There & Back Again


Our vacation didn’t start with a mysterious visit from a Wizard or a bunch of dwarfs popping in for lunch and breaking the crockery, but even so it was quite an adventure. How could it not be with Ella along?  We checked in at the Kenmore Air reservation desk in the Friday Harbor Airport.  Ella, of course, had to climb right up on the counter and get her picture taken.  She is one elephant that is mostly ham.

Ella at desk

After taking her photo I hustled Ella to the restroom.  The flight between Friday Harbor and Seattle is quick, but I knew Ella would be excited.  I didn’t want any elephant accidents on the airplane!  Then we hustled right out and climbed aboard.  Keeping up with an excited Ella can be a task, so I didn’t have chance to get a picture of our plane or catch the pilot’s name.  Happily, Ella got her own seat so I was free to snap a couple of in-flight pics.

View from plane

As you can see it was a beautiful day and Mt. Baker was out in all her glory. Ella appropriately ohhh-ed and awww-ed over the scenery (and so did we). This photo was taken when we were above the town of Friday Harbor right after take-off and before the pilot banked the plane and headed for Seattle.

Space Needle

Ella got really excited when she saw the Space Needle.  She knew that Thom, Susan, & the kids visited there when they were here in July, so naturally she wanted to visit it, too.  She was very disappointed to find out that there just wasn’t time.  We had a plane to catch to Hawaii.  Reminding her we were going to Kona did help take her mind off of Seattle.

Once in the airport hotel Ella found something else to keep her occupied.  The Radisson Hotel has Sleep Number beds.

Radisson bed

Amoeba and I prefer firm beds and are content with 100, but Ella likes sleeping on fluff and wanted a one.  After some arguing, Amoeba and I got both sides of the bed — set on 100 — and Ella slept on a pillow in the armchair.  Ella said she is going to report us to the ASPCSA (American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Stuffed Animals).

Seattle’s SeaTac Airport is huge and Ella complained about all the walking we had to do.  I don’t know why since I was carrying her.  I was the one wearing new slippers (flip-flops to those unfamiliar with Hawaiian lingo).  I developed a blister under the second toe of my right foot.  Then we got to baggage check-in.  Ella just about flipped when she realized that she was flying with the luggage and we were going first class.  She bellowed that it was totally unfair of us not to buy her a first class ticket, too and again threatened to call the ASPCSA.  I suggested that she get a job and pay her own way to Hawaii, and she quietly climbed into the suitcase without further complaint.

Our time in Hawaii was quite fun and we have many more adventures to share over the coming week, however as the title of this post suggests, I am also using this space to tell you about the flight home.  We left Hawaii at 1 p.m. Hawaiian time and arrived in Seattle at 10 p.m. Pacific Time.  The plane was crowded and there were no incredibly inexpensive upgrades offered, so we flew steerage coach.  The dry cookies and warm water offered us in coach was a far cry from the Macadamia Nut pancakes and Mai Tais we’d been served in first class on the way to Hawaii.  Ella was probably more comfortable in the suitcase.

Once back in Seattle we spent another night at the Radisson.  Before retiring Ella and I enjoyed a wonderful artichoke, pine nut and feta cheese salad while Amoeba munched on halibut fish & chips.  Then we went to bed because we had to be up and on the shuttle to the airport at 6:00 a.m. flight to catch the Kenmore Shuttle to Boeing Field and then our 7:30 a.m. flight home.  And, since we were acclimated to Hawaii time, all this was beginning at what our bodies thought was 3 a.m.  This time we got no complaints from Ella who wanted to stay nice and snugly asleep in the suitcase.

Seattle was gray and murky, so we weren’t terribly surprised to hear our flight would be delayed a bit due to fog.  Friday Harbor was socked in and the pilot wouldn’t be able to see to land the plane.  Simply because we were tired and wanted to return home, the fog didn’t lift until noon.  We finally got home about 1 p.m.

I wanted to go to the grocery store and pick up something for lunch, but Amoeba took me to our favorite fish & chips restaurant here in town — except we both ordered soup.  I was hungry, but I was also overly tired and cold and I didn’t want to have to contend with rich foods. When we finally arrived home we were greeted by the chirping of the smoke detector — if you recall our last post about the darn thing, it is on the 20 foot ceiling.  Amoeba got a ladder from the basement and climbed up only to discover that neither of us had any idea how the #@$%^! thing worked.  We called the landlords.  Happily, they came right over — new battery in hand — and showed us how to change the batteries.  It is stupid-complicated and needs to be taken totally apart (4 pieces) then reassembled.

Once the smoke detector was silenced, Amoeba — who slept at the Kenmore Airport — went off to work.  I went to bed and slept for 3.5 hours.  Ella is currently busily planning all of our posts this week before she heads off on her next adventure.  Her next victim hostess will be Amoeba’s sister-in-law, Nancy, who you know as Tilden of  Tilden Talks.

