Good morning everyone! 0722 hours local here in Knik Alaska. It’s about 42F. Overcast skies. Projected to reach the low 60’s today. From my front drive, I look East and see the Chugach Mountains across the Knik Arm. Specifically Eklutna Mountain. The face of the mountain is an abrupt scoured sloping ridge. The Knik Arm, at the point where I’m looking, is a wide shallow Fjord, evidence of a time when the Matanuska and Knik Glaciers were one giant sheet of ice flowing into the Pacific Ocean. Here now though is the point where to Knit River merges into the northern reaches of the Cook Inlet of the Pacific Ocean. Tidal action evident on the rise and fall of the waters each day. My side of the Kink Arm, the northwestern shores, is a series of gradually rises from the glacier silt and tidal mud of the flats onto the wide flat plain of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. Eklutna Mountain, eight miles east of me, is a 35 mile drive along the roads through the valley and over the low Palmer Flats across the Matanuska and Knik Rivers. From there we will hug the mountains along the eastern shore of the Knik Arm, through the forested Anchorage Bowl and then along the Turnagain Arm, south through another Fjord cut between Chugach and Kenai Mountains. At the very southern point, we will cross the braided rivers marking the Portage Valley and up and over Turnagain Pass and onto the Kenai Penninsula. We will come down on the wide flats that boarder the western edge of the mountains that run right now in my view. Across the boreal forests following the track of the Kenai River, through the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, we will turn south across the Kenai Delta and ride the southeastern shore of the Cook Inlet down to Homer. Homer. Just across the water and 187 miles south of where I stand. In Homer, we will sail out on Kachemak Bay, pursuing Halibut and King Salmon with my brother in law’s family. My brother in law’s wife is Inupiat from northwestern Alaska, born and raised above the Arctic Circle and as much as they can in this modern age, they practice the sustenance lifestyle critical to their culture. Receiving from the land and sea it’s gifts. Riding with me to Homer will be my two nieces and nephew...my native guides across a land that’s been theirs for 10,000 years. We will stop along the way to marvel at geological wonders and view the splendid natural beauty of our state and record, for you, what we see. Here in 2020, I had hope to take a grand tour of the United States and Canada...my native and beloved countries. I was born in Maine, just across the boarder from my maternal homeland in New Brunswick. Just ashore a different ocean that gazed eastward toward my paternal homeland of Ireland, and the city of Sligo on western shores, were 40 years before my birth, my grandparents stood and looked west. And west they went and so did I. I find myself now as far across the continent from that place as the roads can take me. All through my planning last year, I felt an urgency in 2020. I thought that this summer was summer it had to happen. No secret the indulgence of my country. An election approaching, fated to be close. Fated to disappoint one way or another half my countrymen and dash the dreams we perceive to hold for ourselves. For my part...it’s the reaction to the disappoint rather than the reality if it’s course that is most damaging. But I am a bit ashamed that even in my lament, I can’t help but rally for my side. I wonder if it just the perspective of someone who now lives looking back, as the road ahead is known. When I was younger, I can remember the day, I was struck once with question as to when I would no longer anticipate what was to come, but linger on what had been. I can’t say that day was the day it happened...but it was near to then. The passing of a generation. When we reach an age where we find our world is occupied by an army from the future...waiting us out. Our hope has to be for them. There was an urgency toward 2020. But North America for me now has been reduced to a small part of Alaska, between the mountains and the sea. And today we drive to Homer. Alaska, isolating ourselves from the outside and mutually distant from our neighbor, is mostly open. So today anticipating a couple zoos, a couple protected areas, and our hearts full of adventure...one wayward Yankee, a lady from Texas, and three native Alaskans with the rhythms of this Great Land running through their veins...hit the road. We will keep you posted. *forgive any typos, when it comes to journaling in my phone...I’m all thumbs.