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ON THE ROAD AGAIN: From The Bottom of Africa to The Top of Alaska

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: From The Bottom of Africa to The Top of Alaska

Old Jun 2, 11, 1:07 pm
  #1  
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ON THE ROAD AGAIN: From The Bottom of Africa to The Top of Alaska



Knysna, South Africa

One afternoon I was sitting on the broad veranda of my hostel in Knysna, South Africa while pondering how I might best go about getting to the city of George, located 70km to the west. I had booked a 6:55pm flight from George to Johannesburg for two days hence and so would have most of the day of departure to find my way to the airport. As I looked through a bus timetable, I noticed that George appeared to be the southernmost city in South Africa, and thus by extension, Africa itself. Hmm…

Six years ago I wrote a trip report detailing my journey from Ushuaia at the bottom of South America to Darwin at the top of Australia. Two years later I followed that up with another report describing my journey from Adak, near the tip of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and the westernmost airport in the world, to Ushuaia, at the tip of South America and the southernmost city (and airport) in the world. In both cases travel was in First and Business Class, so although I was travelling from one geographical extreme to another, one could hardly call either of these trips extreme travel.

A bit of research revealed that the city of George, South Africa is located right near the bottom of Africa at latitude 3358'S, and its airport is located even a couple ticks further to the south making it the southernmost commercially serviced airport in Africa. The original plans called for this airport to be located about 40 miles to the north in Oudtshoorn, but thanks to the intervention of ex-President P.W. Botha, who just happened to have a summer home in the nearby town of Wilderness, the airport was instead built in a broad valley about 7 miles southwest of George. Originally named P.W. Botha airport, it was quickly renamed after the end of apartheid and is now known simply as George Airport.

Although I’m departing from George, my ultimate destination is back to my hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska. Fairbanks is a mere 500 miles from Barrow, the northernmost city in North America and it just so happened that I had an as yet unflown award ticket leg available to me between Fairbanks and Barrow. I had planned to use this ticket later this summer but what the heck – I’ve been to Barrow before and had no real plans for this trip except to visit Pepe’s North of The Border ~ the world’s northernmost Mexican restaurant ~ and then return home. So I got to thinking about it and since here I was starting my journey home from the southernmost airport in Africa, why not end my trip in Barrow, the northernmost city in North America? Besides, it would make for a good trip report title.

** ***** **

It’s a long way from the bottom of Africa to the top of Alaska. Were one to fly nonstop from George, South Africa to Barrow, Alaska, the distance would be 9750 miles, effectively supplanting Singapore Airlines’ nonstop service between New York and Singapore as the world’s longest flight. The routing would track due north over Africa, Europe and the North Pole, with flight time likely exceeding eighteen hours. Of course, given the insufficient market demand between these two communities, nonstop flights have yet to be offered, much less even considered. At present, travel between these two cities would require a minimum of five flights.

For many people, a journey of this length would be viewed with considerable trepidation; a long and arduous ordeal best endured with a handful of Ambien and/or a bottle of whiskey. People who think like this are probably traveling in Economy Class however, so nobody really cares what they think. Here at FlyerTalk, we Masters of Mileage Accrual would never deign to travel such distances in anything less than a proper Business Class seat. Indeed, some of us will settle for nothing less than the very best ~ a First Class Suite to convey our pampered posteriors across the long, intercontinental segments.

Economy Class travelers often rationalize their thrifty ways by sniffing that we all get there at the same time. The grim reality is that flights feel a lot longer back in Economy than they do up in the pointy end of the airplane where spacious seating and enhanced inflight services combine to make even the longest flight a comfortable and pleasurable experience where time flies and some even wish that their flight could last a bit longer.

Regardless of one’s mode of travel, there’s no denying that the journey between George, South Africa and Barrow, Alaska is one helluva a long trip. The most direct route currently available would require one to fly from George up to Johannesburg, then on to Atlanta, Seattle, Anchorage and up to Barrow. The total distance flown would come to 12,800 miles.

Never one to travel the most direct route, I’ve come up with distinctly original routing that takes me first to northern Florida (via Johannesburg, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Chicago). I’ll spend a week there visiting friends and attending a four day music festival before commencing a series of mileage runs that will involve just over 45000 miles of additional mileage accrual. In the interests of brevity, this report will not document those flights, but instead will rejoin the journey in Los Angeles as I board Amtrak’s Southwest Chief for a 43 hour First Class journey across America’s heartland to Chicago, Illinois. Following a brief visit with family, it’s on to Indiana for bourbon and elk steaks with fellow Denali Drivers before continuing on to Alaska via Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Austin, Denver and Southeast Utah. Arrival in Barrow, Alaska will be on May 8th, forty-eight days and 70000 miles after leaving George, South Africa.

So ~ if this sounds like your kind of journey, or at least one you’d care to read about, go pour yourself a favored libation, settle into a comfortable chair and prepare to enjoy the ride. We’ve got a long journey ahead…

Last edited by Seat 2A; Jun 9, 13 at 8:39 pm
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Old Jun 2, 11, 1:09 pm
  #2  
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March 20, 2011
George Johannesburg
Kulula Economy Class
737-800 ZS-ZWQ
6:55pm 8:30pm


My day started with a one hour bus ride from Knysna down to George, followed by a taxi out to the airport. Despite George being a relatively small city, the airport terminal building is surprisingly modern and spacious. Three airlines offer flights on the George to Johannesburg route, and I chose Kulula because they offered the best price on the day I was traveling. Kulula is the low-cost subsidiary of British Airways South African franchise Comair. It began service in 2001 and offers affordably priced domestic flights aboard a fleet of brightly colored 737s. It is perhaps best known for its humorous inflight announcements and aircraft liveries.

Kululas check-in counter opened an hour and a half before departure time. The two agents on duty worked efficiently to process passengers and baggage. I requested and received an exit row window seat, then was handed a cabin baggage tag for my daypack. Right. Off to security. On the other side of security were a small caf and not one but three separate airport lounges. My Priority Pass got me into the Bidair Services Premier Lounge, located just beyond the security check point. Additionally, I could have used my Priority Pass to gain access to another lounge called the Oubaai Sky Lounge, but after a quick look inside it was clear to see that the Bidair lounge was the superior facility. The third lounge was affiliated with a local golf and country club ~ quite a nice perk for its members to have an airport lounge as well.

