No Place Like Nome

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by violist, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    UA 560 IAD SEA 1345 1650 320 8B
    was 1228 1510
    was 3812 IAD EWR 1443 1609 ER4 4A
    and 1462 EWR SEA 1735 2039 738 2F
    1478 SEA ANC 2115 2351 738 2F
    was 6010 IAD EWR 1450 1618 ER4 4A
    and 1462 EWR SEA 1700 1959 738 2F
    and 1132 SEA ANC 2055 2325 738 2F

    My extra-miles-earning detour was derailed because of weather
    and congestion (not mine, though I did have a bad cough),
    and they put me on the nonstop, which was delayed - cost to
    me, 500 miles and a first-class seat. So the best laid plans
    of mice and men went awry, and I endured 6 hours in a middle
    seat between a pouty brunette who would have been somewhat
    attractive but for the bitchiness written all over her face
    and a jovial doctor working for the CDC. I chatted with him
    for an hour, slept an hour, worked on the computer for a bit
    over an hour, and otherwise stared at the ceiling.

    It wasn't a bad flight, and the Economy Plus seats on the
    United aircraft have as much room as the first class ones
    on the Continental ones. Narrower though, so both my
    seatmates bumped elbows with me; the aisle guy took it all
    in stride, whereas the woman alternated between trying to
    push my elbow off the rest (it was barely on, and almost all
    in my territory, I swear) and cowering by the window.

    We pulled up to the gate just shy of 2 hours late, and as
    I had counted on lunch on my previous itinerary and had
    failed to chow down, off I went to Anthony's, where Willapa
    Bay oysters were kind of bland; the briny Penn Coves were
    much more characterful. Still peckish, I ordered an
    appetizer plate of fried oysters, where the Willapa Bays did
    well as generic fried seafood. And on to the United Club,
    where Jim Beam white served well as cough syrup.

    The Anchorage flight was rather pleasant; they offered a
    snack of chicken breast with pasta salad. I turned that
    down, asking for a Courvoisier, of which there was none.
    The matronly but pleasant FA offered Jim Black instead, but
    I told her she'd broken my heart.

    Halfway through the flight she came over with a Courvoisier
    nabbed from coach, where they sell it for the equivalent of
    $105 a fifth. She said that she hadn't wanted to break my
    heart. The gesture was appreciated.

    My friend Bill picked me up at the airport, and we spent a
    couple of beer-laden days before meeting up with Lilli for
    a couple of wine-tinged ones.
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  2. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    DL1937 BWI DTW 0605 0737 320 11A

    I had the dubious honor of heading the upgrade requested but
    did not clear list, which was fine, as I had my favorite
    exit row seat.

    This was one of the most kettlicious flights I've ever seen.

    Some guy in first had a bag that not only didn't fit
    lengthwise, but when it was turned sideways, the width
    didn't fit lengthwise until the FA visibly bent the door.

    At some point a woman sat next to me; she pulled out her
    bp and asked if she was in the right seat - it said "seat
    not assigned," and I was surprised they'd let her board
    at all. She asked me what to do - I told her she might as
    well sit tight until someone kicked her off, which got a
    couple chuckles from around. Nobody did.

    Lots of admonitions from the crew regarding electronics,
    seatbelts, and blocking the aisles and footspaces with
    luggage, of which there was a vast plethora. I looked
    around, and it appeared this nagging was necessary.

    A blonde woman at the wayback, among the last to board,
    fussed when they tried to take her bag away; they somehow
    found room up in the front cabin.

    It took longer than usual to get everyone strapped in, and
    we were a little delayed leaving. It was, however, a quick
    flight, and we got in 20 early.

    I'd never been outside Terminal A before - it's pretty
    slick, but B/C reminds one of a small-town airport on
    steroids - unattractiveness on a massive scale. One good
    thing, though, is that there are lots of charging stations
    per caput, as the gates are smaller.

    DL4319 DTW PVD 0841 1032 CRJ 4A

    A perfectly okay flight. More kettliciosity, chief of
    which was refusal to turn off electronic devices. The FA
    was all sweetness and light and patience.

    We loaded up expeditiously and on time and landed a tad
    early. The problem of course was it took us a quarter hour
    to find our gate.

