s some more pics from the day’s journey this will take you to flickr and then click on the ho- juneau group.

Our landlord, who lives next door, is smoking salmon so we’ve had quite a bit of eagle activity. In fact, we’ve been hearing a lot banging on top of the house and finally realized that its an eagle landing on the roof peak. Can’t wait to get to my office area in the loft and see the eagles flying straight for the window to land above my head.

On Sunday we went out to Outer Point on Douglas Island. It was just starting to snow when we headed out. We slipped and slided our way down the trail to the Beach. The tide was pretty low so we were able to walk quite a ways. Picked up a couple of clam-shell soap dishes for the guest bathroom (things are expensive here!) When we left the beach the roads were really slick and it had snowed 6-8 inches. We parked in the garage and stayed home for the rest of the day.

Change in Attitude

It seems to me that in our recent shopping around Juneau experience to set up a household, it seems to me that the salespeople we’ve met actually seem to like what they do and are helpful and happy to help you. We’ve been everywhere from the GCI office, to furniture stores, to hardware stores, to a video rental and everyone seems to be relatively happy. They greet you, pay attention to your questions, and even say thank you when they take your money. Its really been a pleasure to pull out the old credit card. Even the folks at Costco offered eagerly to shred up our Sam’s club card¬–just so helpful!

Needles to die for

So did you know that I have a very talented brother-in-law who has made me some incredible wooden knitting needles. Yes, that’s right, Dennis turned these for me for Christmas. They are so beautiful and I can’t wait to use them because surely they must produce an equally beautiful product, no? So all you nieces–ha! Get in line to wait for yours! I’m thinking that between Dennis’ woodcraftmanship and Roxi’s quilting abilities they can retire and start up their own needle and needle sock company and live happily doing what they both love. I’ll have to have another beer before I can come up with a good business name. Ok, how about Doxi Needles and Custom Carrying Cases or Knit Kits…guess I’ll keep working on it.

Did I mention that the needles are sitting on our new couch?

Restaurant Review #2

Seong‘s Sushi Bar and Chinese Takeout – this is right across from the Federal Building where out po box is located. We decided take out was in order and since Tim doesn’t eat Sushi or shellfish, our options were a little bit limited so we chose some Kung Pao Chicken and Veggie Sukiyaki. We were the last order for the night so I think they gave us all the food prepped in the kitchen. The chicken was very spicy and after a serving that’s about all I could manage. Even thought it was pretty spicy (they much have had extra chili pepper they had to use up). The sukiyaki was very good and we enjoyed the steamed rice to go with. Although the price per order was a little high, there was a ton of food and plenty of leftovers for a couple of lunches. I noticed on the board that they had some reasonable lunch specials so that may an alternative in the future.

Homemade bread baked by one of Tim’s new co-workers, Terry, was delivered over the weekend and it was delicious! It was delivered still warm and it didn’t last too long. We don’t have anything bigger than a pockets knife so we just pulled off chunks. Yummy!

Henry’s Food and Spirits – Mendenhall Mall – now this is definitely more like Sourdough Sam’s on a weekend! We had a good hearty breakfast with perfectly formed hash brown potatoes wedges, bacon strips that aren’t made from turkey like we have at home sometimes, and an older lady with a perfect hairdo walking around filling up the coffee cups. Members of the Juneau Riding Club were there and it looked like they were having a meeting although I don’t remember seeing any motorcycles in the parking lot – just a lot of pickup trucks. A man at the next table ordered a burger and it looked pretty good so as soon as we try all the other restaurants in town and go back the Henry’s maybe I’ll try the burger. After note: I had no idea that Henry's was also a bar - I must have been facing the wrong direction in our booth.

