Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Planes, Trains, Automobiles, Boats and Buses Too

To say that the month of June has flown by is an understatement.  We have been busy and on the go from the very beginning, running another 5K, out to Tahoe for a quick get-away,  busy with friends leaving us and moving across country, and busy with helping my dad in the hospital, and getting him moved, and figuring out how to care for a father aging with dementia way too soon for his mere 61 years.  But that's a whole 'nother blog post. After all that chaos we finally took off on our trip on our grand adventure to our Alaskan cruise (where it wasn't nearly as cold and rainy as it now here in the supposedly 'sunny California'). 

The first leg of our journey took us to the Amtrak station at 11 in the evening with the four of us, Brandon's parents, both his brothers, and our 4 year old niece. The train, supposedly departing at 11:59 p.m., didn't leave until closer to 2 a.m due to delays, and from there we had a twenty hour train ride north to Tacoma, Washington.

playing at the station in the wee hours of the morning. So excited for the start of the trip the girls literally couldn't contain themselves.

Another 'quick' four hour train ride from Seattle Sunday morning after a lovely weekend spent with family and friends in Washington. . . almost to the cruise!
 Twenty hours (and then another 4 a couple days later) on a train with three small children. . . parents, I'm telling you. Do it. Phenomenal trip. Maybe we're crazy (yes that was us camping with a six-week old . . . ), but I'm telling you, the train ride was much better than a plane ride, even if it did takes us 10 times longer to get there, the seats actually had leg room, folded down enough to sleep comfortably. We could walk around and explore all we wanted to throughout the train, with a lounge car that you see us in in the pictures above to hang out in and enjoy the views. . . plus if you bring along family to help, it makes the trip even better. 'Many hands make light work', or err something like that, right? Plus, its just more fun with more family. 
At last! Ahoy, matey!

First formal night on the cruise.  The food was phenomenal. I must have gained 10 pounds.
Icy Straight Point, Alaska.  Not much to do here, but it was beautiful!
Skipping rocks down by the sea shore

Totem pole!
Hubbard Glacier. Magnificent! 
A beautiful hike in the mountains of Juneau, Alaska

We didn't get nearly enough time playing in the hot tubs and pools while on the cruise, though the weather was perfect for it.

 The stateroom we had was an interior, and had bunk beds for Eleanor to sleep on, or really, to play on. This was Grandpa's suggestion - connecting the beds with a ladder.  Just like at Impact Sports free play! I was most worried about how we would sleep in a small room with the four of us, but since there were no windows, it was pitch black in the room, they had a porta-crib for Annabelle to sleep in which went right under Eleanor's bunk, and we all slept great. Well, mostly great. At least a whole lot better than I had anticipated.
After the cruise came to an end (poor Eleanor kept telling us she wanted to stay on the boat 'FOREVER!" when we were packing up) we took a bus to the airport, and a short 2 hour plane ride To San Francisco.  This play structure in the Vancouver airport was the airports only redeeming quality.  Vancouver may be beautiful, but its airport had the longest lines and worst organization I've ever seen at an airport. 

We took the Bart from SFO out of the city so our friend picking us up would only have to drive 40 minutes rather than over two hours. Too bad there aren't any bathrooms on Bart though.  Eleanor had to go. Bad (for the 6th time that day). About 5 stops from the end of the line Brandon took her off the train to use the bathroom when we were suppose to have a 10 minute stop.  However, unfortunately they never made it back on the train because the train was only stopped for a few minutes rather than the 10 they promised, which left me alone with Annabelle and all our luggage to get off the train at the end by ourselves.  Thankfully four other very nice and helpful train riders helped me get the luggage off the train. There was no way I could have done it on my own before the train took off again.

Actually, all the people on the train were great the whole way over on the train, as were all the people we met through all our travels.  If nothing else this trip re-affirmed my belief in the goodness of humanity.

People rock.

As do planes, trains, automobiles, boats, and buses too.

Alaska ain't too shabby either.