Saturday, January 28, 2017

Getting Out

No matter how much you might love where you live, there are always times you must leave. In my case, it seems like in spring, people sit up and realize that holy wah, there's a ton of work we need done and it must be done immediately! This sets the travel machine in motion. This year, if all works out, I will be traveling to Alaska, probably Florida, possibly Arizona and please, oh please, Puerto Rico. In addition, I have associated book signings and my novel got nominated for an award. Plus, my annual PCT treks. The point being, sometimes I need to get out.

This isn't the hardest place I've had to get out of. That dubious honor goes to Baker, Nevada, a hamlet of 50 souls in the middle of the Great Basin. To reach an airport took at least four hours in either direction. Or perhaps it would be Sequoia National Park, the egress from which took nerves of steel as I drove down through the mountains and later the tarantula flats (you see a tarantula crossing the road and it gives you pause). Then again, it could have been living on an island in the middle of Lake Huron, where you had to park your car on the mainland, three tumultuous ferry riding miles away, then drive said car to catch a tiny commuter plane a couple hours south. 

So I guess in the scheme of things, having to drive two hours on a two lane in the middle of nowhere with the ominously named "Rattlesnake" section doesn't seem all that bad. You might ask why I don't head to Boise (four hours) or Portland (six) but this winter, the major interstates have been closed for days on end. Better to go with the Rattlesnake. By now, I know its curves well. This road is never closed (although sometimes it should be). Recently, all means of getting to my town were closed down except for..you guessed it, the Rattlesnake.

Getting out requires some planning. Most often, the flights are at five in the morning and returning at midnight, neither of which are conducive to the Rattlesnake. Often it requires an overnight hotel stay coming and going. You have to, I've found, really want to go. Unessential trips get weeded out pretty fast. You also pack extra stuff, just in case the flight does not go, or if a landslide or some other event slows you down. Often you end up with the least desirable flight, with thirty minutes of all out sprinting to the next connection.

Of course, driving instead of flying is always an option, but time is often not on my side. Tucked way over here in the corner of the state, it takes forever to drive anywhere. Often, it's easier just to stay.

But that's not good either. You need to bust a move to shake off the cobwebs of living in isolation (at least I do). See other places, do different things. Then come home.

Source
Is it hard to travel out of where you live?

28 comments:

  1. I'm only 45 minutes from our little airport, but its location was chosen because it's the foggiest location on the west coast and helped WWII pilots learn how to land with very low ceilings. It never dawned on anyone to move it to a better location? It's a nightmare to travel in and out.

    All flights go to SFO. Of course, San Francisco has its own host of problems (two parallel runways that are just a tiny bit too close to one another to land in the fog, so they shut one down, cancelling half the flights...and surprise surprise, dinky commuter routes like mine are first to be cut). I build a 3 hour minimum layover at SFO so it doesn't mess up all my other connecting flights. Sometimes, we don't get out at all.

    I, too, pack appropriately. My NeoAir and sleeping bag liner come with me every time I fly because I've spent a lot of overnights (every one in three times I fly) on the freezing cold floor at SFO. Even with all the hassle, it still beats driving six hours home on curvy mountain roads to get back here from SFO in the middle of the night.

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    1. That sounds challenging. Also, I have flown into SFO and while pretty, it looked a little scary how the plane comes in over the water. It's like that for Sitka too. You wonder, what if they miss?

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    2. Anchorage is like that too. I thought we were gonna die the first time I landed there!

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  2. First time I drove Rattlesnake was in the dark, so I didn't realize until later that I should be nervous...good thing. Traveling girl...some of them sound like fun. Hoping you get near enough to Sitka to sign at Old Harbor Books (with sign: Don't drip on the books!

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    1. I hope so. Everything is so up in the air with the feds lately.

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  3. Living in the tropics it is impossible to comprehend these distances and problems. Your benefits of where you live, definitely outweighs these hazzles.
    My problem is trying to get going early to reach a hike, only to find oneself in an M1 carpark, sometimes even at 6am.
    Mary I love this photograph. I would love to see it ion all seasons.

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    1. M1 carpark? I am guessing that means a full one? The tropics has its own issues!

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    2. Sorry - 'M1 carpark' is a motorway so congested, the traffic isn't moving.

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  4. Oh the good Ole Rattlesnake! I often contemplate driving down through the Tri Cities. However, when it comes time to leave we opt for Rattlesnake since it saves an hour. I'm used to it now, and it doesn't take me near as long as it used to to get through it. One of these days well stop in the bottom for milkshakes.
    Sounds like you have an amazing travel agenda this year. Hopefully some include hiking.
    It's not hard to get out of where I live. I can count on one hand how many times I've flown. Never really travel far enough that we can't just drive. Driving also gives me time to decompress and think.

