Alaska Day One

Companion Flickr Set

It took one long day to travel from sea to shining sea. Three AM get up and stumble out the door and down I295 to the airport PWM. As usual, we get directed to use the kiosk to check in. As usual, the kiosk directs us back to the counter to check in. Pesky common name. Luggage was surrendered to the gaping jaws of the security x-ray and passed into the dark bowels of the air travel luggage system. Security passage was thorough and prompt. Soon enough, we plopped into our seats, enjoying the vast legroom, knowing that soon enough, our knees would be compressed into prolonged restrictive positions.

The picture of the airplane isn’t what it seems to be. IT turns out that our aircraft – one of these Canadian Regional Jets – was cleverly hidden behind the one pictured. IN fact, we didn’t see it until we walked down a flight of stairs, across the tarmac and into what the pilot glibly described as the Corvette of passenger air travel. More like a Chevette. Our carryon luggage was taken away from us and stored in the aircraft. EXCEPT for my camera backpack, with the scowl on my face, I doubt they dared even asking for it. Yes, I am a wee bit possessive of the camera equipment. After a thirty minute delay to add ballast, yes ballast, to trim and balance the aircraft, (???) the aircraft pushed away from the terminal, down the taxiway, up the runway and off into the wild blue yonder of the morning sky. PWM => DET.

At Detroit, we were offered the opportunity to stretch our legs while dashing from one terminal, under the tarmac, and into the next terminal. This included down two stages of escalators, scooting across two people movers, then back up three stages of escalators, and onto terminal tram to skedaddle from the middle of the terminal to the other end. PLOP!. With less than one hour between flights, we then enjoyed the few moments to gratefully capture our breath before getting into a real aircraft. One with legroom, and overhead bins. DET => SEA

Seattle, smiling & contently sighing with excitement. We arrive on our time. Our luggage arrives with us. Off to Alamo (mexican for an expletive deletion that will be described tomorrow), get our rental car, GPS’d it up, and headed northward, upward on I-5 to Whidbey Island. Drive along Boeing Field and downtown Seattle, snapshots taken with the intention of someday, returning to see. By The Way – this is our 47th of 50 states.

Take the exit towards Mukilteo and drive up to the ferry terminal just as it was getting ready to load up. Once again, affirming the smoothness of the day’s travel. We have read that sometimes you can see gray whales on this crossing, but the wind was up and the sound was choppy, no whales seen.

Southern Whidbey Island is heavily forested with limited view vistas. I stopped to get a map and to figure out where to go to get to see what there might be to see. Eventually we got to Freeland where we stopped to catch our breath and get some lunch.

Then the scenery got more interesting. We got onto the western shore of the island and meandered north, stopping for views of bluffs, driftwood beaches and Puget sound. The weather was overcast with rain showers off in the near distance. At Fort Casey Historical State Park, we went up to the WW II shore batteries. These have the same intentions as the ones at Cape Elizabeth’s Fort Williams with one significant difference. There are two restored ‘disappearing’ guns. One posed up in the firing position. The other down and in the load position.

While here, we drove up to see the Admiralty Head light house. Certainly a quaint affair with meticulous restoration. I walked up the path to see the vista on the other side. While coming back, after passing the lighthouse, I saw all that I came to see.

An immature Eagle soared overhead and landed in a pine tree across a field. I ran to the car, swapped lenses on the camera, from the 18/200 to Bigma – the 150/500 bought for whales, Eagles, and other wildlife. I walked/stalked across the field, taking pictures on the way, knees weak with excited glee at such an early opportunity to take Eagle pictures. As I got closer, I looked down to the base of the tree and saw a doe watchfully grazing. Click. This was a fabulous start.

Well, we had been on the road for several meandering hours. It was time to get up the road as the day and traveling were starting to wear on us. We saw another Eagle or two along the way. Watched the naval aviators from Whidbey Island NAS cut through the air with the warrior screeching of airpower. Stopped at Deception Pass and crossed onto the mainland. Allegedly you can see Mt Baker and the northern Cascades mountain range. However, they were cloaked in clouds and rain all the way down to the flatland.

The border crossing into Canada snuck up on us and despite my yelping alarm of surprise to the dozing passengers, we crossed without incident. Soon enough, we were in Vancouver, finding our hotel, finding the underground parking garage skillfully hidden in the alley way, toted our luggage up and with deep breaths were thankful for the great beginning to this greatest of adventures.

We took dinner at a pub down the street. In Vancouver, a pint of beer is called a sleeve. I guess a pitcher of beer would be a full shirt? After dinner, I strolled down the avenue taking a few shots of the lights and nightlife. After nearly 20-something hours, we all collapsed into a well deserved slumber.

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