Alaska: Day 1

I never seem to sleep well when I know I have to be up early. This morning’s flight was not too early, but still required that I be up before 6 a.m. But of course, I was awake from about 4:00 a.m. I guess I’m always afraid I won’t wake up, even though I now have another person next to me, with his own alarm. It’s even more unlikely we’d both oversleep, but still I awaken early.

This is the same fear I always had before a big road race, especially a marathon. I’d sleep a few hours, usually dreaming that I was late for the race and got lost on the course somewhere. Maybe it’s just that I don’t use an alarm most days, so I’m not sure I can trust it.

As always though, we were up with plenty of time. Since we’re headed for my first trip to Alaska, Ryan’s home state, it is certain I over-packed. Not sure how cold it might really feel to me (in spite of everyone’s assurances that highs will be in the 60’s), and given that I rather enjoy the thermostat set at 79, I’ve thrown all my warmest clothing in a giant duffel bag. Granted, growing up on the coast means my warmest item is a rain jacket (this is what concerns me).

Just to get myself ready, I spent the flight time listening to Jimmy Buffett, Bob Marley and some of Kenny Chesney’s island tunes, thinking nice, warm thoughts!

Since the airlines now charge per bag we combined all our bulky items into one checked bag. Upon arrival at the airport we were proud to find the bag weighed in at exactly 49.0 lbs., just one pound below the weight at which they start assessing additional fees. We really love getting our money’s worth!

Our first flight was through Minneapolis, about a 2 hour trip from Knoxville. After about an hour layover, we boarded for the 6 hour leg to Alaska. The only time I’ve ever spent 6 hours on a plane I ended up in another country where they spoke another language. It’s hard to imagine concluding 8 hours worth of flight time and STILL being in the United States. But here we are! As Michelle Shocked would say – you know you’re in the largest state in the union when you’re anchored down in Anchorage.

Due to a 4 hour time zone change we arrived before 3:00 p.m. (I’m writing this at 10:30 p.m. eastern time, but the sun is high in the sky here, only serving to confuse my weary body. It will be another 4 hours before sunset, and midnight before it really gets dark.) Leaving the airport we drove around Lake Hood, which is the largest and busiest sea plane base IN_THE_WORLD. We made a stop at the Lake Hood Inn, our friend Bill’s place. It’s an awesome spot, right on the water, where you can watch the steady flow of sea plane traffic.

Since there is a Roth family wedding tomorrow, there’s a large BBQ this evening, with lots of extended family. It’s very exciting to be here in Anchorage and I’m looking forward to meeting the very large Roth family (now my family!), most for the first time.

Below are pictures of Bill’s place, the Inn.

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