Canton House - Carol, Christen, Curt, and I had lunch here last June and I thought it was pretty good then so Tim and I tried it out for lunch. The interior is really lovey with lots of wood and "tile" look. I love the waterfall down the wall sound that's so soothing. We had a nice lunch from the lunch specials: the terriyaki beef was really tender and tasty–not too salty. I had the four seasons which was described as slivered veggies in a spicy sauce. It was slivered veggies, onions, green pepper, a couple of carrots and a few mushrooms and a delicious sauce. I'm not much for green pepper and onions so I probably won't order that again but the leftovers will be very good over some pork chops that we got today at the market. They just openned a sushi bar which is really beautiful I can't wait for Zac to come to town so we can go.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Waiting for Mr. Cable Guy

Although staying in the hotel was not quite like having our own place, we did pick that particular hotel because of the high speed wireless internet. We didn't have a kitchen or a closet. In fact, we lived in one room. But, it was one room where we could each sit on a matching queen size bed and wirelessly email - to our friends and family around the world or even to each other across the room.

The expectations of getting out of the hotel ran high, but not being able to check our email is almost a crisis. That's why there were a few quite days on the blog front. No phone, tv, or internet access. Luckily Mr. Cable Guy is supposed to come Monday. And since our package includes internet, he is also Mr. Internet Guy.

Sandy Beach

We can walk to some nice places from our new home. One block south is the Douglas Harbor. Beyond that is Sandy Beach which has for many year been one of our favorite places to walk in the Juneau area. It is also the favorite of many Juneau canine residents.

There are always a lot of happy dogs running around and retrieving tennis balls, frisbees, sticks, logs, etc. The tide was lower today than any time we had before been to Sandy Beach and there were a lot of people out enjoying the nice weather... with their dogs. Its fun to see them freak out on the beach without being on a lead.Some of them just go spastic running back and forth, sniffing everything, some acting pretty cocky until a bigger dog comes around. We know that our friends Tipper, Ally, Echo, Sarge, Lulu, Tango and Bambi (but probably not Kona) would love it and would want to be on Sandy Beach with us all of the time.

We didn’t ask but our landlord has a dog so I’m guess that we could have dog guests come with their owners if that appeals to anyone!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bird's Eye View

This is what the eagles see when they fly over. For some reason google maps and google earth (green arrow) has the streets in Douglas off by one street thus the RED arrow that correctly identifies the "pier house."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

We found it!

We move in tomorrow with our sleeping bags and soap and shampoo samples we've taken from the hotel! More pictures to follow when we get a chance to be there in the daylight.

The house has three bedrooms, a loft, lots of windows, a garage, and a huge deck. The cool thing is that it is waterfront... right on Gastineau Channel. Well, really more than just waterfront... we're calling it the "Pier House." The living room and deck are out over the water. The cruise ships and fishing boats will go by right in front of our windows, and the guy next door claims he catches silver salmon off of the deck at high tide.
We'll see.

The point is -- that if you PLAN to visit us in Juneau, you should come while we live in this house. It may be the coolest place we will live. It's in a small neighborhood (town of Douglas) across the channel from downtown and it's near one of our favorite place, Sandy Beach a beach park that actually has sand and a community park with baseball fields (Rune) and volleyball courts (Robyn) and a place to kayak (Tisha) and a community library (Melody).. There is a small cafe and a pub (Dennis) within a couple of blocks. But, it's only about five minutes from downtown and Tim's office. There extra parking for boats and stuff but well we just spent the boat money on an extra bedroom and windows.

Hello Big Trees

We haven't really had a chance to get out into the woods yet but hope to do so this weekend. But from past visits I know that the trees are big, dense, and mossy. One of our favorite areas is on North Douglas Island at False Outer Point. There's a great boardwalk that goes through the trees to the gravel beach. Last time we were out there we noticed that they had added several new trails so that will be fun to explore.

Thanks to the advice of Susan and Lillian we're looking for the 90 Trails of Juneau book which should give us more opportunities.

So far in these 3 full days that we'v been here in Juneau we've had sun, rain, wind, snow, slush and all with 20 minutes or so.

