Alaska - 09.01.2012



The Sapphire Princess


My favorite sister Yvonne has her birthday on January 31st and this year she is 80!   My birthday is on February 4th and I turned 72!   Hard to believe, isn't it?  So we decided to do a trip we have never done before and my friend in Austin, Viviane, suggested using her travel agent to book our tour.   Also my now favorite nephew Bill had enough mileage on United from all his business travels to get us free tickets to Anchorage and back!   He also gave us $2,000.00 to use against the cruise cost!  Such a deal.  We were to get into Anchorage the night before we take the early morning train to Whittier but I suggested we leave a day early in case of problems with airline connections and of course, getting in late and then up early and would be worn out before the trip even started.  Yvonne agreed and make us reservation at the Puffin Inn for the first night and the Captain Cook Hotel for the second night.  So we are ready for our trip, all online documents are complete and printed and airline reservations completed and hotels are booked.   We are ready for our eight day cruise!


Check out this link for an overview of my favorite Sister Yvonne Burt's life!


Check out this link for a History of Alaska,  a Map and Weather of the state.


Check out this link for our Flight Itinerary to Alaska.


Check your Passport Card in case of problems on this link.


1940 ~ Yvonne, Chuck and our Mother Edna Polo Illinois ----- 1943 ~ Yvonne & Chuck on Dandy Pecatonica Illinois ----- 2004 ~ Chuck and Yvonne in Arizona


2005 ~ Yvonne, Chuck and and Cocktails - Tucson ----- 2009 ~ Chuck and Yvonne - Cabo San Lucas Cruise


Daily Diary of Our Vacation:

Departing San Francisco to Anchorage - Thursday - August 30, 2012:   

I got to the San Francisco Airport by ten a.m. and got to the gate and my favorite sister came into the room at the same time!   We had a coffee and then off to Seattle.   We changed planes and then to Anchorage.

We got there around five p.m. and it was raining.  The forecast was for rain the next eight days!  Well it rained a day and a half, two days of fog but warm and then the rest of the trip was warm and sunny!   Here we are waiting for a shuttle to the Puffin Inn.  We were so fortunate for a great plane ride and a shuttle to the hotel!

title of photos section

Catching a Cab!

Puffin Hotel

Ankorage Alaska - Friday, August 31, 2012:   

We needed to transfer to the hotel so we took a cab to the Captain Cook Hotel, a fantastic hotel.

We had a room on the 18th floor overlooking the mountains.   We had an 'Alaskan Breakfast' that was great!  

Then sis took a nap and I walked around downtown viewing the beautiful flowers all over.

The woman maintaining the flowers in one park said I was lucky, in a few weeks it would freeze and that would be it for eight months!

Then I went to the Anchorage Museum and then back for a late dinner at the hotel with sis.


Captain Cook Hotel

View from the Hotel.

Performing Arts Center

Last of the Fall Flowers - Next Week the Frost!

Train to Whittier 10:00 A.M. - Saturday - September 01, 2012:   

We left the hotel and got on the bus to the train station.

We had to laugh as the driver lived in San Francisco and was on Haight Street during the Flower Children era and we laughed, probable we drank and danced the nights away with them!

We took a three hour trip on the train to Whittier and the ship.   Lots of trees and mountains and a few glaciers also.

Got to the ship around one p.m. and then through security and we boarded the ship.

Time to relax and then have a nice dinner as the ship began it's voyage to Vancouver.

Train to the Ship!

Short but Pleasant Train Ride

Glaciers on the Mountains

Chuck Delivering Coffee for Yvonne!

To the Ship Terminal

Sapphire Princess - Whittier!

Sapphire Princess

Chuck and Yvonne - First Night on the Ship

Hubbard Glacier - 3:00 P.M. - Sunday - September 2, 2012:   

The first day at the Hubbard Glacier was slightly foggy but we still had a good view and there wasn't a cold wind so nice to be on the upper deck overlooking the glacier.

We were lucky as our cabin was an extra large one and our balcony was on the same side as the views as we traveled south.

We could sit in bed or on the balcony and see everything. 

The balcony spoiled me for any other cruise I can tell you!

Glaciers in Chile and Alaska!

Here I am in 1999, 14 years ago already, standing on a ship before a glacier at the tip of Chile - South America, Tierra del Fuego!

And almost 14 years later in 2012 on the Sapphire Princess and Glacier Bay in the back ground!

Cold Looking Mountains in the Distance at Night!

Celebrating My Birthday a Few Months Early!

Princess Cruises - Signed by the Captain!

An Aluminium Swan Perhaps - Filled with Goodies!

Glacier Bay Cruising - 10:30 A.M to 08:30 P.M. - Monday - September 03, 2012:   

We were told we were lucky as we were able to get very close to the glacier and we laid along side of it for over four hours.

There were lots of strange crackling noises but we didn't see any calving of the glacier.  

So I saw a glacier in South America, Chile/Argentina in the Tierra del Fuego Straits and now in North America a glacier in Glacier Bay Alaska!

So lucky to have traveled so much!

Glacier Bay

Skagway 07:00 A.M. to 08:30 P.M. - Tuesday - September 04, 2012:   

We were told it was expensive to see the gold mining area.

Well we thought we would take the bus, it was only a dollar and ran every hour.

