Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day 54--56--June 20, and 22, 2013

June 20, 2013
                The last couple of days have been slow moving.  Well, I should say slow unless I’m going from the bus to the car, then I am at a full run.  Why?  Alaska has 27 different varieties of mosquitoes.  And they all have mastered the art of biting.  Yes, I say biting, because I refuse to believe that a stinger hurts that much.  Of course, everyone says that after you’ve been bitten, there are loads of remedies like milk and honey.  Well, I’m here to tell you that doesn’t work.  I’ve drank 4 glass of the mixture and the buggers continue to bite me.
          I found this mosquito trap.  It’s like a mini-bear trap.  They also sell mosquito skinning knives.  I was outside earlier, and as my head was surrounded by a swarm of the insects, I was reminded of the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds.  I swear I heard one of them say to another one, “Shall we eat her here or take her with us?”  I was in my bathroom earlier and when I looked into the mirror, there was this monstrous mosquito right in the middle of my forehead.  I gave myself a V-8 slap and killed him dead.  I may have a concussion, but I got him.  Here is a picture of him.  I’m going to take him to the taxidermist and have him stuffed and mounted.

Monstrous Mosquito I killed in my bathroom
         This afternoon, Richard and I drove across town to the Riverboat Discovery.   We’ve visited it several times and have taken the excursion down the Tanana River.  The people who live along the river become part of the excursion.  There is a pilot who takes off from the water in front of his house and flies around us, then lands.  We go by Susan Butcher’s home.  She was the second woman to win the Iditarod Dog Sled Race.  When we were here in 2003, she came out of her house and talked about her dogs and did a dog sled demonstration with the sled being on wheels.  When we came back in 2008, we learned that Susan had passed away from cancer two years earlier.  Her husband was carrying on the demonstrations.
          They also take you to a village which is set up just as the Alaskan Natives live.  They had beautiful fur coats.  It was very interesting.
          The Riverboat Discovery is a steamboating tradition that goes back over 100 years and five generations.  In 1898, Charles M. Binkley hiked the Chilkoot Pass with the stampeders.  It wasn’t so much after the gold as he was to jump at the chance to build and operate boats on the Yukon River.  He became a respected pilot and boat builder.  His son, Captain Jim Binkley, Jr., followed in his father’s footsteps and piloted and operated freight vessels on the Yukon and Tanana Rivers.
Discovery II
          In the 1950’s, transportation methods changed.  Most freight was delivered by trains and airplanes.  Captain Jim and his wife, Mary, began the excursion business focusing on their love for Alaska and sharing its culture with visitors.  Their business grew from the Godspeed, a 25-passenger vessel to the Discover III, a 900-passenger vessel.  Today the company is operated by Jim’s grandchildren, and Mary is still active in the business.

Tubes to raise the vessels out of the water for the winter
          I’m not sure you can see this picture very well, but what it shows are huge, metal tubes.  When winter approaches, the tubes are filled with water, which makes them sink.  The sternwheelers are floated over them.  Then the water is let out of the tubes, the rise to the surface, lifting the boats out of the water where they stay while the river is frozen.  After the spring thaw, the tubes are again filled and the boats go back into the water.

          They have a large gift shop complete with a café selling sandwiches and hot or cold drinks.  They also serve salmon dip and crackers.  Every time I’m here I have to buy several cans of Captain Jim’s Salmon.  It is the best canned salmon I’ve ever eaten.  They have many recipes, but my two favorite and ones many of you have eaten at my house.  Here they are:
  All-time Favorite: Smoked Salmon Dip (As served aboard the Riverboat Discovery)

* 2 cans Captain Jim’s Gourmet Alaskan Smoked Salmon

* 8 ounces cream cheese

* ground nuts, or finely chopped parsley (optional)

Warm cream cheese to room temperature. Add two cans of Captain’s Jim’s Gourmet Alaskan Smoked Salmon, including skin and oil. Mix together with fork or in the food processor. Shape into a ball and refrigerate for two hours to blend flavors. Ground nuts or finely chopped parsley may be added for garnish. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. (Serves 12)


Captain Jim's Smoked Salmon Spirals

* 1 can Captain Jim’s Gourmet Alaskan Smoked Salmon

* 8 oz light cream cheese, softened

* 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed

* 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

* 2 scallions, minced

* 1 tbsp fresh dill, minced

* 1 tsp paprika

* 1 - 2 tbsp small capers, drained

* 3 - 10 inch flour tortillas

Mix the cream cheese, lemon juice, scallions, dill, and paprika in a medium sized bowl until well blended and smooth. Stir in the capers. Spread each tortilla with a third of the cream cheese mixture, leaving a quarter inch margin. Using a fork, lightly mash the salmon into smaller bits and then spread atop cream cheese. Tightly roll each tortilla, pressing down as you roll. Wrap each tortilla in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 - 3 hours. To serve, slice the rolls into half inch thick spirals, sparing the ends for your own enjoyment. Arrange the slices on a serving platter and garnish each with dill if desired. Makes about 30 salmon spirals.
     On the way back to the bus, we stopped at (say it with me) the Transfer Site.  Richard found a DVD player.  I’ll let you know if he ever gets it working, but in the meantime, it will keep him out of trouble.
Until next time,
June 22, 2013
          Here in Alaska, we are 4 hours behind home.  So when Ryan called this morning around 8:00, it was a little earlier than we usually hear from them.  I could hear Richard talking in the front of the bus and I was still in bed.  I knew by the sound of Richard's voice that something terrible had happened, but not to one of ours, but I hurried to him to find out what was going on. 
          Since our family business involves towing for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and Highway Patrol, we sometimes know news before the television does.  An 8-year old girl had been abducted from our local Wal-Mart.  They had a description of the van from the cameras in the parking lot.  The man was apprehended fairly quickly at I-295 and I-10, but not quick enough. 
          When the Amber alert went out, a person who lives very near the Baptist church where my kids went when they were young and where many of my friends still attend, saw a white van in the church parking lot.  He called the police.  The police checked out the parking lot and found the little girl dead. 
          She was found about 8 miles from my house.  I don't even have words for how I feel.  I am heartsick and had an overwhelming need to hold my grandkids.  The really hard part is that the man had been released from jail three weeks ago, after serving time for sexual crimes against a child.  How does that happen?  Who failed this little girl?
RIP Charish Perriwinkle  (age 8)

Richard's big score for today--2 hardback Popular Science
books printed in 1939  Okay, I'll admit it--I'm becoming a
obsessed with the Transfer site too.

Until next time,


  1. To your question, "who failed this little girl?" Try her mother to start with. Who in their right mind believes there is no ulterior motive to a strange man offering to buy you a new dress? Or even worse, what kind of mother ever, EVER let her child go off with a man she's known less than two hours?As for the penal system, plea bargains would be where I point my finger. If his last offense had not been reduced because he agreed to a lesser offense in a plea bargain, he'd still be in jail. My heart and prayers are with the two siblings who will have to live with fear and loss for something their mom should have been protecting them from.

    Go Richard! 1939, huh? What a find.

  2. I've been reading the details online. I hope that we get to know exactly how this man managed to get to this mother. It won't help this little girl, but maybe it will get info out there so other mother's will think long and hard about people they meet.