Saturday, November 21, 2015

North to Alaska

Went to Alaska for the first time this week.  I have wanted to go to Alaska for a very long time.  Bill and I had made plans to go to Anchorage and Denali shortly after we got married but those plans fell through when I got orders to move to Massachusetts so Bill help me move across the country instead going on our vacation.  I have also wanted to do an Alaska cruise for a long time but it just never seems to work out to do it.  This week I got to see one stop on the Alaska cruise itinerary anyway.  I went to Ketchikan for work.

It was a really quick trip.  I was only there for 36 hours.  And in meetings the whole full day that I was there.  With it being late fall/winter, there isn't a whole lot of daylight this time of year either.  My only real chance to see the town in daylight was when we went out for lunch.

My flight from Portland to Seattle was exciting.  The weather and winds in Portland and Seattle were pretty bad.  Almost the whole flight was bumpy--just a few minutes of relatively calm conditions when we got above the weather.  The pilots really earned their pay that day.  I was so glad to get on the ground.  I don't know how they landed without us flipping over.  We landed on one tire first, bounced and then finally landed.  And the wind was blowing so hard, the plane was shaking.  Even loading onto the 737 to go to Ketchikan--the plane was shaking from the wind.

Flying into Ketchikan--it was already after sunset but it was just light enough for me to see all the islands and mountains and how incredibly beautiful it is up there.  I love flying over the San Juan Islands.  Flying over the islands of B.C. and Alaska was just like that only 10 times or maybe even 100 times more beautiful.  Made me want to take that cruise all the more.  Some day.  The airport itself is on an island across from the town of Ketchikan.  So you have to take a ferry to get across to town.

Checked into my motel and linked up with the rest of my team and we went out to dinner at Bar Harbor.  It was snowing while we were eating dinner so that was fun to see.  But it didn't last long.  In the morning, I took a walk hoping to get some pictures before I went to my meetings at the hospital.  But it was still too dark for that.  It has snowed a little bit--just about 1/2" but enough to make it a little slippery.  I was glad I had taken my snow boots with me.

It was fun going to the hospital to meet some of the nurses and techs there.  I actually got to go into the OR for a bit.  Haven't done that in a really long time.

We went downtown to Annabelle's for lunch and the sun was out.  I am told that this is really unusual to see the sun there but I took advantage of it and while I was waiting for my lunch--I went across the street to take a few pictures.  Annabelle's is a cute little spot to eat.  It is located in a hotel that was built in 1927 so it has the tin and stained glass ceilings that are so great about that era.

By the time I got out of meetings again that night, it was dark.  After a big lunch and leftovers from the night before to eat, I didn't want to go out to dinner but the hotel had a manager's reception and nine of us from the team ended up going to that to have some wine and snacks.  And a few got dinner.

Up bright and early in the morning to catch the ferry back to the airport to get home.  And the sun came out again and was beautiful to see the mountains next to the runway catching the glint of the sun.

Flying home from Seattle, Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helen's looked so beautiful with their new coats of snow.  I worked on this layout for a storytelling challenge.  Thought it would be a good choice and tell the Klicktat story of the Bridge of the Gods, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood.

I think I am home for awhile now.  But will probably have more trips to Bellingham and Ketchikan over the next several months to get ready for their software go-live.  Glad to have made my first trip to Alaska but definitely has given me a taste of wanting to see more.

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