North to Alaska

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Anchorage 2
In case the last couple of pictures weren’t enough of a clue, we’ve headed north to Alaska for the week.  Frank is chairing a technical conference in Anchorage, so we decided to make the trip a family affair.  My parents are coming from Ohio, along with Frank’s stepmom, Chris from Indiana, and her sister Ruth and husband Ralph from Michigan.  We traveled with Chris, Ruth, and Ralph on another adventure involving bears on our trip to Churchill, Manitoba, to see polar bears in 2002.

Frank had to leave early, so Alex and I caught an Alaska Air flight after school and work from San Francisco to Seattle, with a connection on to Anchorage.  I give Alaska Air kudos for the friendliness of their flight crews.  Plus, they are one of the few US airlines that allows families with small kids to board early.

Alex asked if he could meet the pilot, and they obliged, showing him the hundreds of buttons, lights, and knobs on the control panel prior to take-off.  He found his way back to our seats and declared, “These pilots are the nicest ever!”

We landed in Anchorage at 1:00 am, and as we descended, the fellow across the aisle from us exclaimed, “Look! Northern lights!” pointing at the burnished red streaks on the horizon.  We checked it out, and I told Alex I thought it looked more like sunset.  I’m not sure if Northern Lights are visible in the summer, but it was a pretty spectacular sight, regardless.

Flying at odd hours, you don’t get much in the way of food on these flights. Even though Frank snagged the two of us first class upgrades, we were served vegetables and hot dip on both legs of the journey.  Not being a fan of either spinach dip or celery, Alex was starving, so we hit the McDonald’s in the airport, which was miraculously still open at 1:00 am.

Walking outside, the still twilight was a little unnerving.  It was dark, but the sky was lit with purple and gold, pre-sunrise colors that made it seem like it was just about time to get up.

We arrived at the Hilton Anchorage, but even though we were tired from the trip, it was hard to get to sleep.  I think it was partly the excitement of a new travel adventure beginning, and the strangely beautiful twilight outside.  Either way, we were all happy to be together in an exotic new place.


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