The Road to Athabasca — the Final Chapter

Doug Guido

Today we arrive at the final installment of Doug Guido’s 1990 adventure in Alaska. If you missed the first two episodes, simply enter the term Athabasca in the search box on the OLLI Connects home page or follow the link instructions provided at the end of today’s story. Enjoy! — Editor

Fishing

A week or so after meeting Earl, I stopped for the night at an RV park just north of Haines, Alaska. I was to rendezvous the next morning with Bob, a fishing guide who owned a fish camp on an island on Chilkat Lake. I’d called him from Fairbanks and reserved a half day Sockeye salmon fishing with him.

The plan was that I would call him on the CB at 7:00 the next morning. As I drove up to the spot he’d picked for us to meet, a couple came walking up the riverbank rather quickly and told me that there were two grizzly bears down there fishing and to be careful! I tentatively walked down to the water’s edge, warily watching for bears.

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My Transylvanian Family

Theresa D’Aiuto Sokol

In 1989 the fall of the Berlin Wall signaled the end of a 40-year Cold War to the jubilation of millions around the world. But how many of us have a personal story of the struggle, heartbreak, despondency, and alienation endured by individuals caught between two opposing political ideologies during that period? Little did I know what I would learn about this subject when I first moved to Europe in 1982 to begin my performing career at a German opera house.

Early on I met a tall, impressive bass, an ethnic Hungarian from Transylvania (formerly a part of Hungary ceded to Romania after WWII) with an unusual last name and charismatic demeanor…

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Uzbek Surprise

Diane Henrikson Russell

Never in a million years did I imagine that I would visit Uzbekistan, a Soviet republic in Central Asia!

In August of 1979, I accompanied my graduate-student spouse on the 1979-80 USSR academic exchange sponsored by IREX (International Research and Exchanges Board). We participants began the exchange by taking a crash course in Russian while living in the Moscow State University dormitory. We met two exchangees who were heading to Toshkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, in September, while we planned to study in Tbilisi, the capital of Soviet Georgia. We became such good friends that we vowed to visit each other at our exotic locations.

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Beryl’s Byways Continued

Beryl B. Byles

Even though our mission is “Sharing Stories. Building Community”, Beryl’s recent “live in” visit to New York City produced more great memoir material than even OLLI Connects can share with you.  So, we’ve chosen to highlight only a few of her adventures.  This issue focuses on museums and combines material from at least two of Beryl’s Byways. — Editors

Sharing my experience of New York became a unique family opportunity with a visit from my daughter, Victoria, and granddaughter, Tina! I loved it!

Going to the show, “The Cottage”, was high on our list early on. We were especially delighted to recognize Eric McCormack (Will on “Will and Grace”) and Alex Moffat from “Saturday Night Live” as two of the main characters. It was an especially fun experience to hear their 

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Beryl’s Byways

Beryl B. Byles

It began like this for a few of us….

Welcome to the first issue of “Beryl’s Byways”, my travel journal in this “Year of Adventure”. As you can see, it is a pdf attachment to an email, which is the format I will use going forward. Divided into four chapters, the first chapter has been a unique experience of housesitting near Safety Harbor, across the bay from Tampa. The second chapter begins at the end of next week and is distinguished as a bucket list item, specifically “autumn in New York”! I’ll be living on the Upper East Side, volunteering at the Metropolitan Opera (hopefully!) and looking forward to being both daunted and delighted by the “city that never sleeps”. As you can see from the masthead, I plan on commenting on experiences that happen by choice and/or those that happen by chance!

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The Road to Athabasca — The Adventure Begins

Doug Guido

 


Several weeks ago, we whetted your appetite with a chapter from Doug Guido’s memoir describing his extraordinary journey to Alaska. Today, we will start at the beginning and take you up to that episode. And if you wish to read or re-read the earlier chapter, a link has been provided at the end of today’s publication. A future blog will finish his adventure story, but for now, we embark on The Road to Athabasca. — Editor


By early 1990, my brief marriage was all but over, about the same time my job was. After a false start with another company in a town where I knew no one, I quit and decided it was a good time to have my mid-life crisis. I went directly from my new ex-employer to the bookstore and bought two books about a subject that had fascinated me for some time: Michener’s ‘Alaska’ and “The Milepost’ a soup to nuts travelers guide to Alaska.

