Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Trying To Get Back In To This

My Contribution for Heart Month

My friends it been a long time since I wrote anything on this blog. Recently a friend of mine  said the he was going to take a hiatus from doing his blog. 

And I thought, thats a bummer I'm really going to miss his writing. And then I thought about how long it's been since I've written anything, well I'm going to try to get everyone caught up.

In fall of 2017 we were lucky enough to get a permit to drive the 90+ mile road in Denali National Park. It was a bit of a non-scheduled trip and we ended up camping on our truck the first night and then we were able to get an actual room for the evening that we finished the trip. 

We had absolutely no idea that the whole area completely closes down directly after they have the permit drive. It was really eerie driving around, all the facilities the next day. It was like driving in a ghost town. The last place we stopped at was on top of cliff overlooking the whole valley. We drove up to the hotel and again it was completely deserted. But Sharon took this video explaining the whole area. It was this clip that really started me worrying and thinking about Sharon's health

I noticed how out of breath she was, just being out and walking around. We had a doctors appointment  after the first of the year, and decided to add this question to the doctor. The doctor saw what I was talking about and put in a request with the Heart Institute for a test or something to see what the problem might be. Another doctors appointment and we told the doctor that no one contacted us about her possible problem. I had my yearly Cardiologist appointment and Sharon tagged along with me to see him.

I explained to him that she tried to see him and someone just dropped the ball, I explained the problem and after talking with Sharon he set her up with a stress test. That is where they insert a dye or something into you when your heart is under stress from a workout. The next day we went back to get and they inserted the same thing when her heart was at rest. Three-four days later we have another meeting with the Cardiologist, Sharon and him have a great talk, and he explains that women present differently about heart problems, and that he feels that something is wrong, but the only way to prove it  was to insert a catheter in her arm that will have a camera and we could go in see what was wrong, if anything. None of the tests that were performed indicated that there was a problem.

We really just put our faith in the doctor and said let's go for it
He set the procedure up for a couple days later.

After we got home my mind just reeling with what had been happening. Does Sharon have a heart problem? Did we just go carte blanche on doing an exploratory cardiac catheterization  ? If they find something can they fix it. I hope so.

So on July 5th 2018 we go to the hospital meet our destinies, I not to sure on the time but it was early morning 9-10 they put us in a small prep room so Sharon could get into the hospital gear, something started to happen in the lab, we were told that we were put on hold for a bit because an emergency came up. About 45 mins.later they came and got Sharon, we kissed and I told her I'd be waiting for her. It wasn't all that long before a nurse came out and told me to follow her. i was really nervous going in there

Cardiac Catheterization

Upon entering the room I see about six people in surgical scrubs standing around an operating table that has my laying on it and fully awake ! I rushed over to her and noticed the surgical team kind of had her right arm protected from unnecessary movement. And she had a great smile on her face. I wanted to just hold her in my arms but at the time all I was allowed was kiss.

The doctor allowing this interaction between us stepped in and with a lot of exuberance, said Mr.Peek we found it! And please step over here so I can show this to you, I turned to see what he was talking about and saw the largest flat screen I had ever seen in my life. It had to have been 60" square. And it showed Sharons complete vital signs in the upper left hand corner and the right side had a space for videos to be shown. At first I had no idea as to what I was seeing, but the Doctor explained that it was his tool moving in the right coronary artery, he showed the stent being inserted, he then had to install a ballon that literal broke up the blockage and the whole vein suddenly appeared as open. The doctor went on to explained that Sharon had a 95% blockage  of the right coronary artery, and since the blood supplies the oxygen to all the parts of our bodies, basically her heart was extremely close to failing

The inked in star indicates the location of the stent that was installed

Sharon had absolutely no pictures indicating she even had a blockage

My girl an hour afterwards in ICU 

To be Continued

Monday, April 2, 2018

Best Friends From Kindergarten Thru Today

Couple of gals from the neighborhood
Hanging out in a Saloon in McCarthy Alaska

I'm going to have to give a little background on this particular posting so I ask the reader to please bare with me. Five years ago in 2013 my wife Sharon received a invitation for her fifty year high school class reunion and the associated contact information of a lot of her old classmates.

