Lauren Graduates!

Greetings earth bound friends,

It’s been another enjoyable spring back in the good old USA, starting with Lauren’s graduation with her MBA and continuing to work full time with her non-profit Mind and Melody down in Florida. She’s done a great job jumping into the real world and continues to impress me with her achievements.

I’m still working too, and signed up to go back to Alaska in May to Sitka and then King Cove in the Aleutian Islands. I taught some dentistry to folks who signed up for a Wilderness Advanced Life Support conference in Sitka, and got to attend the rest of the course as well, which was super. Then flew off to King Cove and worked for 3 weeks on the locals. I hiked on the weekends and saw some bears, eagles, hawks, foxes and even a shy porcupine, but managed to walk out alive and smiling.

Back home, the most aggressive animal I’ve had to deal with is a raccoon who chewed through the metal barrier on my chimney and set up housekeeping above my fireplace. My smoky fire evicted most of the family, but it appears I may have roasted one or two evidenced by the cloud of flies in my basement a few weeks later. Yesterday I donned protective gear and scraped and vacuumed all the debris I could reach in the flue, hoping to avoid getting the hanta virus and getting rid of the flies, which seems to have worked out so far.

So Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there and hope your home is free of bears, raccoons and other uninvited guests.

Cheers,

Flyless Bob

Graduation in Gainesville, FL

Bald eagle’s nest along the shore in King Cove

A sleepy looking fox in Alaska

The ride out of King Cove on a clear, sunny day

My niece Caroline and Orion came to town
for the beginning of the Colorado concert season

A pesky raccoon ate through my steel cover on the chimney

Ready to scrape out the remains in my fireplace flue

Back to Alaska!

Town of Sand Point with snow capped mountains across the bay

Hi lower 48er’s
I signed up months ago to return to work in Alaska, this time on Popof Island in the Aleutians, in the town of Sand Point, for a 3 week stint. It’s rather remote, cold, windy and grey most days but the people are nice and they only get a dentist every few months, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. 
It’s always a pleasure to work with Shonna, a recently certified DHAT, or dental health aid therapist, which is a mid level dental position between a hygienist and a dentist that can do fillings and extractions among other dental assisting and hygiene procedures. Alaska is the only state in the country that trains DHATs, and currently there are only 5 states that recognize their training, so it’s an emerging position to help staff underserved areas, often where dentists are scarce. A lot of the donated dental supplies I brought will go in Shonna’s traveling dental bin as she covers the 7 clinics in the Aleutian Islands, so she’s a happy camper.

      In preparation to help pass the time, I offered to bring Pickleball to Sand Point, and the principal of the school said “OK” after I explained to her what the sport was all about. Through Amazon I ordered a portable net, balls and tape to mark out a court on the gym floor, and they promptly shipped it to the clinic I’m working at. Next I asked the folks that run the Pikes Peak Pickleball Assn. in Colorado Springs, which is approaching 1000 members,  if they would place a notice in the weekly email about my plans, and that I was hoping to get some used paddles for the community. The response was great and I packed up 16 paddles along with donated dental supplies from my friends in the industry to take as baggage.
        I had a blast being able to introduce pickleball to the local high school kids for their afternoon gym classes all last week, and they seemed to enjoy having a new sport to help burn off some energy, or maybe that was just the sentiment of their coach Dave. The equipment was left for their use in the future, so don’t be surprised when you see their players in the Olympic tryouts in a few years.

         I’ve done a bit of hiking and made it out to Sand Dollar beach the other day after having to choose between a deep muddy ATV trail or a wet swampy marsh. I tried the mud route first but gave up after 20 minutes of slogging, and switched to the watery route which was wetter but cleaner, and my boots are almost dry for another hike today.  In between the usual rain and gale force winds, the sun appeared a few times this past weekend. We even got some snow and ice, but fortunately missed the 7.0 earthquake that rocked Anchorage last week since we’re 800 miles away. The tsunami warning was a bust too, so I’ll have to wait for another chance to experience an apocalyptic event in the “Be careful what you wish for” category for 150 points.    