Though it would have been nice to have flown upon one of Kululas uniquely liveried 737s, the aircraft assigned to this evenings flight up to Johannesburg was quite likely the least colorful airplane in the fleet. It was an ex-Transavia Holland machine that Kulula acquired over a year ago, in February of 2010, yet it still bore its prior operators plain white fuselage offset by a broad two tone green ring just forward of the wings. Oh well, perhaps the airplane was on long term lease. In any event, the seats were comfortable and the service on this one hour and thirty minute flight was reasonably efficient.

My ride to Gandhis Backpackers was waiting for me at baggage claim. Thirty minutes later I was comfortably ensconced in the poolside cabana while enjoying ice cold Windhoek Lagers and exchanging tales of African adventure with a couple from Argentina and Heinz, the Swiss owner. I didnt get to bed until 2:30am but hey it was my last night in Africa. Until next year.



The poolside bar at Gandhis Backpackers Picture taken in the quiet morning hours
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Old Jun 2, 11, 1:10 pm
  #3  
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March 21, 2011
Johannesburg – Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific First Class
Boeing 747-400 B-HKF
600p – 1230p


Unfortunately the Captain for today’s flight had been involved in a car accident while visiting Cape Town and as a result of his injuries was unable to commandeer the twelve and a half hour flight over to Hong Kong. A replacement pilot had been flown in overnight but wouldn’t be legal to work until this evening. As a result, my flight which had originally been scheduled to depart Johannesburg at 12:45pm would now be departing at 6:00pm.

I could hardly have received better news! That 12:45pm eastbound departure is a real bear of a flight when it comes to jet lag. I mean, here you are in the middle of the day facing a twelve hour flight that arrives in Hong Kong at 7:00am local time, 1:00am Johannesburg time. I don’t even start to get tired until about 10 or 11:00pm most nights, so per my normal body clock I’m just getting ready to sleep by the time the day is beginning in Hong Kong. This new departure time was much better, though it would cut into my lounge time in Hong Kong. Alas…

After a leisurely morning in Kensington, I was dropped off at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport at 3:15pm. Ultimately, the extra time proved beneficial as I finished writing the last of my postcards, bought the kids back home some gifts and got to spend a good long while lounging about in the Shongololo Lounge.



The Shongololo Lounge

At 5:00pm, I gathered my gear and headed out to gate A5. A large crowd had gathered and was surging en mass toward the podium. There was no evidence of a premium class boarding line, much less any other form of line – just a mass of humanity pressing towards an entrance about six feet wide. I located a uniformed Cathay Pacific employee, displayed my boarding pass and asked if there were any way to avoid the big crowd. I was immediately escorted to the podium where my boarding pass was scanned and I was waved onboard. Yes!! I love these First Class perks!

Emerging from the hot and crowded jetway into the First Class cabin of Cathay’s 747 was just heavenly. Saint Peter was not in attendance, but a pair of attractive flight attendants welcomed me aboard and gracefully escorted me to my suite. Soft Chinese melodies floated through the cabin like a gentle breeze on a spring afternoon. Soon I was relaxing with a tall glass of exquisitely chilled Krug whilst perusing the latest headlines and scores in the International Herald Tribune.



Krug Grande Cuve Champagne ~ A Welcome Start to Any Journey!

Cathay Pacific’s 747s seat nine in First Class. It’s an extremely spacious arrangement that seemed all the more so given that only four of us would be travelling up front this evening. Our two flight attendants, Joey and Nelda, did a marvelous job of getting us all comfortably situated with cocktails, newspapers and the usual complement of First Class amenities.



Cathay’s First Class Amenity Kit

Once again, I can’t help but appreciate the wonderful ambience of International caliber First Class compared to most any other style of commercial flight. The difference is immediately apparent from the moment you enter the aircraft. One of the things I particularly appreciate upon boarding is how serene and peaceful it is up in First Class, even on a full flight. Oh sure, Business Class is definitely a nice step up from Economy Class, but even it seems busy and hectic during boarding and the close proximity of your fellow passengers in both person and actions do not allow the same sense of quiet tranquility as experienced in a First Class suite. What a wonderful way to travel!

Just prior to pushing back, the Captain came on over the PA to welcome us aboard, apologize for the delay, and inform us that our flight time over to Hong Kong this evening would be twelve hours and fourteen minutes. From my perspective, anything over twelve hours has got to be considered a real positive, especially for those of us sat in First Class. When flown eastbound, this route is notorious for strong tailwinds, and indeed I have flown it in as little as 11 hrs 20 min in years past. Tonight’s longer flight time would mean a more leisurely pace after dinner – perhaps I might even take in a movie – before going to sleep secure in the knowledge that I’d have at least six or seven hours to do so.

As we made our way out to the runway, Joey stopped by to present the menu and wine list. As always, Cathay Pacific had put together an admirable collection of food and drink…




The Wine List


WINE LIST

Champagne

Krug Grande Cuve Champagne

White Wines
Bouchard Pere & Fils Meursault Les Clous 2006
Chain Of Ponds Corkscrew Road Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2006


Red Wines
Chateau Lynch Bages 2003
Klein Zalze Stellenbosch Vineyard Selection Shiraz 2007
Terrabianca “Campaccio Riserva” Toscana IGT 2004


Port
Ramos Pinto Quinta da Ervamoira 10 Year Old Tawny Port




DINNER
Johannesburg to Hong Kong


Caviar and Balik Salmon Delight
Oscietra Caviar and Balik Salmon “Tsar Nicolaj”
Served with Warm New Potatoes and Crme Fraiche


Soup
Cream of mushroom

Salad
Mixed lettuce with feta, toasted pine nuts, cocktail tomatoes, peppadew
and Balsamic Vinaigrette


Bread Basket
Assorted Bread and Rolls

** ***** **

INTERNATIONAL FAVOURITES

Chicken Breast

Stuffed with leek, feta cheese and olives, accented with red pepper sauce
Served with parsley mash and asparagus


Lamb Rogen Josh
With basmati rice, cauliflower and pea curry


CHINESE FAVOURITES

Starters

Chicken Soup with water chestnut, carrot and sweet corn
Cold Plate – Roasted duck breast with pickled ginger


Steamed Kingklip with ginger, garlic and spring onion soya sauce
or
Pan-Fried Beef Fillet with Hot Chilli Bean Sauce

Served with steamed jasmine rice, choy sum, black mushrooms and capiscums


** ***** **

CHEESE AND DESSERT

Chevin Herb, Zevenwacht Cheddar, Camembert, Simonzola Blue Cheese

Poached apple with raspberry compote and sweetened cream

Warm sticky toffee and ginger pudding with vanilla ice cream

Black sesame dessert


TEA and COFFEE

Pralines

__________________________________________________ ____________________________


SNACKS

Barbecued pork with noodle in soup

Chicken Skewer with Satay Sauce

Served with grilled zucchini

Assorted Sandwiches
Mozzarella cheese with lettuce and tomato, roasted chicken and cucumber, air-dried ham rolled with date and cream cheese

Ice Cream




A 747-400 loaded with passengers, baggage and enough fuel to complete a 15 hour flight requires a substantial amount of runway to become airborne. When you factor in Johannesburg’s elevation at 5,800 feet above sea level, even more runway is required. I don’t know how far we rolled, but I do know that our takeoff took 52 seconds before we soared into the clear evening sky and headed east toward the Indian Ocean and beyond.



