Day 1: August 2, 2008
The Kids Are Alright
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I really don't like flying. No. I really don't like airports. Big, commercial airports that is. A collection of metal houses for two and four seater airplanes is alright. Flying in the smaller craft is alright, too. Actually, flying in a big passenger jet is alright and flying in something smaller is better than that. It's getting on and off of the big tubes that sucks.

This flight wasn't perfect but I've certainly had worse. Boarding in Dayton went very smoothly and we were even on the ground in Atlanta a little ahead of schedule. But "our gate" was not yet open which meant we were later to the gate than had we landed on time (So they said.) but that mattered not a bit. The plane to Seattle was one flight attendant short and would not be boarding at its appointed time. The gate assignment had already been changed from the one originally announced and it would change again while we waited. Since the plane was already parked at the gate of second choice, this required towing it around the end of the building to the gate of third choice. I'm certainly curious about the logic in that but doubt I'll ever know. The crowd cheered when the required flight attendant arrived and we prepared to board "quickly" and "make up some time" in the air. After the one hour wait for the attendant, the plane took off an hour and a half after the scheduled time and landed two hours after scheduled. Airlines simply do not use the same clocks as the rest of us.

Although it sounds pretty dumb now, when I opted for a near midnight arrival, it seemed like an OK idea. When it turned into a 2:00 AM arrival, it was a lot less OK. But baggage and rental car pickup went smoothly as did the check in at the nearby motel. I was in bed around 3:00 which was 6:00 back at the bed I had last slept in. Sleepless in Seattle no more.

This is the new War Memorial Park at Tacoma Narrows. It's new because the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge occupies the site of the original 1952 park. Tacoma Narrows has world wide fame from the 1940 collapse of a bridge barely six months old. A news reel of the day shows it all. In 1950, "Galloping Gertie" was replaced with "Sturdy Gertie" and folks liked that so much that they built another beside it in 2007.

Then it was on north to see the family. Garmin got me close then Big Fletcher guided me in by telephone. Even when it's expected, the difference between a 3 month old Noah and a 3 year old one is pretty amazing. After a big greeting, Little Fletcher (The difference between 7 & 10 is pretty significant, too.) finished electronically saving the world from some evil invaders while the rest of us caught up with each other just a little. With the world (temporarily, I suspect) safe, we headed to the Naval Undersea Museum where there were lots of hands-on and heads-in displays. The grownups in the last picture are son Fletcher and daughter-in-law Kayla. It was Fletch who, some may recall, took me for a ride on his little boat a few years back.

I eventually checked into my motel and found the Oxford Inn not only a pretty good place to stay, but nicely located, too. A quarter mile walk to the south gets me to the tip of Dyes Inlet and a half mile walk to the north gets me to the Silver City Brewery.

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