(Not Even) Halfway There

We got up at 5:00 this morning and packed two coolers of frozen meat, carefully adding and removing items as we attempted to reach the magic number of almost-but-not-quite fifty pounds each. At 6:15am, we left for the airport with kids, dog, and trusty intern Emma in tow.

The DC traffic situation gave us a bit of a scare, as we found ourselves at a standstill six miles from the airport less than an hour before our flight was due to depart, but the gods of salmon shined down upon us and the traffic cleared just in time.

It’s always a trial to check in with two kids, two coolers full of frozen meat, one suspicious-looking cardboard box, and one 82 pound Weimaraner.

But we made due. Once we had our tickets, I had to drag the coolers to the baggage area. It’s a yearly ritual.

We got to the gate just as they were getting ready to close the doors. Once aboard, we had a breakfast of cheerios and cheese puffs as the plane taxied.

On the way to LA, we flew over circular fields.

We flew over the Grand Canyon.

When we landed in LA, I checked my mail to find an email from a writer for the Washington Post Express who wanted to interview us for a write-up of our July 29 reading at Politics and Prose. So we spent our layover talking to this fellow, handing the phone back and forth to correct and contradict one another. Eventually, they started boarding our flight and we had to go.

Once we got to Portland, we had seven hours to kill. We decided to get out of the airport, so we fetched Iggy from the baggage area and took the local metro.

As it turns out, the train was absolutely covered with Chipotle advertisements. It was my favorite train of all time.

The lady at the information booth at the airport told us to take the train one stop, at which point we would find a “wide variety of restaurants and shops.”

We took the train one stop. We found one restaurant.

The only “shop” in sight was a Target. Fortunately, I think highly of both establishments. I had a footlong at Subway and we bought some more cheese puffs at Target. We wandered a bit further and Robbi found a Buffalo Wild Wings. She ate while the kids romped on a stretch of grass that was probably meant to be purely decorative.

But no harm was done. Kato discovered a love of pinecones.

And Iggy got a little bit of harassment-based-exercise.

All in all, it has been a tiring day.

Fortunately, we came prepared.

In about an hour, we’ll board a flight to Anchorage, where we’ll arrive in the wee hours of tomorrow morning. We have a ten-hour layover there before heading out to King Salmon midday tomorrow. From King Salmon, we begin our final leg of the journey, the 45-minute bush plane ride to the gravel strip at coffee point.

We’ll check in again in the morning to give you a report on the night shift and to bid our final farewells.

From reading intern Emma’s first post, I can already see that you are going to be in good hands while we’re gone.


  1. Quelle cliffhanger! Thanks for taking us on the ride with you. (I’m glad to see that Mademoiselle Iggy could get out of her crate for awhile.)

  2. Iggy is so fortunate to be included on your Alaskan adventure…she reminds me of another Iggy (Jim Ignatowski of Taxi fame)