Friday, December 18, 2020

What is Your Favorite Destination?

Like many, we sit at home dreaming of places we have been and places yet to explore. But with the world seemingly at a standstill, that is all we can do. Dream. So as the temperatures drop and snow covers the landscape we find ourselves thinking of some of our favorite places. The top of that list for us is Alaska. The scenery and sense of adventure is second to none. It has been 4 years since we have been there and as many of you know that was to be our destination last summer but sadly that was not to be.

The start of our Alaskan adventure in 2016

I would classify each of our favorite destinations into three categories; the scenery, the people and the adventure. Alaska checked all three boxes. We were expecting the scenery and the adventure, what we were not expecting is to make friends that we hope will last a lifetime. We knew and were looking forward to seeing Barb’s cousin Lori and her husband Jim in Fairbanks. Barb does not have many blood relations left and Lori is very special to us. Our two unexpected encounters and people we consider special friends include Rich & Susan and Rod & Denise. Both encounters were totally random which made them that much more magical. You can read about both here.

Our favorite scenery is hard to pin down to one location. The numerous glaciers were breathtaking and the drive to Skagway will forever be etched into our memories.

Daisy overlooking one of the many glaciers

A sample of the landscape on our drive to Skagway

As will our glacier cruise in Valdez...

But as I think of these I cannot help but think of our Root Glacier walk in McCarthy and another chance encounter when we crossed paths with one of Barb’s former co-workers Melinda while on a walk way there. What are the odds of that?!?!?!
Barb and I on the Root Glacier
The more I think about it there are too many scenery thoughts flowing back to mention so I will just leave it with these first few that came to me.

The adventure category is easy, it has to be the fishing. Having never been to the area, we had no idea where or what to fish with but we figured it out catching countless salmon, Dolly Varden, halibut, rainbow trout and grayling.  The grayling have almost been a mythical fish to me with their long sweeping dorsal fins and I could not wait to try and catch one. Little did I know that this species would be the easiest and most abundant. 

The grayling were plentiful and fairly easy to catch
Barb releasing one of many Dolly's we caught in Haines

Our favorite has to be the salmon. There is nothing like hooking into one of these silver bullets with a flyrod!

Fishing the Kenai 

But for now, all we can do is think back to the past and look forward to the future. We have dreams of pointing our truck to the northwest again this summer but only time will tell if we will be able to make that journey.

In the meantime we have plenty to do to keep us busy right here in South Dakota. The fireplace is now grouted, cleaned and ready for the hearthstone.

But the big news of the week are the kitchen cabinets. We had them designed and the order placed with Don’s Custom Cabinets in Rapid City back in September. We were nowhere ready for them at the time but we were anticipating that we would be ready sometime in December when the cabinets were scheduled to be done. Then a couple of weeks ago we received word that they would not be done until January. Imagine our surprise when we received a call late last week saying they were ready for pickup!

Kevin and I spent one day on the kitchen and another day on the laundry room. Barb is like a little kid in the kitchen, putting things away, organizing and reorganizing. I suspect that she is nowhere close to done but she is having fun! (Update...I went in there while she was putting her spices away and she was putting them in the spice cabinet in alphabetical order!)

Still waiting on the new appliances

Kitchen Island

The laundry room
Friday the countertop people came out to measure the kitchen for the countertops. That process was pretty interesting. They put labels with different sized dots on the wall throughout the kitchen then put another sheet with dots on the surface of the base cabinets and took about 50 pictures. The guys said he inputs all the pictures into his software and it designs the cabinets to 1/16th of an inch. Beats measuring by hand! It will be a week or two before they are ready.
I spent some time over at Kevin and Cheryl’s working on their fireplace. It too is now all done! They have made some great progress as well which Cheryl has been documenting on their 7 Bulls Facebook page.

Speaking of Kevin, he and I went on of an adventure of our own this week when we went pheasant hunting about 3 hours east of here on the Rosebud. Some friends of his from Wisconsin met us out there. I would love to say that the birds were plentiful and we never missed a shot but both would be lies. We did see some beautiful country and had a good time taking a break from our projects though!

The landscape seemed to go on forever

One of our many pheasant drives

With less than a week until Christmas, our goal is to finish trimming the upper windows and get that scaffolding down in the next few days. Once that is done we can start to take a serious look at flooring!

Next week I will reveal more of our favorite destinations as we look outside at the snowy landscape at our furry friends and think of adventures past and future. In the meantime, we will carry on here day by day, project to project and dream to dream.

A foggy gray day had the several new bucks exploring our property

This little guy came to the window to see what we were doing

34 comments:

  1. I have never seen a measuring system like that for countertops...interesting! That shows how much things have changed since I retired from the cabinet business in 2014. Back in those days, we used a beat up old Stanley 25 footer, a yellow note pad and a pen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought of you immediately when he was doing that and added it to the blog for the same reason.