Off Into The Soft Blue Yonder

We were just passing through 33,000 feet when Joey arrived with a glass of Johnny Walker Blue Label accompanied by a small bowl of delicious mixed nuts. We’re talking almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts and cashews, quite a nice upgrade from the almonds that previously accompanied drinks.



Johnny Walker Blue with Mixed Nuts

I love departing at dusk, but my preference is to fly into the setting sun rather than away from it. By the time we’d reached Africa’s east coast, the sun had set and it was almost completely dark. Ah well, it was a nice night for flying and I was in the perfect position to enjoy it to the utmost, sipping from a glass of delightful Scotch whilst comfortably reclined in a First Class suite awaiting the delicious dinner service soon to follow.



The Suite Position

This evening’s dinner service commenced with a plate of caviar and salmon, admirably accompanied by a second glass of Scotch.



Caviar, Salmon & Scotch ~ Truly Decadent

I never get to start my meals at home with caviar and salmon and briefly considered asking for seconds on the caviar. Still, I’d ordered the Pan-Fried Beef Fillet with Hot Chilli Bean Sauce from the Chinese Favorites menu and with a lot of food still to be served, I decided I could always ask for more caviar later in the flight. The chicken soup was decent though not overly flavorful. A small dab of hot paste helped considerably. Next up came the main course, attractively presented with plates of stir-fried vegetables and chicken satay arranged around a bowl of rice. Deeee-licious!



Chicken Soup & Roasted Duck Breast



Pan-Fried Beef Fillet with Hot Chilli Bean Sauce

A plate of fine cheese and a glass of port brought this repast to a most satisfying close. By the time the last of my plates were cleared, I was ready for a bit of inflight entertainment and a cup of after dinner coffee. With Baileys. A quick glance at the moving Sky Map indicated that we were just two hours into the flight, so I had plenty of time to relax before turning in for the night.

Cathay’s Studio CX offers enough entertainment options to keep one happily occupied for a week long flight, much less a flight of just twelve hours. Ultimately I opted to watch a couple of interesting documentaries, saving some of the more current movie choices such as True Grit or The King’s English for a larger screen at home.

Later, while my suite was converted into a three foot wide bed, I changed into pajamas in what is surely one of the most spacious and well appointed lavatories aloft. I returned to find an inviting bed consisting of a white sheeted mattress topped with a large, fluffy duvet.



Suite Dreams

A bottle of water was delivered and I spent the next hour comfortably tucked in while finishing off the last hundred pages of my book. It was John Lescroat’s latest thriller and like any good book, once you get near the end you’ve just got to keep going until you finish. As a result, I finally got to sleep a bit later than I’d hoped for and with the comfortable mattress and duvet I slept so well that I didn’t wake up until about 30 minutes prior to our arrival in Hong Kong. Well there’s nothing wrong with a good sleep, particularly on an airplane, but unfortunately by the time I awoke there was no longer enough time to enjoy the full breakfast service, so I had to settle for a Danish and a couple cups of coffee.



Landing on a typically rainy day in Hong Kong

Descent into Hong Kong was through the usual clouds and rain that accompany my every visit. If I ever want to see this place under sunny skies, I’m just gonna have to stay longer. As it was, our late departure from Johannesburg meant that I would have just an hour and a half layover in Hong Kong. Oh well, at least our assigned gate, number 4, was located conveniently close to Cathay’s lounge The Wing. Unfortunately, transit passengers were required to walk all the way down to the central part of the terminal to be screened for re-boarding of their onward flights. The line there was long and slow, took a good half hour to transit, and then I had to make my way all the way back to my original gate as the aircraft that delivered me from Johannesburg would also be doing the honors to San Francisco. By the time I reached The Wing, boarding for my flight to San Francisco was just beginning. Guess I’m gonna have to come back and do this again sometime if I want to have a proper visit to The Wing. I continued on to gate 4 and re-boarded B-HKF.

Last edited by Seat 2A; Jun 9, 13 at 8:42 pm
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Old Jun 2, 11, 1:12 pm
  #4  
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March 22, 2011
Hong Kong – San Francisco
Cathay Pacific First Class
Boeing 747-400 B-HKF
225p – 1100a


You know, it’s one thing for Southwest Airlines to turn around a 737 in 20 minutes but it’s quite another for an airline to turn around a fully loaded and catered 747 coming off an international flight and then heading out on another just an hour and a half later. Cathay’s ground crew managed to do so with a level of speed and efficiency that would make even the best NASCAR pit crews sit up and take notice.

Given that I log each of my flights, including the registration numbers of the aircraft, I must say I was mildly disappointed to be flying this same aircraft once again. I’m into that weird mindset that only a true aviation geek like me can get into where I like to fly everything in the fleet. Collect them all, I say! As it is, this was my 19th flight with Cathay Pacific and three of those flights have been aboard this exact same aircraft, B-HKF, for a total of 20,320 miles. There’s only one aircraft I’ve logged more miles on and it’s G-BYGF, a British Airways 747-400 upon which I’ve logged four flights totaling 26,460 miles.

But enough trivia! I strolled down the jetway, presented my boarding pass at the door and then accelerated smoothly into the First Class cabin while escorted by Lina, she of the beautiful smile and one of two lovely flight attendants serving the seven of us up front this afternoon. Outside the rain fell steadily and beaded upon the three windows alongside my suite. Inside the cabin lights sparkled warmly off the glass of perfectly chilled Krug Champagne delivered to my suite along with a small plate of mixed nuts.

