Thursday, July 2, 2009
Where do I even begin with detailing my trip into Alaska?
Well, first of all, I got about 2 hours sleep the night before. I had to get up and out of the house by about 3 a.m. Wednesday so that I could drive about 40 minutes to my friend's house who was taking me to the airport. We headed out and arrived at the airport at 4:20. When I went to check in and put my luggage on the scale, it came up at 57 pounds, rather than the 50 pound max. Now, here are my options. Option 1: Pay $50.00 extra because I was overweight--I mean the bag was overweight. (I am too, but that's a different story. LOL!) That would be a total of $65.00 because U.S. Air already charges $15.00 to check a bag. Option 2: Do some moving around, taking some things out of the luggage and putting them into the carry-on. Guess which option I chose. I almost went with Option 1, but then I thought better of it, got the advice of my friend, Sally, who took me to the airport, and we did some fancy moving around. The first thing that got moved to the carry-on was my big Bible. I had my small one, but I could not imagine being without my regular one for a whole month. That was probably 10 pounds right there! Then a bag of shoes did the trick. Good to go.
When I arrived in D.C., I had about an hour and a half wait before the trip to L.A. That was smooth sailing. I found a little eatery, bought a bagel, and sat down. I tried to get on the Internet, but it didn't work. I can't believe how much I've come to rely on Internet access.
I board to LA and--I know you're not going to believe me--but my sitting in First Class really was a mistake. I remember thinking, "Wow, this seat is really comfortable." I was engaged in deep conversation with a young woman who was about to enter the military, and all was well. She was from Alaska, I believe, but was no longer living there. I can't remember all the details, as everything is starting to run together, but she asked what my plans for Alaska were, and I told her a little. I also told her that I am a big supporter of Governor Sarah Palin. We were just going to have a great flight together, I was sure. The plane hadn't even taken off, we had hit it off, and all looked pretty good. I was just settling into our conversation when a flight attendant asked to see my boarding pass. It seems I was in the wrong seat. I cannot offer any drama. I didn't go to the back of the plane, literally the back--not even one seat behind me--kicking and screaming. Rather, I apologized profusely, saying, "I didn't realize..." while everyone watched me gather my belongings and head back, no doubt thinking, "Stop your lying. You knew that wasn't your seat!" Really, I didn't. I should've done a Rosa Parks and shouted, "No, I'm not going to the back of the bus, I mean plane. I'm not giving up my seat!" But I didn't. Anyway, I spent the 5 hour flight in the most uncomfortable seat imaginable. It wouldn't even recline because it was up against the back wall! It was also right next to the bathroom. Try smelling that for a whole flight! I was in the aisle seat, and the line for the bathroom was non-stop--literally--for 5 hours, and there literally was a line. So if people weren't banging into me, stepping on my toes, or knocking into my arm, they were standing with their backsides, or worse, their frontsides in my face--for 5 hours! I had no watch, except on my cell phone--which had to be turned off--so between sleeping and waking--I had no feel of how long we had been flying. I asked the woman next to me, but she was in the same boat I was in.
When I got to LA at last, I had about an hour and a half wait for the next flight to Seattle. Kobe Bryant wanted to hang out with me, but I told him I had things to do. Yeah, right! Again, I wasn't able to access any wireless on my laptop, but I tweeted a couple times from my cell phone and sent out text messages to let everyone know I was okay. My tweet said something like, "Two plane rides down; two to go." I was three hours behind where I started, and I was really tired and just wanted to be in Alaska. After getting only 2 hours sleep, who wants to have to redo 3 more--actually 4 more before it was over?
The flight from LA to Seattle was more comfortable. I was in the emergency exit aisle, so I had major leg room. I think the Lord was just trying to bless me after the horrendous "Get out of First Class, stand with your butt in her face, smell the bathroom for 5 hours Flight!" The flight attendant explained the responsibilities of sitting in that aisle in case there was an emergency. She ended with saying to us, "Are you willing to accept these responsibilities in case of an emergency?" Oh yeah, lady, whatever; just leave me and my leg room alone! I was sitting next to a really great guy who tried to talk me into getting the special flying miles program. It allows for free drinks. I told him I don't fly much. He told me, "You will be flying a lot. Look where you're going now." He didn't elaborate. With all God is doing and confirming in my life, I wondered if the man was seeing prophetically--as he drank his beer. LOL!
After arriving in Seattle, I had about a 2 hour layover before boarding for Fairbanks, Alaska. I had a sandwich during the wait--and paid $8.75 for it. The cashier asked if I would like some water. My response, "Will that cost me another $8.75?!" Why did that flight seem to last the longest? It was actually under 4 hours. Again, I had no idea how long I had been onboard, but it seemed extra, extra long. I had wanted to stay awake that entire flight, but there was no way. I woke up to see beautiful mountains with snow still lingering on their tops. It was majestic. I prayed and had a sense of awe at the journey on which I was embarking.
When I arrived in Fairbanks, I was so grateful to God for bringing me to a land so far away, yet so close to my heart in some ways; I was blessed knowing God had opened the door and done more than I will even attempt to express here; and I am anticipatory of what is before me during this trip so divinely inspired.
This morning I started out with a prayer walk, which was sweet. As you all know, I am committed to praying daily for Governor Palin and her family and for the state of Alaska. As I tweeted earlier, to be able to do so on the actual streets of Alaska was just really special.
As I was walking and praying, I saw something I somehow missed during the walk last night: the Alaska National Guard building which has a military tank stationed on the front lawn. I didn't expect to tear up, but I did. It took me totally by surprise. God has given me such an appreciation for those who serve so sacrificially, especially in Alaska where they are always on duty. As I walked by, I extended my hand and prayed for those who serve.
In a couple hours April, her daughter, and I are going to the museum in the UFA (University of Alaska Fairbanks). I'm sure I'll be really touristy and take lots of pictures. There, I may hook up with Phillip, one of my contacts, who works for KJNP, a Christian station in North Pole, where April, Lynette, and I are scheduled to do a television interview in a couple weeks to discuss the 2012 Draft Sarah Committee.
Tomorrow we head down to Wasilla. The drive is over 5 hours, and we'll be there for a few days. We'll be in the parade on Saturday, which I'm looking forward to. Also, I have some contacts there that I'll be catching up with. Some exciting things are going on in Wasilla this weekend actually, but I'll tell you more about that at another time.
I'll end with a serious challenge: There's something I really want to do during this trip, as I have said often: play Sarah Palin in a game of one-on-one basketball. That's a challenge from one basketball champion to another! As I have conceded before, she can definitely outrun me; she'll beat me on the track--probably in her sleep--but she ain't gonna beat me on the court! If anyone with inside connections wants to set that up, I'm ready any day. Hey, this is Alaska: It's light all the time right now, so make that any day or any night! And if she loses--and she will--all I want is bragging rights and some of her moose chili! Pass it on.