First things first. Sorry for not posting over the last two weeks. We were traveling around Alaska and wifi was at a minimum. I still need to finish up the Indo trip and add the Alaska posts. Working on that now! Enjoy :0)
This morning we woke up at 3AM and gathered our bags, scrambled some eggs for breakfast burritos, and hopped into a taxi to take us to the airport. We’re going to Alaska! Our flight was on Delta; I’d found a decent deal through Amex Travel—plus if I book through Amex with my Amex, I get 3x the miles. So, why not? We were flying from Reagan National Airport to Minneapolis, MN and from Minneapolis, MN to Anchorage, AK. There we would call Great Alaskan Holidays (RV Company) for a ride, we’d watch a video on driving the RV and then we’d meet up with my parents and head onto the great outdoors for two weeks of adventure, sight-seeing, hiking, and “bonding time” (hopefully not too much- I mean there are four of us living and traveling in an RV).
The flights weren’t too bad. While they in no way compared to our most recent International flight (seat size, plane size, bathrooms size, or snack service-wise), they still weren’t too bad. Our first leg was about 2 hours. We received drink and snack service twice. Drinks included the usual coca cola beverages and juices (including coffee, tea and water) and our choice of snacks between cookies (2 biscoff graham cracker type cookies), a small bag of pretzels or a small bag of peanuts. To be honest, we weren’t even expecting the snacks, so that was a nice surprise. The plane was completely full at 6AM so we were pretty packed in… sleep was not comfortable.
Our layover in MN was about an hour or so and the gate was only a few stops from our arrival gate. So, we exited the plane, took some time to stretch and use the restroom, and moved on…
Our flight from Minneapolis, MN to Anchorage, AK was a little over 5 hours. The plane was again full. We boarded the plane and took our appropriate window and middle seats. As the plane filled up, a woman came and asked if we were in seat 25D. We both said no because that was the aisle seat next to us. She then said well 25D is the window seat. Luckily the woman behind us piped up and said “no it’s not. It’s the aisle seat”. The woman said OK and sat down. The first flight attendant that came by was asked if there were any open window seats. At this point I was going to offer her the window seat, but figured I’d wait until she found out if there were any available seats, which we doubted there were since the flight was full. Well wouldn’t you know, about 10 minutes later, the flight attendant came back and told her there was one more window seat available in the back. So, the woman moved, we got three seats/a row to ourselves, and the comfort level went way up!
On this flight we were given drink and snack service a few times and in addition, the flight attendants would also walk around offering water to folks in between main drink service times. The plane had large TVs hanging over the center aisle every few feet for people to watch what was playing (our first flight did not have TVs). This flight showed the movie, “Veronica Mars” and then showed a series of three TV episodes… from 3 different shows (How I Met Your Mother, About a Boy, and then a third show about a little girl ends up traveling with a convict- not sure what the name was- hadn’t seen it before and only watched bits and pieces on the flight). You could use your own headphones or purchase a set for $2 (no cash; credit cards only).
We arrived in Anchorage about 10 minutes early. The airport is a really nice one that has had some definite updates. Moving from plane to baggage and out of the airport was extremely seamless (I had almost forgotten what it’s like to fly domestic and not have to purchase a Visa, get cash out, or go through customs). We called up Great Alaskan Holidays and told them we had arrived and about 15 minutes later, a maroon van showed up, loaded up our bags, and off we went.
Our driver was extremely friendly and turns out he was born in Alexandria, VA (where we live), lived in PG County for a while, then moved to Texas, and eventually moved to Alaska (first Fairbanks, now Anchorage). He is a welder by trade and moved to Alaska as a result of the recession. He had family living in Alaska who told him that the state hadn’t been hit by the recession. So, he moved to Fairbanks and worked for a Gold Open Pit Mine there as a welder. He said the benefits were amazing and the pay was 6 figures, but the work was boring. After a little while in Fairbanks (which he does not like at all, by the way), he found himself down in Anchorage. His girlfriend, a basketball player on some professional level, is an Alaskan and loves it more than anything, so he’s sticking around.
After watching 15 minutes of a video about how to drive the RV, Andrew had his license scanned, he signed a form, we met up with my parents, and we were on our way. First stop: Safeway Grocery Store. We stocked up on some fruit, vegetables, sandwich fixings, and some chicken to grill. We grabbed lunch and then headed towards Seward… but that’s for another post.