Alaska rocks. Cruises suck. PART 3
June 5, 2014
Let’s get the fuck into this and no screwing around! ALRIGHT? ALRIGHT!!!!
Our last stop in Alaska… Skagway, Alaska. But we didn’t stay in Skagway too long because we ventured to Canada.
Take a wild fucking guess how early in the morning Danielle and I got up for day 5?
Did you guess 8 in the morning? BECAUSE YOU’RE FUCKING WRONG IF YOU GUESSED EIGHT IN THE MORNING!!!! Did you guess 7 in the morning? BECAUSE YOU’RE FUCKING WRONG IF YOU GUESSED SEVEN IN THE MORNING!!!! Did you guess 6 in the morning? DING DING DING! WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!!!
That’s right, we got up at 6 in the fucking morning on our VACATION for this excursion day. It should be illegal to wake up at 6 in the morning on your vacation. Illegal. They should arrest you and and whomever made you get up.
Honestly, we were probably up before 6 in the morning because of the torpedo sounds I mentioned yesterday, which started at some point between 5 and 6 am. I have no idea how these boats dock or what have you, but there has to be a better way than anything that involves torpedo sounds. It was like we were living in a foley artist’s wet dream sound stage for “Crimson Tide”. Not sure if that metaphor works, but I enjoyed mentioning foley artists. Foley artists are the idiots stabbing raw chicken with a butcher knife next to a 2 foot in diameter microphone to record all those gruesome sounds of someone getting knifed up in a movie. And they’re the same idiots knocking coconuts together to make the sound of horse hooves galloping. And for some reason, a lot of foley artists come from a dance background. Why? WHO THE FUCK KNOWS! I wish I fucking knew, but I don’t. I met a foley artist once who worked for Warner Bros. on a tour of Warner Bros. in Los Angeles and he said that surprising/confusing “fact” and I was the only person on the tour who found that fucking weird and wanted an answer, but the foley artist in question was such a weirdo he didn’t know how to interact with other human beings so he looked me dead in the eye and just shook off the question as if it didn’t happen and everyone else on the tour couldn’t have cared any less about this guy, so we just moved on to the next stop of the tour.
Back to Alaska, we get off the boat at that unGodly hour and we meet up with a couple of stoner looking dudes who lead us to… a row of brand new Jeep Wranglers.
This excursion may have been my favorite excursion. It’s really tough to tell since I really loved everything we did, but this was the only one where I actually did anything. I just sat in the plane, I sat on the boat, I sat in the golf cart as the dogs dragged me around, but on this excursion I sat in a car… a car that I got to drive! Wooooo!!! I drove a car in Alaska and in the Yukon country of Canada.
There were 14 brand new – less than 1000 miles – Jeep Wranglers and 40 some odd tourists and we were broken up among the jeeps to then drive 60 miles out and 60 miles back through some of the most redonkulous beautiful country I’ve ever seen and probably will ever see.
If you’re doing the math – and you should – that’s more people than jeeps and more than 2 people per jeep and more than 3 people per jeep. Two tour guides were jumping into the jeeps as well. So, let me just save you the trouble, it was roughly 4 people per jeep. Also, if you’re doing the math – Danielle and I only count as two people (regardless of the fact that I’m more or less two average sized humans sandwiched together to become one Voltron-like-sized human), so 2 doesn’t equal 4 and … I’m screwing this up.
WE WOULD HAVE TO SHARE A JEEP
When we looked at the guide book it mentioned that this was a possibility, but I didn’t really think about it too much because whatever. But after a few days of being on the cruise and a few days of me learning that I don’t like anyone on this cruise, when it came time to leave for this excursion the idea really started dawning on me that sharing a jeep with another cruise couple for 5 hours was going to be EXCRUCIATING.
We get on the bus and none of the couples on the bus looked like people I would want to be on a bus with let alone stuck in a tiny ass jeep with. And listen folks, as mentioned with my enormity, I’m not built to sit in the back of a Jeep Wrangler. So, I was getting awfully worried how this was going to pan out.
The jeep guide started pairing couples off to get into the jeeps and I thought _dharv and I were going to end up in a jeep with this middle-aged couple who looked quite joyless and the husband was wearing a Philadelphia Flyers hat. I was thinking I was going to try and start a conversation I suppose about the Flyers hat. Maybe he’s from Philadelphia, I went to school in Philadelphia. Maybe he’s from South Jersey, we’re from New Jersey. It’s all going to suck, but I could try to find some common…
WAIT A SECOND! The jeep guide paired that idiot couple off with the other idiot couple that’s from Texas. AMAZING! You know why that’s amazing! THEY WERE THE ONLY PEOPLE LEFT!!!!
DANIELLE AND I GOT OUR OWN JEEP!!!!
It’s pretty fucking easy to tell how ecstatic I am in this picture about how this fortunate turn of events played out. Right? Ok, honestly, I see that I’m not really much of a smiler in pictures, but I’m happy. Ok! I am or was. Also, I didn’t want to do a touchdown dance celebration when he gave us our own jeep thinking the dude would find the celebration not tasteful and then stuff us into a jeep with dirtbag smoker guy who we found out later drove like an idiot … AND… was also from Texas. So, I kept it low key as I do and just quietly celebrated in my head.
So, there we were. Danielle and I comfortably seated in our own jeep with no need to make small talk with two idiots we’ve never met before nor cared enough about that if they got lost in the Yukon country forever that as mentioned we wouldn’t care about it. It was great having the jeep to ourselves. I got to drive with no worry about some dillhole asking me for his turn to drive or her turn to drive and Danielle got to take a billion pictures of all the ridiculous scenery and we got to say the ridiculous things we say when we’re around each other and no one else is listening and we also got to listen to music that we wanted to listen to without worrying about the other morons and their thoughts.
We pretty much just tooled around Alaska and Canada and it was amazing.
We made a few stops to take these majestic pictures of scenery and… one time…
A MOOSE!!!! That moose was actually really close to the cars. It charged at us and the tour guide was quite scared and the people taking photographs didn’t seem scared considering they probably didn’t think that a moose was fast or much of a charging animal, but they are.
We stopped to grab some food as well in a town called Carcross out in the middle of nowhere in Canada…
So, it was a fun drive. We drove the 60 miles from Skagway to Carcross and had a picnic and coffee. The tour guides on the drive kept in touch with all the drivers via CB radios that each Jeep had. And because we went into Canada, we had to have our passports and had to go through border patrol and so forth. I mean it took 2 seconds, but we did it. And with that…
LET’S START A JEEP TOUR POT SMUGGLING RING!!!!
Buy a bunch of Jeep Wranglers, hire a bunch of college kids, do these tours for 6 months or so, and establish yourselves as a legitimate jeep tour company. THEN! Start loading a few of the jeeps with weed in Carcross where it appeared there may be 10 people who live in the town and 3 of them are the women who run this hippie coffee shop, which served really nice gluten free muffins and cookies. Not that I give a shit about gluten free, but I do give a lot of shits about cookies and muffins. Anyway, load the jeeps with pot and then drive them right over the border – which takes half a second and is manned by a man who looked to have the wit and body of Homer Simpson – and then I guess do something with the pot once it is in Alaska. I don’t know! Get a floatplane and fly it somewhere else. It’s in the US. If that’s the difficult part then I’ve solved that for you.
Just think about it. It seems like it’s a rock solid business plan.
Besides the cookies, the weed, and the jeeps and all that, there is one other story from Carcross and it involves this magnificent dog…
LOOK AT THAT DOG!!!!!
So, I got some coffee from the three ladies and it was good and I had mentioned to Danielle they also have muffins and cookies. So, she went into the the three ladies’ shop and picked out a muffin that she wanted. I said I would wait in line and so forth and she could go back to the jeep. I get the muffin and the cookie for myself and I leave the three ladies’ coffee shop and I see Danielle.
Danielle says to me with a big bubbly smile on her face that she just pet this dog. And I look to my right and I see the dog in the picture in the bed of the truck and it’s just staring right at me and it’s like 5 feet from. So, in my head, I’m like, “Danielle just pet that dog. I’ll go pet that dog.” And I take a step toward the dog in the truck with my hand out like I’m going to pet the dog and the dog moves toward me in the truck wagging its tail with its head down in a submissive way and that’s when…
DANIELLE GOES APE SHIT!!!
NO!!!! She screams. DON’T PET THAT DOG!!! She yells. NO!!!! She screams once more. All of a sudden, Danielle is in a terrifying horror movie and I don’t understand why. But I’m like inches from the dog, so I look at Danielle with a completely confused face and continue to move toward the dog, the dog who is 150% on board with me petting it, while Danielle continues to amplify as if I was about to fall into a pit of lava or about to open a door that separated me and Freddy Krueger. Danielle yells JORDAN!!! THE OWNER!?!?!?!! THE OWNER’S NOT THERE!!! WHAT ABOUT THE OWNER!!?!?!??!!?!!! And, I’m thinking, “Uh, who gives a shit? I’ll pet the dog. It’ll take two seconds and then I’ll leave and the owner won’t know a thing.”
So, I pet the dog despite Danielle’s incredible protests to do otherwise. I then make my way over to Danielle where she is not happy with me. And, I’m like, “What’s the big deal? You pet the dog. Why couldn’t I pet the dog?” Then Danielle explains that the dog she pet wasn’t that dog, but some dog that appeared and disappeared before I showed up from the coffee shop and it just so happened that there was another dog in that truck who she was taking a picture of when I showed up. Oh.
It didn’t make much sense, but it was funny and I really hope someone else from the tour saw all of that play out because it was a dramatic and tense and vocal 8 seconds of life.
Moving on, Danielle does take some great pictures. We can all agree on that.
This is Emerald lake and it’s fucking beautiful.
Also, something nuts that we saw near Carcross…
Is this desert.
I don’t understand it, but there’s a fucking desert all of a sudden outside of Carcross. It’s crazy. It’s sand and hills and sand and it’s weird and amazing.
So, we drive 60 miles out and 60 miles back and I was fucking beat after that drive.
We got back to Skagway and we ducked into the Skagway Brewery where we tasted each of the micro-breweries beers, had some burgers which were excellent, and I purchased my only souvenirs from there – two pint glasses and a trucker hat with Skagway Brewery logos on them.
We walked around Skagway some and Danielle bought a Christmas ornament, but we were super tired so we headed back to the ship a little earlier than we had to. Not much earlier, but a little bit. The boat left the dock at 5pm and the next time we were going to be on dry land was… 7pm TWO DAYS LATER!!!!!!
At fucking sea, again.
For 48 hours, we didn’t step foot on dry land and that’s fucking intense and I wouldn’t recommend it.
This day at sea at least wasn’t met with me being sea sick, but I was certainly SICK OF THE FUCKING SEA. We had left Alaska and we were going to make a brief stop in Victoria, British Colombia, Canada and then we would be back in Seattle the day after. So, for the most part, the only thing that was left for us to sit through were THREE MORE FUCKING NIGHTS OF SHIT SLEEP ON THIS FUCKING CRUISE SHIP. THAT’S INSANE!!!!
We ended up watching Game of Thrones and Veep the night before and we had decided to not eat dinner in the main dining room because we ate a big late lunch in Skagway. But with this day at sea, Danielle and I did get dressed up again and head to the Grand Epernay dining room for the second “formal night”.
As for our day at sea, it was a waste of time. We walked around the boat just looking at shit and sitting for a time and then getting up and walking somewhere else. Everyone on the ship had lost their luster. Everyone looked bored and over this. The insanity at the bars had died down and it was a lot quieter everywhere. We honestly didn’t even see that many people where ever we went on the boat. It was as if everyone was asleep or they got left in Skagway.
The formal night dining experience did end up with Danielle and I eating with our tablemates R & P again. And we talked about our excursions and I think we talked about Ambien again. P hadn’t been on a cruise before I think, but R was a big cruiser and she kept saying how great this cruise was – the food, the entertainment, the amenities – which really put the nail in the coffin of me ever going on a different cruise. The food was whatever. The entertainment sucked. The amenities? What amenities?! A functioning toilet? All the Purell I could ever dream of?! Because that’s really all we got.
Day 6 was forgettable and so was…
The day itself was forgettable. We did what we did the day before as far as walking around the boat and trying to entertain ourselves by people watching, but that’s all I really remember of that day.
As far as the night, we eventually docked at like 6pm and it was a fucking clusterfuck to get off the boat. There was a line that went through the entire ship to get people off the boat. That was really the only time I saw some different people and I wasn’t thankful for it.
But we got off the boat in Victoria, so we could catch dinner with another couple who I’ve only ever known online. The guy is another MMA/UFC writer who I’ve talked quite a lot with online, but have never met in person and the girl is his very nice wife who is a nurse in her own right. They took us out for dinner and we stuffed ourselves with poutine on French fries and meat sandwiches and several beers.
We got to stretch our legs, I got to talk some cagefighting, and we got to tell some of our horror stories from the boat outloud and proud.
It was too bad we were only there for a couple of hours, so we grabbed dinner and that’s about it. They drove us around Victoria a little bit, which seemed lovely. They’ve got Christmas lights on their capital building year round I believe.
And then we had to get back on the fucking boat!
We went back to our cabin and crashed, so that we could get up at 6am the next day…
GET US OFF THIS FUCKING BOAT!!!!
The boat docked at 7am and we got off the boat at some point after that and it took us forever to get a cab because these people are fucking idiots. I don’t know who was “in charge” of the cab line, but they were the absolute worst people to be in charge of it. Anyway… first world problems.
As for a brief overview of our time in Seattle, which we spent the weekend in…
We met some more online people who were excellent people and we got beer with them and pizza and we went to a baseball game with them…
We went to Pike’s market and ate at a great luncheonette kind of place called THREE GIRLS BAKERY. And we ate donuts and we walked around smelling flowers and we went to the Space Needle and at the Space Needle there is the Chihuly “Garden and Glass” art exhibit, which was fucking fantastic…
That’s all blown glass. And there are several more rooms of enormous blown glass sculptures and then there’s a bunch of it outside as well and they’re all fucking nuts. It’s all so stupidly over the top impressive that you’re just like … well, this Chihuly guy is simply better than me.
Danielle even humored me that evening and went to a bar in Seattle to watch the UFC 174 pay-per-view.
We had a nice lowkey weekend in Seattle as Danielle and I tried to recover from our new found dizzy spells from being on the boat and we caught a cold on this trip, so we were both runny nose sick in Seattle.
And we eventual flew back to New Jersey and we got to see Coco for the first time in 11 days and I nearly cried when I saw her.
GO TO ALASKA!!!!
If you like cruises, if you can stand being on them and enjoy them, then take an Alaskan cruise.
From what I heard from other cruisers, this was a great cruise in comparison to other cruises. Alaska is fucking great and the cruise was apparently great to cruise goers, so it’s a no-brainer to take an Alaskan cruise if you like cruising.
If you don’t like cruises then figure out a plane flight to get there. Fly to Seattle or Victoria or Vancouver or where ever and fly up to Alaska or fly straight to Alaska. It’s worth it. We didn’t get to see Anchorage and Fairbanks and a bunch of other stuff and I wouldn’t mind going back there at all to do more in Alaska. And, the excursions are available to people who aren’t from a cruise boat. Anyone can do these excursions that we did with or without the stupid cruise.
Going to Alaska made me understand Sarah Palin even less.
I know I only went to three towns in Alaska and I didn’t talk a whole hell of a lot to any of the Alaskans, but from what I could see and what I heard – those people were not Palin people. Those people didn’t even seem to be Republican. They seemed to be nature people. They seemed to be hippie people almost. Everything up there was gluten free or organic this and so on and so forth. I can’t imagine that those tree lovers were at all comfortably represented by the “Barracuda” who was shown once shooting wolves with high powered rifles from a helicopter. I’m pretty sure Palin was an outlier in that world.
If I had to make a real guess as to where Palin comes from… she’s the only one who really wanted it.
The people that we came across, they weren’t up in Alaska by accident. They removed themselves from the context of a typical American society to live amongst the trees and the animals out there in Alaska. The idea that one of them would be enticed to want to be apart of the Washington D.C. political machine would be wildly out of character for the people that we met or saw. I feel like Palin was one of the very few with political aspirations in that area and more so political aspirations to be anything but an Alaskan resident.
Palin is a celebrity. And that’s what her goal was. That’s a lot of politicians’ goals to be a public figure. This is my opinion, but I think if you’re in Alaska – generally you’re not vying to be a public figure and Palin was one of the very few that was. So, she had the ambition to do something that most of the people in that area don’t have or want.
I don’t care enough to look at what Alaska’s voter turnout is. I don’t care enough because Palin didn’t care enough to even be the governor for her full term. If she doesn’t care then I certainly don’t care to investigate this much further. But I feel like voter turnout can’t be great, just like America’s turnout as a whole isn’t great. And in that, if you want to be a politician in Alaska it’s probably pretty fucking easy to be one because no one else wants to be one. Everyone else is too busy hiking and eating smoked salmon.
Also, I mean Palin was elected in a midterm year… zing!
I loved Alaska. I found the place to be gorgeous. I found the people to be friendly and proud of their state and their beautiful world they live in a quiet and enviable way. I also found it to be a place people sought out instead of ended up. It’s also expensive. Everything has to be shipped up there for the most part, so food wasn’t cheap in Alaska.
I’d recommend it through and through and I’m very happy I went. It was definitely a place I always thought of going and thought I would end up there much later in life. Now, I’m turning 31 in a week and I’ve been to two glaciers in my life and would’ve never expected it to be that way.
Thanks for reading.
I love you.