If it weren’t for two anxious Rat Terriers, I might have stayed in bed all morning. God knows I could have used a weekend of napping and reading. On top of unconditional love and non-stop entertainment, Eddie and Daisey also provided my life with structure with their schedules and routines.

            After breakfast, I looked in the phone book for a doggie day camp that I saw advertised on the Anchorage television stations at home. I was pleased with what I heard and made arrangements to drop the dogs and vet records off in an hour. Chugach Canine Camp was a good solution to my problem of leaving the rat terriers alone in an unfamiliar environment and to my inability to exercise them as much as they needed. I was still too sore for playing fetch and my energy level had not returned to post concussion levels. This place promised to provide thirty minutes of exercise and play every two hours.

            The check in at doggie camp went smoothly and soon I was on my way to run errands. The thank you cards and stamps were easily and quickly purchased. The nightstand and bedside lamp took a bit of shopping around to find something that fit into the condo décor. The shopping trip gave me the inspiration to update my decorating without replacing my furnishings. I purchased taupe paint for the walls, white paint for the wood furniture and trim, slip covers, and pillows. No luck with window coverings.

            Because I had plenty of daylight left, I decided to take a drive out the Seward highway to the small ski resort town of Girdwood. One of my favorite restaurants, The Double Musky, is there. An early dinner sounded like an excellent idea and the drive would give me time to figure out how to implement my redecorating ideas.

            The Seward Highway runs along the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet. I was enjoying the easy drive and beautiful view when I saw a number of cars pulled over at Beluga Point. At first I assumed they were watching shore birds until I looked out over the water and saw what looked like ghosts swimming underwater. Beluga whales! I quickly pulled over for a better view of those amazing animals. With their stark white color and distinctive head bump, there was no mistaking this cetacean. I made my way down the large rocks and was quickly rewarded with am up close view.. During the years I lived in the Anchorage area, I never saw Belugas in the inlet before the fourth of July.

            It looked as though the pod consisted of about 10 whales. Their dives were shallow and their slow swimming made it easy to see their bright white bodies under water. I could hear their songs and chatter even when they were underwater. I clapped with delight as I spied a mama and her calf come so close to the shoreline. I stayed until the little family moved away from my spot on the rocky beach.

            A little further down the road at Windy Corner, I found more cars pulled off the road. This time the observers were looking up into the hillside, most with cameras pointed. I pulled over knowing that these folks had likely spotted Dall sheep. In the past, most of the sheep I saw looked more like moving snow than the large Ovis dalli; however, today was an exceptional view. The magnificent animals were low enough to get excellent photographs of the adults and juveniles. Like the Belugas, the sheep were a brilliant white against their environment. The thick, curled horns on the adult males were impressive. I chose the wrong day to forget my good camera.

            At the turn to Girdwood the Alaska wildlife once again made itself known. There was an abundance of bald eagles but, after living in Kodiak for so many years, I wasn’t tempted to pull over for bird watching. There are eagles galore in Kodiak, especially in the winter months when food is scarce. I proceeded on to the restaurant.

            The Double Musky is a New Orleans inspired restaurant featuring Cajun cuisine. Because some of my formative years were spent in New Orleans, Cajun food became a comfortable cuisine for me. When other kids begged for fish sticks or macaroni and cheese, I wanted red beans and rice. I took a wrong turn and ended up on the road to the Alyeska Resort. I considered a tram ride to the Roundhouse Museum but without a camera, and a dog camp pickup deadline nearing, I decided to forgo sightseeing and headed back toward the Double Musky.

I was not disappointed with my decision. My favorite appetizer, Cajun Mushrooms, was still on the menu. I ordered the mushrooms followed by shrimp etouffee. It was a fabulous meal and my only regret was that Guy or one of my friends wasn’t here to share the experiences of the drive and a wonderful meal.

The ride back to Anchorage was a blur compared to the scenic drive to Girdwood – I was focused on retrieving my dogs instead of the sights. There were a couple of spots where cars slowed down to view moose near the road but I was more interested in getting back to pick up my rat terriers. Let the tourists have the turn offs tonight.

            The dogs slept on the way back to the condo. They were obviously tired from a day at canine camp. I was going to have to bath them tonight because they both smelled like doggie camp. I made a mental note that next time I would have the camp give them a bath before pick up.

            After the dogs were clean and smelling better, I showered to rid myself of wet dog smell. It was still early enough to go out but I wasn’t hungry after my fabulous Double Musky meal. I looked at the gift certificate left by Ginger and decided to get dressed and give it a try. Perhaps a couple drinks would help numb the discomfort of broken ribs and lessen my homesickness. I called a cab because I didn’t want to drive home under the influence.

            At the restaurant I went straight to the bar and ordered a glass of white zinfandel. I heard a loud group in the back corner of the bar really whooping it up. The next time I was asked to dance I purposely directed my partner to that end of the dance floor – being a curious person I had to see what was going on. It was a crowd of about half a dozen young women and one man. As I edged closure I recognized the man. It was Libby’s attorney Alan Johnson. It seemed so strange to see this family man in a bar surrounded by six young women. While dancing with cracked ribs was uncomfortable, it was worth it to see this.

            After the dance, I relocated my drinking spot to a table with a better view of the commotion. With a closer look I could see that Alan was buying drinks for the crowd but only one of the young women was spending all her time with him. The others were dancing with each other but staying near the man funding the libations. I doubted a couple of the girls had reached their twenty first birthdays and Alan’s special friend looked to me to be in her late teens.

            I decided that I had seen enough and stood up to gather my belongings. After leaving an appropriate tip, I turned to leave and came face to face with the attorney and the women dripping from his arms. Our eyes locked but we did not speak. He walked out ahead of me with his harem and I went to the restroom just to avoid running into them again outside. I looked through the glass doors before stepping out to wait for a cab. I browsed the small store fronts until the cab arrived. Downtown Anchorage had changed a lot since I lived in the area. Small specialty stores seemed to be thriving and I got some good ideas to take back to Kodiak for when the entrepreneurial spirit hit me. An hour later with face washed and teeth brushed, I was asleep enveloped by two rat terriers.



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