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Wrong Kind of Cruise
Jun 14, 2010 | Views: 223
- Different Kind of Cruising
- 14 photos
But this cruise was going to Alaska, and I’d seen pictures of the beautiful scenery there. That did interest me. Well, the wife, son and daughter-in-law really wanted to go on the Alaska cruise, so I reluctantly agreed to leave my car behind and climb aboard.
By the end of the second day, I was beginning to show signs of withdrawal symptoms. I hadn’t seen a car in two days. The round life preservers on the ship were beginning to look like wide-white-wall tires to me. As we got closer to shore, having entered the Inside Passage, the scenery was beautiful, everything I expected of Alaska and more. But I strained to see the one thing that was missing. There were no roads. No wonder so many people take these cruises, you can’t get to these shores by car because there are no roads! Sure enough, as we arrived the first port, Juneau, we were advised that even though this is Alaska’s capital, there are no roads into this city. The only way in and out is by boat, ship or seaplane. Not even Sarah Palin can drive to the state capital!
But as we got closer, I thought I saw a cut in the trees. It looked like a road. Yes, there it was, a four-wheeled vehicle, some kind of SUV, traveling along the way on the outskirts of the town. Not even Juneau is so backward as to have no cars for getting around. In fact, as we disembarked to look around the town, there were a lot of cars there. Almost enough to make a traffic jam. And they had more than one traffic light, too!
Then it happened. I thought I caught a glimpse of the rear of a red 1966 Chevy Nova. I could hear the rumbling of a high-output engine that could be a hotrod or a redneck’s modified 4x4 pickup. I ran to the other end of the park, and there it was, turning down a street. It was a ’66 Nova! I wanted to get a picture of that, nevermind the surrounding mountains or the stuffed grizzly bear in front of the gift shop!
So, I spent much of the day reenacting Kurt’s frustrations in American Graffiti – trying to catch a cool old car cruising around, but always just missing it after brief glimpses. Granted, it was a Chevy Nova, not a Ford T-Bird, and I never even got to see if it was driven by a voluptuous future Hollywood star (not that I care since I’m married, in case my wife reads this). But I shared Kurt’s frustrations, because it was the only car in the entire town I cared about and I couldn’t even get a picture of it. I thought about looking for a local radio station to see if I could make a special request over the airwaves, since that worked for Kurt, sort of, but then it was time to return to the cruise ship. And so, I left Juneau, never to see that red Nova again.
But the story doesn’t end here on such a sad note. Because the next stop was Skagway, which actually had a road in and out, even if it was only open half the year. Nonetheless, it probably had less vehicles than Juneau. But it had hotrods. And you could ride them.
There they were, as I got off the ship. A 1927 Mack bus! And shortly afterwards a second one drove up, and it was driven by a young, attractive blonde (not that I noticed)! Yes, I did say hotrods. These were no ordinary antique buses. They were powered by Chevy 350 V-8s, which kind of makes them hotrods. If you were as desperate as I was at the time for something automotive that was interesting, these were hotrods.
Also parked nearby, waiting to greet me as I came off the ship, was a 1966 Ford Falcon. It was in pretty rough shape, but it was an old car and I liked it, almost enough to take a picture of it in spite of the severe rust and miscolored doors.
And they had trains in Skagway, including one powered by an old steam engine. I like seeing old trains, so this helped divert my attention from the limited number of cars in the area.
I liked Skagway.
It was a long two days at sea again before we made it to the next port, Victoria, B.C., which had several roads in and out and lots of cars around. And some of the local owners of antique cars knew how to get the most out of their investments. There waiting at port for the tourists were an old English Austin taxi cab, a 1954 Ford convertible and two mid-1960s Pontiac convertibles, each offering tours of the town for the small fee of $190. But it cost me nothing to photograph them. Ah, things are starting to get back to normal a little bit.
The next day we were back in Seattle, where it was raining again. We got up early in the morning to catch a flight to Minneapolis and drive home 4 ½ hours from there. But we made it home in time to catch the Saturday night cruise. I was exhausted from all the traveling, but before we actually got home I stopped by the cruise to see who was out. I had seen most of the cars before, but they are some extremely good-looking cars and it was good to see them again.
Now I was ready to go home and end my vacation with a good night’s rest.
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