Thus armed with literary fact and fiction about our 49th state, I set out to find the appropriate vehicle to get me there….

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Force Majeure

Nancy Wileden
Colletta G. Rose

We’re always excited when we find a new author, and in today’s issue we have two! Without intending to, they’ve both written about what insurance companies now call a “Force Majeure”, an event, often catastrophic, beyond human control.

Nancy Wileden describes one that happens to us all. One that approaches us stealthily and gradually, incrementally, inexorably steals our powers and abilities.

Colletta G. Rose describes a more immediate and more Florida-specific “force majeure”. One that we anticipate and prepare for but are still unable to defend ourselves against, if it is determined to destroy us.—Editors

To meet our two new authors and enjoy their stories ……. Read more

Earl the Athabascan

Doug Guido


By early 1990, my brief marriage was all but over, about the same time my job was. After a false start with another company in a town where I knew no one, I quit and decided it was a good time to have my mid-life crisis. I went directly from my new ex-employer to the book store and bought two books about a subject that had fascinated me for some time: Michener’s ‘Alaska’ and ‘The Milepost,’ a soup-to-nuts travelers guide to Alaska.

Thus armed with literary fact and fiction about our 49th state, I set off.

The Road to Athabasca

With these words, Doug Guido invites us on an epic journey of more than five thousand miles, criss-crossing the lower forty-eight with a keen eye on his ultimate destination, Alaska. Many adventures lay ahead, including unique experiences in our forty-ninth state. To whet your appetite, today’s story jumps forward in his narrative entitled The Road to Athabasca and describes a surprising encounter with “Earl the Athabascan” from Ft. Yukon, Alaska.

Stayed tuned in the new year for further episodes of a trek which took Doug from Florida, through the western states and northward to Alaska. We will be sure to link the stories together at each episode should you happen to miss one.—Editors

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Make It So!

Neil Cosentino

One of my favorite television programs as a teenager was Victory at Sea. I watched every episode, and the theme music has stayed with me all these 70 years:  Don-Don-Don-to-Don – Dant – to – Dant – to – Dant… 

The dream of being on a Navy warship and the music stayed with me even after I’d joined the Air Force and become a pilot. And as luck would have it, after completing my F-4E Phantom Fighter Training at George AFB, instead of Vietnam, I was assigned to the 62nd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Misawa, Japan. It was a great assignment, because I have always liked the Japanese culture. (Later I would build a house there overlooking the Pacific Ocean and live off base inside that culture.)

I could have flown to Japan, but instead I decided I’d try to make that lifelong dream come true.   Read more

Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Marilyn Myerson

Appalachian Trail — The Hike, 1988                                         

My friends Maxine, Etta and I were open to adventure: a five-day hike on the Appalachian Trail (the AT). It’s 1988, we’re all in our 40’s, elated to take on this challenge. Maxine is a serious hiker, she has helped blaze the Florida Trail, she’s sinewy, brave, and fun-loving. Etta is a racewalker, many miles on her sturdy legs, and my best friend. I feel fairly fit, ready for something different, wanting to prove myself physically adept. “Mens sana in corpora sano”, as my high school motto had it, “a sound mind in a sound body”.

Maxine took me under her wing, and we spent several enjoyable weekends on Florida hikes. I learned to read trail blazes, hammer in tent stakes, tie food way up high in a tree to keep it safe from raccoons and bears. Various incidents are blazed in my memory: trudging cautiously across an endless field dug up and horribly disfigured by wild boar, the uneven trenches ready to turn an ankle without a moment’s notice. Then there was the brownie incident.

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