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How exciting and satisfying to finally be able to do this… Now let’s keep our fingers crossed!!
I do have one question, though. What exactly is the Boston Tea Party’s platform?
Here in Alaska, everybody goes to Costco. Going for the Big Stockup seems to be the way that people like to buy groceries up here. Maybe it’s like that in the rest of the country and we just don’t know it. After all, we do live with that Old Town Fort Collins mindset, which is a little different than in some places. Anyway, there are actually two (2) Costco stores in Anchorage, and recently, Dan made his first trip to the Big Daddy of big box grocery stores.
He and Eric hitched up their bike trailers and rode to the store. When they got there, Eric put Dan onto his Costco Gold Club Card Membership, (you’re not even allowed into the store without showing your card) and off they went on their spending spree. Of course, Eric, being the Costco veteran was not nearly as overwhelmed by the experience as Dan, who was completely taken aback by the sheer magnitude of the place. It literally is the size of a warehouse, or a jet hanger that could house a handful of 747’s, and not just full of food, but homewares, electronics, big screen TV’s… just about everything the modern person would ever need. It’s really the biggest retail store that Dan has ever set foot in, with long aisles, and high metal shelving that it stacked with industrial/bulk sizes of EVERYTHING. Need black beans? Buy 12 cans to a box. Need eggs? buy five (5) dozen. Need cheese? Buy it in 5 lb. blocks. Or bigger. Need pasta? Buy 8 bags at a time. (Dan was REALLY excited about this one!)
Since TV’s weren’t on the shopping list, the pair headed straight for the food still wearing their bike helmets and clacking on the hard polished concrete floor in their cleated cycling shoes. Dan immediately got lost while getting a sample of pesto on a cracker and tried to text message Eric to see where he was, but soon found him as he went for a little mini pizza sample. You’re starting to get the idea- free samples everywhere!
In short time, Dan and Eric piled their shopping cart as high as they could with all kinds of goodies in large quantities, and proceeded to the checkout. The total bill: $247. Not bad considering the vast quantity of food they bought and the fact that it was to feed three people for hopefully an entire month, or at least some fraction thereof. They wheeled the cart out to their waiting bicycles and, much to the amazement of themselves and a few mildly curious onlookers, packed it into two Yakima Big Tow Trailers (no longer manufactured) and rode home to show Amy their take.
One note- in the world of Big Box chain stores, Costco pays its employees a much higher hourly wage than walmart or sams club, and gives them health benefits and retirement plans. The effects of this are easily seen throughout the store; all the employees are polite and helpful, dress neatly and obviously take pride in their jobs. In fact, Costco’s CEO Jim Sinegal is an outspoken proponent of raising the Federal Minimum Wage. He’s the REAL maverick.
Of course, we still have to go to the store on a regular basis to buy fresh vegetables, so in some ways, it might seem a little silly, but if you’re going to buy cheese, beans and pesto anyway, you might as well get it in massive quantities, which is definitely cheaper in the long run. And besides, that’s just the way they do it up here.
The other night, Dan took part in a game of Bicycle Polo with some of Eric’s friends. Played down on the Park Strip at sunset on Friday evenings after work in the fall, essentially, Bicycle Polo is just like real polo. Ok, so it’s not exactly like regular polo, because regular polo doesn’t involve Wiffle™ bats, a Wiffle™ ball, or pedaling your bike, (cruisers and fat tire bikes preferred) in low gear like crazy across a wet field while trying to avoid (or cause) collisions with other players who may or may not actually have control of the ball.
Of course, “control of the ball” really just means whoever is closest to hitting the ball as it rolls near or under their bike, which is not always very easy, especially to a Bike Polo novice like Dan. You quickly find out why plastic Wiffle™ bats make much more sense than wooden mallets after you bash your bike, yourself or other players with the bat as you ride around the field frantically with one hand.
The only real rule, is that you cannot hit the ball unless you’re on your bike with both feet on the pedals. After all, it’s Bicycle Polo, not Standing On or Next to Your Bike Polo.
The final score? Let’s just say that the team that Dan was on got schooled. Big Time.
To celebrate Eric’s 32nd birthday, we had our first snowfall in town on Monday evening. Only a couple of inches, but it stuck on the ground overnight and hung around almost all day where it didn’t get direct sunlight. And as I write this, I’m looking outside my office window at more white fluries steadily coming down from the sky. Since it was 26-degrees this morning, my guess is that it probably won’t melt anytime today. I guess this means that winter is just around the corner.
A few miles east of us, the Chugach Mountains are getting even more snow and they’re almost completely covered in white above 4,000 feet.
Last Sunday, Amy had her first full day off since she started working her two jobs, so we had a chance to get outside and enjoy the great Alaska outdoors for the first time since moving here. We spent the day hiking in the Chugach Mountains with our new housemate Eric.
Parking at the Glen Alps Trailhead, the three of us hiked up and over the ridge below Little O’Malley Peak, across a large flat expanse called The Football Field, and over to a pass that leads down towards the Willowah Lakes. Although it’s just outside of Anchorage, and quite low in elevation, compared to Colorado, the terrain here is pure alpine and it is as ruggedly beautiful and appealing as any mountain area. The accessibility to this kind of terrain is quite literally one of the main reasons that we moved up here.
As is easily discernible by the photos, the snow has started to fall here at the higher elevations. Although we’ve had none in down in town yet, the tops of the peaks have received a healthy dusting and we were easily tromping through five or six inches during our hike. Although by the date, Fall has just started here, in reality, it has been in full swing for weeks, which means that winter is not far off. It’s actually been in the 30’s some mornings, but it seems as if the wet weather is finally behind us. As of late, the sun has been out every day and we’ve seen some really beautiful sunsets over Cook Inlet.
Of course, being Autumn, means that the moose are getting more ornery and more grumpy, especially the males. We saw three moose right at the beginning of the hike, and then as we were hiking back down a long valley on the way back, we came across three more, including one particularly large male with a rather big rack who startled us as we came around a corner.
We immediately turned around and backtracked, but he kept following us up the trail, so we did the smart thing. We ran away.
The moose was very uncooperative, and we were forced to take a rather wet moose detour through a wet, boggy patch of tundra, and at one point, Amy went up to her thigh in mud. Dan was about to ready his camera for what surely have been a great show, but then Amy called out, “Hey guys, I’m stuck!” so Dan did the chivalrous thing and helped her out of the mud, while a young male with tiny antlers eyed us with his ears back. In return, Amy later promised to get caught again in mud another time so that Dan can get the shot.
Eventually, we made it safely back to the trail, and when we climbed back up the valley to the trailhead, we were greeted with an amazing view of Alaska’s Big Three: Denali, Foraker and Hunter, the three tallest mountains in the Alaska Range. It’s not often when you get such a clear view of them all the way from Anchorage, but when you do, you can see just how impressively massive Denali is.