Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A day of firsts!

I scored my first job interview today! I go in on Thursday morning. Wish me luck!

We awoke this morning to the first snow of the season in Juneau! It's been snowing since the early morning, and it's light and fluffy snow. Dent has been doing reasonably well, but I did have a little bit of a fishtailing moment this afternoon. Sue and Larry have an extra set of studded tires they're going to let me put on Dent for the winter. Even though I just got a new set of tires that are well-rated for snow, I'm sure I need studs. The road the house is on is 6 miles long and pretty windy so I don't really feel like ending up in one of the ditches... or the Gastineau Channel for that matter.

Walking my auntie's dog on Auke Bay

Denali the Dog

I'm also a LEGIT Alaskan now! I finally got my first (and second) pair of XtraTuf boots. All self-respecting Alaskans have a pair of these ugly brown and tan neoprene boots to deal with the conditions here. There's been a bit of controversy surrounding the manufacturing of XtraTufs lately. They now have most of the boots produced in China, and the quality has supposedly gone way way down. Depending on the style (insulated or not, steel toe or not, etc), these boots set you back $75-$125 a pair so high quality should be an automatic. I met a guy from Fairbanks this summer who had worn the pair he got in high school for 10 years, but his replacements sprung leaks very quickly. I went to three stores today looking for Made in USA boots, but I was unsuccessful. With a little luck, they've fixed the problems because of the public outcry. Don't mess with Alaskans and their boots, I guess. 

My "Alaska Sneakers" and Classic XtraTufs





Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tsunami Warning!

Even though I've lived near the sea most of my life, this is a new one for me. We're currently under a tsunami warning after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake hit off the coast in British Columbia (about 400 miles south of Juneau). While we didn't feel the earthquake here at the house, a friend of mine in Petersburg, Alaska did- and quite well. I wonder if others in Juneau were able to feel it. This house is built into the side of a steep slope- perhaps it's harder to feel tremors?

We'll definitely be fine here in the house- we're quite a ways up from the water. I wish it were light out so we could see if anything is happening here or not. It's unlikely much will happen here in Juneau. I just hope all the boats in the harbors are okay.

My poor aunt and uncle are in Seattle right now, and they received a call from a friend who told them the 7.7 magnitude earthquake had struck Juneau. She called and said, "Sooooo, is everything okay there?" They were quite relieved to hear that they had received some misinformation.

Emergency Broadcast System Alert

Official tsunami warning from NOAA...


000
WEAK51 PAAQ 280334
TSUAK1

BULLETIN
PUBLIC TSUNAMI MESSAGE NUMBER 2
NWS WEST COAST/ALASKA TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER PALMER AK
834 PM PDT SAT OCT 27 2012

THE MAGNITUDE IS UPDATED TO 7.7.  THE WARNING ZONE REMAINS THE
SAME.

...THE TSUNAMI WARNING CONTINUES IN EFFECT FOR THE COASTAL
   AREAS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA AND ALASKA FROM THE NORTH TIP OF
   VANCOUVER ISLAND BRITISH COLUMBIA TO CAPE DECISION
   ALASKA/LOCATED 85 MILES SE OF SITKA/...

...THIS MESSAGE IS INFORMATION ONLY FOR COASTAL AREAS OF
   CALIFORNIA - OREGON - WASHINGTON AND BRITISH COLUMBIA FROM
   THE CALIFORNIA-MEXICO BORDER TO THE NORTH TIP OF VANCOUVER
   ISLAND BRITISH COLUMBIA...

...THIS MESSAGE IS INFORMATION ONLY FOR COASTAL AREAS OF
   ALASKA FROM CAPE DECISION ALASKA/LOCATED 85 MILES SE OF
   SITKA/ TO ATTU ALASKA...

A TSUNAMI WARNING MEANS... ALL COASTAL RESIDENTS IN THE WARNING
AREA WHO ARE NEAR THE BEACH OR IN LOW-LYING REGIONS SHOULD MOVE
IMMEDIATELY INLAND TO HIGHER GROUND AND AWAY FROM ALL HARBORS AND
INLETS INCLUDING THOSE SHELTERED DIRECTLY FROM THE SEA. THOSE
FEELING THE EARTH SHAKE... SEEING UNUSUAL WAVE ACTION... OR THE
WATER LEVEL RISING OR RECEDING MAY HAVE ONLY A FEW MINUTES BEFORE
THE TSUNAMI ARRIVAL AND SHOULD MOVE IMMEDIATELY. HOMES AND
SMALL BUILDINGS ARE NOT DESIGNED TO WITHSTAND TSUNAMI IMPACTS.
DO NOT STAY IN THESE STRUCTURES.