Hot towels were presented next, followed by menus, wine lists and refills on Champagne. Now seemed like a good time to peruse the wine offerings…


WINE LIST

Champagne

Krug Grande Cuve Champagne

White Wines
Estancia Reserve Monterey Chardonnay 2007
Bouchard Pere & Fils Meursault Les Clous 2006


Red Wines
Kalleske Greenock Barossa Valley Shiraz 2008
Atlas Peak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Chateau Lynch Bages 2004, Grand Cru Class Pauillac 5th Growth


Port
Ramos Pinto Quinta da Ervamoira 10 Year Old Tawny Port


As the tractor pushed us back from the gate, I clearly heard the Lynch Bages calling my name as it so often has before. Lynch Bages is rather like the house wine on Cathay Pacific and although I’m no wine connoisseur, I’ve always found the varying vintages of this wine to be consistently good. I requested a glass for later in the flight and watched as we taxied past all manner of exotic Asian airliners parked around the airport grounds.

Soon enough we were thundering down the runway, then climbing steadily towards our initial cruising altitude of thirty some odd thousand feet. The clouds above Hong Kong ran fairly high and it was a good half hour into the flight before we broke through them and into the beautiful, sunny world of the troposphere.

Now comfortably reclined with my feet up and a glass of wine at hand, I opened the dinner menu in excited anticipation of the culinary delights soon to come. I have always considered the meal service aboard International First Class to be the ultimate form of inflight entertainment. I mean, I can sit in a comfortable chair and watch a movie or listen to music any old time, but to have my own personal table laid with crisp white linen and gleaming silverware, then be served a delicious seven course feast accompanied by fine wines and liqueurs is not something I get to enjoy very often, especially with a view such as I now had with the sun reflecting brightly off the deep blue Pacific Ocean below.



Afternoon Delight ~ Cruising High Over The North Pacific



DINNER
Hong Kong to San Francisco

Caviar and Balik Salmon Delight
Oscietra Caviar and Balik Salmon “Tsar Nicolaj”
Served with Warm New Potatoes and Crme Fraiche


Soup
Cream of onion soup

Salad
Caesar salad

Bread Basket
Assorted Bread and Rolls

** ***** **

INTERNATIONAL FAVOURITES

Grilled U.S. Prime Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Sauce

Served with green peas, potato mash, baby carrots, asparagus and roasted capsicum

Fettuccini with Roasted Red Pepper Thyme Sauce
Presented with chanterelle mushrooms and sauted spinach


CHINESE FAVOURITES

Starters

Double boiled pork with lotus root and octopus soup
Cold Plate – pork shank terrine with black vinegar


Steamed Sea Bass
With wood fungus, dried Mandarin peel and preserved vegetables
Or

Sauted Pork Fillet in Chinese Black Vinegar Sauce

Served with steamed jasmine rice, braised baby Chinese cabbage

** ***** **

CHEESE AND DESSERT

Bleu de Chevre, Cheddar, Reblochon and Tomme

Fresh berries with rose syrup

Warm raspberry friand cake with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce

Double boiled papaya with snow fungus sweet soup



** ***** ** ***** ** ***** **


SNACKS

Smoked Haddock and Leek Pie

With salad and lemon wedge

Assorted Sandwiches
Beef pastrami with horseradish butter, mango cheddar cheese chutney,
Smoked salmon with lemon cream cheese


From our series of classic Signature dishes
Hot pot rice with minced pork patty and mui choy vegetable
Served with double boiled pork soup with kaza root and red beans

Taiwanese braised beef in spicy noodle soup

Barbecued roasted duck in noodle soup

Ice Cream



__________________________________________________ _______________________________


Wow! Between the dinner and snack menus, there was enough food available to feed a cabin full of 300 lb. football linemen. I normally never eat anywhere near the amounts of food offered aboard most International First Class flights, but since flying in this style is such a rare and cherished treat for me, I do always make an effort to try as much as reasonably possible. As such, a plate of salmon and caviar was a great way to commence the culinary festivities.



To begin…

I followed this with a bowl of cream of onion soup which was surprisingly good and brought back memories of Richard Corrigan’s white onion and chorizo soup which I thoroughly enjoyed whilst crossing the Atlantic aboard British Airways back in 2002.



Cream of Onion Soup With Croutons

A fairly good Caesar salad was next, and I should note here that both the soup and the salad were distinguished by the addition of freshly ground pepper, presented with panache from a two foot long pepper grinder.



Excellent Caesar Salad

For the main course I was served a nicely prepared and presented steak. I particularly liked how the galley crew had taken the time to artistically arrange the vegetables. Little touches like this are what make flying in First Class aboard airlines like Cathay Pacific such a special experience and not just another flight.



Plate of Steak as an Artist’s Palette

In the time it took me to finish my steak, the view out my window had gone from bright late afternoon sun to the dim pinkish orange afterglow of the recently set sun. It sure gets dark in a hurry when you’re speeding away from the sun at 623 mph. Unfortunately a moderately strong tailwind had reduced our 6820 mile journey across the Pacific to a mere eleven hours and twenty six minutes. While I’m sure that would be considered good news back behind the curtain, up here in First Class it’s the last thing I want to hear. Ideally this would be a sixteen hour flight so that I’d have plenty of time after dinner to watch a movie and/or read for awhile, confident that a good seven or eight hour sleep would still leave me plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and maybe a little extra time in between it all to generally revel at my lot in life.



Warm Raspberry Friand Cake with Ice Cream

As it were however, by the time I’d finished dessert there were less than nine hours left in this flight. As much as I’d like to spend a couple of hours watching a good movie from the impressive variety of films offered in Studio CX, I also had a long day ahead tomorrow and really needed to try to get as much sleep as reasonably possible lest I be a complete wreck. Plus, I never go to bed without reading. Even if I’d drunk myself silly, I’d still probably find a way to at least open a book. And you’ve got to admit that lying in bed reading – on an airplane – is pretty darned nice.



The Widest Bed in The Sky


Cathay claims to have the largest bed in the sky at 6’9” long by 3’3” wide except down the foot of the bed. I found it more than spacious enough and, after an hour or so of reading, slept undisturbed until about two hours out of San Francisco. Perfect!

