I Brake for Eagles

Suzie, the Bus Driver

So far my posts have been about “Creating in Alaska”, but my other job is driving a school bus one hundred miles each afternoon on the mountainous Glennallen Highway.  My husband and I, along with a partner, hold the contract for transporting about forty students to and from Glacier View School. About five years ago, my husband said somewhat despairingly, “I don’t know who we’re going to get to drive….” With the willingness of a cat to a cold bath, I started driving, but now I look forward to the drive and I love the kids. I’ve seen lynx, fox, coyote, moose, caribou, dall sheep, and migrating flocks of birds. From the Eureka Summit, I can’t see Russia, but I can see the Wrangell, Talkeetna, Chugach, and Alaska Ranges at the same time. Driving has also helped me become more disciplined. I have to get my painting time in before 2:30 or it won’t happen.

Last week I had to brake for a Bald Eagle as it flew in front of the bus… like you do. I’ve also braked for bears, moose, and Trumpeter Swans. Birders might wonder how I could tell if it was a Trumpeter or a Whistling Swan since both are found in Alaska and are difficult to distinguish. Let’s just say that I was close enough to see that those lips weren’t whistling.

Sometimes, I stop the bus and paint as I did in Eureka Pullout or take reference photos like I used in Tahneta Lake. Not many people get this great perk with their job.

3 thoughts on “I Brake for Eagles

  1. Love to think of you driving that yellow bus! Many years ago, I was a radio reporter in a very beautiful part of England – the Lake District. It always astonished me that someone was actually paying me to drive about amongst all that beauty every day, interviewing fascinating people.

  2. Oh, Helen, I’ve only seen the Lake District in the movie, Pride and Prejudice and it looks lovely. So green and all those ancient buildings. Old in Alaska is pre-1964. Thanks so much for your comment!

  3. How to turn what could be mundane and boring into something super amazing Suzie.Special time i think.When i visit do i get to be the ticket collector?

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