ALL RESIDENTS WITHIN THE WARNED AREA SHOULD BE ALERT FOR
INSTRUCTIONS BROADCAST FROM THEIR LOCAL CIVIL AUTHORITIES.
EARTHQUAKES OF THIS SIZE ARE KNOWN TO GENERATE TSUNAMIS.

AT 804 PM PACIFIC DAYLIGHT TIME ON OCTOBER 27 AN EARTHQUAKE WITH
PRELIMINARY MAGNITUDE 7.7 OCCURRED 25 MILES/40 KM SOUTH OF
SANDSPIT BRITISH COLUMBIA.
EARTHQUAKES OF THIS SIZE ARE KNOWN TO GENERATE TSUNAMIS.
IF A TSUNAMI HAS BEEN GENERATED THE WAVES WILL FIRST REACH
LANGARA ISLAND BRITISH COLUMBIA AT 916 PM PDT ON OCTOBER 27.
ESTIMATED TSUNAMI ARRIVAL TIMES AND MAPS ALONG WITH SAFETY RULES
AND OTHER INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND ON THE WEB SITE
WCATWC.ARH.NOAA.GOV.

TSUNAMIS CAN BE DANGEROUS WAVES THAT ARE NOT SURVIVABLE. WAVE
HEIGHTS ARE AMPLIFIED BY IRREGULAR SHORELINE AND ARE DIFFICULT TO
FORECAST. TSUNAMIS OFTEN APPEAR AS A STRONG SURGE AND MAY BE
PRECEDED BY A RECEDING WATER LEVEL.  MARINERS IN WATER DEEPER
THAN 600 FEET SHOULD NOT BE AFFECTED BY A TSUNAMI. WAVE HEIGHTS
WILL INCREASE RAPIDLY AS WATER SHALLOWS. TSUNAMIS ARE A SERIES OF
OCEAN WAVES WHICH CAN BE DANGEROUS FOR SEVERAL HOURS AFTER THE
INITIAL WAVE ARRIVAL. DO NOT RETURN TO EVACUATED AREAS UNTIL AN
ALL CLEAR IS GIVEN BY LOCAL CIVIL AUTHORITIES.

PACIFIC COASTAL REGIONS OUTSIDE CALIFORNIA/ OREGON/ WASHINGTON/
BRITISH COLUMBIA AND ALASKA SHOULD REFER TO THE PACIFIC TSUNAMI
WARNING CENTER MESSAGES FOR INFORMATION ON THIS EVENT AT
PTWC.WEATHER.GOV.

THIS MESSAGE WILL BE UPDATED IN 30 MINUTES OR SOONER IF
THE SITUATION WARRANTS. THE TSUNAMI MESSAGE WILL REMAIN
IN EFFECT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION STAY TUNED
TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO... YOUR LOCAL TV OR RADIO STATIONS... OR SEE
THE WEB SITE WCATWC.ARH.NOAA.GOV.



A blustery Saturday morning

I'm keeping an eye on all y'alls on the East Coast this weekend. Good luck with the Frankenstorm! The current track takes it right into southeast Pennsylvania where my sister and brother-in-law live. My brother-in-law runs a supermarket there so he's pretty happy there's a storm coming. It's good for business! I have countless friends in New York City and Boston, and my folks live on Cape Cod... all to experience something in the coming days. We've got our own weather going on in Juneau- a high wind warning through tomorrow. They are forecasting gusts around 70mph this afternoon and evening. At least it's still sunny! Southeast Alaska has also been breaking records this week for low temperatures. Lows have been in the teens around these parts. Combined with the wind this week, it's been quite chilly outside!

I went out on the town last night. There's quite the bar scene in downtown Juneau. It seems like the the police are pretty lax down there- no one checks IDs at the door or at the bar, and there was a lot of very young people. I might go back down tonight if I can put together a costume that's good enough to show in public. I can't remember if I kept my Zombie Little Red Riding Hood costume and makeup from last year.

Katy at NYC ZombieCon 2011
We barhopped between The Viking and The Imperial. I took one crappy picture at The Viking. 


We were out until 3am or so. The bars here close really late, I guess. I think I heard that bars in Alaska are only required to close for at least 1 hour a day for cleaning. I'm not sure if that's true or not. Anyway, I had a pleasant view to wake up to this morning. 


Just a side note- I finished unloading Dent yesterday! I hadn't brought in all of the stuff from the trunk. Most of it is still just chillin' in the garage, but I'll make more progress on getting until unpacked and settled in this weekend. 


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday night Juneau haikus

nine zero seven
area code not needed
for alaska friends

dialed the police
anchorage and juneau fuzz
you don't want to know

house is now empty
first time in days I'm alone
hoping to make friends

bald eagles fly high
over Gastineau Channel
Juneau weather strange





Video Blog: Katy IS North!


video



Final Gas Calculations


I saved all of my gas receipts and calculated my total gas expenditures. I drive a 2000 Toyota Avalon, and I think 27 mpg is pretty swell! 