Kenmore Air to Friday Harbor

You already read about the first leg of my trip, the NWA flight and my arrival at SeaTac.  None of which went smoothly.  Well, after I reached door 00 and contacted Kenmore Air, all my stress came to an end.  The receptionist at Kenmore Air assured me that I was in the right place, and the courtesy van would be there within the half-hour to pick me up.  It arrived in 15 minutes and the driver took me and two other passengers to King County Airport at Boeing Field.

After a short wait,I and two other passengers were ushered out to our airplane.  I took the photo below through the waiting room window.  Turns out that even though this was the closest plane to the airport, the plane we took is the red one barely visible to the left of the photo.

Our pilot — who said he was also our stewardess — gave us the pre-flight instructions and off we flew into the wild blue gray overcast sky.

Because it was a foggy day, Seattle was looking just a bit blue.

As we flew toward Friday Harbor, the sky got thicker and took on a tinge of gray.  As we approached the San Juans Islands, shrouded in mist, they looked like a good setting for a Gothic murder mystery.

The pilot said, “We’ll be making our final approach to Friday Harbor,” and the skies opened up and poured down rain.

The pilot laughed and said, “Fasten your seat belts!” Of course our seat belts were already fastened and we could all tell he wasn’t worried. He landed the plane with barely a bump.

Amoeba was waiting for me just inside the terminal doors with a great big hug!

My Body Has Arrived in Friday Harbor

My brains haven’t yet adjusted to their new time zone.

I flew out of Hawaii on Northwest Airlines.  They weighed my bag — they have a 50 pound  limit — and it came in at 52 pounds.  I was told I would have to pay $90.00 extra for the overage.  Mind you, had I put all my stuff in two bags, rather than just the one, I would have only had to pay $15.00 per bag.  So what if two bags would actually take up more room and ultimately weigh even more than 52 pounds.  This isn’t about logic, it’s about rules, regulations, and making a profit.

The bossy helpful enforcer courtesy agent told me that instead of paying, I could just remove two pound of my possessions and leave them behind.  I stared at her in disbelief.  She then said, “If that option doesn’t appeal to you, you can always put on 2 pounds of clothing.”

So, mind you, it is not the weight going on the airplane that is the issue.   It is where the weight is distributed.  I opened up my suitcase and removed my coat — which I put on — and my camera.  We reweighed the bag and it came in at 49.5 pounds.  She didn’t offer me a 45 cent refund for coming in 1.5 pounds under weight. (see comments, Melli corrected my math — see also my first sentence above)

I went to the lounge and waited two hours for my flight, not noticing until just before boarding time that my ticket had no seat assignment.  I went to the ticket counter and told the attendant I hadn’t been assigned a seat.  He told me that it didn’t matter, that the only people with assigned seats had paid extra for the privilege. I believed him.

When general boarding was called, I got in line.  The attendant who took my ticket said, “You have to go back and get a seat assignment!”  I told her that I’d asked for a seat assignment, and was told I didn’t need one.  She sent me back to the check-in desk.  I gave my ticket to the guy who told me I didn’t need a seat assignment and said, “Let’s try this again.  I need a seat assignment.”  He said, “Fine.  I’ll see what’s left.”  Then he assigned me to a middle seat — and suggested I might want to upgrade to First Class for an extra $250.00.  I asked him if my middle seat in the center of coach was going to the same place as first class.  The guy behind me laughed, but the ticket agent just gave me a sour look and my cramped seating assignment.

I landed in Seattle at 5:30 a.m. PDST.  That was equavalent to 2:30 a.m. Hawaii time.  I got very little sleep on the plane, crunched in the middle the way I was.  Still, I’d made it to Seattle, so all was well …

The help desk in SeaTac airport was deserted.  I guess one isn’t supposed to need help at 5:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning.   I found one employee who tried to hail me a cab, when that is not what I asked for.  I wanted to know where to catch the shuttle bus to the Kenmore Air terminal.  No one I asked knew.  There were no helpful signs pointing the way.

I called Amoeba on the phone.  He said, “Kenmore Air pick-up is at terminal door 00.  Head south from where you are…”

“South!?  I have no idea where I am or what direction I’m going.  Not only are there no signs directing me to door 00, there are no signs that read North, South, East , or West!”  A bit of logic backed up by seek-and-find helped me figure out where I was and where I should be.  The baggage carousels and the terminal doors share the same numbers.  Door 00 — the last door (or the first door) in the terminal — has no baggage carousel.  However it did have a help desk for charter air services.  Kenmore Air was listed prominently on the wall.

Despite the fact that I was exhausted and hadn’t eaten since 2:00 p.m. the previous afternoon (NWA did give me a few ounces of water and a bag of peanuts), my flight with Kenmore Air was wonderful and stress free.  I took photos so be sure to look for them after Punny Monday tomorrow.

Right now I am just too tired to fuss with photos.