A highlight of the day for me was finding a yarn store just down from the hotel and right across the parking lot from a quilting store (yeah for Roxi and Lori!). The yarn store is called Skeins Fine Yarn and I think they have a second store downtown but I haven't been down there yet! From the window it looked like a very nice store. The quilting store is called RainTree Quilts. Maybe they'll have a class that my sister would be interested in taking so they would come and visit me!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

restaurant review #1

So far we've had three meals out - we've chosen restaurants we could walk to from the hotel. On Sunday night we had dinner at Mi Casa over at the Travelodge. Pretty good margarita (not as good as yours, though Dennis) and alright Mexican food. We have both eaten here before on past trips and its kinda hit and miss on the food. I think if you go with the specials you're usually not disappointed. I had a taco salad with very little lettuce which is what I craved after eating sandwiches and snacks on our road trip. Tim a hard shell taco, cheese enchiladas, and a dinner salad instead of the beans. I think each of these came with shredded lettuce so he got plenty of greens (which he shared) : ) It might be awhile before we come back.

Monday night we found ourselves downtown looking at property so we stopped by the Hangar on the Wharf in the building that Tim's dad used to work in when it was Alaska Costal Airlines. We had some good beers (Zac they have Uqell and Artois here) and I had a BBQ beef rib and Tim had a filet. Both were good (mine was better) and cooked very well. I especially liked the steamed broccoli and the jalapeno potatoes au gratin. Just enough jalapeno to let you know its there. We were stuffed. This might be the best restaurant in town.

We had lunch out today at Donna's Restaurant - a near perfect replica of Sam's Sourdough Cafe. We had lunch but I think its probably the place to go for breakfast which we may do someday if we're around this neighborhood again.

We walked over to Jovany's Italian Restaurant where they serve Italian, Greek, Mexican, and Chinese. We decided to stick with the Italian since that's what the specials were. I think we chose well and we have enough for lunch tomorrow. I had the canniloni and Tim had Chicken Parm along with a salad bar (not the Turtle Club's salad bar but it was decent). Don't expect to get a nice glass of wine or an imported beer here. The pizza that other tables ordered looked good too. We'll come back again, I'm sure.

I'm looking forward to trying every eatery at least once!

Announcement for Tim's Job

There's an article in today's Juneau Empire about Tim's new position with Capitol One Broadcasting titled, "Backstage changes make room for 24-7 legislative programming" you can see it at Tim was pleased to see that they are looking forward to having him joining the action but now he's going to really have to do it!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Arriving in Juneau

The slush fell all night and it was pretty messy in Haines. Glad we made it when we did because we've heard that the pass was closed. Most of the snowgo guys were stuck and trying to get their rooms back for another night's stay.

There were white caps on the water and the wind was blowing. It didn't look like it was going to be a great boat ride but we had little choice. We got in line to get on the ferry and waited for about 45 minutes or so. As we were driving on the ferry you could see how rough the waves were - I was getting kind of nervous. After parking we grabbed our stuff and headed up to the passenger deck. We found seats in the front that were pretty comfortable. They had a monitor set up so you could see the map with the course plotted out and the headings. It was quite interesting. Plus it wasn't rough at all. It was a quick 2+ hours and we arrive in Auke Bay seeing a whale's tail and to sunshine and NO snow. It wasn't even slushy or wet. Things are looking up!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Haines Junction to Haines

So who would have thought that they actually close the entire highway for a race? We had $20 canadian so thought we use it for gas. We only had 150 miles to go so we didn't top it off (1st mistake). We had some snacks with us and planned to have a nice lunch in Haines (2nd mistake). We got to the highway and saw the road blockades set up with one lane open. The sign said, "Road Closed Saturday 9am to 4pm for Snowmachine Race." ok… it was 8:55am so we still had time, right. We saw another truck up ahead of us so we decided to follow along. What they heck we're in Canada. Were we just going to sit around in the car all day until 4pm waiting. I mean, "come on."

About 45 minutes away, right at Dezadeash Lake we came across 20+ trucks and large enclosed and other types of snogo trailers plus a few misc cars and suvs. It was obvious that the road was closed for some type of road race. Another truck pulled up and a guy and a small girl got out and started to suit up for winter. He told us that the snowgos should be coming from the border in about 1 1/2 hours and then they turn around and go back. At that point everyone follows them along to the finish line. The day had dawned clear and sunny and chilly at least -10 F. We decided to go back to Haines Junction, get gas and snacks and then come back out. We could hang out with the racers and other spectators and then get in line and follow them to the border. So we did.