      Delete
  2. I love Barb's fish. And her kitchen cabinets! Those are beautiful! What a nice place you have built to come back to after next summer's visit to your favorite place! Gotta dream it so we can do it, right?

    ReplyDelete
  3. The cabinets look great. Nice to be getting the kitchen put together. Sounds like you went the same route we did to Alaska. We were lucky to be able to stay in Skagway for a couple of weeks. It certainly is gorgeous country and well worth a second visit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you take the train ride when you were there? We did not but are thinking of doing it next time.

      Delete
  4. Wow, you are getting there, making the kitchen definitely look like a finished space. Love the wood on your cabinets. Hope you can get to Alaska next summer for the things you love to do. It sure has been a strange year. Merry Christmas and all the best for 2021.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love the kitchen cabinets! How fun for Barb! Hoping to get to Alaska one day is in my dreams, we will see. Hoping you get there next summer! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merry Christmas to you two as well. Alaska can seem very intimidating but it really isn't. The only two reservations we made were on Kodiak Island and Denali. The rest of the trip we just winged it.

      Delete
  6. I would say that Alaska is up there on our list. However there have been so many different areas that all have their merits so it is hard to narrow it down. Making good progress on the homestead. We hope to be invited someday. Is it handicap accessible?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is ADA accessible but requires a 2 case entry fee... in advance!

      Delete
  7. Alaska is definitely a trip of a lifetime. Great choice on those cabinets...looks great! Those are some beauty bucks you guys are raising. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I wish I could take some credit but Barb did all the research and design.

      Delete
  8. Kitchen looks great! BTW, no luck for Al this year.

    ReplyDelete
  9. That was definitely a Trip that would have been worth doing. Nice sized fish and strangely you finally had one larger than Barb's.
    The house is really coming along.
    Wishing you both a Safe and Merry Christmas.

    It's about time.

    ReplyDelete
  10. SW Colorado is still our favorite for the reasons as yours. But AK is still the only place we haven’t been so that could change. It’ll have to wait for Steve to retire.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, we have not been to SW Colorado but it is hard to imagine that anywhere could beat AK!

      Delete
  11. Love,love your new cabinets!! Can't wait to see the new countertop with it. What an adorable visitor peeking in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is hilarious how they peek in the window. They have gotten so they even walk up on the concrete and will get within inches of the window to stare at the dogs.

      Delete
  12. The wood grain in the new cabinets is amazing. You could spend days just looking at all the different shapes and colours you have in all the wood. Awesome job! Super jealous of what you have built.
    We're too new to pick a favourite yet. Let's all get the wheels turning again this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They offered two different types of hickory. Rustic Hickory and finished hickory. On the rustic they left all the knots and imperfections, on the finished they filled them. We preferred the rustic which really shows the character of the wood.

      Delete
  13. I have all fingers and toes crossed that things will return to some semblance of normal this summer, so hopefully you can get back to beautiful Alaska this year. I'm hoping we can go the following summer (gotta go see our family on the east coast this year.) Anyway, let's hope it comes together. This country is raring to go travel!! The kitchen looks great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are hoping to get east the next year in '22. Up to Nova Scotia, Maine and then down the coast.

      Delete
  14. Another fun post. Love your choice of wood for the cabinets. Didn't you know that there is a rule to put spices in place alphabetically. Love all the Alaska photos, now I understand why you were so eager to get into Canada. Hopefully in 2021 but I would not count on it. I still can't believe how long our border has been closed. Wishing you a very special Christmas this year.

    Our favourite place to visit in the RV is the state park in Pismo Beach. There are so many places that we enjoy but that is one of our happy places. That was one of our first places we went to when we started to RV. Of course we love Mazatlan, Mexico for the winter. Internationally, Venice will always be our favourite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have never been to Pismo Beach. The only place in California we have really explored is Northern California up near the Oregon border.

      Delete
  15. Love the cabinets, what an interesting way to measure countertops. I have to agree with Alaska, it ranks tops for being one of our favorite places so far.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I remember correctly, isn't that where we first met you?!?!

      Delete
  16. Ditto to all the compliments to your progress with the house and the exquisite kitchen. I bet you are very very happy this Christmas enjoying your new place. Wishing you a Merry Christmas celebration and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Greetings from Alaska. I came across your blog as I begin to research the RV life. I have read and scrolled through many of your posts. I see you were about 55 when you started the RV life full-time. What do you and Barb do about health care since you do not seem to be of Medicare age?
    Also, what blogs were most helpful in your early stages of planning the RV life?
    Thanks for your help and I look forward to reading about your adventures in the New Year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We were lucky enough to be able to stay on Barb's health insurance from her former employer at the employee rate. This changes annually but are very fortunate to have this option. There are a number of our fulltime friends who are on the ACT. Some like it some do not.

      You may want to check out the forum on RV Dreams, they have a lot of threads including this topic. If you have any other questions feel free to reach out!

      Delete