Saturday, July 17, 2010

Home from Alaska

Thursday-Friday, July 15-16
VIEW pictures for today
Right: Denali sunset

Rain, rain, go away! But it is helping to put out the fires burning and the smoke that is starting to accumulate in the valley.

We are off to the downtown Morrison Visitor Center after cleaning up in the basement where the washing machine shook the detergent off and it broke and spilled on the floor. Hmmmm…that section of concrete is certainly clean now.

The movie “The Aurora Explained” is showing at 10. An excellent movie on the aurora borealis, how it is formed, etc. We learned a lot and really enjoyed all the pictures! I think Jed should consider this as a field of study!

The displays are currently in the process of construction, but very well done. Separated into the four seasons – excellent dioramas with full panorama backgrounds, etc.

Off to Pioneer Park (ONE more time!) for lunch at the Greek shop and a stroll through the art displays (quilting this month!) on the top floor.

It continues to rain off and on during the day.

We pick up salmon for dinner and spend rest of afternoon packing and washing clothes, etc.

A downpour around 8pm is followed by an absolutely brilliant rainbow – double, with almost a double purple/red at the bottom. We all went outside to take pictures. A fitting end to a wonderful visit!

Out to the airport where Shelli and the girls give final hugs and we say goodbye. We find the ERA Alaska desk and get checked in. Discover we can’t take the larger carryon with us on the plane, as they are so small they don’t have overhead bins. They will check it to Anchorage OR check it all the way…..for free. We never do pay ANY extra fees for the luggage – flying ERA proves to be a good move!

And the ERA experience was worth it! Our little 19 seater prop plane arrives right on time, but we are about a half hour late in departing due to gas tank problems which prove to be ok. Everyone has a window seat, and I wonder at first when everyone but Rick sits on the right side of the plane…..the Denali side! But the seat behind me is empty and Rick moves over mid way through the flight.

We pull up above the clouds and soon see the Alaska range off to the east poking up. The sun seems much higher up in the sky once we get up above the clouds! After the Alaska range, I am eagerly peeking down to the southwest hoping to see Denali. Finally…..”There it is, Rick!” Wow. So big. The sun is far to the north, so it creates a huge shadow on the south side of the mountain. But the time we get clear past Denali, the sun is setting behind it. Another wow! A perfect ending to our Alaskan adventure!

Into Anchorage shortly after midnight, and by 1am we are boarding our Continental flight for Portland. Only about half full, so we don’t have a seat partner on the aisle side. The flight was only 3 hours long, but sleeping on a plane isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Maybe I slept more than I think, but it sure was hard to get comfortable and I think Rick felt the same! And we must have had a terrific tail wind, because we arrived in Portland a half hour EARLY! Gave Liz a quick call, and by 6:30 she and Mom were there to pick us up.

Liz had fixed a marvelous breakfast for us all, plus Gretchen and Tucker and Doug were there. Tucker was still a little grumpy in waking up so early.

On the road for Baker at 8:30am. Worked out perfectly to leave the car with Liz and to bring Mom home with us. Rick drives to The Dalles while I nap, I drive to Pendleton while Rick naps. We stop there for a bite to eat, and on in to Baker by 2:30.

What a marvelous trip we have had! But as always, it feels great to be home again and find Luke waiting for us!

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