There must have been about 45 racers along with 100s of pit crew people, various officials, and some spectators. We got on our survival gear and walked around for awhile watching them care for their machines. They must have had an hour or so for repairs and to wait for those who had break downs and didn't make it. A semi with a winch and about 6 machines was followed by a small bus (the special bus, I think) and an ambulance. They finally got it together and got lined up to head back to the border. The green flag was waved and away we all went.

We got in link between large trailers and followed the pilot car. It wasn't too bad and we were quickly speeding along. You have to figure that the racing snowgos were going at least 65 mph and you don't expect drivers who hang out with racing snowgoers to be too slow either plus we knew there wasn't going to be any oncoming traffic because the road was closed!

It was a beautiful drive and would have been spectacular if we had been allowed to be on our way as we planned earlier in the day. By the time we got to the pass the clouds had some it and it started to snow. It quickly became a white-out condition. The pass was so immense and so white. We finally got to the race finish and had to wait for several trailers to get loaded up. There's a lot of snow down there and the road was pretty narrow. Not sure why they didn't pick a spot in the road that had a wider pull off. Anyway we got to the US Customs and made our way through.

The road into Haines was pretty narrow, curvy, and snowy. It was a long afternoon in the car. We finally got into town, found the Captain's Choice Motel and had a beer. The motel was very nice, had a good view of the water and close to a couple of restaurants that were open. A lot of the snowgo guys were staying at the same place. Luckily it was pretty quiet and we had a good rest.

One way to be rememberd

is to leave town for months and forgetting your lunch in the staff refrigerator. I'm sure you'll remember me in a couple of weeks when the bean soup starts to grow. And I know how much Chris L likes to clean out the fridge. Sorry guys.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Leaving Fairbanks

goodbye little trees…we left Fairbanks about 7:30 am on Friday and drove, drove, drove. We made pretty good time because the road really was in pretty good condition. DOT has kept it plowed and the it was also really wide. If we had met anyone on the road there would have been plenty of room for all. We had thought we'd stay at Beaver Creek and am glad we didn't make a reservation because we got there at about 1:30. It would have been a looong night.

Once we passed over the border the road got really rutty with horrible frost heaves, some parts in gravel and some still paved. There were orange flags all over which kept us more aware of the bad spots. We figured that the Canadian DOT must have just put a bunch of flags in the back of a truck and however many flags fell out when going over a bad spot was how many they planted in the snow. I had to watch Tim while he was driving. The speed limit was 100 (kilometers per hour–not mph) .

We were able to get the CBC and spent several hours listening to their news, music and features. It was pretty entertaining. They took every opportunity to make fun of "The States" and a lot of the jokes were true.

Here's Tim at a pull off somewhere in the Yukon. You might notice the moving hat which is an Olson Family tradition.

Our second choice for lodging was at Lake Kluane at the Talbot Arms. We got there at about
4 pm (5 pm Canada) which was once again pretty early. It was about -15 F so we didn't think we'd be out walking around and didn't want to just sit around the room waiting for morning and we knew that Haines Junction was only about 1-2 hours away so we kept on going.

Lake Kluane is really big. We'd like to go back there in the summer and check it out - I'm thinking its really pretty. We got into Haines Junction at about 6 which worked out pretty well for us. We stayed at the Alcan Motel Inn which is a pretty new place. We only had a couple of choices and the 2nd choice had a lot of cars at it. We had a really nice, clean room that worked out just great. And it was really quiet. We pretty much spread out and relaxed.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

First posting

This is the first posting for this new blog to capture some of the events that occur during our upcoming move to Juneau. There are hopes to keep this going for awhile with descriptions of adventures, pictures, thoughts about moving, and some storytelling for family and friends who might be interested.