Vacation Sagas

2005 Alaska Cruise

A Chilling Summer Vacation

Pre-Cruise College Fjord / Glacier Bay Skagway Juneau Ketchican At Sea / Post-Cruise

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 Skagway

When everyone awoke they found themselves docked at Skagway.

Donna and Jane took a tour called the Best of Skagway where they enjoyed a barbecued lunch at Caribou Crossing Trading Post, then strolled through the Wildlife Gallery to see mounted birds and mammals indigenous to the Yukon.

Sherry and Steve took the full day Yukon Expedition & White Pass Scenic Railway tour. It was a combination of two tours, Experience the Yukon and White Pass Scenic Railway. This tour allowed them to experience the beauty of the legendary White Pass Trail of '98 from different perspectives. Their adventure began aboard a deluxe motor coach that took them along the Trail of '98 to the White Pass summit and beyond to Canada's Yukon. After cresting the White Pass summit, travel through Tormented Valley and visit the village of Carcross near Lake Bennett. They enjoyed a tasty barbecued lunch at Caribou Crossing Trading Post, visited the Wildlife Gallery, and saw interesting exhibits of wildlife native to the region before departing for a ride aboard the historic White Pass & Yukon Route railroad back to Skagway.


Bonney, Mary Ann, Linda and Rudy opted for the shorter White Pass Scenic Railway tour. They traveled 65 miles by deluxe motor coach into Canada's Yukon. After passing through Skagway, the train climbed along the White Pass Trail of '98. Photo stops allowed them to fully enjoy the surrounding mountains, waterfalls and glaciers.

White Pass Sign. Conductor.
We're ready for our train trip.

Tickets, please.
Linda and Rudy on the train. Between the cars.
Linda and Rudy.

Mary Ann goes outside to cool off.
Crossing the river.
Crossing the river.

Rather than going over the old bridge, the train took the tunnel, then crossed from the U.S. into Canada. The riders were not allowed to get off the train in Canada. Passports and all that, you know.

Old bridge. Our train going into tunnel.
Old bridge.

Yes, this is part of the train they're riding on.

Crossing the border.
Crossing from the U.S. to Canada.

When the train reached the mountain top, it was behind another train that was just descending. The other riders were all doing what was identified as a "moose wave", sticking their thumbs on their heads above their ears and waving fingers as they passed. Later, back on the ship, Linda and Bonney demonstrated for the others.

At the end, they moved the engine from one end of the train to the other for the descent.

Moving the engine. Going back down.
Moving the engine.
Going back down the mountain.

Rudy managed to see a bear right beside the tracks in the woods on their way back down.

As usual, Linda and Bonney were in the wrong place to see the bear.

Bear sighting. Bear beware.
Rudy saw his bear about where the X is...that close to the train. Bear crossing?

During the entire trip as the train climbed up the mountain, the guides suggested the tourists look for the big white mountain goats that look a little like sheep. There were many sightings of large white "rocks" but everyone was told if they weren't moving, they couldn't be identified as goats!

After the train returned to Skagway, Linda and Mary Ann did a little shopping.

Mary Ann and Linda Shop.
Shopping is a favorite pastime. Mary Ann and Linda were practicing to become experts.

Bonney's second tour was a Gold Fever Adventure. None of the others went with her, but that's okay. She found only a few more specs of gold than Rudy had.

White Pass Sign. Gold Dredge.
Gold Dredge guide. Dredge shovels.
The guide for the Gold Dredge tour.

Huge shovels dig up dirt as the whole enclosure inches it's way along the river.

Panning demonstration. Panning demonstration.
One of those "catch and release" guys demonstrated how to pan for gold.

Gold comparison.
Gold comparison.

After the train ride, Rudy went on a Horseback Riding Adventure tour by himself (and other strangers from the ship). He visited the former site of a gold rush boom town and explored one of Alaska's most breathtaking valleys on horseback. His journey began in the back country wilderness of Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park. As he was on his gentle horse, ready to explore the original town site of Dyea, he heard a "plop" and looked down to find his digital camera had fallen into a pile and puddle of horse manure. His guide did her best to help him clean it off, but by the end of the day, after returning to the ship, and the camera had "dried", the best he could do was get half of a photo because the aperture wouldn't open all the way...and the camera still smelled! Since a professional clean up would cost a lot, this gave Rudy a great excuse to purchase a new camera when he returned home. To assure this action, he threw the stinky camera away!

He tells the story this way, "Since I was an experienced rider, I got the biggest horse. But as I was getting comfortable in the saddle, I heard a "PLOP" sound. I felt my pockets, jacket, and shirt but I knew what had happened. I dreaded looking down. I asked the guide to pick it up for me and she did—very gingerly. I cleaned it as well as I could.

The area we went to was just fantastic. Rode near a stream surrounded by mountains. But unfortunately, Kodak cameras are not urea and horse manure proof! Back at the boat, I tried to clean it again and this time asked Linda if she had any perfume to mask the "beautiful horse odor". No one wanted to smell the camera to see if this technique worked (it didn't). Horse manure, urea, and perfume—a new perfume in the making? So, now I am in the process of looking for a new camera.

Rudy's horse photos would have gone here!