The first thing I do when I wake up at home is open the curtains. While that’s all well and good at home, in the confines of an airplane cabin, especially up in the nose of a 747, it’s like that famous scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Way too much light. Cathay’s lavatories are equipped with a full sized window and are a great place for us morning sun junkies to get our fix without disturbing our fellow passengers. By the time I returned to my suite it had been returned to its daytime use configuration. Soon after that I was enjoying a pot of coffee and a Danish while the wonderful smells of breakfast being prepared began to waft through the cabin. Let’s check out that breakfast menu:


BREAKFAST

Orange, apple or grapefruit juice

Pink guava smoothie

Fresh Seasonal Fruit

Natural or Low Fat Fruit Yogurt

Assorted Cereals



** ***** **

MAIN COURSES

Free Range Eggs
~ Freshly Scrambled, Fried or Boiled
Served with your choice of grilled breakfast steak, Cumberland sausage, pan-fried potato cake with cheese and spring onion, Roma tomato with herbs or mushrooms


Fish with Gingko Nut Congee
With baked barbecued pork pie

Dim Sum served with Chilli Sauce
Chicken and ham in bean curd skin, pork siu mai with crab roe, seafood dumpling, chive and pork dumpling

Bread Basket
Assorted Breakfast Bread and Fresh Toast
Served with Preserves, Honey and Butter

Tea and Coffee

Pralines



On this same flight last year I chose the Dim Sum for breakfast. It looked and tasted more like lunch, so this time I went with the good old tried and true, a plate of scrambled eggs with all the trimmings. Cathay cooks its eggs on board, so I was able to ask for three eggs plus request that the toast be left in a bit longer so as to get it that much toastier. I don’t recommend trying that request on American or United anytime soon.



Breakfast Starters



Scrambled Eggs with all the Trimmings


All too soon, this marvelous experience known as a flight aboard Cathay Pacific’s First Class came to an end. It was a beautiful day as we descended along the California coast, flying past downtown San Francisco, the beautiful bay and bridges before making a sweeping U-turn way down by Cupertino before lining up for our final approach into SFO. After a flight of eleven hours and nineteen minutes, we touched down softly on runway 17R. With carbon fiber brakes slowing us down as opposed to reverse thrust, the whole experience is substantially quieter and smoother than most any other aircraft. I thanked the crew for all that they’d done in contributing to yet another superb flying experience, then headed up the jetway and down the long hallway to immigration.

** ***** **

In summary, Cathay Pacific’s First Class service really defines the genre. It’s elegant and refined, with state of the art facilities and a well-trained and dedicated cabin crew who consistently demonstrated excellent attention to detail, thereby turning what might otherwise have been very good flights into extraordinary flights. For those of you who appreciate a quality inflight experience, I highly recommend the expenditure of money or miles to experience Cathay Pacific’s First Class for yourselves.

Last edited by Seat 2A; Jun 9, 13 at 8:45 pm
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Old Jun 2, 11, 1:15 pm
  #5  
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Posts: 11,413
March 22,2011
Thru
April 22, 2011


In the month following my return to America, I logged an additional 40,160 miles aboard 48 more flights while mileage running back and forth across the continent. Along the way I also found time to attend the Suwannee Springfest, a music festival held each spring in northern Florida. I also put almost four thousand miles on a variety of rental cars while taking short road trips around the desert and mountain west. All of the flights – even the ones in First Class – were fairly mundane and unworthy of much comment.

Rather than write this all up, I instead offer for your consideration a variety of photographs taken along the way. While individually these pictures may not be worth a thousand words, collectively they will convey nicely some of the beautiful country I travelled through along the way.



Emmitt-Nershi Band at Suwannee Springfest




First Class Hamburger on Delta




Boarding Horizon’s Green Mantis



Monument Valley in Review



Sunset in Death Valley National Park

Last edited by Seat 2A; Jun 17, 11 at 1:43 pm
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Old Jun 2, 11, 1:16 pm
  #6  
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April 21, 2011
Los Angeles - Chicago
Amtrak First Class
Southwest Chief
600p – 315p


Family obligations required my presence in Chicago, Illinois for the weekend and, with Amtrak offering great low prices on its First Class sleeper compartments, I decided to splurge and take the train from Los Angeles to Chicago.

Amtrak’s Southwest Chief takes its name from its predecessor, Santa Fe’s famous Super Chief – arguably the finest streamliner in America and in its day a train that could rightfully be considered amongst the finest in the world. Indeed, the Super Chief was considered "the" train to ride between Chicago and Los Angeles, much as New York Central's 20th Century Limited was the favored travel option for those travelling between Chicago and New York.

Government run Amtrak took over operation of the nation's passenger train service in 1971. The government was new to the railroad passenger business and inherited an aging fleet of passenger cars and a demoralized work staff. The early days of Amtrak’s operation were memorable not for the continuation of the fine service standards of the trains it inherited but rather for shoddy service aboard its aging and poorly maintained fleet. Things got bad enough that in 1974 the Santa Fe forced Amtrak to drop the name “Super Chief” due to the substantial decline in service from the originally named train. For the next few years the train was called the Southwest Limited. The delivery of new Superliner equipment in 1982 combined with improved service standards resulted in the Santa Fe compromising with Amtrak in 1984 and allowing the train to be renamed the Southwest Chief.

I like riding trains. I’ve ridden every Amtrak train in the country serving routes longer than 400 miles and though I’ve ridden this train many times before, I’ve never done so in First Class. On the day of departure I called to check on the departure status. Although Amtrak’s on time record is vastly improved over its early days, I’ve learned from experience that it never hurts to check anyway. Amtrak’s reservation agent assured me that the train was departing on time and encouraged me to get to the station early so that I could enjoy the First Class Lounge prior to departure.

I’d started the day in out on the California-Arizona border in Needles, California and driven 285 miles into LAX where I returned my rental car and caught the $7.00 FlyAway bus service direct from the airport to LA’s Union Station. Arriving at 4:00pm, I had a full hour and a half to enjoy a bit of lounging about before heading out to the tracks. Unfortunately however, it turns out that Amtrak’s First Class Lounge at Los Angeles Union Station is only open for the mid-morning departure of the Coast Starlight up to the Bay Area and on to Portland and Seattle. Why the Southwest Chief, a well patronized train that connects America’s second and third largest cities, doesn’t rate a lounge service is beyond me but so be it. I headed off to the corner Starbucks for a coffee and internet connection.

Boarding was announced at 5:15pm, so I hefted my backpack, daypack and 12-pack of Tecate beer and lumbered on down the long subterranean corridor to Track 11. From there it was up a long ramp to trackside where the Southwest Chief awaited. The train had backed into the station and since sleeping cars are located towards the front of the train, I had quite a walk past two or three coach cars, the lounge car, the dining car and a sleeper before finally reaching my car, an old first generation Superliner sleeper named “Wyoming”. Heading up this collection of shiny silver rolling stock were two 4,250 HP Genesis Model P42DC locomotives.