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    1. I'd much rather deal with the Rattlesnake than the Tri Cities also. You just have to get in the zen of 25 mph.

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    2. 25mph? Ha, I've been known to up it to a cautious 30mph. At least until I get to your side where I have to dodge menacing rocks. Flat tire, no cell service, mom with daughter or kids = stuff nightmares are made of. I felt so bad for the gal we saw in the dark last summer trying to change her flat by herself.

      I get lost in the Tri Cities every time. Somehow I always end up taking the wrong exit.

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    3. I Always get lost there too!

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  5. Congratulations on the award nomination! Anyone can vote, and you don't have to vote the whole ballot if you don't know about the others:

    http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07edozowxtixtcqcl4/a026cqiyjbfxvc/questions

    Tom
    Fairbanks

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    1. I don't think I can edit as Anonymous--

      Try this link:

      http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07edozowxtixtcqcl4/a026ctiyjd05sf/questions

      The previous one may think it's me again.

      Or just use Mary's link above and find the voting link.

      Tom
      Fairbanks

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  6. As Mary knows, the actually flying from the five larger (over 2,000 people) towns in SE Alaska is pretty easy since they have Alaska Airlines jet service, but with only a few flights a day and often bad weather, getting out or back the day you want can be a problem. You learn that if you absolutely need to be somewhere, go a few days early.

    A friend was at a conference in Petersburg and her return flight to Sitka was cancelled. She stayed a few more days but all those flights overheaded. So she took the ferry to Ketchikan, which has more flights. The next day she got out of Ketchikan headed north--and ended up in Anchorage. The next morning she caught the southbound flight, which overheaded all of SE and she ended up in Seattle. She finally got home about a week later than planned. But she racked up a lot of mileage plan miles!

    Whitebird grade on highway 95 between Grangeville, Idaho and the Salmon River, across from Joseph, used to be a remarkable switch-backed, narrow road. My sister used to work at a cafe at the top. One day a guy walked in, looking a bit bedraggled, and she thought it was odd she didn't hear a vehicle drive up. She brought him coffee and he said he'd have some pie. What kind, she asked. Anything but fruit was the reply. He was a semi-driver and had just lost his rig over the hill when the brakes failed. He jumped out and amazingly wasn't hurt. His cargo: Fresh fruit.

    Now it's a high-speed highway swooping down the hillsides, but with very steep grades. So like the "new" Lewiston grade down to the Clearwater/Snake rivers, it has "runouts" for trucks: Steep exits with break-away barriers and thick, soft gravel to slow down and stop the truck. The first winter they had them on the Lewsiton grade wet weather was followed by a hard freeze and a truck using one ended up not slowing down muc and flying off the top because the gravel had frozen hard.

    Tom
    Fairbanks

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    1. That's quite a tale of SE Alaska travel. I have had some overflights..it once took a whole day to get to Wrangell from Sitka. And then I have ended up in Anchorage unexpectedly. Also once they told us we were going to have to land in Whitehorse. I was very excited by this. Sadly, it didn't happen.

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  7. I mentioned last week our cold weather. It's warmed up a lot. Slowly compared to other times. This past Thursday was 75 degrees warmer than the week before.

    I like to ask friends and family what their temperature would be if it warmed up 75 degrees?

    We were still well below freezing--in the mid 20s F.

    Tom
    Fairbanks

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    1. wow, 75 degrees. Let's see, it would be about...75 here if it warmed up that much!

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  8. Your book got nominated for an award! How cool! I need to read it....then the next time you're in PDX you can sign my copy. :)

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  9. I love the Rattlesnake! I love that you listed all the remote places you've lived. Very similar to us. Our island experience was close to the Boston airport, so I can't say that was the worst. I think North Maine Woods was the hardest, but we were only there for 2 months.

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    1. When I thought about it, I've lived in some pretty remote spots. Of course, so have you!

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  10. My memorable experiences on the Rattlesnake were 1) A school bus coming around a blind corner on MY side of the road...I was sure there wasn't enough room to squeak by, but I'm here, and 2)Tourists parked in a pull-out who let their two dogs run out across the road right in front of my car....just avoided their demise and the tourists didn't even look! But there are beautiful vistas, including Chief Joseph overlook and these make up for the heart-stopping encounters on the road.

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    1. Someone found a kitten on the rattlesnake! It was adopted!

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  11. I'm currently 3 hours from an airport, but it's an easy drive east or west, but I wish I were more remote. Hopefully someday. I would just as soon never have to fly anywhere ever again!

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    1. That is true, if it weren't for getting to my hikes I could give it up altogether.

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