My job allows me to visit a lot of Alaska on a yearly basis. I wanted to capture the trips in one location!

Cordova again! I love this town!!!

Aug. 20-24, 2013

this was my 5th trip to Cordova in the last 18 months. Image

I have been there with a LOT of snow.https://timistravels.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/cordova-alaska-during-snowpocyolypse-2012/, as well as last Aug.  The weather changes often.  While we were there this trip it was quite rainy, which helped for #1 sitting inside at meetings and #2 the sales at Copper River Fleece, a business that makes beautiful rain resistant jackets/vests.  Many of us on the committee spent lots of $ at that store!  It is hard to see the designs on the trims from these photo’s but they are what ‘make’ the jacket in my opinion.


Another favorite of Cordova are Pete’s Treats.  Pete is a fisherman, active community member, dad, husband and most amazingly, a truffle maker!  We got a behind the scenes tour of his shop and how he makes his truffles.

Many are berry flavor based, and he spends a lot of time out picking these berries.  It takes almost 4 gallons of berries to make these condensed containers of the berry flavor.  Image                     From these, about 1/4 C of these flavors go into each batch (4 dozen) of the truffles.  We had the opportunity to sample 4 berry flavors.  In these condensed versions they are a bit different tasting than you might think.  ImageImageImage

Pete then showed us the different chocolates that he uses for mixing with the berry’s and the outside of the truffles.  The higher the # on the chocolate= the higher the cocoa mass.  He said that many don’t feel that white chocolate is chocolate, but I sure think it tastes good!ImageImage

Pete then gave us the REAL TREAT, we each got a box to fill to take home.  The ones he had to share were not his typical sized one (bigger than a golf ball) but rather smaller ones, more bite size if you will.  He offered, blueberry, nangoon (a berry) and caramel/seasalt/jalapeno!  Here we are filling our boxes.ImageImageImage

Each truffle has a distinct marking on top that correlates with a flavor. That is how you can tell what kind you are buying/eating.  This list shows what the symbols are and what flavors Pete offers.  I personally love the blueberry and caramel/sea salt/jalapeno so I had a hard time choosing what to put into my box.  Image

Cordova is also known for a few other things including fishing!  Some of our group went up river one night and caught a few salmon!  Others opted to go eat dinner at Baja Taco’s a wonderful, eclectic food joint down by the harbor.   Yes, they prepare your food in the bus 🙂


All in all, I continue to find something exciting about Cordova each time I visit.

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Barrow, the most northern community in the United State~ Part 1

Aug. 16-18, 2013


Pizza place, no real zoning in Barrow, so there are just random buildings that are stores or restaurants.

Blessed!  We are blessed that we had the opportunity to visit Barrow for my job AND have such a wonderful experience while there.  We stayed with a colleague and appreciated her hospitality, tour and yummy food.  Where to start?  Upon landing on Friday night we ordered a pizza and calzone, which was really, and I do mean really good.   If you think there are not a lot of options in Barrow for food you are wrong.  They have all sorts of restaurants, from Pizza to Mexican to Chinese and Japanese, many great options.  One of the best treats was that we got to have some whale meat.whale  A long time ago I had a chance to eat some whale blubber/oil which was very fishy tasting so I imagined that the meat might be similar, but I was shocked that it tasted much like beef or any type of red meat.  It was very tasty.

A little bit about the culture in Barrow and when I write little I mean it.  I certainly was not there long enough to learn a lot, but I will share what I picked up on this trip or from discussions I have had with friends from there over the years.

There are 2 times a year that the whaling captains and crew go out in search of whales, the spring and the fall.  There are about 40 whaling captains in Barrow though the entire community is part of the processing once a whale is gotten.  There is a limit to the number of whales that can be taken in one year with a maximum of 12.


typical boats to go out on whale hunts

In the spring the captains have to go out and when the whales are killed they are cut up on the ice.   However, this year there was not one whale taken in the spring and it was not until July because the crews could not get to the ice, and when they could it was too thin.  This is a bit troubling to the members of this community; it seems to be a visual example of climate change and the change in the ice and ocean



IMG_0508 whale jaw bones

The fall was more fruitful and the community was able to fill freezers etc. with whale meet, oil etc.  The fall whales are brought back to town and they are chopped up on the old runway for the old airport.  This runway is a solid flat surface and safe for the butchering process.  The entire community comes out and everyone is given jobs to do.  IMG_0531 IMG_0532 IMG_0534center

Just before we arrived the one and only barge for the year made it to Barrow.  The reason that it is only once a year is that historically there has been limited time when the ice was gone enough to get into land.  This means that any new vehicle, a lot of supplies, etc. are ordered and brought in on this barge.  People order things such as dog food for an entire year, or Pam cooking oil as the weight of these items, or the fact that they are ‘flammable’ are too much to ship or not allowed to be shipped on a plane. IMG_0489 IMG_0490 IMG_0491 IMG_0492

Speaking of shipping things, take a look at the prices of things at the AC (main grocery store) I am not sure what shocked me most, potato chips OR charcoal for grills, thought toilet paper and bottled water is pretty high up there too. IMG_0536chips IMG_0537soup IMG_0538charcoal IMG_0539cereal IMG_0540milk IMG_0541joy IMG_0542tp IMG_0543water

One of the things most people don’t expect to find in Barrow, but has become quite a tourist destination is the football field.  About 7 years ago this field was put in and it allows the students to play other high schools in the state.  It might not surprise you that the home games are played in Barrow in Aug. and Sept. then they fly south to play other teams when it gets just too cold to play out of doors in Barrow.   I was told that when they win, the players run into the Arctic Ocean to celebrate! What I found most interesting is that though the football field is outside and we watched some jr. high kids at practice, AND we saw the cross country team running on the roads around town, there are NO outdoor playgrounds and there are NEVER outdoor recesses!Try to imagine that.


for the press box the district re purposed a conex shipping container. It was cut in 1/2 and put up on their ends to create these press boxes.!!!!


quite foggy the day we visited


That’s all for this write up but I will tell more of our adventure in the next blog!