Amtrak’s Southwest Chief Awaits Departure at Los Angeles

I was greeted at the door by Jesse, the Car Attendant, who inspected my ticket, checked my name off a manifest and welcomed me aboard. Amtrak’s bi-level Superliner Sleeper cars offer 14 Roomettes, 5 Deluxe bedrooms, 1 Family bedroom and one Handicapped bedroom. Four Roomettes along with the Family and Handicapped bedrooms are located downstairs.



Roomette on Amtrak Superliner

Although most people are excited about the prospect of a seat or bedroom high on the upper level of Amtrak’s Superliner fleet, I always choose a lower level room for two reasons. First, the downstairs rooms are quieter because there is much less foot traffic passing by your door. All the inter-car traffic is upstairs. As well, the train’s natural rocking motion makes for a difficult time walking and most people tend to ricochet their way down the narrow hallways, bouncing off walls and doors with equal abandon. One sleeping car passenger complained that her arms were bruised after just one afternoon on the train. Second, being lower in the train car results in much less tilt motion than is experienced on the upper levels. Like a fulcrum point on a seesaw, the ride is smoother the lower you are.

Opposite the stairway to the upstairs level is a shelf for baggage. I stowed my pack there and headed down the hall to my room. Each Roomette measures 3’6” by 6’6” and is accessed via a sliding glass door. During the day they offer two wide opposite facing seats that fold together to become a bed at night. Above them is a fold-down upper berth. Other amenities include four separate lights, an electrical outlet, a tall mirror, a fold out table, a small open closet with hangers and even a thermostat which I immediately turned to its lowest level. Best of all, each compartment has its own huge window, approximately 3’ X 5’, through which to view the passing scenery. Toilet and shower facilities are located just down the hall. For a single traveler, I think these Roomettes are more than sufficient for space and comfort.

At my seat were two big fluffy pillows and a wooden hanger for my jacket. Behind the center console where a small table is stored were two bottles of water and a variety of pamphlets about the train. There was a route guide, a timetable, a safety card much like you’d see aboard an airliner and a brochure describing the train and its various services and attractions.

At the top of the stairway is the service area for each car. In the morning, juice and coffee are available from this area. A large cooler full of ice is available throughout the day. I immediately unloaded a few beers into my room’s personal trashcan and threw in a few cups of ice. It’s a 43 hour journey across the country to Chicago and at some point I will require cold beer!

At 5:59pm the all aboard call was made, the doors were shut and then we were on our way, gliding smoothly out Union Station and into the Los Angeles suburbs. The LA basin and San Bernardino Valley cover a huge area and are home to about 10 million people. We didn’t actually clear the LA suburbs until about 9:00pm when we passed through Victorville. From there it’s out into the eastern desert, across the Colorado River and on into Arizona. I would love to have seen some of this scenery from the train but due to our evening departure it was traversed in darkness.

Shortly after our departure from LA, the Dining Car Manager stopped by to offer me a choice of dinner reservation times. I chose 7:30pm and then popped a now ice cold Tecate and watched the city roll by. I love this first hour or two of a long journey, when you’re just staring to get settled in and can now recline your seat, relax and take stock of your lot in life. For me, watching the world go by while comfortably reclined in a big wide seat with my feet up drinking cold beer and munching roasted almonds ranks pretty high amongst life’s pleasures.

After a couple of beers, I decided to head up to the lounge car and await the call for dinner from there.



Amtrak’s Superliner Lounge Car (Taken while sitting in LA’s Union Station)

All of Amtrak’s long distance trains provide a lounge car which is available for all passengers, and Amtrak’s Bi-Level Sightseer lounge cars are indeed wonderful creations! As you can see from the picture above, windows are everywhere, starting at knee level and continuing overhead. The car looks to seat about 60 people upstairs. Many of the seats swivel 360 degrees so that if the scenery’s better on the other side of the train, you won’t miss it. A snack bar is located downstairs. The menu offered a variety of hot and cold sandwiches, cheese pizza, rice bowls, soup, candy, peanuts, and all manner of soft and hard drinks. While I thought the prices for the food items were quite reasonable, (Sandwiches cost $2.75-$5.00, soup $1.50) Amtrak’s beer selection is basic and expensive – a simple can of Budweiser will run you $4.00. That’s railway robbery!!



Amtrak’s Superliner Dining Car



Table Setting with Southwest Chief Menus


Click HERE and then click on National Menu to see what’s inside the Chief’s menu.


An announcement was made for those holding 7:30 dinner reservations to please come to the diner.
It’s located right next to the lounge car and when I arrived I was directed to an empty table at the far end of
the car. Given the limited number of tables and high demand for them, dining is communal on
Amtrak. Soon I was joined by a couple and their young daughter who were returning from a visit to
see family in Long Beach that had also included a trip to Disneyland. The little girl was still excited
about her adventures from the day before and barely managed to eat her chicken dinner between tales of her fun day at Disneyland. I quite enjoyed my Flat Iron Steak which was cooked perfectly medium rare. Unfortunately the baked potato was presented a tad rare. Still, I’m a reasonably forgiving guy in these matters and overall I thought it was a decent enough dinner. Dessert was a delicious cheesecake, washed down with a cup of fairly decent decaffeinated coffee.

After dinner I spent another couple of hours in the lounge, though not before heading back to my room and sneaking up a couple cold cans of beer. I had a nice chat with a guy from Milwaukee who’d spent much of the past month and a half in and around Arizona attending various Cactus League spring training baseball games. I’d love to do that myself some day, though only for a week or two at most. What I’d really like to do is take some time off in the summer and go hit a bunch of triple A games around the country. Baseball still feels like a game at that level whereas in the big leagues it seems much more of a business.

It was near 11:00pm by the time I returned to my compartment. My bed had already been made up, the reading lights were turned on and the main light had been dimmed. I read for about an hour before the rhythm of the rails lulled me into a comfortable sleep.



Roomette Made Up For Sleeping

I awoke somewhere between Flagstaff and Winslow, Arizona. It was a bright sunny day and we were rolling through the high desert of Northern Arizona at almost 90 mph. As I swung my feet over the edge of the bed, I noticed that a copy of that morning’s Arizona Republic had been placed under my door. What a nice touch! Since the shower was occupied, I took advantage of the coffee and orange juice available at the top of the stairs while perusing the day’s news.

