Monday, July 10, 2017

We Clicked Our Heels, And Closed Our Eyes;

And here we are back in Kansas again! Lisa and I have just returned from our most unique adventure, ever!! We arrived late Saturday evening, dead tired. The next morning we found that our internet connection was off-line and had been for some time. This meant that our house phones were not being answered, nor was anyone able to leave messages. I got that little problem solved on Sunday, with the intention of writing to everyone yesterday to let you know that we had returned safely home. However when I attempted to restart my computer, it was dead is a doornail! Also, without putting to fine a line on it, I have pulled a typical Jim Bob, I have returned sick and almost certain that I have pneumonia. Other than those few small items, everything is fine here on the home front.

When last I wrote, Lisa and I were at a hotel in Murmansk, Russia preparing the following day to board our ship, which is the most powerful icebreaker in the world today. Our journey to the geographical North Pole would see us travel more than 5,000 miles round-trip. Unlike traveling south to Antarctica, the North Pole is not a land mass, but simply a point on the face of the earth which represents the geographical location of the axis around which the earth rotates. Most of our journey would take us across an ocean which had frozen solid. In other words, there is no landmass underneath the ice through which we would travel. At the beginning of our journey there would be no ice, and then as we we proceeded farther north the ice would become thicker and thicker, until at times reaching a thickness of almost 12 feet.

Along the way we encountered some extraordinary experiences which I will share with you in the eight different blogs written during our journey. You will hear what it is like to live on a ship that is moving through solid ice, where the sound throughout the ship is so great, that it makes conversation difficult. Everything on this gigantic ship is built to withstand the almost constant vibration of such an environment. You will also learn why when reaching the North Pole I actually openly wept. It was an emotional experience for me, and for many other people on this cruise. Since I have been told twice in my life that I should have no expectations of reaching an advanced age, to stand there shortly after my 73rd birthday was in some way a personal triumph. Just remember however, that what goes up also comes down. That means in plain English that Jim Bob once again managed to fall and injure himself on this trip. You will find that buried in the blogs that I am sending. You will also learn why I have acquired the nickname, “Captain Jim.” On our Aeroflot flight from Murmansk to Moscow, about half the passengers were from our ship. A few of the passengers I knew, but most were Asian, and I did not know a single one of them. However when we reached Moscow, since Lisa and I had asked for wheelchair assistance in transferring between planes, we were instructed to remain in our seats until all the passengers deplaned. The most incredible thing happened. As the passengers went by our seats almost every one of them gave me a salute and said in their faltering English, goodbye Captain Jim. It was a heartwarming moment. Even the Cabin attendants wanted to know what in the world that was all about! Well you will have to read the blogs to find out. From Moscow we flew to Paris, and having been up since 2:30 in the morning and with the local time in Paris then 7 PM, we had arranged a stopover at the airport Sheraton. That is when we learned that my bag had been lost in Moscow. We were so tired at that point, that I do not think either one of us cared. The next day we flew from Paris to Minneapolis and then to Kansas City. When we arrived home we both got dressed for bed and promptly went to sleep.

Yes, it was an incredible adventure. I constantly had to remind myself that this is a journey in life where I would only pass but once in my lifetime. I hope you enjoy the blocks, and I hope they give you some sense of what we experienced. I will be posting pictures of the trip over the next week as I finish up. I will tell you now that we witnessed some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen, and I only hope that my pictures do some justice to nature’s brilliance.

We are now home for a long time, and still waiting for someone to please, please make an offer on our old house. We do hope that everyone is well and look forward to hearing from you when you can. And, by the way, my missing bag miraculously showed up at our front door yesterday.


PS Just remember that all my blogs are available at

Also all my trip photographs are now at

When the photographs for this trip are posted, I will send a direct link to everyone.

No comments: