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Archive for July 14th, 2014

Alaska – in the beginning

(Disclaimer: I started this post when I got home. Then I got distracted because it was still summer and there was lots of fun stuff to do. Today (11/18) it was 12 degrees F when I woke up. So I’m going to settle in and get these photos posted before year’s end!)


I went to Alaska. With Arissa. For two weeks. I got home Tuesday. Today is Thursday. My body is so confused. It’s four hours later there. And there’s a heck of a lot more daylight. Middle of the night Tuesday, I woke up. It was pitch black. I had no idea where I was. Was I on the ship? No, we’d been off it for a while. A train? Was I on a train? No, that didn’t seem right. Where was I? Then I rolled over and bumped into Chad. Oh, I was home. Well that answers the question about where the restroom was!


Chad was nice enough to deliver Arissa and I to Pittsburgh the night before we flew out of Pittsburgh. Honestly, he was probably ready for some peace and quiet and not having to hear about my packing conundrums. Our flight out to Houston was at 6:30 am. So Arissa brilliantly decided to book us a room near the airport and thus negate needing to have any of our family members rolling up I-79 at 2:00 am. Also, we’d get a half night’s sleep if we were lucky.

The alarm was terrible at 3:30 am. Terrible. But not as terrible as our luggage cart which required three people to steer it down the hall. That was especially burdensome since there were only two of us. We arrived at the airport, went through alternate security (that seemed sketchy at first) and then sat at the gate people watching. Pittsburgh International Airport was crazy busy for 4:00 am on a Tuesday.

Once on the plane, I got down to the business of going back to sleep. I was pretty sure I’d slept four hours, but sadly I awoke and we weren’t near Houston. Two and a half hours later, when we should have been on the ground, we still weren’t in Houston – we were above it. Which was when you could feel the anxiety ripple through the cabin. We had 50 minutes between flights. There were others who had even less. Good luck with that!

The only thing that saved us was that we landed two gates away from our departure gate. The flight to Vancouver was already boarding when we sprinted (not really, too many people in the way) off the plane. So we were ready to board, but then we were told that we had to have our passports checked (again) before boarding and the person telling us that waved vaguely “over there” which was, as you may have guessed, through the throng of people trying to get ON the plane.

As we were unable to detect a line – Americans do not queue very well on our own I’m afraid – we stood in what appeared to be the faintest hint of a line only to have some man tell us the line was most certainly starting BEHIND him. Well, perhaps if he had properly executed a line we’d have known that. Anyway, we got to the desk, a lady looked at our passports for approximately 3 seconds and put a big yellow X on our tickets. That was it. Done. Seems legit to me!

Back to the other “line” that was going through what appeared to be a horse race starting gate. You put your ticket down, a big red X pops up and….then you go through? I always thought a BIG RED X meant you failed. Apparently not in Texas. In Texas a big red X when trying to board an airplane means Congratulations! You are now thoroughly disoriented and may board your plane! Hooray!

The flight to Vancouver was uneventful. I slept. I usually do. That’s my thing. I’m short and I typically fit in the seat pretty well (foreshadowing here….) and so I sleep.

We arrived in Vancouver. Our luggages arrived in Vancouver. We sailed through passport control with no problem. And I have to tell you, the Vancouver airport is amazing. It is without a doubt the prettiest, most distracting, are we seriously in an airport, airport I’ve ever been in. Also, we saw a woman that may or may not have been wearing a bathing suit cover up as a dress, while she was dealing with her several small children.

The lovely thing about being in Canada is that the Canadians know how to queue. We walked out of luggage retrieval, went to the place marked for cabs and boom! We were placed in a queue and a cab retrieved for us. How nice after a long day of travel. Especially since I had at this point no clear idea of what time it was. All I knew was that I wanted to brush my teeth and get rid of all the stuff I was carrying with me!


chris on July 14th 2014 in Travel