Well, Trixie and I successfully completed flights from Phoenix to Seattle then on to Ketchikan, Alaska without incident. I am not going to lie; we rode first class, because I had been so stressed about selling the house and moving so far away. It was wonderful, and as usual we met interesting people along the way. My son says I need to calm down, because I have a tendency to strike up conversations with strangers and get their entire life story by the end of one plane ride. I can’t help it. I am a family historian, and I want to learn everybody’s story. Trixie started to fuss about thirty minutes from our final destination, so I let her pop her head out of the carrier for some human interaction until we started to land. It wasn’t long before we successfully touched down on Alaskan soil!
We spent two days in Ketchikan to take a break and to stock up on consumables at the mid-size Walmart there before heading to the island where things would be more expensive. I did not bring my car to Alaska. Maybe at some point I will have it shipped to me, but I didn’t think it was imperative to transport it immediately. Besides, maybe I will walk more without it. My daughter ferried her vehicle to Ketchikan in order to meet me at the airport and to haul the Walmart purchases to their destination. We had the dog and two preschoolers and a kindergartener to contend with, so we overdosed on MacDonald’s for lunch and dinner both days. It was easier to stay in the car, order our food, and drive to the park where the kids and Trixie could run around between bites. On Wednesday I made sure to take my less-drowsy Dramamine tablets precisely on time so that I would not get sea sick during the ferry ride to the island. The regular formula knocks me out for hours, and I didn’t want to sleep through the first real day of my Alaskan adventure.
Trixie had to ride down below with the vehicles, and I would not be able to check on her during the three-hour voyage. I went to great pains to make sure I secured her pet carrier with the seat belt, put a disposable pad in the bottom of the carrier in case of sea sickness or worse, and then gave her a dose of children’s Benadryl for good measure. I hadn’t ridden the ferry in years, so this was going to be a great experience. With Trixie secure and my stomach settled with the Dramamine, I could get some beautiful shots of Alaska to post on my blog.
It was a beautiful day for a ferry ride! So far so good, but not for long. Clear skies and pleasant weather encouraged my daughter to deviate from her normal routine and take the kids outside on deck. I sat at one of the booths in the coffee shop to watch their stuff. Maybe the less-drowsy Dramamine was making me tired. I questioned it, but I was sure it was all in my head. I was not going to miss a thing! Suddenly my attention turned to the fact that the 18-month old grandbaby had run amuck and was not to be found. Was she in the ferry where she could fall down the stairs or out on deck where she might fall through the openings overboard?
Trying to be a good granny, I jumped out of my seat and went out on deck also. Ready to run back in and check throughout the boat, I didn’t pick up my feet to clear that blasted lip at the bottom of the portal leading back inside – you know those oval openings that aren’t really doors. My feet didn’t move, but the rest of me did! I plopped myself horizontally on the floor then sailed along the carpet and under the table straight ahead of me, knocking chairs out of my way as I went! I felt myself moving in slow motion as I slid into home base with onlookers all around me. Thank goodness the ferry was not crowded, and I did not hit my head on anything! When my daughter returned with the lost child, she saw my shoes sticking out of the huddle of older folks above me. She panicked and thought for sure she had lost another parent!
Let’s just say my ferry trip to the island was a trip indeed, followed up with an incident report and ice packs. I had absolutely no problem with sea sickness, but ended up with terrible bruises and rug burns on my knees and elbows. A very nice lady came over to my table and comforted me in my humiliation, and I quietly cried. The pain in my knees and elbows had tripped the PTSD switch. It reminded me of the burns I sustained after attempting to perform CPR on my husband in the back yard in the 110 degree Phoenix heat. I have scars that will remind me forever of those burns, and now I created new scars on top of the old ones. Some things in life will never be forgotten.
I have chosen to laugh about the ferry experience as I limp around unpacking bins and arranging my new apartment. I have also decided that future travel will involve float planes rather than ferries whenever possible. In the event that a future ferry ride is absolutely necessary, I will follow those standard amusement park rules — “stay seated and keep arms and legs inside the boat”.
© 2015 to Present Patricia J. Angus