I had received the same type of invitation about eight years earlier but from my grammer school instead. Unfortunately because of work commitments for both of us, we weren't able make it there at the time.

But all the planets aligned for her reunion and we made the trip

Sharon had a great time meeting and catching up with all of her classmates from high school. And I just watched in total amazement at the interaction of everyone together

Fifty Years and  you can still see the friendships that were forged in high school and continue to today

Pictures of Sharon and Friends during their high school days

Beach Bum's

Jumping forward to 2017

Sharon really enjoyed her reunion, But really felt bad about missing, Betty a girl she had know since  kindergarten. So after numerous searches on the internet and Facebook she located her in Mesa Arizona. 

I hadn't really been keeping up with her investigations. 

But magically all the memory pictures started appearing around the Peek house, and the most amazing to me were all the pictures Sharon had from grammar school and especially the kindergarten pictures. 

Sharon top row, center. Betty second row third from the left

Sharon Top Left
Betty Bottom Right

Phone calls went back and forth between Mesa Arizona and Wasilla Alaska with Sharon extending an invitation to Bill and Betty for a summer visit to the Great Land

And the next thing you know arrival dates are being verified, and Sharon is starting to make up itineraries for the visit. 

Bill and Betty had visited Alaska before by taking a cruise, at the time Betty had no idea that Sharon lived up here. So they had seen a bit of Alaska, but this state is so huge it is impossible to see everything.  

Our plan was to show them the  Alaska that we know

The Iditarod Headquarters

A young Future Champion

Bill with a freight sled at Iditarod Headquarters 

Iditarod Headquarters Wasilla Alaska

Four Wheeling in Talkeetna (Link)

Our next stop was to a friend of ours that we have known the longest in Alaska. She has a stunning home that she has opened up as a bed and breakfast. I've included a link to her below

Our close friends B & B (link)

Bill loves the pups 

Next Stop was McCarthy Alaska
Home of the Kennicott Mine

McCarthy Alaska Info  (Link)

But before I continue, I want to relay a rather humorous incident that happened on the way to McCarthy. Not counting bathroom breaks and stopping for lunch the ride is about 10 hrs long. When we started the day it was a stunning day. 

I have a large Ford Excursion so we have plenty of room to ride conformably. At about 300 mi from home I realized I really needed to have a comfort break, I knew of a place on the road that had a real clean outhouse, and decided to stop there. Well I've used outhouses before and was very aware of dropping phones, wallets down the hole. So as I sat down, I put phone and wallet down on each side of the hole. Finishing up I grabbed I thought my stuff  and left the outhouse. Before leaving the store I wanted to purchase something for the use of his facilities. Finding nothing, I gave the owner $5.00, he said it wasn't necessary and I said it was.

200 miles later I'm in a gas station getting a fill up, and realize I don't have a wallet !!!!!  

Sharon immediately got on the phone in the station to get information on the place we stopped at approx 200 mi. ago. While she was in the station I guess a call came in for a lost wallet. The place we had stopped at was called Grizzly Towing, we called the owner and he explained, that his grandson found the wallet in the outhouse and brought it to him, grandpa gave the five dollars I gave him, to his grandson for his honesty.

I asked the owner is I could pick the wallet up on the way back home and he said no problem. So with that we continued our excursion to McCarthy. Our guests were amazed that we would just leave the wallet and continue on with our trip. In the meantime the weather changed to rain as we pressed forward.

We had reservation for a two bedroom cabin and after getting some needed rest we woke up to some cold, wet weather. Bet we all were dressed warm and had some rain gear and umbrellas.

We knew we could walk across the bridges into the town, and that there is a shuttle that will get us to town and to Kennicott. But Sharon wanted to make sure we could get Betty's mobility scooter on the shuttle.