The second day on a long train trip like this can be tough for some passengers. For those travelling all the way through to destinations in Missouri and Illinois, the entire day and one more night will be spent onboard the train. Meals provide welcome breaks but for some the ennui of long distance travel can be a bit tedious. I can sympathize to a point but at the same time, I reckon life is what you make it and when you’re “stuck” on a train for a day, why not take stock of the positives? I mean, cruising along in air-conditioned comfort while watching the beautiful landscape of America pass by is a pretty cool experience. Too many people require man-made entertainment when the natural world provides a wealth of beautiful entertainment.

And let’s not forget the social element. One of the best differences between train and plane travel is the lounge and its ever-changing population of visitors over the course of a long trip. Unlike an airplane which quickly flies you from Los Angeles to Chicago in a mere three and a half hours, the Southwest Chief makes 22 stops along the way, picking up and dropping off all manner of fresh visitors for the lounge. I enjoy hearing other traveler’s tales as well as adding my own to the mix and the ambience in a railroad lounge car is far more conducive to socializing than being stuck in a seat on an airplane. Perhaps it’s because of the openness of the lounge car or the ability to get up and buy a round of drinks if you want. Either way, all of these aspects of train travel not only contribute to making the journey more enjoyable but also making it seem shorter. Time flies when you’re having fun.



A Typical Afternoon on Amtrak’s Superliner Lounge Car

And just like that an announcement suddenly came over the PA system that soon we’d be arriving at Chicago’s Union Station. Forty-two hours had just rolled by in a most agreeable fashion and now here I was arriving in the heart of Chicago well rested and ready for the weekend ahead.

Trains sure are a great way to travel!

Last edited by Seat 2A; Jun 8, 11 at 10:45 am
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Old Jun 2, 11, 1:18 pm
  #7  
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April 27, 2011
Chicago – Portland - Seattle
Alaska Airlines First Class - Boeing 737-700
Horizon Airlines Coach Class – DHC-8-400
505p – 1020p


Why fly nonstop between Chicago and Seattle when you can connect in Portland? I’m sure there are a lot of well reasoned responses to this question, though on this day none of them would have any relevance to me. I had plenty of time to spare combined with a burning desire to fly every Dash 8 in Horizon’s fleet. Add to that the fact that I’d accrue an additional 500 status miles and this routing was cast in stone even before I knew I’d be flying it.

Television monitors indicated that Alaska’s scheduled 5:05pm departure would now be departing at 5:45pm. No problem – I had plenty of time to connect to my 9:30pm departure from Portland. On the downside, Delta’s closure of its L Concourse Sky Club meant that there was nowhere to wait out the delay except at the gate lounge. Oh well.

An hour later I glanced up from the Chicago Tribune Sports section as Alaska’s 737-700 taxied smartly up to gate L-1. The ground crew did a great job of turning the little Boeing around and less than an hour later I was reclining my seat while sipping from a nicely spiced Bloody Mary as we climbed through thin layers of cirrus clouds enroute to an assigned cruising altitude quite a bit higher.

Flight time to Portland was announced at four hours and seven minutes. I’d read somewhere that Alaska was planning to make improvements to its First Class meal service and so I was looking forward to a good filling dinner enroute. Alas, the dinner was a bit of a disappointment. I was served the exact same meal being offered on the two hour flights between Seattle and Los Angeles. I guess an old school guy like me still can’t get past the idea that substantially longer flights should warrant somewhat better meals. Really though, why? I mean, most everyone up front is getting upgraded for free and most flyers have indicated in numerous surveys that food isn’t nearly so important to them as comfort and free drinks. The airlines, especially Alaska, have definitely listened. Tonight we were presented a tray bearing a small plate of romaine lettuce and croutons, a piece of garlic bread and a small bowl of penne pasta and cheese. That was it. Oh yeah, there was a little piece of chocolate and a prayer card. Like maybe I’ll pray for better meals, huh? I asked the Flight Attendant if I might purchase the larger and more flavorful pasta and sausage dinner from Coach and she responded that if they had any leftover she’d bring one up to me. Thankfully they did and so I enjoyed a much nicer Economy dinner than that being offered in First Class. For the remainder of this month at least, I will purchase my meals at the airport in advance when flying First Class on Alaska.



Economy Class Pasta in First Class on Alaska

In Portland I hustled on over to the A Concourse where Horizon flights depart from and boarded N441QX, a shiny new DHC-8-400 painted up in the new Alaska livery but with Alaska/Horizon titles. I’ll miss the Horizon brand, but I must say I think the Dash 8s look nicer in their new Alaskan colors. Thirty-five minutes later we landed in Seattle and I headed off to my secret spot where I set up camp and slept undisturbed through the night.


THE FOLLOWING WEEK

Never one to take the most direct route home, much less anywhere else, I used my Seattle stopover to take advantage of Alaska’s $89.00 one way fares between Seattle and Austin to accrue a few extra miles. It helped immensely that Alaska was offering double miles on the nonstop SEA-AUS flights. As a 75K that means triple miles for moi. While in Austin I made sure to purchase a decent plate of Texas Barbecue in advance of my 1770 mile, four and a half hour flight where once again, macaroni and cheese with a side of lettuce was all the rage.

From Seattle, I made a short trip down to Colorado where I blended a visit to relatives with a 1300 mile drive around the Rocky Mountain West. Check out the photos!



Delores River Canyon



Fry Canyon Bridge on the Colorado River



Utah Highway 95 Through Canyon Country



Utah Highway 12 Through The Escalante



May 6, 2011
Denver-Seattle-Anchorage-Fairbanks
Alaska Airlines First Class – Various 737s
800a – 1155p


I spent the night on the floor at my nephew’s place. I’ve got a Thermarest pad and a pillow so this was no great imposition and was actually preferable to the mattress down in the basement. The next morning I hit the road at 6:15am (Nephew headed off to work even earlier) and pulled into DIA just 45 minutes later.

Come 8:30am I was comfortably ensconced in seat 2A aboard an Alaska Airlines 737-800 climbing northwest out of Denver, tracking across south central Wyoming enroute to Seattle, 1018 miles distant. Breakfast was served shortly thereafter and consisted of a collection of eggs, spinach, vegetables, sauce and flatbread called a Tuscan Breakfast Sandwich. It was fairly good though I wish I’d had some hot sauce to spice it up a little.

