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Travelogue - 09/03/04                                                                                                                               Links to all Travelogue pages


A pair of bald eagles works the shallow waters along my beach. One flies off with a silver salmon in his talons, lands on the antenna tower a hundred yards behind me and tucks into his supper. Black bears snatch fish from a stream that empties at the other end of the beach, near where the plane crashed. A stone's throw from the shore a harbor seal pokes his head up near a group of sea birds, then dives again. Father out on the bay a humpback whale blows and sounds, flashing his tail like a lazy peace sign as the sun slips behind the mountains on the far shore. Another day in the life. Things are pretty much as I imagine they have always been here, except that my RV is parked in the midst of it.

Click on any photo to enlarge it.

I'm living in the Alaskan fjord called Resurrection Bay, surrounded by forested mountains and retreating glaciers. My six-wheeled "cabin" rests on a broad, rocky beach facing south towards the mouth of the bay. Continuing on from there it's 2,500 miles across the Pacific to Hawaii. Part of me longs to set sail in that direction. The rest of me is supremely content right where I am.

This beach, known locally as Fourth of July Beach, has been my home for a couple of weeks now. I generally stay a few days at a time, a hermit in paradise, then drive 8 miles into Seward to pick up supplies, empty and top off my RV's tanks, log onto the Internet to send and receive emails, and cruise back out to my beach. Think of it as alternative lifestyle commuting.

At home I work at various projects - writing, fiddling with digital photographs, preparing the RV for its fast-approaching winter storage, batting stones with a fat stick and yelling "home run!" whenever I lob one into the surf 50' away. Sometimes I just stop and look around me and I am in awe. My heart fills and my eyes water and I think, "My God, this is so beautiful." 

In fact, that's something I've been doing a lot these past months. It would be impossible to overstate the beauty, the grandeur and the soul-stirring impact of the lands through which I've been traveling. From the Outer Banks to Denali, wherever people are least in evidence, nature's creation is showcased and I am continually blown away by it. As I wrap up this summer's road trip, this drive about, bear with me while I review (all right, show off) some of the better photographs I've taken along the way:

This last shot is the winner of my recent photo contest.

Last week I spent another 36 hours in Anchorage, where I finished applying to the Coast Guard for my captain's license renewal and ran some errands. As before, I was glad to finish and get out of there, back to more natural surroundings.

Camped on Fourth of July Beach once again, I compounded and waxed my entire RV. That was a workout and a half. Just washing it clean for the first time in 6 months and 13,000 miles was an ordeal. I spread out the work over a few days, breaking it up with some writing projects. For example, I got invited to write a short chapter for a book about using computers in cars & RV's. (Click here if you'd like to read what I wrote, then use your browser's Back button to return to this page.)

Oh, I stopped by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) office when I was in Anchorage and asked them if they'd like to hire me to write and photograph back-country stuff for them next summer. My friend, John Nelson, gave me the idea. He did some work for them a long time ago and got to fly all over the Alaskan bush country in a small plane. I can think of worse ways to spend a summer. What the hell, you never know if you don't ask.

My mother wrote me saying she is worried about me out here among all these bears and moose. I wrote back saying, "I haven't seen any bears or moose at all in Alaska outside of the Denali National Park. I hear about them a lot, but they seem to do a good job of avoiding people most of the time. Whenever I approach blind curves and dense thickets in the woods, I call out and clap my hands a couple of times. Most bears and moose will move away if they hear a human approaching. The key is not to surprise them. Unfortunately, making noise also frightens away all the other wildlife. Good thing the scenery is so spectacular."

In any case, all I have to do is survive the next 30 days up here and then I won't have to deal with that particular threat again until next year. Of course, I'll still have to contend with terrorists on the commercial airlines flights, muggers in New York, and all those inbred sheep in New Zealand. If I make it back to Thailand this winter, as I hope to for a month or two, I should at last be safe there for a while among the kindly, smiling Buddhists - except for AIDS and the opium smugglers in the northern hills. 

Now that I think about it, life is a pretty dangerous place, isn't it? I mean, a guy would be lucky to get out of here alive.

Next Entry: 09/20/04


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