North to Alaska

Cindy and Larry are not just our neighbors, they are our family. We’ve spent countless Thanksgivings and Christmases together, we’ve traveled together, we’ve wiped tears over lost parents and pets. And now they are moving from within view of our kitchen window to a beautiful home with a view in Bend, Oregon. I feel like I’m losing a limb. I wish I knew a special term for the grief that comes from this–not a permanent loss, but a loss I know will affect me every day. John and I have been in our house for 10 years and I can’t imagine our lives here without Cindy and Larry.

Part of my love for them comes from the many tales they have told of their lives in Alaska, before they moved to Phoenix. I always beg for their stories. About famous hikes or bike rides, sea kayak trips or teaching in a remote village. I’ve never lived in a place that was anything more than emotionally hard. I’ve had my physical needs met at all times. So the stories of bear at the tent or moose in the yard, or gas lamps or water rationing always made me aware I was dealing with two major bad-asses. It took a trip to Alaska with them to understand exactly how much respect I should have. Alaska is not for the weak, and I–it turns out–am very weak.

Larry planned a tour that hit all the high points–he put great care into the itinerary so that we could see so many of the places we had heard about. We started with the Mayor’s Marathon (for John) and Half (for me and Larry), and the trip just kept getting more exciting from there. We got to spend time with their friends and family, and eat at their favorite restaurants. We weren’t on the internet at all times, which made regular blogging hard. But I hope you’ll enjoy these pictures with a narrative of how my bad-ass friends showed us how it’s done in the 49th state.