This is my personal blog and represents my own opinion, not that of the station, my family nor anyone else. And it is NOT a News-story.
Well, I'm back in the mid-Ohio valley after a trip of a lifetime through Alaska and the Yukon Territory, finishing up with a 4 day cruise down the inland waterway. THIS is the way to do this tour, as it places the cruise at the end of the long trip, instead of the head...if you should do it the other way around. Six years ago, that's how we did it, and boy, were we tired by the time we finished Fairbanks, did Denali and the limped through Anchorage.
Also, the flight coming back from Seattle is shorter than the one going out of Anchorage, and the airport is larger and more modern. That counts for something. Though we had some problem with baggage at both. Anchorage wanted to weigh and overcharge everyone...Seattle didn't want to weigh at first, but finally got their act together.
I have some observations that I'd like to share. First impressions of things as I adjust and get back onto E.S.T. clock-wise. (Alright, adjusting for jet lag...if you want to call it that.) I'm much less jet-lagged than I thought I was going to be, this time around.
First, I caught the first report of a major airliner crash at San Francisco about a half and hour after it happened, on The Weather Channel, of all places. My first reaction was, "What does this have to do with the weather?" Then I remembered that they are co-owned by NBC and figured there must be a weather angle to the story. (There isn't.)
Then I remembered as CNN continually reported the status of the crash investigation that I had just finished TWO books about airline crashes just before my trip. The first, a science fiction book and movie from the 1980s called "Millennium" about a plot to kidnap passengers off a flying jet to repopulate the earth in the future. (Weird, I know, but the time travel aspect is cool and the special effects of the mid-air snatch job was neat!)
The second is a fictional investigation and solving the case of the real life crash of TWA Flight 800 out of JFK in July 1996. The highly aclaimed, grippling book is called "Night Fall" by Nelson DeMille and is the third in the John Corey series. It also is good, but I guessed the ending even as he was backing into the fifth anniversary observance of the crash. Highly recommend this one.
So it was with a sense of "that could have been us", that I listened with half an ear to the painfully slow reports of what might have happened to the jet. Finally, some amateur video has surfaced, and the sequence of events is becoming more clear, even if the NTSA investigative team is not yet ready to comment.
But there was another close call that no one seems to have noticed.
After docking in Vancouver, we left the ship and rode a motor coach south to Seattle, getting caught in traffic and then walking through their Pike Street Market place (you know, where they throw the fish across the counter!). We killed more than two hours there before checking in at a very nice Red Lion hotel and having our final, farewell meal.
By the way, I was given a very nice gag gift from one of the travelers. I have seen this in many different forms over the years, and so I didn't get too excited. I just accepted it. But here's a photo of it.
While housed on the 19th floor with a great view, I began to worry what would happen in an earthquake, since we were on the Pacific Rim and nothing had gone wrong with the trip yet. (There's always something, but all was well so far.)
We left without incident and landed safely in Chicago and then Pittsburgh and motored home through fireworks, both natural and man-made, returning home about 11:30 p.m., right on schedule. However, our ride was not there to pick us up. Standing in the warm humid air, we waited on our family members to figure out that they had come to the wrong pick-up point, despite my instructing them and drawing a map for them, and leaving the address and itinerary for them.
But they arrived by midnight, and even though the gas tank was empty, we made it back home after 1 a.m. and unpacked the essentials, sorting laundry and giving gifts and learning of the week away from one another. Still no problems.
But the next day, I heard on CNN that there had been an expensive fire in Seattle. On the waterfront. And that the fire had cost 1.4 MILLION dollars in property damage. I haven't heard anything more about the story, since the plane crash has grabbed all the headlines, but I'm not sure it was a new news story or a repeat of an old story and background. But my hairs stood on end cause we had just been there. On the waterfront...at the Pike Street Market, only that morning. And taken pictures like good tourists.
Finally the penny dropped. Not all was going to be fine with my trip. Our beloved cat, who stayed outside and wouldn't come near us (feral by nature and practice), was hanging around our house, swaying almost uncontrollably. The wobble when he walked was unmistakable and he looked like he had Parkinson's disease from the shaking. Within the day we were calling vets ON A HOLIDAY WEEKEND, trying to get some advice.
Saturday morning, a kind vet checked her answering machine, returned our call and said if we could catch the cat, she'd come back into the office to examine him at minimal expense. We set the live trap and proceeded to hope. He stole the food but didn't trip the trap. Not until 9pm.
We called the vet and rushed him to her. She couldn't examine him, he was so feisty and then so weak. She wanted to sedate him and we agreed. A more thorough examination confirmed our fears. He was fighting pneumonia and had a hard mass: cancer. This was something on-going that had not developed over-night, nor over two weeks. It was something that we had noticed, but not the pneumonia and wobbling until we returned. There was only one thing to do, so we did it.
We buried him next to our other three cats in the back yard this morning.