Sharon checked with Wrangle Mountain Air, who runs the shuttle service, the cost of the shuttle is $10.00 a person so Wrangle put out another van and we more or leased it for the day, and just had to call them when we wanted to move The trip between McCarthy and Kennicott is about 7 miles.

First Bridge

Second Bridge

Betty and Sharon waiting for the Shuttle

Kennicott and the mill in the distance

Waiting for the shuttle to go to McCarthy

Hanging out in the Goldon Saloon

Getting ready to head back to the cabin

The Infamous Golden Saloon  

Notice the ghost in the upper window

Downtown McCarthy

In 2018 Sharon and I went down to visit Betty and Bill and we spent eight days together they were very gracious and drove us around and we were able to see quite a bit of Arizona

Love You Guys

Bill and Betty's back yard
Mesa Arizona

Love The Cactus

Monday, October 30, 2017

Our Trip to Dawson YT 2016

We finally took the time to go to Dawson Yukon Territory

I first heard about the Dust to Dawson ride when I bought my BMW1200 GS. In fact, the dealer handed me a flyer to take with, and when they delivered the bike they had put one in my pannier.

Delivery of my bike

I've attached a little history to explain about the Dust to Dawson Ride. It's neat that this year was the twenty fifth anniversary of this ride.

I've always had a great curiosity of the Klondike and the Yukon Territories. When I was a little guy in Chicago, I would religiously listen to stories on the radio about Sergeant Preston and his faithful dog King. Quaker Oats was the sponsor of the radio show and they came up with the idea of adding a deed for one square inch of land in the Yukon. Well I cajoled my folks to start buying Quaker Oats, puffed rice and puffed oats and in each box there was a very important looking document that was a deed for a square inch of land in the Yukon Territories. Now when I think about the land it wasn't even adjacent to anything. But I had two square inches of land and I was happy. My folks though wouldn't buy any more Quaker Oats because I wouldn't eat the cereal. Because I prefered frosted flakes because it was sweetened.  Typical Kid  

Yukon Klondike the big inch

But to continue with my story, On August 1, 2016  my wife and I decided to make our way up to Dawson YT. The trip from our house to Dawson is 470 miles and we decided to spend one overnight  in Tok at the Young's Motel. Then decided to make a second reservation for our return trip. We booked a couple of nights at the Westmark Hotel  in Dawson. Typically we have camped for a trip like this but the forecast gave all indications of it being a damp week. 

Luckily we were able to have our friend Kierstyn watch our puppies. We're very lucky to have her  because she is able to stay with the dogs and keep them company

Our Pups saying goodby

Sharon in the Raven

Eureka Roadhouse, stopped for coffee and pie

On the way to Glennallen I noticed that the fireweed was starting to change along the side of the road.

Our Route To Dawson YT.
Just before losing cell phone signal Sharon got a call from her boss trying to confirm her her next season contract. 

The weather really started moving in

Chicken Alaska 

A personal sidenote on Chicken.

Sharon and I were fortunate enough to become friends with a woman named Marie Clark, who was an  adopted daughter of Anne Hobbs who was called Tisha. In the town of Chicken

The beloved real-life story of a woman in the Alaskan wilderness, the children she taught, and the man she loved.

“From the time I’d been a girl, I’d been thrilled with the idea of living on a frontier. So when I was offered the job of teaching school in a gold-mining settlement called Chicken, I accepted right away.”

Anne Hobbs was only nineteen in 1927, when she came to harsh and beautiful Alaska. Running a ramshackle schoolhouse would expose her to more than just the elements. After she allowed Native American children into her class and fell in love with a half-Inuit man, she would learn the meanings of prejudice and perseverance, irrational hatred and unconditional love. “People get as mean as the weather,” she discovered, but they were also capable of great good.

"As told to reporter Robert Specht, her true story has captivated generations of readers. Now this repackaged edition is available to inspire many more." "Tisha" the book

This book has become required reading in some of the village schools.

