Thursday, July 26, 2007

Juneau to Whittier to Anchorage

The railroad stole my handlebar bag. You can't ride your bike through the tunnel to get out of Whittier. So I chatted with the other hitchhikers and waited until early afternoon to get out of town. The Alaska Railroad caters to tourists and rafters and, on the occasional basis, people like me.

I sleepily boarded the train; I'd been up since five. After a jolt through a couple tunnels, they were unloading my bike and trailer in Portage.

There I sat with Jenny at mile 80, drinking free coffee and teaching her that jokes still came on the new laffy taffy wrappers. I also helped her take apart a rack.

The conductor hanging off the train held out my bag that I'd described as a black lunch box. He asked if my whole life really was in that bag.

Then, at 5:15, I rode the 45 miles to Kristine's parent's off of 88th in Anchorage. I only stopped in Girdwood to be served a gyro by a woman named Olga. I slept on the couch.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sitka - Juneau


Adjusting to the weight of the trailer, I rode up on a family also heading to the ferry terminal. Even this trio of Vancouverites had heard about the College's "financial issues". Since Sitka's not really a hot spot for touring with its 14 miles of road, these were the first touring cyclists I'd seen in town. Susan, the braces laden mother, offered to let me pass as I remembered my painful time of orthodontia. I passed her up on the offer until we neared the ferry so that I could capture the moment on camera.

The ride was brief especially due to my intermittent naps punctuated by squawks over the loud speaker, announcing whales near the point/buoy of whatchamacallit island. The Shuefelt's home was warm and on the side of a hill. Across the street, the view blocking lot lay undeveloped, perhaps in fear of landslides. As in children's homes all around the world, Harry Potter was being read aloud to the younger, Laurel. Megan, the older, was on hand as the Potter expert while she wrapped Snowball, the cat, around her neck like a boa. The cat loved her. After soaking up Italian soup and chamomile tea and perusing the 2nd edition and severely outdated version of the Alaska Bicycle Touring Guide, I went to sleep in a very pink room.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Last Minute

I've recently uploaded a ridiculous number of pictures to my flickr account. They need a bit more organizing, but seeing as how I'm about to put my computer in a box, it will have to be done some other time.

I just came back from eating banana boats with Markus, Patricia, Katie, Angela, and Brandy. It ended with deep conversation around a wet fire and be being terribly frightened by Elaine as I came out of the bathroom. Someone needs to stop letting her work, without pay, until midnight. Yes, she was around last night as well.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"We're on the other side of a big river."

Dobler was interviewed on the radio this morning. Sitkans had a chance to call in and ask questions about the future of the College.

On the road/boat again...

I leave on Monday with my affairs at least mostly in order. The crate from Service Transfer is coming Friday afternoon and leaving with my few belongings that are not going on the bike Monday morning. I picked up my last paycheck from the school. I'm sharing a post office box in town with Jeff, Kristine, and Cerissa. My bike visited Dennis yesterday and got some TLC. Chris very kindly lent me his bike trailer so I can test out the BOB experience. I still have a few people to visit and laundry needs to be done, but I'm close enough. For those that want the details...

Leave on ferry from Sitka to Juneau on Monday afternoon.
Spend night in Juneau with warmshowers hosts.
Two day ferry ride ending in Whittier the morning of the 26th.
I know I have a place to stay in Palmer, but I also have inclings of places in Anchorage that I can stop in at... but I'm not sure.
Kristine and Jeff's wedding in Anchorage on the 11th.
Ride to Fairbanks, Tok, Dawson, Whitehorse, Haines, or something like that.
Come back to Sitka via ferry when I'm done.

For those that didn't get the bulk email I have a new phone number and mailing address. Just jot me an email at if I missed you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Letter to the Editor 7/17/07

Dear Editor,

I am one of the many who have been intimately involved with Sheldon Jackson College over the last four years. We’ve lived, worked, and earned degrees on campus. We were there when the heat went out and space heaters were a hot commodity. “The part” was “in the mail” for weeks. Our paychecks have been late; some have bounced. We don’t expect broken windows to be replaced any time soon. We’re even excited when we get new office supplies like pens and printer ink.
We’ve been dysfunctional for a long time. This has been going on longer than the last close call in ’99. The Board just finally noticed that we had a broken leg and they shot us. They killed our school, but they forgot to make the funeral arrangements and notify the next of kin. Those of us on campus amidst the gloom keep getting asked questions, like whether or not the Hames will stay open. We don’t know. No one is answering any questions. I wouldn’t expect any one to really, because this is just another example of SJ indecision and lack of communication.
I’ve seen dozens of individuals leave the campus community. We call them “SJ Casualties.” Now as hundreds lay scattered about the lawn bleeding out with severed limbs begging for a little compassion, the Board and the President sit on the porch discussing land sales and where the previously student run coffee shop should be moved to. Heartbroken doesn’t begin to describe the way we feel.


Rebecca Wells

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Media Coverage

I'm just now getting around to listening to the radio shows about the school closing. Here's one where they interviewed my friends Patricia and Cerissa about losing the school and their jobs. There are many other stories that can be reached through the KCAW-FM Raven Radio Station Local News section. You can even hear about the rapid response team that came to town to deal with the layoff. Here's an article in the Anchorage Daily News about the closure where they interviewed Jeff. The local paper doesn't have a website but there have been several articles and many letters to the editer.

I'm glad I leave town on the 23rd to get away for a couple months.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

New Martin

I got a got a call from Josh this morning. Salome had a baby boy at 7:15am: 8 pounds 14 ounces 21 inches long. Happy fourth of July!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Sheldon Jackson College Memorial Service

Sheldon Jackson College
Memorial Service
Candlelight Vigil

Friday, July 6, 2007

Around the flagpole
on the Quad

A time to reflect, share, support, and find peace in this time of disruption and grief.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Going into storage

Friday afternoon at 3:30, over a hundred people were informed that the school was not going to provide academic services this next school year and that they no longer have jobs. On Saturday, the last day of the pay period, a few individuals began packaging up the school so that it could go into storage for a year. But when things go into storage, you can never be too sure when they will come back out again.