    Brahms Requiem conducted by a buddy of mine. I'm his
    concertmaster, and Uncle Alan is the concertmaster of the
    group. We solved this by switching off concertmaster and
    principal second, with me claiming the cool second movement
    (and playing first viola in the cool first movement, which
    has no violins).

    DL2123 BOS DTW 0720 0930 319 10A

    Is it more ignominious to be number 1 on a waitlist that
    doesn't clear or number 18, last, on a waitlist that
    obviously would never clear? Anyhow, that was irrelevant,
    as sleep was the order of the day on both these flights. It
    is easier to accomplish in first, but whatever.

    DL1536 DTW BWI 1030 1205 319 11A

    I didn't even bother to check where I was on the list.

    Delta apparently hasn't reconciled the numbering of
    the 319 and the 320, the relevance being that 11A, a
    nice seat on the 320, is a nothing seat on the 319.

    As this is an Atlanta-based airline, I partook of local
    products - Coke and roasted peanuts. Good old King Nut
    quality control - the FA gave me 2 packets; the first
    was pretty well stuffed; the other contained about 5 pieces.
    tommy777 and sobore like this.
  3. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    While a very nice report, it breaks my heart when a fellow MPer is stuck in a middle seat. [​IMG]
  4. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    'twouldn't have been so bad if the cutish girl had been the friendly one.
  5. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    For some reason, I posted the second installment before the first
    installment. Something about impending senility.
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  6. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Alaska Railroad
    Lilli liked the company and the price of our Muldoon digs
    but figured that it would be beyond troublesome to make it
    to the train station early in the morning, so for the last
    night before our adventure we decided to double up on a
    hotel near downtown.

    The Holiday Inn Express Anchorage is amidst a cluster of
    cheap to midrange hotels on Spenard near the end, so there
    was nothing interesting to eat. The jolly desk clerk said,
    oh, it's free pie night at the Village Inn next door
    (actually two doors down, past the Wendy's drive-thru), so
    there we went. No beer (it seems to be patronized and
    staffed largely with LDSs, and in retrospect the desk clerk
    probably was one herself), a lot of prefab stuff on the menu
    alternating with a lot of sweet stuff. As it is a mix and
    match proposition, I ordered the 4-item breakfast available
    all day, asking for pretty much all protein items. I tried
    to get 2 burger patties, but the waiter regretfully pointed
    out that the policy was to offer only one of each item. So
    I got a 1/4 lb burger patty, which turned out about 6 oz of
    hand-packed pretty decent ground meat, done brown through;
    followed by a sizable sausage patty (cheap industrial); 2
    slices of bacon (salty but ok); and a biscuit and gravy. On
    the side, as it was only $1.65 extra, I got a small serving
    of chicken-fried steak, which was your okay prefab thing,
    one FDA-size serving. The gravy was extraordinarily salty
    but did not taste bad.

    Lilli had a burger, which was not as good as mine, partially
    because it came with lettuce and tomato.

    The free pie selection is limited: in addition to what we
    ordered, there's cherry and one other similar selection. We
    got apple and three-berry (blue, rasp, and boysen) to go, as
    our portions had been sizable. Next day, the pies tasted
    fairly decent: the chain advertises "best pies in America";
    not so. In retrospect, I wish it had been free beer night.

    The room itself was reasonably attractive, plenty of
    amenities (the higher your status, it seems, the more junk
    they put in your bathroom), larger than the standard, with
    a bunch of dead space. Notably, the beds were different, one
    being too hard, the other being just right. No worries, we
    weren't going to be there much. We collapsed after dinner
    and slept through to the alarms (we set 3 and also ordered a
    wake-up call).

    Breakfast - a wide array of breakfast breads; some fruit,
    including the excellent pineapple that one seems to find
    consistently in Alaska; okay sausage gravy; rubber eggs;
    porridge; bacon. All decent quality, the giant Costco
    muffins being exceptionally good. All under the watchful
    eyes of stuffed animals and similar bric-a-brac.

    It's a quick taxi ride to the train station, taking half the
    time the hotel said it would, costing $5 less than it said.

    Our guides beckoa, BOB W, and jackal had told us to be there
    at 0715 for an 0815 departure on the Denali Star. We arrived
    half an hour even before that - certain of these worthies
    didn't get there until 0745 and were just fine, adding
    insult to injury. Our group had the rear end of car E to
    ourselves except for the last row, a group of tourists who
    were suitably bemused by our rowdiness.

