Bill taking in Alaska

Alaska Day 5: Yakutat (Part 1 of 2)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 Part 1 of 2

This morning I come to you from the tiny town of Yakutat. We were scheduled to be here at 3AM but seem to have arrived closer to 7AM. Very few people are getting on or off. It feels more like a supply stop. There is no signal, so I am not sure when this check-in will actually go out.

After meeting Chris and Percy last night, Bill and I headed back to the room and spoke late into the evening.That’s your warning that today’s post might get a little touchy-feely!

Iron Magnolias

Bill and I talk a lot on these trips. Bill losing, his wife, Pam so soon after I lost my Dad, bonds us in a unique way. But, it is definitely more than that. Our mutual issues around acceptance, anxiety and purpose/mission, in life, bonds us even more. It can’t all be Easy Rider and Wild Hogs out here. Sometimes, it’s more like the Odd Couple meets Steal Magnolias. I am betting, if we choose to start our own biker gang, we could call ourselves Iron Magnolias!

Our rides can turn into one giant therapy session, for one or the other of us. We take turns on the couch, or in our case, “in the saddle.” Occasionally, Bill plays the role of Kelsey Grammar and I do my best Bob Newhart; but neither of us are nearly as funny. We are both seekers. Infinitely curious. Not wanting to miss anything. Rarely, if ever, satisfied, but making our way through this world the best we know. Attempting to do our best for ourselves and those around us. Occasionally, succeeding, often falling on our faces. But, always, getting up and trying again.

Something to lighten the mood


Through our talks, we attempt to help each other see the forest through the trees of our daily existence. Through our friendship, we try to coach each other through our individual struggles. But, more importantly, we try to help each other see our successes.  It can be hard for men to talk about serious issues, feelings and love. It often deteriorates into a series of locker room humor or gets hidden behind protective quips. I am grateful that Bill and I have and are able to provide a safe environment for each other to discuss our mutual challenges, hopes and fears.

We are both very driven. For this reasons, it can be easy to forget how well we are doing. The progress we have achieved, and the contributions we are making. Slowing down to enjoy the ride is an apt metaphor. But, can be more easily said, than done.

When you are racing towards the unknown, it can be difficult to know when you’ve arrived. You might even ride right past the most important moments in your life, if you are too focused on the next road.

We attempt to do this for each other by offering insight and perspective. Sometimes, through advice. Sometimes, by holding up a mirror to one another for uncomfortably long periods of time. The act of reflection can force you to face things, that you may not want to face. Occasionally, we succeed in accepting the messages into our incredibly thick skulls. At other times, we find the strength to simply let things go. Both can be cathartic in their own way.

Ok. Enough of today’s Jack Handy like quotes, minus the humor. Suffice it to say. We are having a great time out here. Enjoying the views, the experiences, the people we meet, and even the struggles. If you made it this far, thanks for listening. I’ll get off the couch and go look for a whale now!

3 thoughts on “Alaska Day 5: Yakutat (Part 1 of 2)”

  1. Are you kidding? It’s exciting to “ride” along with you guys whether you are Bob Newhart or Kelsey Grammar or whomever you want to be that day! I look forward to these posts and become a better person from the lessons you are learning and teaching us! Go pet a whale and maybe find a zipper while you’re at it! xoxo

  2. Sounds like things are going good. This trip was going to bring up a lot of things and feelings. Like I’ve said before, God will guide U through the twists and turns around every corner. Try to enjoy, let go of the things that need to go away, and enjoy every new memory U R making along the way!

  3. Brenda Greenwald

    I can so appreciate the joys of having a friend who holds that mirror…while always having your back! Journey on, Joe!

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top