Tuesday, September 05, 2006

If Yarn Floats Your Boat,

then you should have joined us on this trip. Yep. Knitters knitting northward, for ten days, to Alaska. We brought on board lots of yarn, then we did ourselves proud, buying up yarn in Alaska and Canada. We had enough among us to, yes, float a small boat.

I blame Joan Schrouder. When she came to teach a class here last February, she mentioned the cruise. It was full. Did that daunt us? No. We decided we'd take the trip, even if there was no room in the knitting classes, and be stalkers. We would follow that woman anywhere. She is a knitting Goddess. The *other Joan* was delightful too, and we enjoyed meeting her. But Joan-the-Goddess, talented, kind, even tempered knitting guru that she is, was our personal siren on this trip. We signed up to be Knitting Stalkers (I don't really think the travel agent got it. We might have sounded a bit scary. Stalkers, on a cruise).

What could be more fun? We imagined peeking around columns, sneaking up on unsuspecting knitters and (gasp!) sitting with them and knitting.

Alas, it was not to be. Openings occurred, we were signed up. Classes were chosen, materials were purchased, appropriate clothing was contemplated.

Therein lies the rub. Clothing? What does one take? Alaska? Weather reports had predicted rain, and temps about 60ยบ F. The cruise line mentioned Formal Dinners. We knew *comfortable* was in order, beyond that: ??? So I called the cruise line. I asked about luggage limits, weight limits, carry-on procedures, all the necessary information to make good decisions.

The answer? Anything goes. No weight limits, carry anything you like, check as many bags as you like, even the very unhelpful information that one woman had once brought eleven, yes 11, bags to check in.

Carte Blanche.

Here is what 4 women packed to spend 10 days on a ship, with shore excursions:


You will see 3 spinning wheels in there (Lendrums, folded up and packed in their carry bags), several suitcases each, and hand carry bags. We packed shamelessly.

We (that is the local we: Sue and I), planned to drive to the East Bay to meet up with Nancy and Adrianna, the non-local pair of our small group of four. Then we would be dropped off at the BART station, and take BART to Alaska (by way of the Embarcadero, and a brief walk to the pier).

Hmmm. Look closely at the pile of luggage. Clearly, this would not work.

Car service! We called and requested a Town car. They noted *four women, cruise* and laughed. They sent this:


We laughed. Then we loaded up, and sure enough, hardly enough room. We had luggage hanging out of the trunk, wheels in the back seat, suitcases in the front seat with the driver, and us inside, on the side seat:


We laughed (there was much laughing). Then. We disembarked, so to speak, and a porter whisked it all (almost) away, while we checked in and boarded, carrying knitting bags and our wheels.

Other knitters were boarding too, and they recognized us as knitters. How could this be? We looked so normal . Ahem.

We were stamped and cruise-carded, and photographed (security) and sanitized, then let loose to find our staterooms (hah! to find our cubbies). We were in adjoining staterooms, thanks to Nancy's forethought in requesting them, otherwise we might never have crossed paths again. The first day, the first trip around the ship, was boggling. But Nancy had cruised before, so she was able to shepherd the rest of us to the buffet.

Ah, food. We ate lunch, still in port, at the dock in San Francisco. Then we repaired to the upper decks, to watch the launch and trip through the bay, toward the Golden Gate:


And under:


I've been under before (on fishing trips) but it never seemed so close, nor have I been on so stable and calm a vessel. It was way fun, exhilarating, and a grand adventure began.

We explored the ship (there are maps everywhere, otherwise we might have been lost forever in a maze of decks and stairways), got our sea legs working, and found a few knitters here and there among the 1500 other passengers.

We finally went to our cubbies, prepared to settle in, unpack and break out the wine. That's all we had to do until dinner time (food looms large on these trips), and thank the gods we had knitting and spinning with us. The alternative is the casino, adult-day-camp games (very odd), onboard shopping, various bars and drinking establishments, and the ever available, eternal: eating.

Nancy found this very unhelpful factoid while we were out at sea: the ship has planned and provided 340 pounds of butter per day at sea. 340 pounds, for ten days. That's over a ton of butter alone. I think I ate my share, certainly, and a membership to Curves is in my immediate future.

More later, as the days progress. We have knitting classes and shore excursions, photos and tales to come. But right now? It's breakfast time. I can't (for the love of all that is holy) miss a meal.


Blogger judy said...

I'm so jealous that I haven't even finsihed reading your post and I have to comment....WOW!! A trip of a lifetime. I'd have given up almost anything to come along on that one. Now, I'll read on.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Charleen said...

All right then - a ton of butter? That sounds so wrong (and so good)!

1:55 PM  
Blogger claudia said...

I will be very interested to hear about the rest of your trip. Knitters in with the smoke-drink-gamble crowd. That oughta be vastly entertaining....


5:40 PM  
Blogger Marie said...

What fun! I've always wanted to go to Alaska and that is the only cruise I'd even consider. It's so much cheaper living it through your blog. The luggage brought back a memory of my 2 friends and I going off to bagpipe camp. There is a photo somewhere which I should find and we can see who had more luggage. Enjoy your adventure and post daily.

Claudia, what IS WRONG with the drinking crowd, eh? I won't go into the other 2 sins.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Marcy said...

WooHoo! Doesn't this sound fun!! And, ok, yeah, butter is nice and all. But the real question is how much good scotch there is and can you keep it out of the hands of the smoke-drink-gamble crowd?

7:27 AM  
Blogger Shelia said...

I miss people serving me meals at any and all times, too. It was a good time, even for someone who wasn't getting around too well. I'm looking forward to seeing it again as you post.

7:38 PM  
Blogger Birdsong said...

How very, very fun! Of course, you are normal, it's just that us fiber-types immediately recognize fellow members of the sub-species. Have a wonderful adventure.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

My mother is a cruise-a-holic. She said the way to go is to diet strenously before, eat shamelessly during and gloat afterward. Hmmm... it seems you figured out a couple of those suggestions on your own. ;-)

7:00 AM  
Blogger Rogue Knitter said...

That was REAL BUTTER??? Damn...

Love your description so far. I think Joy and I spotted your limo as we schlepped our bags from the parking garage. We wondered which celebrities might be coming aboard - now we know!!

Carol in Oregon

7:11 AM  
Blogger Tonni said...

Jealous knitter here... I would have loved this trip even if I had to be a stalker :)

10:39 AM  
Blogger Carrie K said...

Oh, that just sounds glorious.

6:31 PM  

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