    You aren't supposed to bring booze aboard, though you can
    carry coolers on, ostensibly for food, and the generally
    pretty jolly conductors sort of look the other way if you
    aren't stupid or blatant about it.

    Unofficial beverages in this car included Estancia Merlot
    and the Kirkland Signature Cotes du Rhone; both were
    unexceptionable. The official ones were the Woodbridge
    Cabernet (not very good), Alaska amber, which ran out
    early, and Alaska summer, which though less preferable also
    ran out during the course of the trip, leaving some nasty
    wheat beer as the alternative, plus the usual mass-market
    swill. Twelve hours is a long time for the catering as well
    as for the passengers to endure.

    On this trip there was not much wildlife - just two bears
    swimming across the river; good views of Denali, though,
    especially from our car's domed area, which, as we were in
    second class, was time rationed so as to give fair use to
    all the other coach passengers.

    Much of the train emptied out at Denali, but the esteemed
    Seat2A joined us for the rest of the trip, regaling us with
    edifying and amusing stories and a bottle of Russell's
    Reserve Bourbon, which was much appreciated. After a good
    long time, somewhat lubricated, we alighted in Fairbanks.
  7. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Another Holiday Inn Express - looked about the same as
    the other, with about the same view (a parking lot). Dumped
    our stuff, showered, then it was off to the Midnight Sun
    game, an annual solstice event. A few years ago, my baseball
    hero Spaceman Lee pitched five here, earning a W and
    becoming the oldest person ever to pitch in a game at
    the professional level (if you can call this that).

    The place was SRO packed; we found places with a busload of
    8th and 9th graders from Michigan who were in Alaska on an
    eco-awareness tour; these had adopted the Goldpanners as
    their team and developed a number of cheers, of which one
    shall forever remain in the hearts and ears of the Doers.
    Oo-sa-sa-sa. Oo-sa-sa-sa. Hit 'em in the head with a big
    kielbasa. Oo-sa-sa-sa. Oo-sa-sa-sa. Hit 'em in the head
    with a rock! Unh! Such bloodthirsty words from such
    otherwise mild-mannered children.

    The outcome became pretty certain in the first when the
    visiting Everett Merchants scored a run that was
    nullified after a long and mysterious pause followed by
    some ineffective sqwawking by the manager. It was a slow
    game, not exceptionally well played - unlikely to be any
    future stars on either of this season's squads -, and
    eventually it got kind of cold and dark. Half of us left
    early, but well after the singing of the Alaska Flag Song
    at midnight, with the game well in hand, the home team
    ahead 4-2 (it eventually won 7-5).

    Sleeping in is good. Blackout curtains are good. Breakfast
    was okay, almost identical to that of Anchorage, but the
    automatic pancake machine was out of order, and there was
    rubber sausage instead of band-aid bacon.

    We piled into the van at 10 for a tour of Fairbanks, the
    main highlight of which was the university campus, with its
    Signers' Hall (where the state constitution was enacted in
    1959, now the business office and an information booth) and
    the rather interesting Museum of the North, which boasts
    many works of Sydney Laurence as well as European and native
    artists of the 19th century to the present. I particularly
    enjoyed a shawl or wrap done with native designs and some
    prints of wilderness scenes by Ansel Adams and followers.
    An elaborate ceremonial necklace was nice as well, but I
    wasn't so carried away by most of the art art. In the
    natural history department is an eclectic, perhaps odd
    agglomeration of old stuff, with an interesting display
    about Blue Babe, the remains of a prehistoric ox found
    somewhere in Alaska. I enjoyed the aurora show as well
    (it seemed to have been made for PBS or someone similar,
    quite a long time ago).

    Our lunch destination was the Silver Gulch brewery outside
    of town; this turned out to be closed until 4. Whistles
    needing to be wet, near there is a spring with supposedly
    the best water in that part of the state. Some of us
    partook; I did not. A poll was taken regarding plan B for
    lunch, and after tentative suggestions of Taco Time and the
    Thai place it was agreed that we visit Big Daddy's, whose
    BBQ was a decent deal and respectable enough.

