On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

This weekday feature is for Juicers who are are on the road, traveling, or just want to share a little bit of their world via stories and pictures. So many of us rise each morning, eager for something beautiful, inspiring, amazing, subtle, of note, and our community delivers – a view into their world, whether they’re far away or close to home – pictures with a story, with context, with meaning, sometimes just beauty. By concentrating travel updates and tips here, it’s easier for all of us to keep up or find them later.

So please, speak up and share some of your adventures and travel news here, and submit your pictures using our speedy, secure form. You can submit up to 7 pictures at a time, with an overall description and one for each picture.

You can, of course, send an email with pictures if the form gives you trouble, or if you are trying to submit something special, like a zipped archive or a movie. If your pictures are already hosted online, then please email the links with your descriptions.

For each picture, it’s best to provide your commenter screenname, description, where it was taken, and date. It’s tough to keep everyone’s email address and screenname straight, so don’t assume that I remember it “from last time”. More and more, the first photo before the fold will be from a commenter, so making it easy to locate the screenname when I’ve found a compelling photo is crucial.

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!

Sorry I’ve not been more involved recently, but the chemo, state-of-the-art that it is, is kicking my mom’s ass hard, and I’m the primary caregiver. Thankfully she asked to be hospitalized when my visiting aunt and I agreed contemporaneously (spelled correctly WITHOUT spellcheck, FYI).

I am so drained that I’m doing nothing for Halloween, my and my wife’s favorite holiday – I’m not even going to be with her, so we’re going to speakerphone-watch Stranger Things S2 for an episode or two. I call it a date! For the first time I can remember, neither of us will hand out candy; we’re hiding in our respective houses to spend some (virtual?cerebral?) time together!

I’m prepping my mom’s house (family home) for her incoming hospital bed and stuff on the middle floor so she’s not stuck on the top floor. That way she can be in kitchen and not just her bedroom. It’s truly shocking how she’s degraded the past few weeks, from needing some assistance to full-time care. She can’t walk without a rolling walker, and just a few feet at that!

She’s getting a lot of good treatment, and her oncologist and primary care docs, as well as patient and family, have pointed out that she’s on meds that were in trial just a few months ago, so we tell all hospital folk that this is NOT hospice, the regimen is working, kicking  cancer’s ass something fierce. They are checking her blood weekly for unique markers of that tumor, and they’re down more than 50%.

But she was massively dehydrated and as it turns out, way, way, way low on Potassium. Now she’s in hospital, she’s being stabilized, strengthened, and plans for home health care and bed, potty, rolling walker, etc. are being drawn up. She will come home when stronger, get a bit stronger more, then the regimen will recommence, with a lower concentration so it doesn’t hit her so bad, and with a lot more hydration and attention to nutritional balance.

Should you know someone who’s undergoing treatment with these wonder drugs and the oncologist is given primary health care responsibility, try to see the primary care physician/family doctor to ensure that all is OK every month or so during chemo protocols. Oncologists are so busy and specialized that they may miss subtle infections or imbalances that your normal doctor may see.  More eyes, the power of local expertise, and all. My mom’s blessed to live in DC and have access to great care, but we didn’t do that and it took a great ER doctor and then admitting doctor to help get her on a better path.

Today we have some amazing pictures from Alaska, then onto New Jersey. God I love this country!

As an aside, rewrite your understanding of totem poles. Many years ago I learned that, for many native people, the BOTTOM of the totem pole is the supreme position. Turns out it’s more complicated:

Those from cultures that do not carve totem poles often assume that the linear representation of the figures places the most importance on the highest figure, an idea that became pervasive in the dominant culture after it entered into mainstream parlance by the 1930s with the phrase “low man on the totem pole”[24] (and as the title of a bestselling 1941 humor book by H. Allen Smith). However, Native sources either reject the linear component altogether, or reverse the hierarchy, with the most important representations on the bottom, bearing the weight of all the other figures, or at eye level with the viewer to heighten their significance.[25] Many poles have no vertical arrangement at all, consisting of a lone figure atop an undecorated column.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totem_pole

Thus endeth the lesson.

(I could go on about Orthodox Churches and Cathedrals in the US, eagles, etc., but I’ll shuddup right now)

Have a Happy Halloween everyone!

First, pictures from valued commenter munira.

These are from a trip I took on the Alaska Ferry to Sitka last April. Each winter I spend three months on the US west coast where my family all live and the last three years I’ve taken the Alaska Ferry from Bellingham up through the inside passage – gloriously beautiful.

Totem Pole

Taken on 2017-04-07

Sitka, Alaska

From the Totem Trail in the Sitka National Historical Park.

St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral

Taken on 2017-04-09

Sitka, Alaska

This is the inside of the cathedral. The Russian influence in Sitka is still evident although most of the members of the church seem to be Native. I attended the Palm Sunday service. Very friendly people.

St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral

Taken on 2017-04-06

Sitka, Alaska

This is the outside of the cathedral. It’s right in the center of town.

