Like most travelers to Alaska, we went by air and our airline of choice was Alaska Airlines. Our flights with them were uneventful and I have nothing to write about except the landings and takeoffs at the Juneau airport. Juneau is the capitol city of Alaska and it is unique in that there are no roads that lead to the capitol city. That’s right: no roads! As I recall from a trivia question on an Alaska Airline flight, Juneau is the largest city in the United States in area. Effectively, coupled with the fact there are no roads leading to Juneau, that means to get to Juneau one must either walk, fly, or use water transportation. Choosing to fly seems a no-brainer to most people until you learn of the crazy final approach path every airplane landing at Juneau must use. Normally an airplane on final approach is lined up with the runway. A substantial mountain blocks what would be the path of the final approach at Juneau and aircraft landing there must fly through an adjacent valley and as the aircrft emerges from the valley, the aircraft must quickly jog right to line up with the runway. This is in addition to the normal workload of the pilots flying a normal final approach path. For passengers not alerted to the maneuvering required to land at Juneau, landing there can be a real eye opener.
After the ferry had docked and we were on the road again, we hunted up our lodging for the night and found out it was some distance outside of Valdez. We left Valdez and started looking for our motel. We were somewhat taken aback when we found it. The sign said it was a motel but it looked more like gas station. By then it was getting dark so we had a hard time seeing the place because there were few lights and what we did see prompted us to question our policy of not asking too much about the places we intended to stay. We finally decided to give it a go as the stay there was already paid for and it was late in the evening. The person who checked us in recognized who we were as soon as I identified myself. He said they were expecting us and that he had readied the bridal suite for us. He seemed to be quite appreciative of our staying with them. He picked up a large flashlight and indicated we should follow him. So we did. We entered a dark hallway and away we went. We heard sounds coming from various doors that did nothing to lessen our increasing apprehension about what we were getting into. He led us up an outside staircase and let us into the bridal suite. We were somewhat taken aback by what we saw. It as a large room with a large bed and a huge bathtub in the center of the room. After our guide left, we prepared to get some sleep, as it was late. It was like sleeping in a ballroom but we managed to get a good night’s sleep as the room was very quiet. The next morning Patty declined my invitation to join me in trying out the huge tub. It seemed to take forever to fill the tub with enough water to bathe in but I finally got the job done. It turned out that this was a motel we would never forget.