Camping and Family~ Idaho adventures! (Boise, Stanly, Wildhorse Basin, McCall)

Aug. 3-11, 2013

When we heard the Tullis Family Reunion was going to be in McCall, Idaho we decided we needed to take the opportunity to explore a bit of Idaho that we had never been to before.

We spent the first night in Boise, tackling a few of the local breweries, I even found a beer that I enjoyed, called SWILL, the summer seasonal for the 10 Barrel Brewery.

On Sunday we headed up the Bogus Ski Area and went past the ski area up to the trailhead for Mt. Mores.  We hiked about 3.5-4 miles around the rim of the mountain.  It was quite warm, in the high 80’s low 90’s.  Too hot for this Alaskan, but not for Harry.

Hot hike up Bogus Basin outside of Boise

Hot hike up Bogus Basin outside of Boise


highest point on Morse Mountain

We were then able to hit the brewfest in Nampa before heading to some other friends for the evening in Eagle.

However, the real adventure began on Monday morning when we headed eastward then N up to Haley, Sun Valley and eventually into the Copper Canyon and Wildhorse Basin.


beautiful wildflowers

  Once we arrived to the Wildhorse Basin we knew we’d hit the jackpot of Idaho, and the fact that we’d been given an upgrade at our car rental to a Jeep, helped us quickly decide to take the remote road as far as we could.IMG_0229


beautiful flowing falls


need to look up what these were but they were beautiful

In the end it took us over  an hour to travel 3.5 miles.   The logging road we took seemed to be mostly traveled by ATV’s these days, but we made it in the Jeep!  At the end we hiked in about another mile or so and the valley was just spectacular.    On the way out we stopped and took some photos of the old mine.



the peak at the end of the trail. Must have been at about 11,500-12,000 feet

However, what both of us agreed to be the highlight of the trip was where we camped that night.  After coming back off the ATV road we decided to not camp at the campground, (there were only 2 spaces full, but they were the only 2 on the river) but rather to set up our tent on the riverbed.  There were so many “almost heart rocks” that we


almost heart rock beach

decided to call our campsite the ‘almost heart’ site. IMG_0231

The sky was so clear that we saw more stars that night than we’ve ever seen, even more than on Mauna Kea (13,803 feet) in Hawaii.  It was spectacular.  We saw the Milky Way and many constellations as well satellites passing in the sky.  We could tell that with such a clear sky that it was going to be a cold night, but we never imagined it would get down to freezing but it did.


the view from our tent

As we awoke in the morning we saw the sun rise over the mountain peak and knew we’d already had THE highlight of the trip.  But we continued onward.  We drove the loop through Copper River Basin, which was also worth the time.  Eventually we made it back to Sun Valley by noon and continued our adventure toward Stanley.  Everyone had told us we’d love it there but neither of us know what to expect.IMG_0256

It was a quaint little town, almost like one of the ghost towns in N Arizona.  It also reminded me of Nenana, AK or any smallllll town USA.  There was the main road through town and about 3 turn offs, making it easy to see all of town.  We ate pizza for lunch, filled up with gas and stopped at the visitor center.  The woman told us that the area we wanted to visit had a recent fire and that the ‘scenery’ wasn’t what it used to be.  Hence we continued to another location.IMG_0294 IMG_0305 IMG_0306 IMG_0308 IMG_0309 IMG_0310


the heart rocks at the hot springs camp site

hot sp

harry enjoying the hot springs.

Eventually we ended up in Bonneville Campgrounds, established in the location most likely because of the natural hot springs that were about ¼ mile from our tent.  We enjoyed them both in the evening and again the next morning.  It was perfect for both of us because Harry could sit in the HOT area and I could lounge where the hot water met the cold river water creating just the right temperature for me!

That day we drove a scenic route through a gorge headed towards McCall.  It again was magnificent.  We kept commenting on how nice it would have been to have our motorcycles for this trip.  We followed a river towards the west and then another one North.  The one that was flowing south as we drove north had amazing rapids and turbulent waters, very pretty.

We arrived into McCall right around the time we could check into our condo.  We quickly found the brewery before Marcia came to take us to their house on the lake, the gathering spot for the reunion.

hike mc2

there had been a fire about 18-20 years ago

The next few days were full of family, fun, laughs and memories. hikemc

Harry and I hiked up to Canyon Lake, it was steep and it was hot, and combining those elements with the high elevation, I was pooped!  We also canoed with John/Liz and Michael /Debbie down the river for a few hours, another fun adventure.    Sharing the condo with April, Carol and the twins Jason and Morgan was also a blast.


the Tullis kids, Tom, Marcia, John, Harry and Karen, we missed Jim, Kathy and Jack

Thursday night the family had dinner at the pizza place, Friday night everyone brought things to BBQ and we ate at the house on the lake and Saturday night most everyone gathered at Tom and Ann’s (+family_) campsites for more BBQ fun. IMG_0419 IMG_0431

We missed those not there, but hope to see them all at the next gathering.