This is the last post I need to get the blog caught up with real time – I’ve been behind for quite a while, and new things to blog about are piling up as we experience the Holiday Season in a Small Alaskan Fishing Town (which is really awesome, just to give you a hint). After zooming down to Washington to retrieve our car and ferry it (literally) back here to Miktof Island in October, we quickly had to get ready for a major “road” trip (which involved a bit of flying to get things started). We were heading back to the east coast for a good friend’s wedding, to visit family and friends, and to spend Thanksgiving with Jim’s Dad.
It takes two days to fly from Petersburg to The Rest of the World – we flew to Seattle the first day, and then on to Baltimore the second day. Flying is tricky these days since we had to keep within the 50 lb limit for our one checked bag each, and we needed clothing for a month that included: wedding clothes, northern clothes, and Florida clothes, plus enough camera gear and knitting to keep me from having withdrawal symptoms.
The wedding was fantastic, and it was a perfect, beautiful late fall day with some trees still in full color. We packed a ton of visits into a short amount of time but there were a number of people we wanted to see that we just didn’t have time for, which is frustrating. We ran ourselves ragged and Jim ended up with a sinus infection, but we had fun despite the crazy schedule we made for ourselves. We spent a little time with my brother and his wife and their dogs – this one is Frankie. I got to watch my beloved, heart-breaking Giants with my brother, and laugh because we made many of the same comments at the exact same time through the game.
We vowed to take one day of our time in the Washington DC area to enjoy a museum – there are so many wonderful ones, and we chose the Udvar-Hazy Center – an extension of the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum that’s located next to Dulles Airport. It has been on our wish list for years, so we finally went… and it was outstanding. The first aircraft you see, front and center, is the SR-71 Blackbird.It was so exciting to be able to get so close to see it, as well as the extensive collection of planes throughout the history of aviation. Jim loved seeing the F-100 and F-105s – which he worked on when he served in the Air National Guard in Vietnam. We also got a kick out of some of the displays, particularly this one… an example of out-of-the-box thinking.The number and variety of aircraft was staggering – from the actual Enola Gay to the Concorde, small planes and big planes, modern and antique. There was more than we could absorb in one visit, so we’ll definitely go back the next time we’re in town. My favorite was the Space Shuttle DISCOVERY. I was at Cape Canaveral for her maiden launch in 1984, and I have a little flag that flew on that mission – so it was special to see her once again.We could see into the hangar where more aircraft were being restored, and we were just so impressed by the magnitude and quality of the museum.We got to see one of Jim’s brothers and and one of his sisters, as well as a niece and nephew and all the spouses – we always have a lot of laughs. We visited friends at their weekend house in West Virginia and had fun splitting logs, running around on their ATV, and catching our breath after too much visiting and eating and sitting around.From the chilly mid-Atlantic we drove down to sunny Florida to see Jim’s Dad for Thanksgiving. In the “small world” category, we made the happy discovery that our Canadian boating friends from the Northwest were in nearby St. Petersburg on their RV, so we met them for lunch and a very happy reunion.
Unfortunately Jim’s sinus infection was still hanging on, and the new medication that his doctor prescribed didn’t agree with him, so he ended up skipping Thanksgiving dinner since he was still pretty wobbly… poor kid. He took another day to rest and was feeling well enough to go visit some other boating friends who just crossed the Gulf of Mexico from Florida’s panhandle. We strolled around Tarpon Springs and ate wonderful Greek food and toured around in the dinghy. My friend Carol is my best birding and photography buddy, and we got to see the pelicans and the young wood storks.They have faces that only a mother could love, but it’s neat to see the feathers on the edge of their wings – a pretty iridescent green-black. Some snowy egrets and a few blue herons were hanging out around a fish cleaning table, and the pelicans were smart to sit beneath the table’s drain pipe.The warm sunny Florida days were lovely, but we’re acclimated to Alaska weather now and sometimes it felt a little too warm. Two years ago we would be in jeans and long sleeves at 70 degrees… now we’re comfortable in shorts.We saw another of Jim’s brothers and another sister down in Florida, but ran out of time to see some of my Florida cousins. Sunny and Jim spoiled us with their usual killer hospitality, and we enjoyed the time we spent with everyone very very much.