"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Phenomenal Three Hour Dash-and-Grab

My dash-and-grab trip to Anchorage Saturday was an emergency, albeit an emergency in my eyes only.  My latest project was stopped dead in mid-print, all for want of a cyan ink cartridge, and I was running dangerously close to being out of the special paper I needed, too.

The sun trying to break through clouds on the way to Anchorage.

During my sojourn in Halibut Cove I finally completed formatting The Africa Journals, a “book” I will print and have bound at Office Max.   It's better than a photo album because it contains all the stories from my blog about the trip as well as many photos.

Printing had to wait until I returned home as I needed my printer with its ability to print on both sides of the page automatically, as well as the above-mentioned special paper.   Sold under the HP label, the paper is two-sided, meaning it is specially coated to produce photographs and text with quality and without bleed-through. 

The Alaska Railroad annual Christmas train, full of partiers.

It is heavier than normal copy paper (20 to 24 lbs.) at 32 lbs. It’s also expensive, selling at just under $40 for 150 sheets.   I usually wait until it’s on sale at half price before I buy it.

My Africa Journals came in at a whopping four volumes, requiring more than 300 sheets of paper, printed on both sides, and requiring two three-packs of color ink to produce, plus at least one black ink cartridge.

With ink and paper, a four-volume set was going to cost me in the neighborhood of  $300 to produce.  That was a deal-breaker, but I needed at least two sets.

So, with expensive paper and expensive ink cartridges (just under $90 for a pack of the three colors), I headed into town.

A very blurry drive-by shot of the Rainbow sheep at Windy corner had photographers out.

My first stop, Office Max, dashed my hopes.   Not only wasn’t it on sale, it wasn’t in stock.  A couple years prior, I had checked prices at Office Depot and they had been higher, so it was with a heavy heart I went there, after stopping at Costco and buying three packs of color cartridges and one of black, and getting $10 off each pack.   Well, now, things were looking up.

On my way out of the store, I paused at the photo counter to see if they refilled a different type of ink cartridge for my “travel printer.”  A very nice man handed me a brochure with a list of cartridges they fill and lo and behold they now fill 950XLs and 951XLs, just the ones I need and had just purchased.   Now I can get cartridges filled for about $10 each, a big savings.

Costco had Seattle Seahawks tees for $16.99, my favorite team.

Costco now carries Stephen's hot chocolate mix, my favorite, $8.99 for 4 lbs., as opposed to one lb. at Wal-Mart for $5.69.

I also got a new pair of my favorite jeans, marked down $3 to $14.99.   I went to the gas pumps to fill up the truck and got another pleasant surprise.   The last time I’d been in Anchorage was Nov. 5.   Since then gas has fallen from $3.42 to $3.15 a gallon at Costco.  Things were definitely getting better.

A rear-view mirror shot of clouds and fog over Turnagain Arm.   Though it's nearing sunset it really isn't this dark.  My camera is aimed at the sun.

I went into Office Depot with a heavy heart and searched for my paper.   I found it and gawked at the price.   Not only was it on sale, it was on sale for $7.50 for a pack of 100 sheets!  I checked the description on the box five times to make sure I was getting the right paper, then bought every one they had, and beat it out of the store before they realized their mistake.   

Usually selling for almost $40 a pack of 150 sheets, I bought this 100 sheet pack, and all its brothers,  for $7.50!!!

 Then I made a dash to the other store location and bought the last five packs they had.

Just before I completed my transaction, the clerk said “We have reusable shopping bags on close-out for 14 cents each.”   I handed five to him and said, “Fill ‘em up,” which is a much safer method of carrying heavy packs of paper than plastic bags.

My 14 cent reusable shopping bags.

My next stop was Wal-Mart where I found two-packs of 2GB SD cards for my cameras for $12.47.   Two GB cards are hard to locate these days because purchasers are opting for the higher capacity cards.   I prefer the 2 GB cards for a couple reasons:

1           1.   If I lose my camera on a trip, I haven’t lost all my photos.

       2.  I use Picasa for my photo program.  To import photos, my tablet downloads and copies every single photo on the flash card, even if it’s in the thousands like on 8 GB and higher cards.   This was I only have to wait through a few hundred.  Because I do this every single day, it can become a time hog with a higher capacity card.

       Wal-Mart also had my favorite tea for $2 less than the grocery stores.   Bought every one they had because they are pretty slow about restocking their shelves.

My last stop was for something to eat before I fainted.  Subway was across the parking lot and WOW!   They had pastrami again after a year without.  Pastrami on flatbread with just a bit of mustard.   Nothing else.

(Sorry, no photo.  I ate the subject.)

Then I headed for home because (in case Patti is wondering why I didn’t drive across town for a visit) my energy level on three hours sleep was running dangerously low and I did not want to subject myself to driving almost a hundred miles through the mountains in the dark. 

What's this at Potter Marsh?   The rear engine of the Christmas train heading south again.

On the way out of town, there goes the ARR Christmas party train again, full of revelers.   I have fond feelings for the ARR.   It was the promise of a job for my dad that brought us to Alaska.   He retired from the railroad 30 years later.

I could not have scripted those three hours in Anchorage any better if I’d tried!

And my little Thanksgiving cactus is blooming.


  1. You did a great job shopping. Doesn't it feel good when you get such a bargain that it feels like stealing? I thoroughly enjoyed the Africa Journals. Where is your next adventure going to be? Have a Merry Christmas.

  2. What a grand shopping day that was!!! Congrats on your 4 volume Africa Journals. The hours you put into them requires so much self discipline and commitment. But what a joy for you...a labor of love, for sure.

    Are you telling us you're leaving for India ,Dec. 30, this year or next?

  3. Lord God In Heaven Above! To think that I just put up a post about DRAMA! I sit here out of breath at your mad dash to Los Anchorage! I can relate .. OH I CAN RELATE to the last minute DRAMA that one is about to experience as one is about to leave on a major sojourn such as you are about to do. And to put it mildly .. you are NOT NOT NOT a Drama Queen.

    Smiles from Patti and myself .. and JOY!

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