    Our part of the table ordered fatty brisket (I took the
    fat and gave away the still sufficiently moist meat),
    burnt ends (a mix of real ends and leftovers, which seems
    to be the standard these days), and sausage, which was
    fine, though the skin was tough. Others got sundry oddities,
    and there was plenty of passing around, so everyone tasted
    what they wanted. Lots of beer, too, and I had a lager from
    Silver Gulch that tantalized with what might have been.

    We got to the airport not too early, which was fine as there
    is not an enormous amount to do there.

    0622 AS 190 FAI ANC 1755 1855 734 7AB

    Back to the Express for an even shorter visit, and it was no
    big deal that our room this time was more standard than the
    last one. More alarms, but we managed to get up before them.
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  8. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    AS 151 ANC OTZ 0600 0731 734 21AB

    The plan was to meet at the Boardroom at 5, so we took the
    first shuttle at 0420 and were the first to arrive, giving
    us ample time to admire the much-admired pancake machine and
    the also-prized espresso machine. We could have gotten the
    second shuttle at 0500, in retrospect.

    It was a pleasant flight but not very rowdy, with us not all
    in a bloc but rather interspersed with regular people. The
    aircraft was a combi, the front part taken up with big cargo
    containers, a somewhat truncated passenger cabin in back.
    Access is by stairs to the rear door.

    As there is but a 47 minute stop, we were discouraged from
    deplaning at OTZ - Lilli and I would have done so anyway had
    there not been some big guy sleeping in the aisle seat.

    Turns out later that some of our party whom we hooked up
    with in Nome had had trouble reemplaning in Kotzebue the
    previous day because the TSA screener didn't recognize the
    Global Entry card as a valid ID - one of the dangers of
    using such newfangled technology, I guess.

    AS 151 OTZ OME 0818 0901 734 21AB

    This is a really short flight across part of the Chukchi
    Sea and the Bering Land Bridge Preserve. There is supposed
    to be cool scenery, but I didn't see it.

    When we landed at tiny OME airport, sharp-eyed Lilli saw some
    people outside the fence pointing and staring at our plane;
    she figured there must not be much to do in Nome; actually,
    the excited spectators were SeeYa and bdnyc, who had done
    the trip the day before.

    After some logistical figure-outs, jackal and BOB W
    offered up a pair of vans to take us the mile or two to the
    Aurora Inn, where there was a bit of a scrum for bed and
    floor space, as the hotel was sold out. Lilli had oversold
    her room, so I ended up on a rollaway, which though a
    little lumpy ended up doing the job.

    Breakfast at one of the supposedly better places to eat in
    town, Airport Pizza, where about half of us obediently had
    breakfast food, and the other half had pizza; my part of the
    table feasted on pepperoni pizza and (once the twin issues
    of no beer before 11 and the waitress being too young to
    touch John Barleycorn were solved) Glacier bock. Some over
    yonder experimented with the Greek pie - gyro meat, feta,
    and tzatziki sauce, and by some miscalculation there
    appeared two chicken alfredo ones. I did not receive any
    reports on these, but the consensus from this tough, largely
    east-coast crowd was that the only decent pizzas are from
    [name your city], and these weren't close. I actually found
    my couple slices enjoyable, but I have pizza so seldom that
    nostalgia always plays a role in my attitude.

    The day's excitement was multifold. After our meal, we
    wandered about town a bit and then witnessed the annual
    bank robbery, in which the Wells Fargo office is assaulted,
    and Wyatt Earp saves the day. Followed by the Solstice polar
    bear swim, participated in by uva185, CDKing, and beckoa and
    cheered on gleefully by the rest of us. I splashed a few
    square inches of myself with Bering Sea water and considered
    that quite enough.

    Then our expedition to Teller, said to be the westernmost
    town in the United States reachable by ordinary auto, from
    which one might on a specially clear day be able to see the
    former Soviet Union, only this day it was misty and grayish.

    BOB W and jackal were our fearless leaders again as we rode
    through the tundra in search of scenery and wildlife; of the
    former there was much, but of the latter next to none.
    Teller itself is atmospheric in a spare sort of way, the
    town dominated by a hill topped with a graveyard for people
    plus one for late lamented Sno-Cats and Skidoos. I think
    once in a lifetime will do it, though.