Gas Total: $563.61
144.9 gallons
Average cost per gallon: $3.89
Total miles: 3,907
Average gas mileage: 26.9 mpg



Manchester, CT
10/11
11:29am
8.6gl
$4.12
$35.48

Pennsylvania
10/14
11:27am
12.71gl
$3.86
$49.04

Zanesville, OH
10/14
4:21pm
9.73gl
$3.60
$35.02

Bloomington, IN
10/15
11.75gl
$3.89
$45.80

Knoxville, IL
10/15
3:16pm
12.2gl
$3.70
$45.14

Urbandale, IA
10/16
12:24pm
8.39gl
$3.50
$29.38

Nebraska
10/16
5:22pm
13.0 gl
$3.75
$48.86

Crook, CO
10/16
7:25pm
7.84gl
$3.88
$30.42

Idaho Spring, CO
10/17
11:22am
9.42gl
$3.91
$36.81

Green River, UT
10/17
4:26pm
11.58gl
$4.02
$46.54

Twin Falls, ID
10/18
14.6gl
$3.91
$57.35

Burns, OR
10/18
3:36pm
11.25gl
$4.16
$46.79

Tacoma, WA
10/19
12:27pm
13.83gl
$4.12
$56.98



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Hike to a Glacier

I decided to postpone real life today to go hiking. The last few days have been crystal clear in Juneau- which is a real rarity. Some cousins are in town this week, so we decided to go hike up to Herbert Glacier which I've been wanting to check out ever since I saw it in Backpacker Magazine a few months ago. My Aunt Sue then told two of her staff to take the day off to come on the hike with us, so we were a crew of four for the hike. We stopped at the supermarket to grab some snacks, and then we headed to the trailhead which is about 25 miles north of town. The trail was recently improved so much that it's suitable for bikes, and it was about a 4-5 mile hike up to the glacier itself. Most of the way was through the temperate rainforest and along the Herbert River. Up close to the glacier, the valley opened up to glacial silt flats. The temperature was around 40 degrees, and it really felt like a perfect day. It was quite  windy up by the glacier, but it was beautiful. The guys thanked me for getting them out of work today for such a glorious hike.

Job search starts... tomorrow????




















Monday, October 22, 2012

All Aboard the M/V Columbia!


I had really been looking forward to the ferry ride from Bellingham to Juneau. What I didn't realize until shortly before the sea trip was how much I needed to rest! The ferry presented the perfect opportunity for that. I basically had three nights and two full days to relax. Oh boy, did I sleep. 

I was fortunate to have my car loaded very early in the boarding process so I had first dibs on a spot up in the solarium. The solarium is an area on the top passenger deck where they have plastic recliners and regular chairs. It's open on one side (facing the stern), and the other sides and roof are all plexiglass windows. There are also heat lamps hanging from the ceiling so that it remains comfortable year round. Once we got into Alaska, the temperatures dropped into the low 30s, but sleeping in the solarium was still very nice. I had my thermarest and sleeping bag setup on one of the plastic recliners on one side of the solarium. I could wake from a peaceful slumber and look right out onto the sea and mountains from where I slept. The ferry also has cabins you can stay in- for a hefty additional cost, but even if they were free, I'd still stay in the solarium. The other alternative is to find a recliner in one of the indoor lounges and setup a sleeping bag there. 





There are a couple of dining options. There is a full-service restaurant and also a cafeteria/snack bar. I chose to stick with the snack bar for a few meals, but I also had food of my own that I brought on board. My friend in Bend, Oregon has a fridge full of smoked salmon that he caught and smoked himself. He gave me a package with I enjoyed with crackers and spreadable cheese. That food is so rich, I didn't need to get much more from the caf! 




Smoked salmon, courtesy of my friend, Bob


Unlike the other ferry I've been on, this one has a cocktail lounge. I enjoyed an afternoon Alaskan Brewing Co. mug o' suds here and read my book. the lounge was quite a trip. There was a piano and a few guitars for people to play. I bet there are some good parties in there from time to time. 





Kameko had to remain in the car the entire time. We were allowed to go to the car deck to tend to our animals a few times during the passage from Bellingham to Ketchikan (which was about 36 hours). I've been keeping her doped up because she seems a lot less miserable when she's on her Xanax. She's really been a trooper- for the most part. She's definitely had good days and bad days, but overall, I think she'll make it. 




We arrived in Juneau around 4:30am this morning, and I'm glad to be done with my journey. I'll be posting again soon about how I'm getting settled in. Until then, here are a few more pictures from the ferry trip.

Loading the cars

Bellingham, WA