North to Alaska; Departure Day


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North America » United States » Alaska » Fairbanks
July 20th 2018
Published: July 21st 2018
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Before I get started on the limited details of departure day, let me just say that yesterday I should have bought a lottery ticket. Here are the highlights:

-Showed up for my scheduled manicure; she had no record of it although she could fit me in so no worrie

-Went to the vet to get Morgan’s heartworm and flea meds which I had called in on Tuesday; no record of it but was able to get it filled anyway

-Got stuck behind the same older gentleman 3 times at Harris Teeter. Took 15 minutes to make a purchase for $7.08

-A car with a visitor was stuck at the Williamsburg West Gate (we live in a gated community) and when the driver at the gate couldn’t get her guest pass to work, she approached the car behind her who willingly gave her his pass; she swiped, drove through, parked, walked back to give him his pass WHICH WAS NOW LOCKED OUT FOR 10 MINUTES BECAUSE HE DID THAT!!!

-Fasted until 1:00 so I could get some routine blood work done only to find that the local lab in Williamsburg is closed

-Went to the hospital to see if they could do the blood work. Yes, except the lab requisition either has to have the doctor’s signature or instead of “Provider” it has to say “Authorizing provider.” The helpful lady at reception gave me their fax number and said, “Call and see if they can send an updated form and we’ll take care of this.”

-Called doctor’s office, got her medical assistant who said to leave name, dob, and detailed message and they would get back to me, probably in about 48 hours. I left her said message and ate a pack of crackers

-Was fixing dinner and all of the sudden the kitchen sink started to back up. A quick trip to Lowes solved the problem

Someone once told me that when you have really terrible luck, buy a lottery ticket. Your luck is bound to change. Then my sweet Mark, who was out of town at a meeting for a board he serves on last weekend, then found out Thursday he had to go to Syracuse, NY and was there from Monday to Thursday, then got home and was trying to finish a report for work before his Stephen Ministry meeting at church when the internet went crump; when he got home from his meeting and after dinner, he worked until 3:00 in the morning, came downstairs and packed and finally got about 1.5 hours of sleep before alarms started going off at 6. After all of this, I think we have earned this vacation. And we’re really glad we happened to be flying first class.

Okay, on with our Northbound trek! Alarms went off at 6, as previously stated. I was mostly packed until I put my bag on the scale and it weighed 53 pounds. Rearrange quickly. Mark finished his packing (44 pounds. Show off.), we finished getting things arranged at home for our sweet pet and house sitter and got on the road to Richmond at 7:45, exactly in the middle of our goal which was 7:30 to 8:00. We drove to the airport, parked in the free for the first hour level of the garage, got our luggage checked in and then I took the car over to a good friend’s house who lives 15 minutes from the airport. She is our off-site parking and considerably cheaper ($0) than onsite would be which would probably be in the neighborhood of $200. Yay friend! She drove me to the airport, I went through security and got to the gate about 10 minutes before they started loading our flight. So far so good.

Flight was on time and landed in Detroit a few minutes early. And here’s today’s proof that God loves me and wants me to be happy: Right next to our departure gate was a Chick-fil-A!! I asked Mark if he wanted anything. He said a chocolate shake. I said I doubted they had that and he said how about an iced coffee. Went to CFA--no iced coffee. Went back and told him they didn’t have that. He said, “How about a small Arnold Palmer?” Sure. Except they don’t have smalls. No worries, a medium would do. He said, “You can have anything that you want except for what you want.” About sums it up.

The flight from Detroit to Minneapolis was delayed but not by much--we left 20 minutes late and arrived 10 after we were expected. We had a 3+ hour layover and then it was time to start the final leg--North to Alaska.

