Ketchikan!! Back in Alaska at last! It feels good to be home, it’s the little things I missed…like real Top Ramen, an MGD for under five dollars, and shredded hashbrowns. For those who haven’t traveled extensively in Canada let me explain. In the grocery store where the Top Ramen should be is this terrible knock off brand that’s twice as expensive ($1.00) and is missing that delectable MSG flavor that all Americans know and love. Canadian alcohol tax brews beer into gold. And you can order hashbrowns all you want but all you ever get is homefries. Other than that Canada was a great host.
All moms are a little bit crazy… Before nursing school I worked in construction labor and used this fairly transferable trade to travel the world. I worked in Montana, Vermont, and Antarctica saving my money to hitchhike all over New Zealand and Australia, travel to Thailand, and Mexico, and live for a couple months in Spain, all for the most part alone. During these adventures I called my mom rarely and this never seemed to bother her.
However three years ago I did a bicycle tour from Alaska to Mexico. I figured a call a week was more than sufficient due to my history of independence, but as I was coming close to the border crossing in the middle of nowhere a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) truck pulled over in front of me..I figured it was definitely not stopping for me, but the Mounty got out of the truck and yelled,”are you Katherine Clautice?” I hit the brakes and my skinny touring tires skidded to a halt on the rain slicked asphalt. “yeah,” I said surprised and confused. “you need to call your mother,” he reprimanded, a bit of a smirk tugging at his lips. I called her with the entire Canadian customs office trying to keep a straight face in the background and then had to explain again at the US border crossing that, “yes, I did call my mother and no, I am not locked in a trunk within a hair of my life.”
I hadn’t called my mother in four days, my phone didn’t work in Canada, and she had a bad dream. These events culminated in her being absolutely certain that I was nearly dead if not dead already. That morning she hopped in her car and began tracking me by reading guestbooks that I signed along my route and asking locals in the towns I went through…this is how she got the bad lead that someone saw me getting in the truck of some nefarious stranger without my bike…which initiated her calling the Mounties.
So in any case, fast forward three years to present day. When a fishing boat pulled next to us three days from Ketchikan, five days from Prince Rupert and the orange slickered man on deck yelled if we were the ones the coast guard was looking for, there was no doubt in my mind who had done it.
Our entrance to Ketchikan was dotted with concerned fishermen stopping to ask if we were ok and if we had called the coast guard to discontinue the search.