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An early start for a great flight

sunny 20 °C

Sunday, 18th May 2014, Alaska Airlines "Boardroom" Lounge, Seattle-Tacoma Airport

Not sure how we got in here but there is some strange arrangement with American Airlines that not even the lady on the desk understood.

Anyway, up early, 4.15, to finish packing and get our Hertz car to Great Falls airport for 7am (Mountain Time) flight to Seattle (Pacific Time, so we gained an hour). Our flight to Chicago is at 11.25, (Pacific Time), landing at Chicago at 5.35pm (Eastern Time), so we lose that hour plus another one. These are all daylight savings times which is important to note as some states, like Arizona, do not observe daylight savings. However, some tribal regions within those states (eg the Navajo Nation) do (observe daylight daving) which means it could get nasty later on in this trip. Are you following this?

Last night we did a practice run from the airport, a bare 5 minutes away, and which we could see from our bedroom window. It was worth doing as it was not clear where the rental car had to be returned to. It always saves a lot of hassle if we know in advance where we are going.

We then returned our car to the hotel, having overfilled it at the nearest gas station, and walked to a nice looking restaurant next door (Moonshine) which had excellent food at really low prices. There is a lot of competition in the area and our night at the Hilton Garden Inn proved to be one of the cheaper stays. Bob had grilled salmon with baked sweet potato


and John had a steak sandwich, no fries, just a small bowl of mushrooms as a side. Bob had a beer and John a 7-up, we had hot bread and honey butter to start and the bill (sorry, check) came to $30.

Last glimpse of our sturdy Yukon, from the bedroom window


Great Falls (GTF) is very nice little airport. We like little airports. And somehow our boarding passes bore the inscription "TSA Precheck". We thought this was only available to US citizens who are well known to the airline and who apply for it. Somehow, we have both qualified for it. At the security check, we were each given a yellow card which meant we had less stringent checks. No shoes or belts off, no need to remove jackets etc. At bigger airports there are special lines. Every little helps!

A large-ish prop aircraft from Great Falls, a Bombadier G400. You do feel as if your travelling when you walk across the tarmac to the plane and climb the steps.


Nice leather seats and bags of legroom and free refreshments and a bag of "cranberry snacks" which, oddly, did not seem to have any cranberries in it.


We have been so lucky with the weather and it was clear, with blue skies, so we got the most fantastic views of the Rockies, then the Cascades and Mount Rainier, (pronounced Raneeer, of course) standing on its own above a few clouds. On a previous trip when we drove round Washington state, we went to see Mt Rainier but it was raining a lot of the time and we could not see it for low cloud. Suddenly, the clouds parted and for 4 magical seconds we could see it, then it went again, only to enter our lives again today. It looked inspirational.


Mount Rainier


The wonderful flight was only slightly marred by a woman sitting behind John who spent the whole of the 90 minute flight duration telling her seat companion and his wife over the aisle her entire life history and that of her church, photos of gargoyles included. I don't think she paused for breath once. They exchanged Email addresses but I then spotted the guy tearing it into a thousand shreds (no, not really, but I bet he felt like it!).


More, from Chicago, in due course. See ya pardners.


Posted by Johnash 10:32 Archived in USA

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Great scenery again boys....but not a mention about the stud sitting on the plane near you in matching hat and shirt !! lol :)

by Cherry and Chris

Think I would have a breakdown trying to remember and get my head around all those time changes. Great read as ever with magical pictures. The "stud" looks like he has an ivy fetish but I suspect he's heavily into crafting! Look forward to your next destination.

by Paul

I've had a busy few days so I've only just had a chance to catch up on your blogs. It beats getting ready for work any day! The pics of the scenery have been breath taking. Not to mention all the food! Poor people being stuck with that lady on the plane, everyone's worst nightmare!

by Louise

Fantastic scenery, but I would never keep up with all those time changes it takes me all my time to remember what day it is. Look forward to the next read. Take care and enjoy the next leg of your journey.

by Jill

I would like an outfit like the young boy had on with all that ivy Great photos when on the plane. Bit worried about John not having fries though xx

by vivienne

No surprise you had rain at Mt. Rainier (sorry couldn't help myself!) when you were there before. You got a fantastic shot this time though, brilliant pictures from the plane. Look forward to tales from the Windy City.

by Sue and Gordy

Just back from my travels, scenery not as spectacular as yours though, company was great.
My next stop at the end of the week is Hernia Bay...Bxxx

by bren

Great scenery, but, isn't it a bit cold "up north". Loved that prop jet, a reminder of the old Viscount from the 70's.
Margaret and Dennis

by Dennis and Margaret

So you were sorry to hand the car back wasn't you disappointed when you picked it up.

by Brien

Hi All

May have given a false impression as our weather has been good all through (except the snow in Lake Tahoe and we watched that through our bedroom window). We managed to keep ahead or behind the bad weather. Brien, you are not wrong. The car was dirty and the paint a bit scraped but we gave it a bath and got most of the scrapes off and came to like it a lot.

Blog coming later today. Chicago, chicago..on State Street, that great street...

J,B,A,S xx

by Johnash

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