Monday August 21: Boston to Anchorage
A Long Flight
The Great Alaskan Adventure is underway. I managed to avoid stressing about the trip until last night, but then I apparently tried to squeeze a week’s stress into one night. I went to bed probably around 11, but I don’t think I fell asleep until 2 or 3 AM, and then I slept fitfully. I’m guessing that I got maybe 2-3 hours of sleep. I got up around 6:15, before my alarm went off. I was awake and not sleeping, so I figured that I should get up a bit early, and then I would have time for a quick shower.
I dozed during the van drive in to the airport. Even though it was about 8:30AM, which I would think would be the end of rush hour, we seemed to have a straight shot in without too much delay.
This was the inaugural test of TSA pre-check. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The short answer is it went really well, and I think it will turn out to be worth it. There was no line. We could keep our laptops in our bags, and we didn’t have to take off our shoes. These are small things, but not doing them made the process much quicker and easier.
We are apparently starting to try to acclimatize to Alaska. The gate area has the A/C set at sub-Arctic. I’m glad I packed one of my long sleeved fleece shirts in my carry-on. Without that, I would be freezing right now.
This is also my first test of using an iPad with keyboard to take notes rather than my netbook. It might prove useful later, because Sam tells us that it is likely that the long flight to Alaska won’t have screens on the seats.
— - -
It turns out Sam’s forecast was wrong. The seats did have screens. Not expecting this, I had put on the Bose noise canceling headphones, but I hadn’t bothered with the cable. The trip to Newark was short enough that I didn’t want to try digging out my carry-on and digging out the cable. Instead, I paired my earbuds with the entertainment system’s Bluetooth, and then wore them under the Bose.
It was a short and uneventful flight to Newark. I saw half of “Avatar: the Way of Water”.
We had to change concourses which involved a shuttle bus but fortunately not another trip through security.
We had a couple of hours layover, and the flights didn’t have good food options, so we wanted a decent lunch. Sam wanted a sit-down place. We found a plausible place and had lunch. The main problem was that they were out of Amy’s first and second choice for food.
After lunch, we went to our gate. We weren’t crunched for time, but we didn’t have long to wait either. I had no time to write anything up. We pretty much did some bathroom breaks, and then the plane started loading. This time, I brought the Bose and the cable with me.
It was a long (7-1/2 hour) flight, with not much food; just a snack and a drink. We watched lots of movies. I finished Avatar, watched “Old” and then “What Lies Beneath”. There wasn’t time for a 4th movie, so I watched the first half of “Saving Private Ryan” again.
We had rather a snafu with the car rental. The directions that Amy got said to skip the line, take the shuttle bus to the cars, and that it would be waiting for us. The problem was that we couldn’t find the bus. We waited one place, and then moved to a second place. I hiked back to the rental counter and found that there was no bus, and that we needed to visit the counter. I got Amy and Sam, we dumped the luggage with Sam, and then Amy and I stood in a very long and very slow moving line. When we finally got to the counter, she offered us a free upgrade. This translated to moving from a small SUV to a large one. The beast is truly a land yacht. We were surprised it was that big and a VW.
The car’s nav system had an interesting feature. It took me most of the trip to get used to it. At first, I couldn’t figure out how to control it because there were few to no soft buttons displayed. Eventually, I figured out that there was some sort of sensor in it that would detect a hand being near the screen. When there was a hand nearby, it would display the buttons, but when there was no hand, it removed the buttons to give a cleaner display. I’ve never seen that feature before, and it is a useful one, if you know how to properly operate it.
The car’s nav system couldn’t find the address of the B&B, so we used my phone. It was a very nice place with a good view over the water looking towards the sunset. We got a recommendation for a place for dinner. Starting a recurring theme for the trip, one of the main questions was “what place is good and still open?” This ended up being the closest of four recommendations; all within walking distance. We were glad it was the closest one, because it wasn’t that close.
It was an odd restaurant, as it was in the back of the ground floor of an office building. If we didn’t know where we were going, we would never have found it. On the other hand, it was a really nice place. It was late, and we were tired. We were pretty much planning to hit the sack as soon as we got back. Because of this, we wanted something light. Amy got a bowl of clam chowder, and I just got a spinach salad (which was just the right size). Sam got a burger.
We walked back to the B&B, got ready for bed, and crashed.