Alaska’21: Departure, May 26

This was the first time I’ve been in a plane since 2020: Puerto Vallarta and I’m happy to be doing some real travel again. Road trips are fun, but I’m one of those people that loves everything about flying. And, this is the first long distance trip that Ash and I are doing together. He planned the whole thing, all I had to do was pack and make sure I got out of work on time. This is also the first time I’ve taken a few days off from the new job since starting on March 22. It’s been great so far, but I’m ready for a break. So I took Thursday and Friday off leading into Memorial Day weekend to take advantage of the Holiday. Today and Monday are travel days, and we’ll have 4 days on the ground in Alaska.

We had no idea what to expect in terms of crowds so gave ourselves plenty of time. The empty security lines above at 4pm tell you we had nothing to worry about.

Neither of us had eaten lunch so we stopped at the Iron Horse Tavern in the airport for a bite. Ash got the grilled chicken sandwich with a salad, above; mine is turkey club with fries.

Of course we had to wear masks the whole time.

Paul is with us and just sat at our feet on both legs of the flight. First leg was about 1.5 hours into Salt Lake City, on the ground just enough time for Paul to make a stop in the pet relief area and get to our gate in the next terminal. The next leg of the flight was about 5 hours, and we sat on the tarmac about 30 extra minutes before taking off. It’s now 2am Alaska time and Way Past My Bedtime (even factoring in Pacific time) but I’m a little wired so figured I’d make good use of the time.

Everyone has asked, why Alaska? The only answer I really have is: why not? I’ve never heard of anyone who has visited here be disappointed and they all say the same thing: It’s beautiful. Ash came for the first time for 2 weeks last summer, so he put this trip together based on what he enjoyed then. Note in the photo above it’s about Midnight – long days in these parts this time of year. But the views above and below don’t disappoint: it is beautiful.

This is really for my friend Melanie (the original inspiration for my travel blog back in 2013) who made a funny comment in Facebook about wanting to see moose. Our first encounter with one was in the airport.

If you haven’t heard, the pandemic has caused a rental car crisis so we were a bit worried about whether or not we’d actually get one. Reservations mean even less today than they did before. (Anyone remember this classic Seinfeld scene?) But we got ours no problem and made our way to our first stop: a private room in someone’s house through Airbnb.

It was about a 15 minute drive from the airport. We haven’t encountered the owners, just had a code to get in, and the room is on the first floor; it seems all their living areas are upstairs. It’s a nice room with a private bath….

…and easy access to outside for Paul. That they would allow dogs and late arrivals are the main reasons Ash picked it. He did good.

Ash has sworn all along that this was going to be a “not much to do” trip, but when he described the itinerary for tomorrow (today, really) while we were at the airport gate in Sacramento I thought “wow, that sounds pretty full.” So tune in later to see how that goes!

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