Sunday, May 10, 2009

Let the Adventure Begin (Part 9 of Our Arctic Adventure)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Saturday morning we left for the airport with one last possible hitch in our plans. Mt. Redoubt. The Alaskan volcano had been erupting daily for the entire week and we knew that flights into Anchorage had been cancelled all week long because it.

Our first leg of the trip was a short flight into Seattle and we knew that flight would not be affected by the volcano but we were uncertain about our flight from Seattle to Anchorage. A big part of me was hoping that it would be cancelled. All of my family lives in the Seattle area and if our flight was cancelled due to the volcano we would have been able to get together with them before we left.
As we exited the plane in Seattle, we scanned the departure screens for our flight. It was on time! We had 30 minutes until our flight to Anchorage left and of course it was departing from a gate clear on the other side of the airport. We grabbed our carry-on's and heavy coats (which we were carrying because we knew we would need them as soon as we were in Alaska) and booked it across the crowded airport, stopping only for a quick potty break.

When we arrived at our departing gate there was at least 150 people crowded around the Alaska Airlines counter. I was a little confused about what was going on so I worked my way over to the gate to ask the agent there. She told me that they had already boarded the plane and the people there at the counter were trying to get re-booked and were waiting for their name to be called off the standby list. Since we already had our boarding passes we needed to board right away or they would give our seats away.

Once on the plane it was only a few minutes until we were pushing away from the gate for our flight to Anchorage! It was a very nice flight. Both boys were excited to be able to watch a movie and I was even able to get Cooper to take a two hour nap!

We arrived in Anchorage, gathered our seven large suitcases from checked baggage, found the biggest cab we could and headed for our hotel. The gal at the hotel check-in counter was very surprised to hear that we had made it in on a flight that day. Apparently the airport had been closed all morning because of the volcano, and we later found out that it closed again 1/2 an hour after our flight arrived and it remained closed for the rest of the weekend.
But we had made it into Anchorage!

That weekend was spent relaxing, exploring Anchorage, and shopping for extreme winter clothes. We also ate out at a few of our favorite restaurants and took the boys to a movie; knowing that it would be the last of these things for quite a while.

(This is the house that I lived in when I was a little girl. Ben and I went out looking for it on Sunday afternoon. It was so weird to see it after nearly 30 years, the house itself looks exactly as I remembered, the neighborhood does not!)

Monday morning Dave headed over to his orientation meeting at company headquarters. While he was meeting the big wigs the boys and I wandered around downtown Anchorage, enjoyed a Starbucks breakfast and spent a couple of hours at the Imaginarium.

By the time we got back to the hotel around 2pm Dave was already there and he had news that our flight out had been cancelled due to another volcanic eruption. So we called the front desk to request cleaning service since we would not be checking out and I sent Dave and the boys out to find something to do while our room was cleaned. During this time I was on the phone with our travel coordinator from Dave's company working out the details of another day in Anchorage. While she and I were on the phone she decided to recheck our flight status and found out that the airport had reopened and our flight was departing on schedule in less than two hours!

I found Dave and the boys and somehow we managed to get all of our stuff into suitcases and loaded back up in a cab. When we arrived at the airport we were once again greeted with throngs of people. There were lines of weary travelers everywhere and tv reporters trying to get the latest coverage. By this time we had a little more than an hour until our scheduled departure and the lines to check in were so long it was questionable whether we would make it in time. After about fifteen minutes in line, with no movement, a ticket agent came by saying that if we already had tickets for flight we could bypass this line and move over to another counter to expedite check in. That counter was right next to where we were standing so we were able to get right over there to be second in line. As we were placing our bags on the scale to be checked in I was a little worried that we may have gone over the 50lb weight limit after we had added our new purchases, but our heaviest bag weighed in at 49.7 lbs. Within 1/2 an hour we were checked in, through security and sitting at our gate waiting for our flight to Kotzebue and the beginning of our new life.


The final chapter of Our Arctic Adventure is scheduled to post at 7pm(Alaska time) Monday evening.


Dawn said...

This is such a great story! I have been hooded since the beginning! What an exciting journey! Blessings to you and hope you had a wonderful Mother's day!

Dawn said...

I mean "hooked"!;)

Kat said...

The final chapter? I am so sure that there are lots of others things for you to tell us about! I want to know about those 10 foot high snow drifts the other blogger showed. And she said that when that melted you'd be in a heap of trouble. When would that melt. And what about school? And what is your house like? And grocery shopping? And how many hours behind Eastern time is Alaska time??

Meredith said...

Oh, I miss you! Love reading your adventure and hearing how God has fit it all together perfectly... all the way down to airports opening, quick lines, the little windows of opportunity for you flights to get out. I must be hormonal, cause holy cow, I'm sitting hear crying!

Katidids said...

Thank you! Can't wait for the next installment.....what do you mean final installment? Life goes on and we all plan to "enjoy" Alaska thru you!

Dee said...

Oh goodie, tonight is the next chapter. I'm hooked too!

You are sure missed but there is no doubt that God wants you in Alaska. Only God could get you there with those circumstances.

Miss you and thank you for the last scripture.

Finnskimo, its more than just a name... said...

And soon you'll learn how to pack totes that will weigh in at exactly 50 lbs each, like all of us do!

You'll know to take an extra empty carry on in case your tote is 54 lbs, so you can throw the extra 4 lbs into it...

Welcome, welcome, we're glad you made it!

Gramma 2 Many said...

I was hoping your plane would be cancelled that day too. Was so very sad when you got on.
Hey!! I picked a good bright sunny color for the house didn't I? The white was not there when we owned it. It is something new. I think they must have had to do some repairs or something. Everything was yellow when we had it.

Lee Ann said...

THIS is one of the parts I was waiting for. I kept watching the news that Saturday and hearing that flights were cancelled. I was wondering if you made it. That's just crazy travel! I'll be sitting by my computer waiting to read the last part....and then I'm looking forward to frequent updates! :-)

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

Looks like God was making provision for you at every turn.

So question? How far do you live from Anchorage? Close enough to make a trip every few months for a Starbucks/movie fix???