July 7, 2011
Connor is truly an international hit! We have spent this past week traveling all over Alaska on the Celebrity Millenium, and Connor is a very popular little guy. We have been to Vancouver, Ketchikan, Icy Straight Point, Juneau, and Skagway. We will now continue traveling to Seward and Anchorage. I can’t forget our stay in Houston though. That’s the beginning of our adventure. We thought we were doing the right thing by starting our trip North West a day ahead of time. Little did we know there would be a huge storm sweeping MIA and grounding the entire airport. We were stuck for 6 hours. I guess you can say we knew right away we were not going to make our connection in IAH. Grandma Glenda realized we needed to start “negotiations” with the gate attendants asap, since clearly we were being held hostage. Initially there were no available flights into Vancouver until Saturday night. No Bueno. The cruise was scheduled to leave port Friday, last passengers on board at 2:30pm, and no….we didn’t get travelers insurance. Wah wah. Finally they were able to put us on an 8am flight from IAH connecting through PHX, hopefully getting to Vancouver 1:37pm, then hopefully making it through customs and driving the 45 min to the port. You can say the stress was at level Red. Sitting in MIA that was all we could do. By the time we got to IAH it was 10:15pm. We then had to wait for our hotel shuttle, since we pricelined a room while we waited in MIA, get to our hotel, and then Tim and I waited for a taxi to take us to Wal-Mart. I had this great plan to purchase bulk items for Connor once we had gotten to Vancouver, thinking it would be easier that way. I knew my route to Zeller’s by heart. New plan; go to Wally world at 1am in an interesting part of town to stock up on diapers, baby food, and an umbrella stroller. I made friends with a “gentleman” who got his eyelids tattooed in prison; he was there getting munchies. Cut to getting back to the hotel at 2am, wake-up call 5:30am. Finally we get through security to our gate and it looks like this flight to PHX is going to be late. Really? Is this happening? This time Tim heads to the counter to ask what can be done and the gate attendant asks why we weren’t just put on the direct flight to Vancouver. Well, because it was full we told her. She very swiftly says, “Not any more” and books us all on the flight. We are elated. Tears were shed. Now to get the baggage switched. We arrive at our new gate, and surprise surprise, it’s delayed because of a maintenance issue. They are not sure when it will be able to take off. Our 9am direct flight is out the window and they say they will give us an update at 10am. If we are not off the ground by 11:15am it looks like we won’t make it. The months of planning and preparation echo through your mind. The plane just makes the window of opportunity and takes off at 11am. We get through customs, we find our baggage and driver. Now picture Amazing Race trying to get to the port. We were one of the last parties on the ship……but, WE MADE IT!
Luxury up the Alaskan coast. Our balcony was wonderful to lounge on. The cruise provided a playpen in our room for Connor. They even pureed him baby food every night. Connor was the youngest person on board, and everyone made a fuss over him no matter where we were. You would hear people whisper, “Oooh, there’s Connor” as they walked by. You know of course he ate up all of the attention. The ports were all wonderful, and the excursions we participated in were fabulous. We did a Duck Tour in Ketchikan that was great, and perfect for viewing bald eagles. This hard core group even did a bike ride in the pouring rain. The views are worth it. For this flat land girl, seeing the beautiful snow covered peaks never gets old. Grandma Glenda and Kaitlyn did a kayak tour that a cute humpback whale found interesting as well. It’s curiosity about the boats brought it up close and personal with the group. We did a whale watching tour in Icy Straight Point and the breaching whales were incredible. Everywhere you looked a whale was in view. I have a picture where you can spot 4 in the frame. I think the most beautiful scenery we have seen was on the train ride in Skagway. All the way up through Canada we encountered one beautiful expanse after another. No picture does it justice. We even got up close and personal with Hubbard Glacier. We now have the title of being the closest any ship has gotten to it all season, within a half mile. Our captain said it was the first time he has ever captained a ship that close to it. Your eyes cannot fathom what they are seeing. It’s huge, craggy, and beautiful. We have all enjoyed each other’s company and the memories we have made have been priceless. This is what vacations are made of. Now, if you catch a glimpse of crazy people dressed up in formal wear, taking absurd pictures at all of the photostops on deck, it may or may not be us.