    On the way we stopped to aid a family that had had a flat;
    there were plenty of them, and we could not add much but
    confusion to the proceedings. What we could do was give a
    native mother and her adorable little baby a ride into town.

    After two hours on a pitted, bumpy road, what do two dozen
    hard-drinking FTMMers do? Make a beeline for a public toilet
    is what. We found it in the Native Store, where some of the
    merchandise was grossly expensive, whereas things that could
    be trucked in unpadded and unrefrigerated tended to be
    reasonably priced, no big surprise. We all got knickknacks,
    candy bars, stuff like that, to make up for having clogged
    the potty (it was actually kind of clogged anyway and was
    in fact just a hole in the ground with a toilet seat).
  9. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    We were chugging merrily along when our luck caught up
    to us, and we got a flat of our own, about a day's walk
    from town. And it was determined, after substantial effort
    on our part, that the van's spare wouldn't fit! All the
    prying and hammering that half a dozen able-bodied men
    could do didn't change the fact that the wheel was totally
    incompatible; we spent an hour and change dithering around
    in the mosquito-ridden tundra, during which the sole came
    off my shoe, only a modest tragedy as glue is cheap, and
    various of us lost considerable amounts of blood to the
    gigantic insects that swarmed us whenever the blest breeze
    let up. All this time only one car came by; we negotiated
    with its driver, a military woman who had driven her
    teen-aged daughter to Teller to visit friends, to take the
    relatively harmless-looking monitor back to Nome to get aid.

    Eventually the jackal van came by and rescued us - we tried
    its spare tire as well, and it too wouldn't fit, so we
    doubled up on the seating, making a very cozy ride indeed
    and abandoned the defective by the side of the road, where
    it was eventually inspected and then presumably rescued by
    a mechanic who was more than delighted to be called in, as
    he was getting overtime.

    Despite a short detour and delay for chasing down a trio of
    musk oxen, our only wildlife sighting of the entire day, we
    we actually made our dinner reservation at the Husky, which
    despite its name is run by a family of I think Koreans. Its
    menu is extensive, with a large selection of various Asian
    things, a large selection of grilled things, and a large
    selection of fried things, of which I had one of the cheaper
    offerings, the halibut and chips (decent but by no means
    stellar, and a rather modest portion) and a couple Alaska
    ambers: $40.

    Back to the Casa Bob suite for a wine tasting/guzzling.
    Both a Bryan Carter blend and the Dunham Trutina 06
    were fruit bombs and blew away the Columbia Red Willow
    Cab 07, a wine of which I am fond, which must have gone
    deaf or dumb or dead or something. bdnyc noted that on
    the teevee there was a report of a fairly big earthquake
    in Kamchatka (the nearest landmass west of us). As we
    were in a two-story building overlooking the water, more
    sensible people might have been concerned. We continued to
    refill our glasses and kept an eye on the tube just in case.
    After I'd tasted everything and after determining that we
    were in no great danger of a tsunami, I sneaked into the
    room and slipped into my cot without disturbing anyone (my
    station being right by the door).

    0624 AS 151 OME ANC 0955 1123 734 21EF

    Woke up and discovered everyone milling about in the lobby.
    It seems a day in this burg was plenty for most of us - we
    were ready to blow town in a hurry; but as we were down a
    van, it took two trips to get us to the one-gate airport,
    where check-in followed by security were expeditious, and
    we were allowed to board the plane directly. A nothing
    flight except that how in heck did I end up on the wrong
    side of the plane?

    After the short flight, we regrouped at the Boardroom
    to get our transport assignments to the real Casa Bob.
    Appropriately for a group of air geeks, all but two of us
    had privileges, so no underhanded guesting procedures
    were necessary.

    A few of us went to Costco to help cater the party: we
    came out with party trays of turkey-cheese rollups and
    shrimp salad as well as a massive quantity of booze;
    total, $150, a relative bargain considering Anchorage
    prices. And then on to the bbq.

    Alcohol figured prominently in the proceedings, but
    almost all wine - little or no hard liquor, and but a
    few growlers of Alaskan beer.

