Ketchikan to Glacier Bay National Park

We left Ketchikan on the Alaska Ferry about 9am. Our next stops were Wrangell and Petersburg. We were only in each port for 45 minutes so we didn’t get off. Between Wrangell and Petersburg we went through the Wrangell Narrows. The narrows are narrow! They only have enough water depth to allow the ferry to go through at high tide so the whole schedule is built to plan to be in the narrows then.

As a result we arrived in Juneau at 3:15 am. One of the vehicles unloading in Juneau was a giant RV with lettering on it for the CSPAN fifty capitals tour. I wonder what that is.

We waited in the Juneau ferry terminal until six am to board our ferry for Gustavos, the port for Glacier Bay National Park. The ferry ride was four hours and I slept the whole way.

We are staying at the lodge in the park. We had a stunning sunny day to explore around the lodge. We took a short hike and saw a moose cow and her baby!

Leavenworth, Washington to Ketchikan, Alaska

We made it to Alaska! We left Leavenworth Friday morning and drove through the mountains to Bellingham. Duke left me and the bags at the Alaska Ferry Terminal He took the car to park it at the airport where we will pick it up on our return from Juneau. He took the City bus back to the ferry terminal.

The ferry ride from Bellingham was relaxing, scenic and fun. We have a little cabin but spent a lot of our time sitting in the front observation lounge.

Most of the way was exceptionally calm in narrow water passages between islands but there were gentle swells in the open water crossing of Queen Charlotte Sound. We each took Dramamine. It did the trick but it also made us incredibly sleepy. We ended up sleeping a lot yesterday. The food in the dining room has been very good.

We arrived in Ketchikan for a two hour stop this morning at seven. Right now we are sitting at McDonalds having coffee after walking down the shore seeing the sights.

Bend, Oregon to Leavenworth Washington

One of the things I love about driving in the Pacific Northwest is all the snowcapped big peaks you see on the horizon. Today we saw Mt Hood, Mt Adams, and Mt Ranier. As we were leaving Sisters this morning we had a great view of the Sisters peaks.

After we checked into our hotel in Leavenworth we drove into the mountains to hike a trail called the Icicle Gorge trail it is. A 4.5 mile loop along a cascading river through pine forest filled with wildflowers.

For dinner we ate at a Bavarian restaurant in Leavenworth. I had weinerschnitzel and shared a strudel with Duke.

Tomorrow we catch the Alaska ferry to Juneau. I dont know how much internet coverage we will have so posting to this blog may be spotty.

On Tyranny – Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder

I highly recommend reading On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder. It is only 126 pages and  four by six inches in size but the content of this little book is enormous.

A few months ago we visited Duke’s sister Jo Ann, and her husband. After dinner we were discussing  our present political situation and how dangerous and frightening it is. I was bemoaning the fact that it is hard to know what we as individuals can do about our current danger.  Jo Ann reached up to her bookshelf and picked out a book. The book she loaned me was On Tyranny.

This brief little book written by a Yale University History professor answers my question and tells of the lessons from recent history that we need to be mindful of  if we want to protect our democracy and freedom.

I just finished listening to the audio book of Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton. One of the things I was struck by was how concerned the founders were with the possibility of tyranny reasserting itself in our country. In On Tyranny Snyder points out that we have forgotten history. We believed that tyranny couldn’t happen here, that our freedom was safe and that we didn’t need to do anything to protect it. For me the shock of the last election was a wake up call.

Many of Snyder’s lessons are not surprising. For example, Figure things out for yourself, Take responsibility for what you communicate with others, and Read! But other lessons made me think. Here’s an example from chapter fourteen, Establish a Private Life. In it Snyder says, “When we take an active interest in matters of doubtful relevance at moments that are chosen by tyrants and spooks, we participate in the demolition of our own political order.”

And finally I have to say that I found On Tyranny fun to read and hopeful.  I have friends and family that enjoy brewing beer.  Snyder said “Be active in organizations, political or not that express your own view of life.” I laughed when he said that Vaclav Haevl, the Czech dissident thinker, gave the example of brewing good beer.

The twenty lessons from the twentieth century in On Tyranny resonated with me. I intend to take them to heart and try to learn from these lessons to make my own small efforts to protect our freedom.

Tallinn – 3 April 2018

What a difference a day makes! Today it was very cold in Tallinn but the sun was shining.

This is probably my last blog post of this trip. Our plane leaves Tallinn at 6:10 tomorrow morning for the first leg of our trip home.

We spent the day exploring the old town ofTallinn and the Estonian History Museum.

For our last meal of the trip we ate at a restaurant that serves all local Estonian food. We had duck and a typical Estonian desert.

I thoroughly enjoyed the walk back to the hotel in the cold night air.

Riga, Latvia to Tallinn, Estonia

When we arrived in Tallinn today it was snowing and there was a long line for taxis so we decided to walk the half mile to our hotel.

Before we left Riga this morning we walked through the beautiful mall across from our hotel. It is in the middle of old town but from the outside you wouldn’t even know it is there.

We are now directly north of Riga at about the same latitude as Juneau, Alaska. Our bus from Riga to Tallinn left at 11:30.

On our four hour bus ride I watch the movie Sully on my entertainment console. I really enjoyed it.

As we crossed the border into Estonia there were lots of people out ice fishing.

For dinner tonight we walked a few blocks from our hotel and had a great steak dinner followed by a flaming brownie with ice cream. .