Sitka Raptor Center

Taken on 2017-04-10

Sitka, Alaska

This is the bald eagle flight school where they teach injured bald eagles to fly again. They rescue any kind of raptor and if they can’t get them flying again, they keep them in the center.

Sunset from the Alaska Ferry

Taken on 2017-04-12

Alaska Ferry

This sunset just kept going and I couldn’t stand to leave until it was over – so many photos of it.


Thank you so much munira, do send us more when you can.


Today, pictures from valued commenter JAFD.

Pictures taken in Maplewood, New Jersey, looking across the Rahway River at South Mountain Reservation, at about 5:30 PM last week, with the autumn sunset almost horizontal on the leaves.

South Mountain

Taken on 2017-10-26

Maplewood, NJ

Taken in Maplewood, New Jersey, looking across the Rahway River valley, at South Mountain Reservation, at about 5:30 PM last week, with the autumn sunset almost horizontal on the leaves.

Maplewood, looking at South Mountain Reservation

Taken in Maplewood, New Jersey, looking across the Rahway River valley, at South Mountain Reservation, at about 5:30 PM, last week, with the autumn sunset almost horizontal on the leaves.


Thank you so much JAFD, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


One again, to submit pictures: Use the Form or Send an Email

19 replies
  1. 1
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    A friend from my teens is a commercial/salvage diver in Sitka. Sounded too damned cold for me, LOL

  2. 2

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: From my understanding, the weather on the panhandle is relatively mild(more rain than snow). Probably a bit colder than Seattle. I’ll admit I was only up there(the panhandle) in September. The Alaskan mainland, on the other hand, I have been to in the winter; it’s cold and dark.

  3. 3
    raven says:

    Alain, I hope your mom gets better soon!

  4. 4
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:


    I mentioned to him that I had a dry suit dive card and would be willing to try cold water dives. He laughed and told me that water is in the 40s, you have to wear face protection, too, and visibility is 3 feet.

    I passed.

  5. 5

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: The eastern Pacific is pretty cold, even here in Southern CA the water temp is usually in the mid 60’s.

  6. 6
    Anne Laurie says:

    Best wishes to your mom, Alain, for a swift and as-painless-as-possible recovery.

    Remind her that in many northern European traditions, October 31st marked the end of the year, and the beginning of a new (hopefully better) one!

  7. 7
    Lapassionara says:

    Please take care of yourself, too, Alain. And fingers crossed for your mom.

  8. 8
    evap says:

    Thanks for the lovely and interesting pictures! Nostalgia… I grew up near Maplewood, NJ and my first real job (apart from babysitting) was working at the Baskin Robbins in Maplewood.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    rikyrah says:

    Thanks for the pictures 😄

  11. 11
    debit says:

    I’m so glad your mom is responding well to the treatment, Alain. Also glad you’re taking care of yourself too. Enjoy your date night!

  12. 12
    nelson says:

    well wishes to your mom

  13. 13
    eclare says:

    Beautiful pictures! I went to AK on vacation years ago, loved it, but did not see Sitka. Strength to you and your mom.

  14. 14
    Suezboo says:

    Dear Alain,
    All of us here on BJ owe you an immense debt of gratitude – site-fixing and picture-hosting.I don’t comment here very often but I lurk daily and I just wanted to say Thank You, Alain. I’m sorry that you are going through this rough time with your mom but she is lucky to have a true fixer to help her through it. I hope all goes well for both of you. Take care.

  15. 15
    Clowncar Glovebox says:

    So sorry to hear about your mom. Good on you for doing so much hard work for her. My parents were born the year the stock market crashed… and watching their slow loss of physical abilities is agonizing. My mother assented easily to letting others drive for her… but I’m not sure my step-father will. One more fall and broken hip and we’ll be looking at a walker and in-home assistance, too.

  16. 16
    Mnemosyne says:

    Good luck to you and your mom, Alain. Chemo can be tougher than people realize, but she should be able to bounce back after it’s done since you keep checking the basic stuff like hydration and potassium. Make sure to get a consultation with a dietician who works with oncology patients and see which type of Ensure she should be supplementing with — it can differ based on the type of chemo she’s getting.

  17. 17

    Alain, sending good thoughts to you and your family. I have a friend who is doing chemo right now and it’s actually the newlasta (sp) supplement that’s kicking her ass. cancer sucks.

  18. 18
    J R in WV says:

    Alain, glad to see the update on your mom. I know how you feel, wife and I rehabbed my dad after he fell and broke his hip – no institution would accept him because he was in a clinical trial for an experimental (and successful) drug to treat his leukemia – two white powder in gelcaps morning and evening, very low impact, but no one was willing to accept any liability.

    So we got all the tools into his home and did it all ourselves. It was hard! You’re younger now than I was then, but still!

    Best of luck for you, your wife, your mom, all going forward!!! And thanks for all the fish! ;-) 42

  19. 19
    Lizzy L says:

    Alain, warm wishes to your mom and to you. I’ve been a caregiver twice now, once for my mother, once for a dear friend, and it is HARD. While you are taking care of your mother, make sure to take care of yourself. May all go well!!

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