The Raven landed at the cafe

Chicken Alaska Information (link)

"This says it all"

Yard Art

The following pictures were taken at the Chicken RV Park

We liked it all and felt, as though it was are backyard after 30+ years, we have a pretty good group of collectables at our place

Weather cleared and it was time to get moving

One thing that really amazed me was the good condition of the road, but I realize that everything can change in a heartbeat. I've been on quite a few roads that looked great but fell apart when the rain came.

And this dark cloud decided to follow us all the way to Dawson

Paved road, must be getting near the border american side

Going thru customs at Canadian border (link)

It was really a pretty neat exchange going thru the Canadian Border. The fellow in the movie had just made the trip from Montana to the North Slope of Alaska, on a road bike, and was on his way back to Montana. The fellow asked where he could get his Camel Back water bladder filled. The Customs agent took it from him and gave it back to him filled and cold. Now it was our turn to move forward.

We're in the home stretch for Dawson now 

Years ago the Yukon River took out the bridge and the people of the Yukon decided not to rebuild it.

The following two pictures a from a friend of mine NuttyNu taken with his Drone

They have walking tours during the summer

Riders getting a quick fill up with great coffee

This fellow was on a pilgrimage for his son who passed.  Visiting all the places they had been together. A pretty neat guy, lot of stories

This rig is setup to travel

Quite a few walking tours are available

A lot of bikes are always on hand

Interesting Information on the final voyage of the Keno (Link)

Different generations of  building siding

When you visit Dawson you have to visit  Diamond Tooth Gerties for Dance Hall Girls and Gambling. They also have some real good food

The dancing girls are stunning

Sharon playing the slots- but she didn't win


The Alchemy Cafe, a quirky espresso and tea shop

The owner and me

Copper Tubing used for shelf brackets

Copper tubing for speaker brackets

More copper tubing

Great place to hang out and is totally dog friendly

The neighborhood

We reserved a room at the Westmark for 2 nights and found them to be the least expensive in town, I'm not sure if it was because it was the end of the season or not. They do a lot of business with Holland America Tours

They bring folks in by the busload and are real good at keeping everyone together and having them have a good time

Westmark has quite the compound up here in Dawson

This is one large building with just different facades and paint jobs

Our first time in a king sized bed and we ended up getting lost in it
( We have a full sized bed 54") 


Breakfast Panini 

Westmark does a good job at giving it's guests a great environment to relax in .

Garden Gnome

Overhead view of the Westmark in Dawson YT

When we first pulled up to the Westmark we weren't really sure where the office was located, since most of their guests are brought in by bus they are dropped off in the above alleyway.  Because of all the storefronts we weren't really sure where the front desk was, so we parked by the angled stairs and went exploring, and it was actually in that building. Our room was in the blue/green building all the way at the other end. Luckily being on a motorcycle our gear, we travel with is pretty limited, unlike the cruise folks where each person has two or three pieces of luggage

So we're about 50 mi out of Dawson and we meet our old friend who was just taking some pictures of the countryside

We spent another 10-15 min revisiting And then it was time to go our separate ways

 I mentioned that I had always been a fan of the Yukon  and the miners that gave up so much to search for the golden mineral and I've always had an adventurous streak in me, that I share with my wife Sharon, who when I asked about quitting our jobs in Chicago and head out for parts unknown. And she readily agreed. 

But no one had a more adventurous streak then Max Hirschberg, when the gold started playing out in Dawson YT. He had heard that gold was found on the beaches of Nome Ak.

I had heard about this story from a village elder while I was working remotely in Galena Alaska and everyone was placing bets on when the Yukon river would quit flowing. He told me of a story of a guy riding a bicycle down the river in the middle of winter. I politely listened attentively, but really thought it hard to believe, I've seen the temperature on that river drop to -60 deg during the winter

That Squiggly line you see between Dawson and Nome is the 
Yukon River 

Coming into the border (Link)

Last stop at Chicken Bar before heading home And we're on our way back home

Somewhere between Tok Alaska and Home (link)

And it's still .25 Cents

But the fries aren't to shabby either 

The owners love to decorate 

Time to keep moving

The pups were patiently waiting for us

Until the next time