Thursday, August 23, 2012

Vacation Education

Contrary to what you may believe, it's not easy to vacation as often as Kellie and I do, and without a sufficient math, science and engineering background, traveling can be fraught with peril. You might think that Kellie would defer to my superior intellect and education to help keep us out of trouble while skipping around the globe, but that's not how things work in Kellie's World.

Upper Dewey Lake
While we were in Skagway, Alaska, Kellie told me that we were going to hike to Upper Dewey Lake. The word Upper got my attention. After hiking for about a mile and climbing almost 500 feet (easy stuff) we reached a lake – the Lower Dewey Lake. The existence of a lower lake made me more than a little curious about how much further up one had to go before reaching the upper lake. When she showed me the trail map and I saw how far we had left to go, I balked.

"Don't be such a wimp," Kellie taunted. "It's only two more miles."

"Yes," I replied, "but it's also another 2600 feet up muddy, rocky terrain."
I quickly calculated the average angle of inclination and tried explaining to her just how steep a climb we were facing. Kellie was not swayed by my ability to mentally calculate arctangents. She continued her ascent. I trailed behind, bitching and complaining in her wake. After an hour of hiking, all of it uphill, Kellie probably would have turned around, but I had whined and bellyached so much that she pressed on just to punish me for making such a fuss. She told me that I could turn back; she'd go on without me. I would have accepted her offer, but there are bears loose in Alaska. I decided to stay with her. There’s safety in numbers. I can’t out run a bear, but I can out run Kellie.  

It took us three hours to reach Upper Dewey Lake. 

Mendenhall Glacier
On another hike, this time at Mendenhall Glacier, Kellie decided that she needed to get a better view of a nearby waterfall know as Nugget Falls. To get there, she had to walk through a few yards of knee deep water. In college I majored in physics. I have a decent grasp of thermodynamics and a solid understanding of convective and conductive heat transfer. The first clue that the water might be a bit cold was the presence of a rather large glacier sitting in it. Kellie didn’t take physics. She removed her shoes, rolled up pants, and waded out towards the falls. Within seconds, the gelid water shot stabbing pain up her legs. She moaned in agony as she plodded upstream. She couldn't believe how painfully cold the water was. Duh! Big ice cube.

An engineering background can also be useful when vacationing, especially on a cruise ship. While I don't have a degree in engineering, I was a navy qualified nuclear engineer and I served on five nuclear powered submarines, so I'm quite familiar with the proper operation of many marine systems. Kellie, who believes that engineering is the art of driving a choo-choo train, doesn't possess my nautical experience and she never quite seemed to get the hang of one particular shipboard mechanism.
Placard above the RIGHT handle: PLEASE Open this leaf first.

I always let her precede me through the doors just so I could laugh as she struggled against the door until it finally popped open. Luckily for us, only those on the other side of the door were endangered. 

My intention in writing this post was to ensure that you don't venture out on vacation without the proper training. Just because evolution forgave my wife's lack of education, you should not expect to be as fortunate. It's Kellie's World.


  1. So you think you can out run me huh? I beg to differ.

    1. So you think I can't figure out who the anonymous commenter is? You may have the advantage on paved level ground, but on the slopes I've got you beat. Remember, I'm the billy goat.

  2. Thanks for the vacation education. You've convinced my that the only vacation I should consider right now is a "staycation." Of course there are perils looming around my house as well.

  3. Wait.... does this mean you made it without bodily harm?

  4. I need a vacation! I need a lot of things actually but vacation is at the top of the list!

    So if a bear came running you would run past Kellie and leave her as the bear's dinner? Awesome! Romance in its truest form! lol

    Looks like you may have landed yourself in the dog house!

    1. Yes, but I would weep at her funeral.

    2. I would rather let the bear eat me alive than the guilt. That way neither one of us has to weep at a funeral!