           Thanksgiving was shared with some generous neighbors that invited me over to their apartment for a feast, and I cooked chicken Parmesan for them one night to return the favor. Then they raised the bar even more by inviting me over for a King Crab feast last Friday, and it was hands down the best crab I’ve ever eaten, with chunks the size of brats. There was so much that there were leftovers for crab cakes the next night, so I’ve definitely been spoiled and will have a hard time nibbling the puny specimens we get back home.

     Lastly one of my generous dental manufacturing contacts wrote me that I’m in their 2019 catalogue standing at the South Pole, so my 15 minutes of fame has been activated. I’m still waiting for the lucrative product endorsements to come calling, and I’ll invite you on the Gulfstream G650ER when my order is filled, but don’t hold your breath on that for now.

      I’ll be heading back home to CO at the end of the week, Hope you and your families have a reason to celebrate!

Cheers,

Bering Sea Bob

Donated dental and pickleball paddles

High school kids at Sand Point playing pickleball

Showing off their paddles at the net

Trident cannery at Sand Point

Two wind turbines can supply 60% of the electricity for the town of 900

Grocery freighter from Seattle coming to Sand Point

King Crab feast at my neighbor’s apartment

Shonna, the Dental Health Aid Therapist happy with her new cordless curing light

Hike to Danger Point, looking down on Sand Dollar beach

Inside page of Garrison dental catalogue

Bald eagle in Sand Point

 

 

 

Civilized trip to Bermuda

Bermuda Smiles with Lauren

Hi travel fans,

During the summer I visited Lauren in Florida and asked her if she would be interested in a father/daughter trip sometime. After a moment of thought she said “Yes! but not on some crazy adventure trip” like she imagines I would choose. Not sure where she got that idea, but I asked her to come up with a place and we would discuss it. She picked Bermuda and in mid October we were on our way to a new destination for both of us. It was a wonderful place, and a special time to have a week together. One interesting excursion that she came up with was to sea kayak out and under the bridge to the airport, pull up on a new beach, hike through a park to a large pool of inland water known as The Blue Hole, and jump off a small cliff into the water to snorkel around. I was surprised but said “of course!” knowing if I had suggested that type of itinerary it would have been met with suspicion and caution, but since it was her suggestion it was perfectly fine. We also rented one of the first electric rental cars on the island, since it’s the only place I’ve ever visited that doesn’t have rental cars for tourists to keep the roads less crowded. It was a neat vehicle with a touch screen for forward and reverse and a max speed of about 35, and we listened to the warning that there were only 3 charging stations on the island so we didn’t run out of juice before returning it the next morning.

Just prior to that trip I spent some time in NJ with my brother helping our mom sell her house so she can enjoy full time living in Florida. We scheduled real estate agents, estate salesmen, crawl space renovators and a whirlwind mix of other folks, and had the house listed and contracted in less than a week, and 3 weeks later mom was lounging in her condo by the beach with the closing behind her. Naturally I found some pickleball in the NJ neighborhood, and played a few days with some goodfellows who were straight out of central casting for NJ mafia. They waxed poetic about the good old days with Jimmy Hoffa and the teamsters, so I went easy on them on the courts just to keep it a friendly game.

Back home, I spent a day in Greeley doing some volunteer dentistry for the Colorado Mission of Mercy which is always an enriching experience, and then sent out emails for dental donations for the next Alaska sojourn.