In Bonney's opinion, no cruise ship is complete unless it has an ice cream bar. She and Mary Ann were indulging when Mary Ann asked to take a picture of her and Sherry with Bonney's camera. It must have had a low battery because Mary Ann couldn't get the photo to take. After pushing the button a few times with no response, Mary Ann turned the camera up to look into the lens...just as the flash went off. Sherry and Bonney's laughed so hard....

Mary Ann's ice cream. Sherry and Bonney.
Mary Ann.
Sherry and Bonney.

Mary Ann and Linda took their tour called Tea At Jewell Gardens. They were to discover the "Garden City of Alaska" while exploring historic Skagway and relaxing with a cup of tea and homemade treats at the charming Jewell Gardens which was the original site of the Clark family farm in 1898. They enjoyed tea service on the open sun porch with a view of brilliantly colored northern flowers, savored tea, coffee and mint lemonade along with inventive culinary treats such as nasturtium and herbed cream cheese tea sandwiches, calendula quiche, carrot cake and ruby begonia bars. The fresh, organic ingredients for their meal were picked daily from the edible landscape surrounding them. Then they toured the immaculately groomed herb, flower and vegetable gardens and the elaborate miniature railroad display depicting Skagway as it looked in 1898.

Linda said, "We ate some dainty flower delicacies."

Linda and the flowers. Mary Ann and the flowers.
Linda and Mary Ann get up close to the blossoms.

Each drank a cup of tea and had a refill. Then the "goodies" were served. When they went outside, more goodies were enjoyed while they toured the gardens. Linda claims they got "stuck" in a raspberry patch, eating the hopefully sweet morsels.

Mary Ann and Linda have tea. Mary Ann looks around.
Mary Ann and Linda have Tea at Jewell Gardens.
Mary Ann loves flowers.

They claimed they didn't coordinate their outfits and that it was just coincidental that they chose red hats to wear when they sat down for tea.

Linda looks at the flower beds. Linda with the blue flowers.
Checking out the flower beds.
Patriotic Linda. Red, white, and blue.

Among the flowers. At the Gardens
Mary Ann and Linda.
At the Gardens.

Mary Ann and Linda's tour ended in town to do some shopping. It was cooincidental that Bonney's Gold Dredge Tour stopped at a store that the others were just getting ready to go into.

While Linda was shopping in Skagway, she had Rudy's credit card. As she checked out with her basket full of items, the cashier asked for a photo ID. Linda ended up walking back to the ship to get her driver's license and returning to get her purchases. This was no short hike.

Linda and Bonney show Mary Ann the moose wave.

Train moose wave.
The train moose wave.

The group did a lot of scenery viewing, as several people had brought binoculars. On one particular occasion, Mary Ann was sitting on her bed, using hers to look out the open glass door. Linda, who was visiting, commented that Mary Ann still had a cover on one of the lenses of her binoculars. Mary Ann didn't miss a beat, responding that her glass was half full rather than half empty. More laughing.

And then, goodness, it was time to eat, AGAIN!

Jane and Donna ready for dinner.
Jane and Donna on their way to the dining room.

Sherry. Steve.

Steve fell in love on the escargot night. Four orders, just for him!

Bonney. Rudy and Linda.
Bonney dines.
Rudy and Steve ordered two shrimp cocktail appetizer dishes each, at every meal. Linda watched him eat his.

It's been said there is an abundance of men in Alaska. Girls who've checked them out, conjured up the saying, which Mary Ann repeated, "The rule of thumb for Alaskan men is catch and release!" This photo is evidence.

The lumberjack.
The lumberjack, Mary Ann, and the salloon girl!

Much later that night, Bonney took pictures of the cabin to show the roominess which was everywhere but the shower. It must have been designed by a man because there was no way for anyone to shave their legs.

Bonney and Mary Ann's cabin. Bonney and Mary Ann's cabin..
View toward the balcony from the front door.

View toward the front door from the balcony door.

Bonney and Mary Ann's cabin. Bonney and Mary Ann's cabin.
An immediate right turn takes you to the open closet and bathroom door.

Tiny bathroom. The suites have separate tubs and larger showers (hint, hint).

Bonney and Mary Ann's cabin. Bonney and Mary Ann's cabin..
On the left side of the door.

On the right side of the door.

Bonney and Mary Ann's cabin. Bonney and Mary Ann's cabin.
The desk by the balcony sliding glass doors.
The twin beds (that can be arranged together for couples). Is that Mary Ann sleeping over there?

The Princess Patter (the daily guide to cruise activities) had announced, "TODAY ONLY! - Warm yourself up with a nice bowl of Caribou Chili or Rockfish Chowder." Linda, Mary Ann and Rudy decided to head for the Lido deck and try some. After having a big breakfast, Linda tried both the reindeer chili and the chowder. Then she had a big lunch, and then a little later she had afternoon tea. Needless to say , Linda never made it to dinner that evening. On the way to eat, she got sick and returned to her cabin. Concerned, Rudy accompanied her. The remaining diners thought she was sick from drinking red wine and mixing it with white wine and then they remembered all the food tasting. Whatever the problem, it was dubbed "Rudolph's revenge!" Linda is one of those people who thinks that if you pay for food, then you must eat it; and she sometimes ends up "paying" for it in a different way.

Continue for more of the saga...

Pre-Cruise College Fjord / Glacier Bay Skagway Juneau Ketchican At Sea / Post-Cruise