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June 18th, 2013

Live from the Olympic Peninsula

Fitful night, Kaan was hogging the bed a bit - when I was on my left side he was curled up against my back right about the middle of the bed, and on my right side or back he fit into the curve of my arm. Had to push him farther to the other side a few times so there was room for me. Domino gave up on the bed early, and curled up in the tiny space in the corner of the bedroom between two legs of the standing fan. I don't understand her choice of parking spots at all.

Woke up for real at 6:25, early enough to hear the PC auto-start, which reminded me to disable that feature for my trip. Did my morning stuff, finished packing, thought at least 3 times I needed to grab some biz cards and my Orca card, and forgot those. It's always something.

Out before 8, there was no traffic at all on 101 to the Doubletree, and the valet thing only took a minute. I was the only one on the airport shuttle. Got my boarding pass at the kiosk, then upstairs to the very long TSA line. SJC's Security Theater is horribly designed - not nearly enough table before the scanner, and not enough runway after the scanner. They sent me through the old school archway, not the body scanner, so taking off my belt was wasted effort.

I was way early, and of course my flight was delayed.

All through the airport stuff i am sweating because I'm wearing a Seattle-weight jacket (no room for it in my carry-on). My gate is at the far left end of the terminal and all the food places are half a mile the other way. I buy water and a muffin for breakfast and cool off. There is a steady flow of eye candy.

Made the obligatory restroom visit, and in this brand new terminal it looks like they transferred the restroom from the old terminal. Disgustifying. :-(

Back to my gate, we are told it is a full flight, and late, and to speed things up those of us in the back of the plane who want to can take 2 flights of stairs to the ground, walk the length of the plane and up the ramp to the back door. This makes me angry because I stopped flying Alaska out of Seattle because they were in the old terminal, and you had to walk (usually in the rain) on the runway to the plane and climb the stairs to board. Now that they are in the new terminal they ought to drop that crap. I took the skyway, and was there ahead of most of my row.

Another WTF is after interminable calls for pre-boarding, people with small children, first class, million milers, gold members, passengers with pet iguanas and iguanas with pet fruit flies, they did not call us up by row, but all at once, and this is when I discovered that, contrary to instructions to "please to stay seated until your row is called" , everyone else was already in line. I was lucky, though, there was room to fit my day pack and my laptop (one atop the other) in the overhead bin. And the two others in the row were skinny. 6 people across in a space designed for 5. Or 4.

By now the Dramamine is kicking in, and I slept past the alleged snack packet, but was awake in time to just miss getting a good picture as we flew directly over Mt. Shasta, which has lost way too much of its snow pack.

I nodded off a couple of times, but mostly was just too sleepy to read, and stayed in my head. It was cloudy all across Oregon, just a glimpse of Crater Lake, Mt. Hood was poking up over the clouds, and so was the St. Helens crater, but Rainier was hiding.

And that's when the WTF began. I forgot that Alaska's usual approach to SeaTac is to go way north along Puget Sound and then do a U-turn just past  Scenic Harbor Island, and fly over downtown Seattle, landing to the south. This adds a good 15 minutes to the flight and maybe 100 miles. This time I was scared during that bit, we were way lower over downtown than usual, I could see people on the rooftop restaurants, and probably could have seen susandennis on her balcony. And we got lower as we went south, I was afraid we were going to land at Boeing Field. It was scary. We landed at the far north end of a runway and I didn't recognize anything SeaTac-ish for about 5 minutes of taxi time.

Deplaning was a little slow at first, but picked up as it got closer to the back of the plane.

Next WTF was the rental car. Used to be the rental cars were in the garage a skybridge away, except for some which were a short shuttle across the street off-campus. Now they are all in this massive complex a mile away and one series of buses serves all of them. I was using Thrifty this time, and while the line was short the wait was long. Way too many things to initial. And then down to the 1st floor to get the car. I paid for a compact, they gave me a Kia Rio, which I'd call a subcompact. Not a problem until later.

Very hungry, I drove a couple of blocks to Dave's diner, had a good (but small) chicken fried steak. Then to I-5 to "drive around" the bottom of Puget Sound, across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, past Bremerton to Poulsbo. At Dave's I had programmed the Poulsbo Inn into the GPS, but it wanted me to take the ferry, so I shut it off until I was approaching Tacoma. It behaved itself from then on. This time of year it takes longer to wait for the ferry than to drive the "long" way.

Soon after getting on I-5 is when I realized there was no cruise control. The control I thought was cruise control was to change the trip mileage/odometer display. Very nasty, that. I will complain when I turn in the car.

They must have changed the law (or stopped enforcing it) which required 18-wheelers (and bigger) to stay in the two right lanes. I was in the 3rd lane, doing the speed limit, bigrigs kept tailgating me. I wasn't going fast enough for the 4th lane, and it was solid bigrigs in the two right lanes. Okay, there were some Urban Assault Vehicles too.

That fixed itself as soon as i was on hwy 16 heading for the bridge.

Started getting drowsy about 20 miles from Poulsbo, blame the Dramamine and early wake-up. Pulled over in Silverdale, but just navigating the roundabout there was enough to wake me up, so I got right back on Hwy 3 and then 305 and the GPS took me right to the motel.

Check-in was quick, faux rustic place with keycard entry. Very much a no-tell motel. It was sunny and warm, and they have a pool, but it was filled with a child and a mom, and I had not anticipated swimming here in the frozen North.

Texted my little sister that I was here, and she texted (after Verizon didn't put her phone call through) that she & hubby were heading out for pizza, and offered to pick me up. So that happened. we're having breakfast in the morning, but the more time with them the better.

Good pizza downtown in the scenic Scandinavian Village that is Poulsbo. After, we walked to the other side of the parking lot to the waterfront park and watched for wharf rats and chatted. Then they dropped me off at the motel, to return at 8:30 am.

Plans for tomorrow:
Breakfast with youngest sister & bro-in-law (it's her birthday!)
Visit with them at their new house on the hill with the bear in the forest that is their back yard
Be joined by oldest sister and bro-in-law visiting from Israel (her birthday is this weekend)
Do stuff, take photos
Back to the motel

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