Cheers,

Bermuda Bob

Lauren relaxes in paradise

Sea kayak trip to the far beach

Jump into the Blue Hole

Lauren and E-car

Bermuda sunset

COMOM in Greeley

CO made wind turbine blades 2 train cars long

Fun times in New Caledonia

Bonjour mes amis,

   Following a successful escape from the Ice after a 4 day delay because of a broken plane sent back to Hawaii for repairs, I spent a few days in Christchurch enjoying the deluge from Cyclone Gita with my pharmacy and ping pong buddy, Tien. My 90 year old mom, who brags she’s already 91, hesitantly took off from Miami and in the end I was only an hour late meeting her in Auckland. We enjoyed 2 days of walking around the harbor and spending an evening with Hamish, a doc I worked with at the South Pole 2 years ago.

    We then jetted off for a 3 hour flight to the French territory of New Caledonia with the promise of sunshine, warm beaches, a beautiful reef for scuba diving and wind for kite sailing and windsurfing. I’ve checked all those boxes off already with 4 more days to go, so it’s all icing on the cake at this point. My mom and I get out for a stroll a few times a day, usually along the beach scene, and have found plenty of restaurants to compare fresh fish and chocolate mousse each evening. That plus some rousing Scrabble matches have kept the neurons from deteriorating too rapidly.

   Our first hotel had a killer view of the beach, but the room was tiny so after 4 days there we switched to a suite in a hotel a block from the beach. The trade off for the view was two rooms with a kitchen plus a great breakfast included. I didn’t realize I had signed up for the $22/day “continental” breakfast instead of the $35/day “delux” buffet, and have defied the croissant police each morning when I snag an extra chocolate croissant beyond the contracted limit. Adding to my arterial challenge is the fresh Brie cheese and duck pate I found at the market yesterday. There is also an amazing French bakery a block away if you want to add more butter to the menu.

    I biked downtown this morning for some exercise, but will probably stick to water sports for the duration. Hope your winter is keeping you busy, and send a note from home.

Cheers,

     Croissant 🥐 Bob

Loading the Kiwi chopper in the C-17

Sitting inside the plane

Tien and I at the Canteburry Table Tennis Center

Auckland restaurant with Hamish, the South Pole doc

A good motto to live by!

Mom in front of the Queen Elizabeth in Auckland

Auckland hilltop

Kite sailing beach in Noumea, New Caledonia

Cruise ship passes by the kite sailing beach

Lobsters for sale at the local market in Noumea, New Caledonia

To the South Pole and back in 4 days!

Aloha winter folks,

      Last week I made it all the way south, took care of the dental needs of “The Polies” as they are called, and returned to McMurdo 4 days later, which is just about the right amount of time to enjoy the -40F to -50F setting. McMurdo was hopping with the ship offloading its cargo, followed by the fuel ship which is almost ready for the icebreaker escort back to the open sea. Hopes are high for the Air Force C-17 jet to resume service between New Zealand and McMurdo to cut the return trip down to 5 hours instead of 8, so it should be smooth sailing by the time I get out of here on February 15th.

I’m booked for a week in New Zealand, then 10 days in New Caledonia to check out the beaches, kite sailing, scuba diving and French bakeries. My mom has agreed to join me since Florida seemed a little tame and she was up for some adventure travel.

I’ve got what I think will be my last root canal of the season this afternoon, and will finish up with lots of check-ups and cleanings for the folks that are spending the winter here. Pickleball and ping pong are still going strong, with a few walks to the water in hopes of seeing penguins, seals and whales.

Send some news from home and enjoy the rest of winter.

Cheers,

Almost liberated Bob

The unheated passenger terminal at the South Pole- only 52 below that day!

The fuel ship is in town to offload 5 million gallons for the next 12 months

Eggs Florentine and Mimosas for 12 in the medical kitchen

McMurdo medical crew poses in the trauma bay

Broken dental suction switch replaced with dental composite and an embedded paper clip

 

 

 

Back on the Ice for the 5th Time!

Greeting Northerners,

I made it down to McMurdo two weeks ago after an extra day in New Zealand, and have stayed busy working on 8 root canals, 3 wisdom teeth extractions, numerous fillings and cleanings, and a few ear wax removals with my dental suction. The weather’s been a mix of sun and snow, with enough recreational opportunities to get out on hikes and bikes and stay indoors for ping pong and pickleball in between.

