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Thursday, July 23, 2009

North of Expectations

The trip begins with eight hours of air travel.

Alaska Air makes it all easy. The website is quick and simple. From there, we made reservations, checked our bags, and selected our seats. At the airport, all we had to do was get our bags tagged. And all this at the best price we could find.

North of expectations is the newest marketing tagline for Alaska Air. The flight and service was as expected for us, but did not exceed our expectations. Neither did it disappoint. And the plane we had for the first leg of the trip was one of their newest. Drinks and a cookie were complimentary; everything else (from snacks to personal digEplayers) cost $6, credit or debit only.

Our ninety minute layover was in Seattle. It might well have been any metropolitan city for all we knew. One major airport looks like another. The terminal in Sitka, however, was strictly a single building the size of a small primary school.

Our lodgings are brand new, and don't have a complimentary shuttle. We had to call a local taxi. The woman who picked us up was the owner of the business, and wonderfully kind. She gave us lots of information while taking us to our inn. Since we don't have a car, she will likely get more of our business.

Our room has a small refrigerator and microwave. After settling in, we decided our first order of business was to go hunting. Thank goodness for Google, whose maps we used to find our location and directions to the nearest grocery. So we packed our umbrella and reusable bags and set off for food.

Weather at landing was cool, in the sixties, with rain. The rain quickly ended, but the clouds have stayed. We strolled the one mile to the small grocery, past the post office, trailer park, raptor center, national park, and rows of homes. Prices were expensive, and we had to lug everything, so we purchased only the basics.

But we are in Alaska! So far, we have seen a lot of trees, a lot of people on bicycles, and a lot of water. Tomorrow after a good night's rest we intend to check out some of the city, including the public transit, and investigate bicycle and car rental options. Probably four or more hours of daylight remain today, but we are going to rest and read up on some of the local activites. A full day of travel and brand new experiences have left us weary.

But we are in Alaska!

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