I’m currently in New York for a family reunion–dad’s side, over 50 relatives I either do not know at all or have had very little contact with…we’re all here learning about the history of our clan and trying to forge those connections to develop relationships with the younger generation and the older and all those in between (like me). At any rate, it’s been 5 days of eating, hanging out, swimming, eating, hanging out, singing karaoke, playing pool and Guitar Hero 2, eating, hanging out, watching TV, eating and more eating. If there was any weight I lost on the Alaska trip, I surely gained it back on the cruise back home and during this family reunion.
Good news about the Alaska trip is that YES I was able to sell the car. Pretty stressful days leading up to it though. No takers. Finally, one guy showed up at the hostel. He’s a guy that buys cars cheap (from desperate sellers like me) and then resells them at a higher price and pockets the profit. He liked my car. Very interested. I even washed it (haven’t washed my own car in years). Then, he gets into the front seat, turns on the ignition, and then….IT EXPLODES!! Like in the movie ‘Casino’ when Robert Dinero dies at the end!!! Erupts in flames and levels the entire city block. So the deal was dead. Yeah, so it didn’t explode. It started up without a hitch. Sounded great, just like it did the entire way up. What killed the deal though was the Check Engine Light. Once he saw that glowing bright orange on the dashboard, he bolted out of the seat and into his car like it did explode. Basically said that the Alaska Environmental Quality Vehicle Testing something something will not allow any car with a Check Engine Light to pass, and therefore, no registration to get a plate. So I was a dead duck. Or lame duck. Or duck duck goose whatever.
Long story short, I reduced my Craigslist ad from $1450 to $1150 and said I was desperate. And got 2 calls the next day. One from a Native Alaskan lady that had no license. And the other an Air Force Jet mechanic who took the car for a 45-minute test drive with his girlfriend. After 30 minutes, I didn’t think they were ever coming back. But they did. And he opened up the hood and pointed out the cracked radiator and coolant fluid leaking out. He said that on the test drive he took it to a Napa Auto Parts and they said it would cost about $250 to get that fixed. So he basically took that amount from my asking price of $1150 and offered me $900. Sold.
The car was sold, and that’s all that matters. Lisa and I were able to get an overpriced shuttle bus down to Seward for the next day and then on Sunday, July 29th, boarded the Holland America Ryndam cruise ship for 7 days of feasting, lounging and sightseeing on our way back down south. We spent a couple days in Vancouver, BC before returning home and waiting 2 hours to cross the border. But we made it. And upon arriving at home, I did some laundry and promptly repacked my bags for my trip out east.
And that’s about it. Fairbanks was a cool little town. Our arrival coincided with the ‘Golden Days’ Festival where they had a street fair and a costumed inflatable boat regalia on the river. During our 3 days at Denali National Park we only saw Mt. McKinley once. The rest of the time it was obscured by the clouds. But at least it didn’t rain on us. And at least the car made it all the way from Portland, OR to Anchorage AK with only a cracked windshield and cracked radiator. And sold.
My summer vacation is almost at an end, just 2 weeks left before it is time to go back to work with the school. I wouldn’t have been able to do all of this had I been selected for that other job with the Art Institute. Ironically, they called 2 weeks ago saying that they had another opening and wanted to know if I’d consider. Sure I did. But with their offer of only 2 weeks of annual vacation, how could I say ‘Yes’? I’ve come to realize that I like not working. How could I accept a future position with a company if I can only expect to get 2 or 3 weeks during the year? How did I do this for the last 7 years I’ve worked??? Working with the school is ideal. Sure, if you take my paycheck for the year, I end up averaging $7 per hour. But I don’t have many expenses (aside from traveling) and I love the time off. So I’m sticking with this school gig for at least one more year, until my next adventure, which a few of you know of. Because on my trip to Alaska, and specifically to a museum in Fairbanks, I found inspiration. Inspiration for my next adventure. Look for it in Summer of 2008, to coincide with the Summer Olympic Games. This is gonna be coooooooool.