I’m scheduled for a trip to the South Pole on the next flight to take care of the folks that need some dental care down there, and then return to McMurdo for a few more weeks. The cargo ship docked yesterday, so we’re celebrating with fresh eggs and oranges for brunch, and mimosas compliments of Mike and Megan’s stash. The medical crew has been great with some new faces and a few folks returning from previous years, but I’m the old vet with 5 seasons of coming down here.

I hiked this morning and saw my first penguin, a solitary Emperor hanging out on the ice shelf looking for fun. Back at the clinic, Eggs Florentine worked out well, so it’s off to a nap and a quiet afternoon.

Write some news from home and enjoy the sunshine.

Cheers,

Biking Bob

Fat tire biking on the glacier over the ocean

Posing on the Cat tractor after it’s 2000 mile traverse to the South Pole and back

The Polar Star Ice breaker makes a path though the Ross Sea

When a plain hand mixer just doesn’t have the horsepower for Hollandaise

 

Fall tales

Greetings hurricane survivors,

      It’s been a roller coaster ride of trips for the past few months with a lot of smiles and a few tears along the way. I joined Lynn to work in Whittier, Alaska for Labor Day weekend, and it was a beautiful setting in a town accessible by boat or one lane, 2 mile tunnel designed for both trains and cars. Once you get the timing down you’re not going to encounter any oncoming trains inside the tunnel, but it keeps your eyes on the road and no time for texting distractions. We lived and worked in the one 15 story building in town that houses everyone, estimated at 216 the last time the census was taken, so there aren’t many secrets among the locals. We enjoyed the spectacular scenery with hikes with some of Lynn’s old friends on our days off, and the glaciers, waterfalls and blueberries kept your mind off the wandering grizzly bears in the surrounding woods.

A few days later I jumped on a last minute plane to Atlanta since my dad was flown to a hospital there after a hit and run encounter as he walked in a rest stop parking lot while escaping Hurricane Irma in Florida. Initially he was just bruised up, but a heart attack in the hospital proved too much and he died a few days later. He was almost 92 and a crummy way to go, but he had a good run and I was fortunate to have him around for so long. I returned to Florida a few weeks later to clean out his place with the help of my step sister, and it’s all been a reminder of our mortality and the fragility of life. So keep moving and add some love along the way whenever possible.

A wonderful trip to Michigan to meet Lynn’s folks and the rest of her family helped restore the balance, and I’m still enjoying fresh apples and Dutch bakery banket along with the memories of the love and hospitality they shared with me. We rented a beautiful, quiet cabin on Lake Michigan and the fall colors were just starting to appear to add to the scenery. Her folks even invited me back, so I took that as a good sign and hope to see them again before too long.

Back in Colorado, the leaves are falling and the snow has started to blanket the mountains, so I changed the filters and turned the heat on for the season. Hope you’re enjoying the fall and write some news from home.

Cheers,

Still smiling Bob

One lane, car and train 2 mile tunnel to Whittier, Alaska

The 15 story building in Whittier that houses the entire town

Lynn and Sophie demo the bear that left bite marks in the van

Berry picking hike in Whittier along Prince William Sound

Lynn, her folks and sister KJ with Anna at an outdoor concert in MI

Fall hike in Colorado

Backyard view of first snow on Pikes Peak

Wilderness, water and an almost timeless capsule

Greetings summer lovers,

      It’s been warm and sunny for July and August, and we’ve enjoyed the great outdoors in a few different settings. First we tested Lynn’s inflatable kayaks on the Arkansas River just south of Colorado Springs and found them to be a wonderful, lazy way to see the birds along the shores. Then a weekend in Breckenridge with the conference for the Wilderness Medical Society had us teaching a dental workshop to folks who like to do medicine in the woods, and they left hopeful for a dental emergency to test their new skills on someone with a toothache far from civilization.

