Quinn’s Extraordinary Travel Ramblings
We left Juneau on September 21st at 8:00 a.m. Henceforth the week or so prior to our leaving was spent cleaning and packing up the house when we weren‘t at the Mount Roberts Tramway or on board a cruise ship giving Southeast Alaska Odyssey Shows. Much of that time was actually just spent running up and down the halls dancing and “singing” to artists such as Dan Balan, Frankie Valli, The Chordettes, The Chords, The Penguins, Kristin Chenowith and many more.
Some of the more prominent tasks that we had to accomplish were pressure washing Xoche’s cage (the parrot), and disinfecting Quinn’s room, (so whoever stayed in it wouldn’t contract any unpleasant malady.)
Our flight out of Juneau departed late as usual. We flew two and a half hours to Seattle. When our flight was leaving Juneau Quinn started a timer to see how long it would take us to get from our point of origin to our point of destination. When we lined up to board the jet the gatekeeper asked Laura to step out of line and go to see the ticket agent. She also instructed Paul to gate check his guitar. Paul being the true rebel he is, and not wanting to have his guitar broken into a thousand pieces, marched past the gate and on to the plane where he asked a stewardess to put his guitar in a closet for him; which she did very nicely. Check this You Tube link out — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo — to see how some artist’s instruments fair when they fly in the cargo of today’s airliners. It’s enough to make a rebel out of many otherwise mild mannered gentlemen.
When Laura boarded she was without her instruments. Apparently the ticket agent had confiscated her instruments and sent them down to the hold. Laura of course demurely followed instructions. We were all rather disappointed with the gatekeeper. Happily on arrival in Seattle, Laura’s instruments were handed back to her in mint condition. Way to go Alaska Airlines!
We were in Seattle for just long enough to get from point A (our arrival gate) to point B (our takeoff point); and board. None of our instruments were gate checked this time much to our relief. This next flight took about three hours. It was a rather grueling journey. Laura and Quinn sat by each other two rows behind Paul, Melissa and Abby.
Quinn was sitting next to a college age looking student. During the flight Quinn stole a sideways glance at him and saw that the diligent scholar was working on a school assignment. He was writing about choral reefs. Quinn was transfixed by all of the new fascinating facts that he learned. Such as: 1) Choral reefs are underwater 2) Choral reefs are wet and 3) many other such things.
During the flight Paul, Laura and Quinn watched the new movie, The A Team . They all enjoyed it immensely. Abby watched Marmaduke. And Melissa slept through the whole flight. She slept due to the fact that she stayed up all night long before we departed Juneau cleaning house and packing for the trip.
When we arrived in Minneapolis, Minnesota we headed for the baggage carousel to retrieve our baggage. Our Grandpa Zahasky was there waiting for us. We had almost walked by grandpa without noticing him when he spoke up. He said that he had seen us a mile away due to my illustrious top-hat.
Grandpa and my dad went to retrieve the vehicle from the parking garage. While they were gone Mom, Laura, Abby and I lugged our baggage off of the carousel. We had about six or seven, twenty ton bags. Actually each suitcase weighed in at precisely 50 pounds, due to the new weight limitations and the lovely baggage charge which is added to your ticket if you pack one ounce over the weight limitation.
We dragged our luggage out to the curb and sat in wonder at the warm night air, relishing our bare feet in sandals which is a rare phenonema for Alaskan kids. When we were picked up dad figured out how to get everything to fit just right into the van. It was somewhat like a jigsaw puzzle, only not quite. Grandpa had rented us an eleven person van. There was more room in it than we had had in the airplane, which meant that each of us could actually stretch our legs more than five inches. Come to think of it there was more room in it than any car we’ve ever driven in. We were headed to Decorah, Iowa which was about a three hour drive.
On the way we stopped in Rochester, Minnesota at Menard’s Builders Supply to purchase new shower walls necessary for the fixing of the shower in our bus. Leaving Menards we headed for a Subway shop to get a bite to eat. That was my favorite part of the whole trip that day. I’m partial to the meatball marinara. At 10:30 p.m. we pulled to a stop in front of grandma and grandpa’s house. I stopped my timer. It had taken us 13 hours and 30 minutes to travel three thousand five hundred miles from Juneau, Alaska to Decorah, Iowa. Not bad time.
We visited with Grandma and Grandpa for about the next hour and discovered that Grandmama had baked us her most incredible yummy, yummy for my tummy, super duper extra chocolaty sour cream fudge chocolate cake. We were very excited about that. Of course we all tried to act very nonchalant about the whole affair and made a great effort to restrain from eating it all before breakfast the next morning. Eventually sleep got the better of us and we went to bed. It had been an eighteen hour day which included traveling through three different time zones. So after a long day of time travel we collapsed in a heap of wriggling pudding.
The distance from Juneau to Decorah (as the crow flies, not Alaskan Airlines) is about 2085 miles. Thats about 3,475,945 5-string banjos, end to end. And 13 hours, 30 minutes is about enough time for 231 stage-length songs, or 67 medium-length barn dances. So you used up three and a half million banjos in sixty-seven contra dances. Congradulations! I think you set a new record!
I do believe that if we tried to string all of those banjos we might have to mortgage Alaska Airlines. But then again if we danced all of those dances we would also need some prosthetic legs which aren’t very cheap.