Trish and Harold's Weblog

News, information, and random thoughts from the busy lives of Trish Egan and Harold Phillips.

Monday, June 30, 2008

North To Alaska: Epilogue

So, I didn't want Trish and my Alaska adventure to just peter out with no closure... you know how it is. You get home and get busy playing catch-up, and before you know it you've forgotten to record those precious memories and such in favor of the crisis-of-the-moment.

First off, a word about the photos we took while we were up there. Photobucket is a great free image hosting site. It gives you a lot of space to post your images, and allows you to freely link to them.

Unfortunately, it doesn't allow you to organize the photos in your galleries (at least, I haven't figured out how to do it yet). That means that the order the photos were uploaded in (in batches of 50) is the order they're displayed. This can make it kind of hard to display images thematically, for easy browsing.

We took around 275 photos while we were there, which makes for a lot of wading through when people just want to see specific stuff. So, to make it easier on you, I've created a few "slide shows" on our Photobucket page. Hopefully these will be easier for casual browsers. Check 'em out (the slideshows do require the latest version of Flash, and are probably viewed best over a high speed connection - sorry dial-up users).

  • Picturesque Valdez: The road to Valdez Alaska (from Anchorage), and some shots of the town we spent most of our Alaskan Trip in.
  • Last Frontier Conference Highlights: Really, there are far more memories of the Conference than we managed to capture in photos. Still, here's a few shots of some of the attendees, the divine Patricia Neal, and (hopefully) a sense of the feeling of community instilled by the conference.
  • Glacier Cruise: On the third-to-the-last night of the Conference, Prince William Sound Community College sponsored a cruise out to the Shoup Glacier. We took far too many photos to fit in one of Photobucket's free slide shows. The scenery is gorgeous, though (and there's a couple shots of Trish and I on the deck that I just love!)
  • The Road Back To Anchorage: More Alaska scenery. Beautiful... though after the glacier cruise, it may be a little disappointing :)
  • Old Friends In Anchorage: This one kind of lumps all the photos I took in Anchorage together... there's some shots of my friend Kert, people from UAA touring the theater arts building (and the theater arts building itself), shots around town... kind of a mish-mash.

That's the drill on photos... if you want to browse through all 274 images, you can do so by clicking here; I thought the slideshows might make things easier, though.

So, to re-cap my time in Anchorage... well, it was pretty damned awesome. We stayed with one of my best friends in the world, Kert LaBelle. I took many drives around town revisiting old haunts... of course, the town has changed, but what struck me were the things that hadn't changed. Anchorage has gone through an amazing period of growth in the past nearly-20 years since I lived there... but some things remain constant. Old hobby shops sit next to new buildings in mid-town. The New Seward Highway and Minnesota Drive are wider, but they go out to the same retail shops in the Dimond district. Boscoes Comics is still across from Chilcoot Charlies. Kalladi Brothers Cofee is in the same storefront, off a frontage road, that it opened in. East High School may have gotten a fresh coat of paint and a new entry way... but it's still pretty much the same.

Tom Wolfe is right... you can't go home again. But the ghosts of the past still haunt their old plots of land, no matter how much time has passed.

While I was there I got the opportunity to tour the UAA Theater Arts Building (where I got the majority of my theatrical training) with some old friends from my college days. Like the rest of the town, things had changed... but they remained largely the same. It was amazing to walk those halls again and head up to the techie loft in an older body, with many more years under my belt. I won't say that I felt 18 again, but I certainly got a chance to commune with my younger self.

I also got to meet up with my old high school friend Christine Caples (used-to-be Coxey) for a drink. We had a good time talking about friends from our past. It was a nice touch back on my younger days.

But alas, all good things... in the end, as we boarded the plane that took us back to Seattle (it was cheaper to fly out and into Seattle than Portland), I felt immensely satisfied with my visit. There were plenty of people I would have liked to have seen... plenty of spots from my past that I would have liked to have visited (I didn't go back to my old house in South Mountain View - that neighborhood is looking a little blighted these days)... but it was enough. It was enough to help me remember the good times that I had in my younger days, and to confirm that I love the life I currently live. Anchorage is a wonderful town, and it helped to shape me into the person I am today... but I live in a different continuum today than I did back then. I have a life I never could have dreamed of when I was going to school at UAA, with a lovely wife, a career, and a home - not just a house, but a home - in the Pacific Northwest. And it's a good place to be.

That doesn't mean I'll be a stranger up there, though... even with the higher gas prices (that result in higher plane fares), I'm planning on heading back up before another 10 years has passed. Anchorage's pulse still beats in time with my heart; I'd prefer to get up there a lot more often than I have in the past.

Ok, that's it for now... time to re-enter real life. Hope you're all doing well!