    It was a pleasant - even warm - day, so most of us hung
    out outdoors, but as if there's a mosquito in the
    neighborhood it'll find me, I stayed mostly in the house.

    beckoa had made an enormous batch of tasty kalbi ribs;
    I understand there were also bbq pork ribs, but I didn't
    have any. Lots and lots of food. As I had this cough,
    SeeYa took my job of making the caprese, and I just
    cruised through, dosing myself with abundant medication.
    AKronin's significant other brought a colossal strawberry
    and mandarin orange salad that unfortunately had a few
    ingredients that I can't have. He brought the Centine 09
    (Banfi) in the 5-liter size, which was pretty good,

    The vinous star of the event was the Bookwalter Protagonist
    07, with an honorable mention to a Stolpman Cabernet
    (blend?). I was too befuddled by the end of the afternoon
    to remember.
  10. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Are you a new DL flyer? I can't recall you mentioning flying with them when I've seen you before.
  11. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Looking at alternatives to UA since a buddy was kicked off a
    flight in Global First for no discernible reason (no exaggeration,
    I was there, trip report to follow). I don't fly DL voluntarily,
    either, but I want to keep MVP on AS, and DL miles count.
    tom911 likes this.
  12. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    end of a fine adventure
    Cabbed downtown to the Sheraton, where a pair of excellent
    beds awaited. In the morning the Jade restaurant offered one
    of the most delicious renditions of sausage gravy I have
    ever had on the otherwise average (though abundant)
    breakfast buffet.


    My buddy Bill picked me up for a couple days of r&r; we saw
    Lilli off at the airport and headed to Muldoon for more beer
    and some good Alaska fare (no seafood, though - Bill fishes,
    but neither he nor Connie eats the spoils, as they think it
    tastes spoiled). At the end of this recuperatory visit, on
    the way to the airport, I took the two of them to lunch at
    the Peanut Farm, Anchorage's oldest and finest sports bar,
    something like that. I had a relatively excellent halibut
    and chips, an oddity being that one of the three pieces of
    fish was not halibut but rather perhaps pollock. I had only
    one Alaskan Amber here, as I had access to a free supply at
    the terminal, where I was shortly deposited after the
    appropriate goodbyes and hugs.

    Contrary to the habits of most of my friends, I did not
    pillage the Boardroom of all its beer and cheap wine but
    rather had a sedate cup of soup and only one free Alaska
    Amber (it's Alaska Amber according to the angels at the
    Boardroom; it's AlaskaN Amber everywhere else on the
    planet) before my flight.

    UA1587 ANC SFO 1410 1950 738 2F Ch9:td:

    Somehow I got 2F instead of the scenic and shady side 2A
    I'd reserved, not a big deal as it was pretty overcast the
    whole trip. The plane was full.

    The audio had a weird 360-click metronome with the
    occasional paradiddle, which improved most of the music
    that was on offer. Interesting how much we listen to
    clocks in at MM=120.

    Something called Journey to the Mysterious Island, which
    was the feature movie on about the last 5 flights. I forgot
    to look it up on Rotten Tomatoes, but it appears to be the
    most hackneyed and formulaic preteen adventure fantasy
    possible, with permanent suspension of disbelief required
    from about minute three on all the way to the credits.

    The usual pasta salad with chicken breast was offered, so
    I asked for Courvoisier, which the smiling and flirtatious
    male attendant (who looked like Mr. Whitekeys) provided,
    carefully warmed.

    A bumpyish flight.

    Though the boarding pass machine had spat out a warning
    about landing in the Continental area in Terminal 1 and
    having to take a bus to Terminal 3, we landed in the normal
    place, and it was an easy stroll to the United Club, where
    a glass of cheap red wine settled my stomach nicely.

    UA 724 SFO IAD 2243 0653 763 2A Ch9:td: Empower^

    The plane was packed.

    My audio was on permanently full blast, so sleeping to the
    dulcet tones of Channel 9 was out of the question, even if
    Channel 9 had been offered, which it wasn't.

    They offered another pasta salad with chicken breast, but
    I just hid under my blanket (I was lucky and got one of
    the old relatively sturdy United ones; my seatmate got a
    thin Continental one and disgustedly stuffed it in the seat
    pocket). With the aid of that wine at the club and a piece
    of a Benadryl, I slept until an hour before landing, when a
    smiling attendant gave me a cranberry scone, which had a
    weird texture and somewhat unattractive taste, not her
    fault of course. As with most transcontinentals, we landed
    a bit early.

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