Saturday, July 19, 2008

Finally Adding to Blog

Well, a lot of things have happened since the last time John wrote in here. So a quick update.

When I first moved to Ketchikan John and others told me that it didn't snow much here and when it did the snow didn't stay on the ground for very long. I am not a believer. We had lot of snow and it seems like it stayed on the ground for quite awhile.

In January we had the opportunity to get out of the snowy weather and go to the heat in Phoenix. It was the first time I had truly been warm in months. While there we were so excited to attend Cassie and Russell's Temple Wedding. I went down there a few days early to help finalize all the plans and to visit with Cassie, Russell, Alexa, Cody, Cynthia, my sister Jeanine and her family. I didn't have enough time to visit with all I wanted to. I said the next trip I took to Phoenix, I wanted to leisurely visit and have no time restrictions. John, Collin and Connor arrived in Phoenix two days before the wedding. It was a really nice ceremony. I got to do the mother thing with her daughter bride. Cassie looked really beautiful and I couldn't stop smiling. One of the highlights was that Alexa was sealed to Russell and Cassie right after their own sealing as husband and wife. We were so thankful for this to happen. Well, on Monday morning following the wedding Connor, Collin and I got up early to fly back to Alaska. John stayed to drive back his truck to Alaska. We had left it in AZ for Cody to use.

Alexa, Connor and Aracely (Maid of honor's daughter)

Alexa with Grandma and Grandpa

The happy Couple

We were hoping Cody would have his mission call by the time we went to Phoenix so that we could all attend the Temple together but it didn't happen. So when he did actually get his call which was on March 20, 2008 to Milwaukee, Wisconsin Mission we started planning another trip to Phoenix and that wasn't the leisure trip I had been looking forward to either.

That is another whole story in itself. If you go to Cody's mission blog it will explain what we did and the adventures we took.

Well, I will be planning another trip to Phoenix sometime in February. Cassie and Russell are expecting a baby then. They are so excited and so are we. Soon John and I will be grandparents twice. Cool, huh?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

There Just Aren't Words

We made it through October without getting washed away. I had written previously that Ketchikan averages 22 inches of rain the month of October. We collected 32 inches. This came in 5th for an all time record. But I have to admit it didn't seemed that bad. Most of the rain came at night so during the day it wasn't too bad. There were a few days where the weather was miserable and we just stayed indoors. Maren, Connor and I went for a picnic the other day to Carlanna Lake. Well it was just above freezing and the dock were we went was wet so we couldn't even sit down. So we ate our sandwiches and headed back. On some maps it is referred to as Reflection Lake and we could see why. I had forgotten my camera so I didn't get a picture to so but it is easy to describe. To steel a line from 'Forest Gump', "It looked like two mountains, one on the top and one on the bottom".

It gets dark early, around 4:30 in the afternoon and by the time I go to work it is pitch black. Last Sunday was a nice evening and I decided to walk to work. This turned out to be a bad decision because as I was crossing Baranoff Rd., in the crosswalk mind you, the pick-up that had stopped at the intersection didn't see me and took off. The bumper impacted my left knee, knocking me off balance. The only reason that I wasn't run over was a bug guard attached to the hood. I grabbed the flimsy piece of plastic and started pounding on the hood as the driver continued to accelerate. The moment that he realized there was someone attached to the front of his truck he slammed on the brakes. I picked myself up off the ground with visions of being dead still running through my head. He was extreamly appollogetic and I was glad to be alive so I sent him on his way. The knee hurt for a few days but I was no worse for the wear.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Snows comin' and school sports

It has been a while since I have written a post so here it is.

I looked out my front window Friday and saw the mountains on Gravina Island just above the airport were capped with snow. (Wish I had pictures but haven't had time to resolve software issues.) The weather has gotten a little cooler but we all seem to be adjusting to it and the change is barely noticeable. We have had a lot of storms lately with high winds and lots of rain. If you look at the previous post I updated the radar picture and this storm brought winds with gusts to 40 - 50 mph. Friday morning Maren and I went for a walk between rain showers. We caught a glimpse of Deer Mountain with the sun shinning on freshly fallen snow.
Courtesy of Ketchikan Daily News
There is wet snow forecasted for tonight and tomorrow which should add to that. Since I don't have tires yet I may need to walk home in the morning. More on this later.
Walking along Water Street we saw a tree that had fallen across someones truck. A young girl told us that the owner had recently had his tires slashed and had them replaced. Then two days later he comes out to go to work, only to find that a tree had fallen on his pick-up smashing the hood and windshield.

Collin is well into his wresting season. He started the season at 189 pounds and this weekend he was able to wrestle at 161. Thirteen teams were in town this weekend for the Bill Weiss tournament. Mr. Weiss was an editor and type setter for the Ketchikan Daily News for many years and a big supporter of sports in S.E. Alaska. This is one of the few times this season we will be able to see Collin wrestle since most of his matches are off island. Generally leaving either Thursday afternoon or Friday morning and he returns Sunday sometime. Like Cody he has enjoyed getting in shape but seems tired most of the time since, starting his day at 5:30 am for seminary and doesn't get home until after six. With all of that he is still carrying A's in all of his classes.

For those of you that are wondering I have postponed self publishing 'Some Secrets Shouldn't Die'. I have decided to continue attempting publishing via the traditional route. I will be entering the manuscript in a writers competition with the results due March of '08. I appreciated all the wonderful comments I have received from those of you who have read the manuscript and will let you know if I receive a publishing contract. I continue to write, usually on a daily basis and am currently working on a story that is set here locally and in southern California.

