Last year, after having a list of people that wanted to visit Canada and do the Rocky Mountaineer Scenic Train trip, many opted out and so we had just four bookings made. Because Lyn has done the journey twice before (once in Canada’s winter), and we had done a motor home trip in Canada in 1983, we decided to split from the small group and head straight for Alaska and maybe experience the Arctic Circle. June 4 marks our 25th anniversary in the travel agency which makes the trip rather eventful. So we are in Alaska for 8 nights before we board the “Coral Princess” for their 7 day cruise to Vancouver stopping off at destinations like Skagway, Juneau, Ketchican, Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay National Park along the way.
Leaving Melbourne at 6:00am to connect with the 14:15 hour flight to Vancouver, followed by a short flight to Seattle before the 3:30 hour flight to Fairbanks, means you have to get out of bed and spend 37 hours in transit before your head hits another pillow. It was a long wait in Vancouver for our connection to Seattle but fortunately we are members of “Priority Pass” chain that has over 700 airport lounges around the world. This meant we were able to have a few hours sleep in comfort, well sort of, and as much food as they cared to serve us.
The flight with Air Canada was smooth most of the way. Lots of games to play and books to read helped fill in the ‘awake’ time. I think we had no more than 1 hour of sleep as there was, yes, a boisterous child across the aisle from us. Enough said!
Seattle Airport is a very busy hub for Alaska Airlines and our view from the lounge included many aircraft movements for the time we were there.
We flew over many snow covered mountains on our way from Seattle Airport to Fairbanks, arriving at 11:00pm just after the sunset. At present, they are having 19 hours of daylight so its late sun down and early sun up at the moment. As we are with Princess Cruises for 15 nights, as much as possible of the accommodation is owned by the Cruise line. Our accommodation here at Fairbanks Princess – Riverside Lodge has only been open 3 days for the season which means the staff are still learning the daily needs of the many guests who have started an early ‘summer vacation’.
Late last night we decided to do the day flight to the Arctic Circle (we love planes now). The weather looks good today but at 6:00am when we awoke (courtesy of an alarm), we were just too late to be included in the 7:00am departure. The next flight is at 1:00pm for us to experience ‘the other end’ of the world. The sun is shining, that’s a plus, and the staff said it is going to be a good day at ‘the circle’