Here are some observations about First ClaThe wide seats and leg-room are the real bonus. Everything else you “get”, you’d have to figure out the cost savings to see if it’s worth it. Although when they talked about the offer of a turkey sandwich for $10.99 to those in coach, it does seem nice that we don’t have to deal with that.
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When you board, the flight attendant will come and ask what you’d like to drink. It comes in plastic ware/styrofoam. After that, it’s all china and glass<li style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color:� background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" dir="ltr">
They came and put a napkin down across our tray table as if the plastic would offend us<li style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color:� background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" dir="ltr">
The food wasn’t any better than classic airline food although they did offer Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia for dessert<li style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color:� background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" dir="ltr">
They really will keep bringing you booze until you say, “NO MORE!” And they’ll bring even more water.<li style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color:� background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" dir="ltr">
When we arrived in Detroit, this very refined woman, who, it turned out, was the gate agent, entered the plane and said, “Welcome to Detroit, the best city in the midwest. We’re happy to have you.” I said to Mark, “Who knew we got that welcome?”<li style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color:� background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" dir="ltr">
If you are going to fly first class and you suffer from white priviledge guilt, make sure your seats are not in the last row of the premium section. If they are, prepare to feel badly that you get a hot, albeit mediocre, dinner, and the people one row behind you get to pay eleven bucks for an undoubtedly dry turkey sandwich. But aren’t we all happy that the airlines have found ways to make billions in profits and that we all, like lap dogs, willingly pay? I digress.


Observations about flying to Alaska:
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Local time for us at the moment is Minneapolis time. (All those digital time keepers reset.) Our real (Williamsburg) local time is an hour later, yet the longer we fly, the brighter it gets. I guess those things I taught kids about how the days get longer in the summer and shorter in the winter were all true. Sunset in Fairbanks tonight is 11:40 (I think it’s a big deal that it’s setting before midnight) and sunrise is at 4:00. Where we’re going tomorrow above the Arctic Circle the sunrise is at 3:33 a.m. and the sunset is after midnight.<li style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color:� background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" dir="ltr">
Since we won’t get back to Fairbanks tomorrow until after midnight, the above bullet is probably a good thing<li style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color:� background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" dir="ltr">
Nick (grandson) is spending a few days with Noni and G-Pops, Erika’s parents. This morning he woke up at 6 a.m. and went into Noni’s room and said, “Noni. Sun’s up.” Nick should NEVER move to Alaska. I already believe that he thinks he’s an air plant because, I swear, the child doesn’t eat. He’d become a sunflower as well--up with the sun until the sun goes down, even if that means 3.24 hours of toddler/preschooler sleep


Despite the fact that the food was mediocre and that the wine selection was limited (I said, “What kind of wine do you have?” The flight attendant said, “Red and white.” Guess that leaves out blue.) it was lovely not having someone leaning back into our lap the whole time. Since this has been a long travel day--it was 13.5 hours before all was said and done--it was nice to have a little pampering. On the other hand, when the wheels touched down, we all file off the plane and we’re all in Alaska. What do they call the last graduate in a medical school class? Doctor.

As I looked out the window on our flight (BRIGHT SUNLIGHT AND ALL!) I was struck by the rolling hills/mountains and the rivers in the territory below us. As we approached Fairbanks, the mountain peaks rising above the clouds were stunning. I took lots of pictures but not sure how well they will turn out. Praying we will get to see Denali when we go on Monday/Tuesday.

The approach to Fairbanks featured loads of mountains off to the west rolling hills below us. I am so glad our 16-winter friends told us we had to visit Fairbanks. I think it’s going to be such an education.



We landed a few minutes late (took off a few minutes late from MSP due to weather) and found got our bags with minimum weeping and gnashing of teeth. Rental car pick-up was a breeze, stopped at a Safeway for some room snacks and supplies and got to the hotel which is about 10 minutes from the airport. Passed by Alaska Railroad Depot Road so I think I know where we’re going on Monday morning. We were both pretty beat at 10:30 local time/2:30 VA time so did a light unpack and went to bed. Looking forward to our adventure really starting tomorrow!

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