Next up was a week in Hood River, Oregon for some windsurfing in 100 degree weather, which made the water even more refreshing, and we finished up smiling and bruised. A few days later we were in Galveston, TX, unknowingly a week ahead of Hurricane Harvey to teach some more dentistry to the medical crew heading to Antarctica. I was able to work out a team building exercise of sailboat racing in 22 foot Sonars provided by a local sailing center called the Sea Star Base, and it turned out to be the highlight of the orientation schedule.

We’ve been home 10 days now, and had a chance to view the eclipse through homemade glasses that Lynn was unsure about until her mom said it was OK, which tells you where my credibility rating is pegged. Last weekend we made breakfast for 20 in a hiking group I belong to, and afterwards we found a time capsule that Lauren and I buried 19 years ago with the help if a metal detector, because we  were unable to locate it last summer after a few hours of digging up the backyard. We finished up with a hike and pickleball lesson from a patient of mine who is always promoting the sport, and may have converted a few curmudgeons to courtside athletes.

Hope your getting less rain than Houston and enjoying the sunshine.

Cheers,

Boating Bob

Ready to Kayak the Arkansas River

Lynn shows good form on the river

Lecture to the Wilderness Medical Society

Attempting a jibe on my windsurfer on the Columbia River

Lynn’s got the gear and the right attitude for windsurfing-
note the hammock for tired muscles

Antarctic medical crew gets some dental practice on each other


Lynn’s boat heels to port in the Sonar races

Sailboats race around the orange marker in Galveston

Making homemade eclipse glasses after watching youtube instructions

Time capsule successfully retrieved from the backyard after 19 years

Nancy keeps everyone’s attention on the pickleball court

AK Eagles and Bears

Greetings lower 48er’s

       After only 6 months of paperwork and enough application fees to send board members to a nice conference in the Bahamas, I was granted a dental license for Alaska. Then I got to repeat most of it again to get credentialed for the Eastern Aleutian Tribes so I could join Lynn working in a clinic in a remote part of Alaska where the grizzlies roam free. It all worked out in time for me to get a 2 week contract in June, and the final sea skimming 10 minute flight aboard a 5 seat airplane deposited me in King Cove to experience life in a commercial fishing town of 800.

We had a lovely apartment 100 yards from the modern medical and dental clinic, and were fortunate enough to have folks give us some fresh halibut and king crab to enjoy the local flavors for home cooked meals. I oriented and worked with Mike the dentist and his wife Gaby, who cover the seven dental clinics spread along the length of the Aleutian Islands, sometimes with the help of newly trained dental health aids. He flew off after a few days to another island to take care of a root canal and left me to take care of the dental needs of the locals, and with Gaby’s help it all worked out.

Lynn stayed busy with the medical side of things, and after work and on the weekends we ventured out on a number of hikes in the surrounding hills and mountains. The locals recommended guns for the bears, but bear spray was easy enough to carry and the bears we saw were always running away. The rest of the wildlife, including eagles, fox and otters were less of a concern, and the scenery of snow capped peaks and windswept waves on the ocean were always an inspiration to enjoy the outdoors.

We finished up with a few vacation days in Sitka, where I got humbled on the pickleball court one afternoon and we hiked a calf searing trail with friends the next morning. All in all a great experience in the far north, and I’ll probably return to work there again sometime.

Hope your summer is going well and the bears keep running away.

Cheers,

Bear spray toting Bob

Balancing the weight by loading the nose of the 5 seat airplane to King Cove

Hiking above the town of King Cove

Lynn models the bear spray for the hikes

2 of the 3 cubs that were hustled away by a mama grizzly

The mountain scenery around the town

Gaby and Molly in the dental clinic

Alaskan condoms try to get the message across with humor

A brave puffin on the pier

Sitka trail works builds neat stairways though the forests