Saturday, August 22, 2015

What I Learned on the Deluxe Motor Coach

by Pa Rock
Traveling Fool

Yesterday we took a two-and-a-half hour bus ride from Anchorage to Seward where we boarded our cruise ship.  Actually, as the driver explained, it wasn’t a bus at all – but rather a “deluxe motor coach.”  The difference between a bus and a deluxe motor coach is apparently that the latter has a restroom.

Alaska roads, even major highways like the one we were on yesterday, are curvey and very rough.  The driver warned us to always have at least three “touch points” while moving about on the  deluxe motor coach while it was in motion.  She also suggested that the men who needed to use the facility during the trip do so while sitting down.  Eventually nature called, and I learned that sitting down was the only sensible solution to my bodily need – and even then it felt as though I was riding a bucking bull!

(My friend Kip has a twenty-one-year-old son who is a professional bull rider.    He is welcome to all of the fame and prize money he can grab!)

The driver, a very knowledgeable young lady, gave us a running commentary during the trip.  Among other facts we learned from her were these:

  • ·      One in sixty citizens of Alaska have a pilot’s license.
  • ·      There is a lake for landing seaplanes at the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage.  The wait time to acquire a permanent landing site on the lake is approximately eight years.
  • ·      Special “moose fences” line many of the roads and highways.  Most have “moose gates” which help to corral moose and keep them off of the highways. 
  • ·      Moose are very territorial and aggressive
  • ·      “Avalanche Gates” are also located along the roadways to help in keeping them open.  They are closed when the snow seems unstable, and then explosives are used to clear the accumulated snow.
  • ·      There are five types of Pacific salmon common to Alaska:  Chum (Dog), Sockeye (Red), King (Chinook), Silver (Cho), and Pink (Humpy)
  • ·      The record for a King Salmon was 97.5 pounds.
  • ·      There is a famous race in Seward every year on the Fourth of July.  It is called the “Mount Marathon” race.  Runners race to the top of a local mountain and then back down.  Last year’s record time was less than fifty minutes.
  • ·      Homer is the self-proclaimed Halibut fishing capital of the world.

 Interesting sites seen along the way:

  • ·      Wee B’s Burger and Fries
  • ·      A store whose name seemed to be “Pan for Gold”
  • ·      “Turnagin Arm”  An ocean inlet explored by captain James Cook as he was searching for a northwest passage.   Cook named it when his venture did not play out and he had to “turn again.”
  • ·      The Turnagain Arm Pit (a barbeque smokehouse)
  • ·      Moose Path  (a small town of about thirty people)
  • ·      Several “hanging” glaciers

I took other notes that I am unable to read.  (It’s hard to write well while sitting on a bucking bull!)

If your town has suddenly lost its oldest and most frail citizens, have no fear.  They are out here on this damned boat with me.  One rogue wave at just the right moment would save Social Security!

No comments: