Whew! What a long two weeks I've had! First, finishing up the internship in Idaho (which involved lots of paperwork and cleaning) and saying my goodbyes, then spending a week and a half on the road, en route to Sitka. Mike, one of the SCA guys from the Boston area, was moving to Seattle, so he gave me a ride to the big city. First, though, we stopped in Missoula, Montana for two nights and I stayed with my friend Shane, who is always the most gracious host. I also left my big ol' elk skull with him. He plans to clean and mount it for me this winter and take good care of it, and I'll be back in a year or two to pick it up from him, if all goes according to 'plan.' Which, of course, it never does.
But Missoula was a lot of fun, I met up with a bunch of guys from the Forest Service I'd worked with over the summer, went to the KettleHouse Brewery, ate the usual Missoula fish tacos, and got my hair cut. It was icy, bitterly cold while we were there--down to the single digits at night, 45-mile-an-hour wind gusts, and on top of it all, five inches of fresh snow!
After Missoula, Mike and I drove seven hours to Seattle, and I stayed the first night in his sister's apartment, which has got to be the smallest apartment I've ever seen in my life. There wasn't even a door on the bathroom. So the next morning, Mike brought me to the Green Tortoise Hostel, smack dab in the middle of downtown Seattle, right across from Pike's Place Market and the original Starbucks. It was a FANTASTIC hostel. For $30 a night, I got a clean, comfortable bed, a place to lock up all my stuff, free full breakfast (pancakes, eggs, fruit, coffee, etc), and free dinner three times a week. The free dinners were a great time to meet up with fellow travelers and inevitably ended up with everyone going out to the bars afterwards. So I had a grand time livin' it up in the big city with a cast of Australians, Kiwis, Irish, Scotch, Canadians and Americans. And during the day, I wandered all over the city, saw the sites, shopped a bit, people watched, ocean watched, and spent more money than I have all summer long. But I deserved it :)
Also, I fulfilled my mission to try Geoduck ("gooey-dock"), the giant clam of Puget Sound! The necks of these babies are nearly a foot long, and taste like a cross between squid and steamers. I'd seen them on the Food Network and wanted desparately to try one, but tried 15 restuarants in vain before I finally found a tiny, out-of-the-way Chinese place in the International District that had geoduck on its menu. Hurray!
After five nights in Seattle, I took an early morning train up the coast to Bellingham, WA, right on the Canadian border. The train ride was beautiful, hugging the water the entire time, with the towering white peaks of the Olympic Mountains rising across the bay. Then I spent a night in Bellingham tucked away in a quiet little Motel Six room on a strip of fast food joints that had me yearning for the convenience and character of Seattle--although downtown Bellingham was awesome--and left the next morning for the ferry terminal, where I sat all day in the pouring rain waiting for four o'clock so I could board.
I slept super late this morning, so I've gotta go run a few errands and get some stuff done while it's still light out, but I'll report on my amaaaaazing three-day ferry ride up the Alaskan Inside Passage and my arrival in Sitka--with lots more pictures--later tonight. XOXOXO