Janet goes cruisin’
For those who have gotten to know Janet Schilling over the years, it is easy to picture her going cruisin’ around with her husband Jerry to a local car or motorcycle event. But for a little over two weeks in June, she was enjoying a different kind of cruisin’.
“It was for nine days on land and a four day cruise around Alaska and the Yukon,” said Schilling. “We have a circle of friends we refer to as the SOBs, or Same Old Bunch. One couple heard about the tour through Holland America Line and invited us to a presentation. We put the deposit down and every time it came time for more money we thought some more about it.”
The Schillings along with two other couples from the SOBs made the trek, all using it as an anniversary trip.
“One was celebrating their 50th anniversary, one was celebrating their 45th and we were celebrating our 46th,” Schilling said. "It was nothing we could've imagined. It was so much more and worth every penny.”
Thanks to some good weather, the Schillings became part of a special group.
"We are a part of the 30 percent club,” she said. “Only 30 percent of the people who go on the tour get to see Mount McKinley because of the weather.”
Another day of traveling took them to a dog sledding training facility.
“The dogs were amazing,” Schilling said. “There were 60 dogs and it was so quiet. You can go in and pet the dogs. They have learned the command 'go visit' and they get so excited. You are given overalls because they will jump up during the visit but all you have to say is 'not now' and they won't bother you. Then they do a demonstration. When they hear the trainers go to the tack room and they get so excited. They only pick 10 and the others whine and cry until the others are harnessed. Then they are quiet again knowing they weren't picked for this trip.”
Yet for Schilling, one of the most memorable moments of the trip related to a little joking around with the tour director.
"The tour director got a call saying that there had been a problem with an order and that there would be a short supply of toilet paper at the upcoming lodge,” Schilling said. “She made a show of going to the bathroom on the bus and distributing the toilet paper. Jerry pulled the old boy scout ‘one sheet’ thing, and we all got a bit of a laugh out of that.
“Well, we got to the rooms and of course there was a ready supply of toilet paper,” Schilling continued. “We all brought the extra rolls of toilet paper with us on the bus and placed it on her seat. There it was with 21 rolls of toilet paper. She blamed Jerry of course. She said it was the first tour that had gotten her back like that.”
Following nine days of land sight seeing, the tour moved from the bus to the ocean liner.
“I was very nervous getting on the ship because I'm claustrophobic and I was envisioning a little room with a small window,” Schilling said. “Instead it was a room with a king bed and full window. The staff couldn't have been more helpful. The food was great and the shows were wonderful.
"After nine days of going constantly it was nice to go on the cruise. We have friends who had done it in reverse and they were exhausted. It was fantastic to have four days to unwind. We could do things or just relax.”
As refreshing and relaxing as the trip was for Schilling, there was one part that was an unexpected complication in returning to every day life.
"The 21 hours of sunlight really messes with your mind and body,” she said. “We would go to dinner and leave the restaurant to go for a walk. The next thing you know it's midnight. It's like when you make the kids go to bed when it is still light out. You almost wanted to wait to see when it gets dark. You have no idea what time it is.”
But Schilling is now readjusted to the time as the final preparations are made at the St. Andrews bookstore for the start of the fall semester.
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