Now about the tires. I spent many hours on the Internet for the cheapest way to get studded snow tires. What I ended up doing was buying the tires from and having them shipped to Alaska Marine Lines and put on the barge. I hope to receive them this week so they will be ready to put on when the time arises. This protracted procedure saved me several hundred dollars over buying them locally. Had we not still been recovering from moving here the saving would not have been that big of a deal.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

OK, so I was wrong and Island Economics

In my last post I said that the rain comes in gails. While this is true, the current storm has lasted 3 days. I guess that this is pretty common. I have heard more than once that if you can make it through October and November that you have it licked. Well it is the 13th so we only have another month and a half to go.
Collin's first wrestling meet is today, it will be one of the few we will be able to go to since most of them are out of town and he will have to fly. We will keep you posted on how his season goes.
If you want a fun website check this out
On the right side is a picture of the airport and farther down you can put in your airport code and it will tell you how far you are from us. Just below that you can see your sunrise/sunset for the day. Right now we have a little more than seven and a half hours of daylight that is filered by the clouds. That will drop to around six by the winter solstace.
Since the area is hilly (see Steeper than I Imagined) we will need studded tires to get around on the days when it is icy. Though food and gas is expensive up here, nothing will give you sticker shock quicker than tires. In fact I found that I can order tires online and have them mounted on new aluminum rims, balanced and shipped here Fedex for the same price or less than buying them locally. Go figure.
How important are studded tires you ask? Well the way I figure it Maren will be ready to go home the first time she goes down Carlanna Lake Road sideways.
Sorry I don't have any pictures for you, I guess I'll have to dust of the camera.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

22 Inches and How to Get There

The days have gotten cooler in the last few weeks since the cruise ships have left. Proof that the cruising industry knows just what they are doing. Short sleeved shirts and light jackets have been replaced by sweatshirts and raincoats. Coming from Phoenix makes this difficult to imagine. This month alone we will be getting as much rain a phoenix does in about 3 years. When telling people that we were moving to Alaska the most common comment was, 'Oh you are going to be so cold'. Too which I would reply, 'It doesn't snow much but mostly rains in Ketchikan'. 'So like Seattle,' they would say. The answer is Seattle gets roughly 37 inches of rain per year compared to Ketchikan's 156 inches, so no not like Seattle.

October begins the rainy month for Ketchikan. If you go to and scroll down to the averages for temperature and rainfall you will see that Ketchikan gets 22 inches of rain this month.

So how do you get to 22 inches of rain in one month (that is more than half of what Seattle gets a year)? Well it requires roughly 3/4 inch per day. But it doesn't rain all the time so some of that rain comes in the form of large storms from the Gulf of Alaska.

This is the current image for Dec 23rd. ( I will try to update it regularly)

These arrive in South-East Alaska in the form of gail force winds and several inches of rain in one day. Unlike some places, Phoenix for example, if you don't like the weather you just wait a few minutes and it will change. In Ketchikan if you want to wait for the rain to stop before going out you'll have to wait until April. People just go about doing what they want to do despite the rain.

The other thing that surprised me about Ketchikan is the moss on the roofs. I remember the line from Elton Johns song 'I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss', now I know what he meant. I had never seen moss on roof before here. I will try to post some of those pictures when I get the chance.

One more link for you folks. If you want to see what the weather is like in Ketchikan click on . The site refreshes every twenty seconds.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Whale of a Good Time

On Monday Sept. 12th Tommy Mulleneaux came to visit and go fishing. The hopes for his stay was to take some fish home and get to see a little bit of South East Alaska. He arrived after an all day trip that involved driving from Thatcher Arizona to Phoenix, flying to Seattle then on to Ketchikan. It was after dark when he arrived so he didn't get the chance to see anything until the next day.

I got a call early in the morning from a co-worker that invited us to go fishing. Tommy and I rushed out to Walmart to get our licenses then met with Byron at his boat. The three of us headed Southeast about twenty miles to one of Byron's favorite spots. We caught Halibut, Snapper and Rock fish. There were also pesky Dog Sharks. The Dog shark is about 2 feet long and loves the same bait as the Halibut.

After a pretty successful day we headed back. About five miles south of Ketchikan we ran into a pod of Killer Whales. Some of them surfaced less than one hundred yards from the boat. This, I will tell you is very exciting.
The following morning we went fishing with the Fitzgeralds. We left in the early morning fog and ran into the same pod of whales (I think) and had some come within 25 yards of the boat. It happened so quick that we didn't get any pictures. We had a successful day fishing taking home ten large Halibut, several Rock fish and a good sized Snapper.
The following few days We went on several hikes around the area, showing Tommy the sights, and discovering some for ourselves. Tommy instantly fell in love with the area and I wouldn't be surprised to see if he returns in the future to stay here.
I am having trouble with my picture software and will add more pictures later.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Getting Out in Ketchikan

On Labor Day September 3rd, after sleeping for a few hours we got our first chance to get out and see the island. We went to a sale at Tongass, the local outfitter and bought some rain gear for Maren and Collin. We then headed south along the highway that goes through Saxman and Herring Cove. Twelve miles south of Ketchikan we hit the end of the road. Here is where Ketchikan gets it's power. Water drains through what looked like a 48 inch pipe from a lake up the mountain and runs a hydroelectric generator and this is where we get our power.

On the way back we spotted this waterfall, just a sample of the amount of rain that Ketchikan gets. Since our arrival last week he have not seen a day where we didn't get at least some rain.

From there we drove north of town and went hiking up Brown Mountain trail.

(The picture shows us coming down)

We walked to the end of he board walk, which is not the top. From there the trail became muddy and we weren't prepared with the proper foot wear. I would like to return since the view, so I was told, is amazing.

I did shoot this picture from the board walk. It is hard to believe that we are on an island