Thursday, May 03, 2007

Travel day

So 20,000 Alaska Airlines miles will get you a free 8-hour flight from Juneau to Salt Lake with only three stops. That's a bargain at twice the price.

I am mainly posting today because I can't get over that landing strip in Sitka (top photo.) It's just a narrow spit of sand with some rough pavement on top. Starts in the sea. Ends in the sea. Sea to every side. No room for a pilot to yawn or a plane to slightly stall. I know landing strips can be so much worse, but you don't usually see someone trying to land a 737 on them. I am terrified of flying anyway, and when I say I am terrified of flying, I mean I am terrified of the taking off and landing part ... at normal airports, airports built on actual land. Let me just say that after a long, bike-less hiatus, it was kinda nice to be back on endorphins today. Oi.

It was another beautiful day for flying, though. I didn't get good pictures because the window was dirty. The plane looked and sounded like something purchased at a discount airline repo auction; I swear I saw bolts peeling off the wing. Again, Oi.

Now I am in Salt Lake City. As much as I come back, it is always strange to be back. I am a different person here. I feel like an observer who has just stumbled back after an extended bathroom break, waving a broken remote control at a life I left behind. But it is easy to get sucked into the swirl of images. The plot is easy to pick up, the characters all too familiar. And it's amazing how quickly Alaska becomes the broken storyline. It's been 12 hours, maybe 13. The time change always throws me off. Not that it matters, though. I will move through here as if I never left, and return as though it were all a dream.


  1. As a admirer of your blog, I much appreciate you admitting that you are too terrified of flying. I just wrote a blog about a week ago about being terrified to fly, then I gulped down some dramamine and somehow did okay. I thought LaGuardia was bad ass, but that landing strip you have pictured is insane!
    Have fun in Utah!

  2. Sweet dreams Jill and have a great WR experience!

  3. I love your story telling and your photos. I love to fly byt that landing strip would have given me a scare too. Enjoy your time in Utah.

  4. Have a fantastic vacation and make sure to take lots of pictures. Tons of pictures!

  5. I don't see what's wrong with that landing've been practicing your swimming quite a bit lately, haven't you?:-)

    Seriously? If I saw that landing stip out my window, the flight attendant would have to get me a Xanax IV....

  6. My uncle used to time take-offs. He knew exactly how long it took for various aircraft to go nose up and then get the wheels off the ground. When asked what good it would do, if it was taking to long it wasn't like he could help push, all he could say was it made him feel like he was doing something proactive rather than just worrying. Denial at it's best.

    Have fun in the dreamland.

  7. Ah come on you guys, no guts, no glory. I don't know what you are complaining about, at least it was clear and sunny in Sitka. Think about landing there in a snow storm, fog or blinding rain......a few more years up here Jill and you won't even think about silly old landing strips!

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Exactly, the sun doesnt shine often in Sitka, enjoy it whatever your doing!
    Have fun Jill, I just spent two weeks wandering through southern Utah- it was an incredible trip that I am still sorting through photos and trying to write about. It is such a great time of year to be in that part of the country, I hope to do it again next year.

  10. I adore your blog, Jill. My husband and I have been to Juneau a few times, and have visited some of the surrounding areas via ferry and our feet. Your writings are terrific, adventures enviable, and photos breathtaking.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Oh, and Happy Vacation!

  11. It is airports like Sitka that make flying in Alaska so fun. Hopefully, you will get to Dutch Harbor some time. :)

  12. I, too, dislike flying. So much so, that I've declined some truly fabulous, all expenses paid trips to wonderful places.

    Oh, well. Glad you conquer your fear and get out there! Glad you had a good flight!

  13. First of all let me tell you that I admire a lot the things you are doing. I'm trying to follow your blog as much as I can but I'm ashamed to say that I haven't read everything (yet). I just wanted to let you know that I dropped your name as a reference for winter bicycle gear on a bicycle freak couchsurfing group ( So if you get some strange questions about it, I admit, I'm guelty...

  14. Oh man, and I thought flying into Wellington/NZ was scary ;-)

    I, too, hate flying but at least our airport only ENDS in the sea.

    Enjoy your time off work!

  15. Not to freak you out or anything, but I believe Juneau is a worse airport than Sitka in terms of turbulence. And I've known 3 people who've been in planes struck by lightning flying in or out of Salt Lake City.

    Flying is scary, but it's a necessary part of life if you want to get out of AK in a timely fashion.

  16. My husband and I did the Alaska Cruise thing and Juneau was a wonderful port. I love your city and had a great bus tour thru downtown. Your pictures alone remind me of our trip so thank you for takling the time to share.

  17. Great air strip! It brings to mind a proverb about a camel and the eye of a needle!
    How long have you kept this cracking pace? It seems like you never have any down time at all!
    Even when you're laid up you still manage to perform exceptional feats of endurance and somehow provide excelent posts along the way.
    In the words of Wayne and Garth: "We're not worthy. (bow and grovel) We're not worthy".

  18. I love Washington DC
    I have a good thing here
    but I often wonder

    would I be more happy with my family if I lived elsewhere?

    as I get older my roots grow deeper and deeper

    with the kids it is hard to think of moving away from family without KNOWING that life would be better

    as life is pretty good right now


Feedback is always appreciated!