I had a long layover in Seattle and so took the train into the city where I connected to a bus up to the University District, home to a wonderful variety of affordable restaurants, music shops and used book stores. Once back at SeaTac I visited briefly with Leslie and Debbie, my two favorite concierges in Alaska’s Boardroom, then continued on over to United’s Red Carpet Club for coffee and a Wi-Fi connection prior to boarding my flight up to Anchorage. I like United’s SeaTac club when I’m departing on Alaska’s flights from the far end of the C Concourse because it’s just a one minute train ride away.

Once I’d gotten settled into my seat aboard Alaska’s 5:00pm nonstop flight to Anchorage, I graciously accepted a pre-flight glass of water as no cocktails would be offered until we were inflight. You know, I’d gladly pay for a preflight cocktail. I mean, we’re sitting on the plane for twenty to thirty minutes before pushback, what the heck? To offer only water when most every other airline offers a true cocktail seems the epitome of cheap to me.

I’d hoped that the change from April to May might bring a welcome change in catering but alas, the change was minimal. Whereas in April we were offered a main course of macaroni and cheese, this month we were offered a main course of pasta and pesto. No meat. No bread. Just a plate of lettuce, a piece of candy, a prayer card and a 6” wide bowl of pasta and pesto. At this rate I may never eat on Alaska again. I’ll just buy my own meal prior to the flight. Then again, perhaps that’s been Alaska’s goal all along…

In Anchorage I met up with fellow FTer Jackal at the Alaska Boardroom. We enjoyed a couple of beers before Jackal had to return to work and I had to continue north to Fairbanks. Waiting for me at gate C-4 was N794AS, the 3000th 737 ever built. While I happen to think it’s kind of neat to be aware of the fact that you’re actually flying aboard such a notable aircraft, I seem to be about the only one. Most Flight Attendants and passengers could care less. If anything, they seem to respond to this bit of information with the same kind of caution that one reserves for potentially unruly mental patients. Keep him calm… I of course am unrepentant. In these times of Spartan comfort and service, this is the kind of stuff that makes flying more fun! At least for me...


May 8, 2011
Fairbanks - Barrow
Alaska Airlines Economy Class – Boeing 737-400
735a – 1015a


Now you might think that there would be a palpable sense of relief that today’s flights would be the final flights of this epic journey. The reality however is that in two weeks I’m doing a 10-flight roundtrip on the milk runs down to Ketchikan followed the next week by a five day trip down to Las Vegas. There’s no relief, just anticipation. I love this stuff and I’m looking forward to each and every one of those flights!

My alarm clock went off at 6:00am and by 6:25 I was on my way to the airport. Thirty minutes later I was sipping overpriced coffee and perusing a copy of that morning’s news while wishing Fairbanks were considered large enough to rate a Boardroom.

Many of Alaska’s flights to rural destinations in interior Alaska are serviced with Boeing 737-400 Combi aircraft. The front half of the airplane is designed to hold cargo while the rear half is set up for passengers.



Alaska’s 737-400 Combi Aircraft

There is no First Class although the first row of seats, situated about four feet back from the dividing bulkhead, offers some the best Economy Class legroom in the industry.



Great legroom on Alaska’s 737-400 Combi

Flight time to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay was a short one hour and twelve minutes, too short for a proper breakfast sandwich to be sold on board but more than enough time for a coffee and Baileys to accompany the blueberry muffin I’d purchased at the Fairbanks Airport concession. We landed in Prudhoe on a cold and blustery day that brought the wind chill down to about 10F. I felt every bit of it as I stepped out the back door in my skimpy down vest for a photo of the aircraft.



Chilly Day in Prudhoe Bay

Forty-five minutes later we took to the skies again for the short and bumpy flight into Barrow. The man sitting across from me lamented the lack of beverage service on this short flight since Barrow is a dry city and no alcohol is available there. This got me wondering if Pepe’s offered virgin Margaritas and if so, how would they taste without tequila? High clouds obscured any view we might have had of Alaska’s Arctic coastal plain, but we descended smoothly and made a nice landing at Barrow’s Wiley Post/Will Rogers Memorial Airport. The airport is located right on the edge of town and as we taxied into the terminal, the view out my window could just as easily have been through a vehicle window.



Taxiing past Barrow neighborhoods to the Terminal

It was 24 with a light misty snow as I hoisted my daypack and descended the stairs from the rear of the aircraft. I was thankful for the fact that after having traveled over 70000 miles since leaving the bottom of South Africa, I had only a short cab ride until I could officially celebrate the end of this trip with a hot burrito and a glass of iced tea.

* * * * * * * * * * *

So there you have it, gang. As always, I welcome any and all comments, questions, cat calls, etc. and apologize to those of you who suffered a bit of anxiety over my delay in getting this return trip report written and posted. Thanks for your patience, though. I hope you'll find this report was worth the wait.

Last edited by Seat 2A; Jun 3, 11 at 1:14 am
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Old Jun 2, 11, 2:27 pm
  #8  
 
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Something to brag about

From the bottom of the world to the top of the world, this is something to brag about. Great report and outstanding pictures. What did you use as your camera?
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Old Jun 2, 11, 3:38 pm
  #9  
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Thanks for posting the return portion of this trip, it was enjoyable as always.

Now I am going to have to pick nits at something though, you did not ride in a "Standard Bedroom" on Amtrak, you had a "Roomette". Do you think you could change your wording? You are considered something of an expert in this forum and your reports are as close to the Gold Standard as they come and I'm sure you'd like to be correct on such things.

Seriously though, great job and thank you!
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Old Jun 2, 11, 4:14 pm
  #10  
 
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Thanks for sharing VERY nice Trip report, by the way how did you get that Krug Bottle picture, did you ask the F\A for the bottle for the pic?.

I also recently flew CX F and it is the best flight I ever had.
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Old Jun 2, 11, 4:35 pm
  #11  
 
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Fantastic trip report except I would have liked more information about the other flights not detailed
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Old Jun 2, 11, 10:16 pm
  #12  
 
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Every one of your trip report is a great read. What interests me the most is your story about the LA to Chicago Amtrak ride. Maybe I will try it sometime.

Pictures are always a necessary component to a trip report. I can read several thousand words that you did not write from those pics. ^^
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Old Jun 2, 11, 11:14 pm
  #13  
 
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As always Seat 2A, thanks for going to the effort of telling the story.
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Old Jun 3, 11, 12:20 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by vecta View Post
As always Seat 2A, thanks for going to the effort of telling the story.
Agreed ^^
Worth waiting for
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Old Jun 3, 11, 4:16 am
  #15  
 
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Your door mirror view photos are excellent.

Another great trip report, thanks for sharing with us.
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