Monday, August 19, 2013

The Flights


As you may know, in the spring of 2013, I tried to become a driver/guide for a tour bus company in Alaska, training in Phoenix, AZ, but my eyes didn't work good enough to insure that I would be a safe driver (that was Plan A).  They are 20-30, but I couldn't make out things like railroad crossings, caution yellow signs, etc. from 1/4 - 1/2 mile away. So I had to give up that Plan A and go to a heartbreaking Plan B in order to met my goal to kayak my 49th state in 2013.  Goals are important… but WHY? I’m not sure.  It was just important.

Had I gotten the job,  I'd have been forced to live in a hotel and prevented from even sleeping in my camper van at night (after paying $1,200 to get it up there on the Ferry).  It would only have taken a week or two of that arrangement before I'd have end up in a hospital from breathing inside air anyway.  Even in Plan B, I became sick from just spending a few hours in my sister’s home, and a few more hours driving with them (they smoke but not in the vehicle with me in it) so I was forced to limit my stay to only four nights, and I spent those nights sleeping in the back seat of their truck, my choice, as I don’t sleep inside anymore.  It rained the whole time I was there – my sinus are not too fond of that either.

It’s been awhile since I have flown… and I still marvel at the views out the window.  First time I’ve been on a plane with a curved wing tip.  Thanks to my son’s friend, a pilot for Alaska Air who was able to give me a discount coupon.


It was a very uncomfortable flight, due to this chubby fella who took up his full seat, 1/2 of the isle, and 1/2 of my seat.  After a couple of hours of that, I had to ask to change seats.  My leg was going numb. Good grief.

But finally I did make it to Alaska on 8/19/13 and kayaked there on 8/20/13.    READ ABOUT THE PADDLE.


An eagle my brother-in-law spotted along the road to Seward.

By 8/21 I was getting sick and on 8/22 I headed straight back to WA state so I could sleep in my own bed.  It was a dream come true and an awesome paddle and I don’t regret a thing other than the getting sick part.  READ ABOUT THE PADDLE.

But I came, I saw, I paddled Alaska.

Returning to Seattle was bittersweet, I didn’t want to come back, but I did want to come home, home to my van and my own bed.  On the return flight the gal with the window seat had closed the blind, and was asleep, she just climbed five mountains. The guy on the other side, had just returned from a fishing trip in Russia.  As we approached Seattle, I reached over and opened the blind and was once again awestruck by the beauty from the air.


Thank you Cheryl, Troy and Keith for the good times and all the laughs.  You all rock.

The Road Trip–Anchorage-Seward-Anchorage.
Getting To and From the Holgate Glacier
The Sister and Her Land
Alaska Flora and Fauna

Who is Swankie?

My photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.