Leaving…on a Jet Plane

So if this morning is any indication of how this trip will go, we are in for a douzy! We have two large duffle bags that our fully loaded backpacks and the rest of our gear, not related to our hiking trip, fit into. We were careful to ensure they did not weigh in excess of the magical 50lbs…(that used to be 70lbs not too long ago) least we pay even more for the “privilege” of bringing our stuff with us. That being said, our son drove us to the airport and dropped us at our terminal…American Airlines. The problem came about when we had been standing in line to get our boarding passes and drop off our bags. I pulled out our paperwork, and while I had booked our flight through American Airlines via a vast accumulation of “points”, our actual flight was with Alaskan Airlines…duh! (See what happens when you get old and your eyes, absent “readers”, see an “A” and assume it means American, even though you know you’re going to Alaska) Problem was now how to get to the Alaskan terminal… gracefully. Was it terminal “B” or “C”. Was it a quarter mile or half mile schlep with these 50lb duffles that are in no way easy to carry as opposed to a 50lb perfectly balanced backpack. Now if we were smart, we would have taken our packs out of the bags, donned them and carried the now extremely light duffles (in hand), as we had no idea (without asking…who does that?), how far the schlep would be. The smart part, we weren’t, but the 2moremiles lucky part, we were. It was the next terminal. The good part also is that our pack will seem relatively light, and dare I say “comfortable” when we don them Wednesday. After schlepping the duffle, I now wish I brought my travel roller to roll out my back as I’m pretty sure I tweaked it wrestling that awkward duffle en route to our proper terminal. Meanwhile Paul limped a bit as last night he tweaked his achilles (the one he tore several years ago) doing something as innocuous as walking. It’s amazing we are still able to do these things. Our years of playing water polo, swimming, and time spent being in big surf and generally pushing the limits of our bodies (and minds) have taken their toll on us. But I think it is the very fact that we have pushed ourselves so hard, that enables us to push through pain and fatigue, and continue to do the things we do, as we (God willing) continue to add laps around the sun. We do know, that currently while the mind is willing, the body at some point will tell us to go “F” ourselves. With that in mind, we have saved going on cruises for that chapter in our lives.

In keeping with the cruise theme, we had a gentleman 3 rows ahead of us, speaking loudly during the safety talk (and the flight attendant standing right next to him doing her pantomime thing did nothing to “shush” him…very annoying) prior to pushing from the gate out of Seattle, about his horrible cruise experience. Now we were actually trying to listen and watch the safety talk, even though we could probably do it ourselves, namely because we don’t want to be “those people”, when shit goes down, in the event Mr. Murphy (of Murphy’s law) decides to grace us with his presence earlier than expected. So, as we could not clearly hear the overhead speaker, but could, clearly hear this gentleman, we decided to listen in to the gentleman’s tale of whoe. It appears that early on in his cruise to/through the inside passage of Alaska, who knows how long ago, he became ill after dinner (as in flu like symptoms). He went to the infirmary to see the ship’s doctor. The ship’s doctor immediately had him quarinteened, doused him, and everything he told them he may have touched on the ship with antiviral gel. Now by morning he was feeling better, however they would NOT release him from quarinteen. He spent 4 of the 7 day cruise locked in his cabin unable to go to shore…or anywhere else for that matter. According to this gentleman, cruises are “horribly afraid” of the prospect of a viral illness spreading throughout the ship. Better to inconvenience one than an entire ship. He asked for and has apparently received a refund, seeing as he spent most of the trip in his cabin, because of an overnight bout of what turned out to be food poisoning. What we learned from this gentleman, in addition to where he was born, where he went to high school, the fact he served four years in the Marne Corps (and when he got out discovered how much “smarter” his father had become), the fact that South Central LA has changed since he was young, that, and many other things, (of which I could probably figure out his passwords) he is now retired from a law firm (but he wasn’t a lawyer), is that…when on a cruise, one should never go to the ship’s doctor because you are throwing up! Suck it up buttercup, and make sure your prayers to the porcelain god are in the confines of your room, lest you become locked in it. Once the wheels lifted off the tarmack, he, for all practical purposes, went silent.

Without anything else to grab my attention, I stared out the window and watched the terrain pass below me. As we flew, the mountains of Washington rose up from a smokey haze of low lying misty clouds, reminding me of fresh charcoal briquettes lying in a bed of ashes. The terrain then morphed into a maze of inlets and passages that crept, and seeped in, from the Pacific Ocean to our west. A minagere of lakes of all shapes and sizes filled the recesses of still growing mountains pushed up from the ocean’s depths, many of which were dusted with stubborn snow.

When it came time for refreshments, Mr. Murphy paid us (me) a visit. No sooner did I pick up my cranberry juice to take my first sip (trying to stay away from soda) and thereby quench my dry throat and vitamin C starved gullet, the cup slipped from my fingers and the entire contents washed over me like a rougue wave. (See what happens when one doesn’t give full attention to the safety talk!) Paul, after giving me the “now why’d you go and do that” look, tried to hail the flight attendant for a rag to sop up my mess, but alas she was too engrossed filling other’s drink orders (while I had wasted mine on my lap). Eventually a heap of napkins was tossed my way, but it was too late. My jeans had soaked up the red bittersweet liquid, as well as my new shoes of which I regret not chosing the waterproof versions.

I can’t help but notice as I “dry”, that I now smell as though I pissed myself. Kinda ironic considering what most people drink cranberry juice for. Awesome. F-U Mr. Murphy!

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4 Responses to Leaving…on a Jet Plane

  1. Lee Graham says:

    Wow , thank you for the writing, beginning your newest adventure, Dee. I will vicariously join you and Paul again on your next adventure of a lifetime. I am fiercely jealous, because even though I “plan” adventures in a future chapter of life, chances are good I will never get all the cool places you guys get to. Number one on my list is still the Camino.

    My most fun flight ever was taking off from SeaTac at seven in the morning in a 40 mph side wind in a driving hard rain in a small Alaska Airlines prop plane. I guess real pilots have no fear. No cranberry juice episodes, the plane was jumping two to three feet at a time in the max turbulence. Even the flight attendants buckled in for the trip to San Francisco.

    But what I really wanted to talk about was meeting a skipper on the Alaska Marine Highway in Port Angeles WA. We were out surfing , my first and only time there, at the Elwha River , which pours into the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Port Angeles, must be 40-50 miles from the Pacific coastline. He lived right above the break. He flew up to meet his ferry when going to work in Southeast Alaska. He carried a surfboard on the ship, and would actually stop and surf secret spot islands he knew about when on board. Such a great job! My only Alaska connection. I’ve never been. I heard the place is huge!

    Yep, I know you will meet some great folks too on the trail in Alaska. Some beasts, too. Keep warm and dry and have a rad trip.


  2. Jody says:

    That is something that would happen to me…it’s that attempt at being healthy

  3. Rosanna says:

    OMG — I am SOOOO EXCITED to go on this adventure vicariously with you!!!! And, please don’t think of me as too RUDE when I say I am rolling on the floor laughing — my HEART really does go out to you both, but you have such a GREAT way of writing it AND such an OUTSTANDING SENSE OF HUMOR!!!!!!! OMG – I love you two!!!!!!! Soak up the beauty (not the cranberry juice!) and make GREAT MEMORIES!!!!!

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