Culture Shock, the Odd and the Weird

What a month May has been. I sort of wish I were able to maintain the blog more regularly to write this stuff down instead of a recap, as I did with the bear encounter. We had a great vacation to Arizona but there sure was some odd stuff happening.

Odd event #1: Sarah, Hahnah and I left Nome in early May and while we were getting ready to return to the airport to depart the lower ball joint of my toyota pickup decides to give out and drop with a huge snap. My toyota thus far had been a pillar of strength and the only maintenance I've ever had to do was oil changes (that says a lot for Nome). It ended up actually being a recalled part and we were extremely lucky it happened in the driveway.
In any case I frantically blocked up the truck so there was no undue pressure on the suspension or tires and caught a ride to the airport from a friend. To make a long story short, during the vacation I thought I could get Toyota to fix it. I know of two folks in the region where Toyota techs flew to Nome and fixed a warranty or recalled part. No such luck for this amigo, since we do not have a dealership they said I was out of luck and they never heard of doing that. Then they asked why I couldn't tow it to the nearest dealership.... hmmm kind of hard to do, maybe a tow truck would come up through the iditarod trail. In any case I bought the $120 part and installed myself earlier this week. Less headache and hassle.

Tempe Triathlon: This was not an odd event but a very cool one. My brother, Pat, has been getting into running and tri's recently and wanted to do a race. So we decided to do a relay to be on the same "team Hof bros" and make it more fun. It was a sprint tri, 400 meter swim, 12 mile bike and 3 mile run. I did the swim and bike and Pat did the run. We rented a tri-bike which is basically an ultralight road bike with aero bars. I was very thrilled to ride a bike that actually goes fast instead of a snow bike.

There were 1500 racers, it was quite the event at a 6:30 am start. I was glad for the early start since the temps were reaching 100+ by 10am. The swim was an open swim in a very questionable Tempe Lake. It went well but open swims are a lot of head up swimming and running over people. I was happy to complete it in 7:15 to the transition area where I then rode the 12 miles in 34 minutes. I felt like I was just getting warmed up with the bike with exception of my throat and tongue wanted to swell shut from the heat. It was like a giant vacuum cleaner sucked all the moisture out of your body. Oh and I almost wiped out when I slid into some cones on a few of the hairpin turnarounds (road bikes are fast and wobbly when you never rode one before). In any case Pat finished the run in 23 minutes and we had a total time of 1:06 to win the relays... (there weren't too many). It was a blast though and think I may have found a new additional addiction in racing. I've been wanting to do more bike races to get ready for the ITI 2010 so tri's may be a great way to do that.

Odd event #2: On our way to Arizona we stopped in Seattle to visit Sarah's folks for a few days. We had great weather and the location on the water was beautiful. When we returned to the airport to board a short flight to Phoenix, low and behold this middle aged lady sat across from us who was completely off the wall... to say the least. Ah, back in the lower 48 among the masses where you're more likely to encounter people on drugs or mental imbalance. She went ballistic for Hahnah and was so whacked she was talking about how kids are so flexible then proceeded to try to lift her leg over her head. I believe she had the emotional intelligence of age 5, short of sticking her tongue out at us. Maybe she did that too, but for 2.5 hours we tried all the avoidance tricks to keep her away from our child without a major confrontation on an airplane (whew). Unfortunately, with a child you can't just put your headphones on and block weirdos out.

Odd event #3: After a fabulous time in Arizona we had an early departure to Alaska from Phoenix and had to be at the airport by 5:00am. We thought taking Supershuttle would be prudent so we didn't have to trouble Sarah's brother at the early hour. I called to make a reservation and asked about whether it was ok Hahnah not have a car seat or if they could provide one since we borrowed one there but didn't bring one along. The agent said it was not necessary; Arizona law excludes public transport for mandatory child restraint. We still felt like bad parents but there were not that many options. When the shuttle pulled up at 4:30am, the driver refused to take us without a child seat. Now some would argue, good for the driver, but when we already rec'd the ok from Supershuttle and we needed to make our 6am flight back to Alaska... hmmm we were a little upset. So after some choice words we were left on the side of the road. Couldn't believe it. An early call to her brother after all and racing to the airport (with Hahnah secured in a car seat) we just barely made the flight. The remainder of the flights to Alaska were actually wonderful and when we landed in Nome, the Alaska air agent came up to us and said "Carol and Jim left their car for you and the keys are in it".... ahhh back in Nome again.

Odd event #4: See Bear Encounter post.


joatley said…
Hey Phil-

Send me an email.

Jeff Oatley