Ike was as probably as bad as I had feared. I am truly sorry for those people living along the Louisiana and Texas coasts who took the full brunt of the storm. Many of my friends from the area in Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes took a double hit from Gustav and then Ike. I will be seeing what I can personally do to help my friends in Scouting there, particularly those in the Houma area. Regular readers may have wondered why I haven't posted more regularly over the course of the last week and I gave a hint last Friday, the last time I had access to the Internet. I had been planning a vacation before all of this hurricane brouhaha. The trip was to take place the following weekend when Gustav suddenly forced my evacuation from New Orleans. Not only had I been forced to load up my essentials for the trip to Jacobs Camp in Utica and the eventual run to Memphis, but I also had the additional consideration of having to bring all of my clothes for a week-long cruise that started in Vancouver, British Columbia on September 6. I was probably the only evacuee from New Orleans who had his formal wear, cufflinks and patent leather shoes with him throughout the ordeal. When I was able to return home, I only had a little over 24 hours to repack and make certain that I was truly prepared for the trip of a lifetime to Alaska. Yes, Alaska, the largest state in the union and the one that remains the most untamed, brutal and awe-inspiring site that one can imagine. This was a pleasure cruise and one that paled in comparison to the harsh conditions endured by thousands who first came to Alaska in search of gold during 1898. For a boy from the flat Mississippi delta lands to see the wonders of majestic snow-capped peaks towering thousands of feet in the air was breathtaking. For someone accustomed to seeing alligators swimming along bayous to see humpback whales and orcas in their native environments was impressive. Over the course of the next few days I will be recounting my travels along Alaska's Inner Passage aboard the Holland America ship M/S Volendam. Despite all of the many wonders and pleasures I endured on this vacation, it was all tempered by the thoughts of those back home who had just endured Gustav and who were hoping to avoid the new storm as well as those in the direct path of Hurricane Ike.