February 27, 2009

My Anchorage trip - Thursday

Thursday: I just could not sleep last night. I am too excited. It was 2 a.m. before I could get to sleep, and then I woke up at 5 a.m.

My daughter, Ashley took me to the Ontario International airport where security was much more pleasant of an experience than the last time. I don't blame security, as my bag contains another suitcase (my tripe and keister) that has a metal bar inside and lots of items stored in there. I am sure it looks rather odd to the person running the X-ray monitor. The last time this happened I had to stand inside a small square while they carefully opened my luggage. I guess it is better safe than sorry.

The plane was late, and once we boarded and got all settled in, they de-boarded us due to a fuel spill. I swear it's that damned Smith curse my daughter and I always joke about. Luckily after about an hour we were able to board the same plane but were 3 hours late arriving in Seattle. In Seattle I was prepared for a 3 hour stop-over and had planned a meeting with Darryl Beckmann, author of Alexander Conlin - The Man Who Knows. Conlin was said to be a member of the Soap Gang in Skagway in 1898. I was really looking forward to meeting him as we have formed a nice friendship over the years via long conversations over the phone. Arriving in Seattle Darryl had understandably left. It would not have mattered had he stayed as I exited one plane and jumped on another with less than 10 minutes to spare. I was sure they would not get my bag on the plane but I have to hand it to Alaska Airlines for doing just that. I have no complaints, except perhaps that they no longer serve lunches on the plane and charge $5 for a cheeseburger, of which I did not partake.

In planning my trip I had the help of several Alaskans, including poster "S" and my publisher, Art Petersen. Knowing it was in the 20s in Anchorage and would not be able to change, I was forced to dress for the cold with three layers of clothing in weather that was in the 70s, lol. I was very warm for most of the trip but very grateful as I exited the last plane in Anchorage and captured the first snap of cold air. Hey, I've never been in weather below 32 and even then I stayed indoors, lol.

In making reservations for plane seats I made sure I had window seats as I love to see where I am. There was little doubt when we were over Alaska. What a breathtaking view I had. One has no idea how beautiful it all is until you see it from high up and then slowly descending down to land. As far as the eye can see there were beautiful mountain peaks, rivers, glaciers and snow everywhere. I only wish my two kids could have been with me to see it all.

Landing in Anchorage I was met by the very friendly and pretty, Laura. She too had lack of sleep due to a new son, just 5 months old. Laura drove me around on a tour of the city where I am staying and then helped lodge me in The Anchorage, a historic hotel built in 1916. Mind you, Anchorage was founded in 1915 so they are proud of this hotel, and rightfully so.

At about 7 p.m. Sandy, owner of Cyrano's Theater Company called my room and invited me over to meet the cast of The Ballad of Soapy Smith and go over details for the weekend events. The theater is just a block away so getting there was no problem. I was exhausted but too excited to rest so off I went. I had donned my period 1898 Spanish-American War shoes as my "snow-boots" were killing me. Luckily these shoes had rubber in the soles in 1898 or I surely would have landed on my butt several times due to the ice puddles in the street. Sandy was a pleasure to meet but was understandably very busy. I could tell she felt bad in constantly having to interrupt our conversations but I fully understood, having been in business several times before. I am on "vacation" but she is not.

I was not able to watch the show but will catch it Friday and Saturday nights. From the applause I heard after the show ended I know I am in for a real treat. Once the cast came out I had fun kidding around with, including "Frank Reid" and "Soapy," whom I called grandpa. When some young adults heard some of my conversation they were excited to meet me. I actually signed autographs! Nice being a celebrity I must admit. By 11:30 p.m. I was ready for bed. I walked the block to the hotel and got some much needed sleep.

To be continued...

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