They wanted $40.00 to pan for gold, $60 for a tour of the mine and so on.

Sis and I just walked around, saw them panning for gold, saw the big dredging machine and so on all for free!

We walked along the Skagway River and then had a coffee at the wooden building where they brew beer.

A great was to see the area for only a dollar!

Skagway - Klondike Gold Rush

Juneau 06:30 A.M. to 04:00 P.M. - Wednesday - September 05, 2012:

We got off the ship and the tourist trolley came by, $36.00 for a tour.

Well we saw a taxi and asked him to give us a tour.

S He grandfather came from Europe in 1927 and this man knew all the history.  

Here we are at the creek where Juneau and the Indian Chief traded information about gold.  The chief gave Juneau a big gold nugget and the rest was history.   We saw the Governor's Mansion and the tour was great.

Since we had a private tour we gave him $30.00 but well worth it.

Sailing into Juneau

Govenor's Mansion

Gold Strike Creek!

Ketchikan 10:00 A.M. to 06:00 P.M. - Thursday - September 06, 2012: 

We had the same story here.  Costly to go outside of town to see the Totem Bight State Park with very large totem poles, some 40 feet tall!

The tour was expensive, we took the city bus for 50 cents each way.

It came to the park every hour and there wasn't anyone there to charge so it only cost us a dollar each.  Such a deal!

Then sis took a nap and I walked around downtown.   There were lots of shops and cafes and there were salmon swimming up the creek right below my feet.

As you can see, a perfect day!

Ketchikan - Totem Bight State Park

The Only Way to get Around in Alaska!

Salmon Run Through Downtown!

Great Place for a Coffee!

Ketchikan to Vancouver - At Sea - Friday - September 07, 2012:

Today we had our final dinner and afterwards I heard there were Orcas and porpoise along the ship.

It was late in the evening but still very light.   I went to the bow and there saw some ripples in the water so I just took a photo. 

Then I checked the image and I captured two Orcas arching their fins out of the water.

Everyone with cameras were impressed.

I also saw over 40 porpoise feeding and then riding the bow waves for almost 15 minutes. 

What a nice way to end the last evening of the trip!

Dinner - Orcas - Porpoise


Spectacular Evening - Warm and Whale Spotting!

Two Orcas!

Porpoise Riding the Bow Waves

More Porpoise Riding the Bow Waves

Docking in Vancouver BC 07:30 A.M. - Saturday - September 08, 2012:

We arrived in Vancouver early in the morning.  We got through immigration within a short period.

Then off to the buses that took us to the airport.

A huge new airport but the food prices were extremely high.

We had a direct flight to San Francisco so a nice flight and we were in my apartment by seven p.m.

Time for a light dinner and bed.

Sailing into Vancouver

Yvonne Visiting her Favorite Brother - Sunday - September 09, 2012:

We went to visit Patti and her daughter Gina.

I met Patti almost 40 years ago at the computer center at Fireman's Fund Insurance.

It then was the largest computer center west of Chicago.

We had main frames and so on, we were so large IBM had maintenance men on duty all the time.

We had a nice dinner at a local family style Italian restaurant.

Visiting my Good Friend Rosemary in Los Gatos - Monday - September 10, 2012:

I met Rosemary at Boole and Babbage, a software company in Sunnyvale.

We met in the 1980 and for some reason became friends ever since!

We decided to have a nice lunch on the very large balcony surrounding two sides of the house. 

We talked and laughed and finally Rosemary drove us back to the Caltrain Station where we rode back to the City and then a bus ride to my place.

We were tired again so a light dinner and bed time.

Rosemary - Chuck - Yvonne

Checking Out the Veterans Administration Hospital - Tuesday - September 11, 2012:

Sis had never been to the San Francisco VA where I go for medical treatment.

It was foggy but it started to clear up and I did get a photo of sis overlooking the Pacific Ocean with a ship coming in to port behind her.

We took a cab there and back home as sis was very tired from all the running around we did.

Still we were going to do more before she went home!

Visiting the Central YMCA of San Francisco - Wednesday - September 12, 2012:

Sis wanted to visit the Golden Gate YMCA and the senior center.

Here we are with my next door neighbor Trish, playing Uno.  

In the center is David, one of my Wellness coaches.  He is so nice and we had a great time talking about the trip and so on.

Everyone one wanted the dirt on what I was like when growing up!  I was not amused!

Trish - David - Yvonne

Uno - Who is the Winner?

Another Day at the YMCA - Playing Uno - Thursday - September 13, 2012:

Finally the last day and we spent it at the YMCA again.  Sis got to meet Greg, the Senior Center Director.

They hit it off right away and we decided to play Uno again with Trish and Greg.

For some reason they had it in for me and kept giving me lots of pick up cards.  I was not amused and they kept laughing but guess what, I finally did win!

Sis and I went home and decided to  play a few more hands of cards before she packed and off we went in a cab to the airport.   We gave each other a big hug and kiss and I took the subway (BART) back home.

Talk about a busy two weeks!  But it was a great trip and lots of friends to see!

Central YMCA Senior Center

Yvonne and Greg!

Uno - We loved the Card Game!

To Play or Not to Play!

Move it Brother!

    Created on: 2012.09.14
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