John's Adventures

Hello! I'm John Grayson and I hope you enjoy reading of my adventures as much as I enjoy participating in them. I am one of those technology professionals whose interests lie outside of technology. Instead of checking out techie stuff, I check out history, nature, sports, and alcohol. Have Fun!

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Off to Alaska

This is the first part of a series on my vacation to Alaska. I am backdating each post to the date covered by the post. There might be one or two days skipped on account of the day being somewhat boring, but I'm not sure yet. I also hope to figure out how to add pictures.

The first day of the trip of course is the airplane ride. We (myself and Juliana) got up early and made our way to Reagan National Airport. We both had extra luggage because of our planned trip. Not only would we be doing some of the standard tourist stuff, but we also planned some hiking that included an overnight backpack trip into the woods.

Included in my gear was my camp stove. Not really a stove, but more of a pot for boiling water that can then be used to rehydrate a dehydrated meal. This thing is called a JetBoil, and is able to boil water very quickly due to design.

Well, to shorten a long story I'll just say that United Airlines didn't like the JetBoil. In fact, the suggestion of the lady at the counter was that I should throw it in the trash. Crap, that thing cost me $70 and I haven't had my full use of it yet. I argued and she told me to discuss it with the TSA guys who would scan my luggage. They checked it out and had no problem with it so I stuffed it back in my checked baggage.

After passing through security we had some time to kill. While reading the newspaper we were paged to return to the United counter. I approached the gate area and found out that United still didn't like my JetBoil. In fact they had such a strong dislike for it that they threatened to remove me and my luggage from the flight. I of course protested that TSA inspected it and said it was ok to go on the plane.

At this point the gate area supervisor approached. He gave me a story about how I would not be able to fly if they could not locate my bag and remove it from the plane to remove the JetBoil. I don't know about you, but what's the problem with me riding on the plane if you already have my luggage on the plane that contains something you find offensive. I had enough sense not to go vocal with those words at the instant in question. I just stared blankly at them.

A second later, the supervisor realized I had called his bluff. He suggested that he would go down to the baggage area, find my bags, and remove the JetBoil. He also said he would put the JetBoil in the baggage claim office so that when I returned it would be waiting for me. The lady working at the gate even printed out a copy of my itinerary to attach to the JetBoil so that when I asked for it they could match it by name to me.

Oh well, off to Alaska. We left Washington, DC late in the morning and got to Anchorage about 6 PM. After working our way through baggage claim and the rental car area it was about 7:30. Off to the hotel.

Anchorage has a good assortment of restaurants and beer. We were worn out and just wanted to go someplace quick and cheap. I had a book about traveling in Alaska so we consulted it for a dinner suggestion. One of the first places it lists for Anchorage is a pizzeria/brew pub named Moose's Tooth. This is quite a popular place for food and beer. There was a 30 minute wait before we could be seated, but it was worth it. We had some good pizza and drinks. Juliana went non-alcoholic and tried the root beer. I had their ESB. A nice ending to a long day.
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