My Life as a Traveler

Goodbye Alaska rain, hello Seattle sun!

Today we have to leave our Alaskan paradise. The flight’s at 1pm and our friends from the Port Authority are scheduled to come for us at 11am.

But before that, we walk our rocky beach one more time. I’m still a little weak, but able to travel. The rest day yesterday was just the ticket; I’m ready to fly. It’s amazing to me that just a couple of days in the hospital can knock me down this much.

I always thought that Ketchikan was on the mainland part of the Alaska panhandle. Wrong! Ketchikan is on an island surrounded by other islands. In fact, the airport is on a totally different island from the town and we have to take a ferry there. It’s just a small ferry and a short way, but still, it’s kinda different to take a ferry to the airport.

Our driver from the Port Authority pays the toll. Turns out she needs to get to the airport anyway to track down some luggage that didn’t make it to some poor cruiser’s ship. That’s what they do.

We check in for our flight and have a bit of time to kill. The bar has the best view, so we park ourselves by a window and order some drinks (tea for me, beer for Susie – which I share because it’s medicinal). Next to us are about 4 tables pushed together filled with a dozen guys who just came back from a nearby fishing lodge. They must have had a great time — they’re all drinking beer and laughing loud as they recount their funny fishing stories. Ketchikan is a huge fishing destination and if you have a bunch of money, you could spend a few days at one of the deluxe lodges dedicated to the sport.

I had to check my bag because Doc said no lifting. This is the first time I’ve checked a bag since 2004. Weird. It felt like I was missing something, like a leg or an ear. The flight was fine and before we knew it, we were in the Holiday Inn Renton, not far from Sea-Tac airport. George’s miles got us a free room.

After a week in rainy Alaska, we’re happy to see the sun in Seattle. Our swimsuits come out of the luggage. It’s warmer here and there are some lounge chairs waiting by the pool with our names on them. Finally, just for an hour or so until the sun goes down, it feels like vacation.

When it gets too chilly to lay by the pool, we head back up to the room to watch a movie and get some zzzz’s. For dinner, we have leftover salmon that stayed cold in my checked luggage. Susie sees a branch of Umajiwaya in the shopping center next door and finds us some tropical sodas. We’ve also got water from the lounge next door.

Tomorrow, it’s back to Virginia.

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