May 13

It takes a while to get to Alaska from Detroit. I left Ann Arbor at 13:00 when Joe still had not arrived (I was very nervous about getting to the airport on time for the flight and I had not heard a peep from Joe). The taxi dropped me off at 13:30 and I zipped through the virtually empty ticket line and then through security. Joe caught up with me about an hour later though he had actually gotten to the airport earlier than that implies (he passed by my house perhaps 20 minutes after I left). No harm done. We both were at the airport and our luggage was on its way too so things were good if not quite ideal. Joe was suffering caffeine withdrawal and my nose was killing me. But since I could not do much about my stuffed leaking nose and Joe's only cure for his caffeine withdrawal was to consume vast amounts of coffee over a long time even he could not get rid of his headache. We still had a decent enough flight to first St. Louis and then to Anchorage. The St. Louis to Anchorage flight had a decent dinner and I had one of the best luxuries a person seated in economy class can have: an empty middle seat.

The approach into Anchorage was great. As we descended into the area from, I believe, the north we had a birds eye view of the glaciers and snow capped mountains that surround the landlord side of the city. I don't know what mountains I was seeing but they were lovely rugged ice and snow covered peaks (the near ones were the Chugach range). In the distance we were even able to see Mt. McKinley rising over 20,000 feet some 240 miles away. My seat mate named a few of the mountains as they came into view but I am not sure which were which.

We landed in the modest sized airport (feels a bit larger than Providence's, but I bet it isn't), picked up our luggage, and found the Alaskan Heritage Tours representative who would drive us to our hotel. Howard is a jovial fellow who was easy to talk too and get tidbits of good local information from. It's always great to be able to plumb the depths of knowledge a local resident is bound to have about places to go and things to do. We took advantage of those resources at our hotel, The Anchorage Grand, too.

Our room, more a suite, is quite nice. It has two twin (maybe queen but I think not) beds, a nice living room area, bathroom, and kitchenette. During the off-peak time the $90 (or so) per night rate is very good (even the on-season rate of $198 would be good if you used the kitchen and all that, but there are certainly less expensive hotels and B&Bs in town). We also came to realize that the front desk staff are excellent people but I am getting ahead of myself (I'm writing this the following day). Since it was nearly midnight Anchorage time by now (04:00 Michigan - east coast) we decided it was time to just go to sleep. Tomorrow we would have a day to explore the city and since there is nearly 20 hours of light we could, if we want, have a very long day indeed.