So … I took off from Sitka, last Saturday. My godson’s family is meeting me in Seattle. We’re hanging out, for a few days, and then all flying to Sitka, for Christmas. Frankly, it will be nice to get away from the snow, for a few days, and also spend some time away from the dorm. Plus, added bonus, it’s always nice to fly in or out of Sitka during the day. The views are pretty darn awesome.
This trip, I packed pretty light. All my items fit into my small Eagle Creek backpack. The largest item, my REI bag, opens into a small duffel. My plan is to hit up Target and buy a bunch of little stuff, like toner, sweat pants, and maybe new sneakers. On my return home, I’ll pack all the smaller bags (and my purchases) into the duffel.
I haven’t really flown in coach, since the start of COVID-19. As an older volunteer, Peace Corps flew me from Addis Ababa to Dulles in business class. I changed the legs from Dulles to San Francisco and San Francisco to Honolulu from coach to first. I think changing both (in March 2020) was under $200.00. If I have to travel, I want to be as safe as I can. I’m probably just kidding myself, but first class just gives me peace of mind.
This trip was my first with a stopover in Ketchikan, Alaska. Ketchikan faces the Inside Passage. It’s a popular cruise route along the southeastern coast. Last year, one of the Americorps members, in my cohort, went there and just raved about it. Now that I’ve seen it, I want to return and visit the Misty Fjords National Monument and the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary. The flight from Sitka was so short, there was no time for a beverage service. This will be the perfect weekend getaway.
The landing in Ketchikan was pretty impressive. Once on the ground, all the passengers going on to Seattle could stay on the plane or get off and stretch our legs. I jumped at the chance to leave. After the short 50 minute break, we were back in the air and on our way to Seattle. First class was offered a drink service, meal, and a snack. One of the pieces of beef, on my salad, had an odd hole punched in it. It took a quick photo, for my Instagram account, and then passed on the meal. [Later, I sent the photo to the Alaska Air Instagram page.]
Once in Seattle, I made my way to the Link and took the light rail train to my hotel. Those two blocks uphill were a killer. I selected the W Seattle because it was close to Target. Turned out, it was also just four blocks from the AirBnB that I would relocate to the following day. The hotel was nice. At the lobby bar, there were people dressed in Santa outfits. December 18th was the last day of SantaCon, the annual mass gathering of people dressed in Santa Claus costumes. Who knew?
Today, I joined my godson’s family on a cruise around Seattle. We were part of a group of thirty, on a boat that holds three hundred. Talk about COVID-19 safe. I was happy to give some business to the sightseeing venture. We purchased drinks and tipped the tour guide. To be far, along with COVID-19 concerns, it’s December and today was cold and rainy. I can understand why the numbers were small. After the tour, we walked over to Pike Place Market. Yes, we saw two guys toss a fish.
So far so good. I was in Seattle back in the late 1970s. I was a member of the Honor Guard and Drill Team at North Air Force Base in San Bernardino, California and we flew in to perform in Seafare, an annual event that’s been going on since the 1950s. I returned to Seattle last August, while flying back to Sitka for my second year with Americorps. My flight was delayed and Alaska Air put me up in a hotel for the night. It’s nice to be back now and just sightsee like a normal tourist.
After all, being a tourist, traveling off season, in the cold and the rain, is a pretty cheap way to go. GGT