Saturday July 23rd arrived quickly. Before I knew it Wanda and I were sitting at a bar in the airport sipping a Pacifico before It was time for me to go through security. I arrived at the gate with plenty of time to spare. I settled into a seat and decided to pass the time playing games on my iphone.
But it turned out that I had quite a bit of time to pass. My flight left Mazatlan 90 minutes late. So my two hour layover in Phoenix never happened. By the time we arrived at the gate and deplaned, I had a mere 41 minutes to go through Customs and Immigration, collect my bag and recheck it, dash up 4 levels to security, and then make my way to the farthest gate in the A terminal. No small feat when my knee replacements always trigger the alarm in security and there is always a lineup for the body scanner. I arrived at the gate about a minute before the scheduled departure and literally sat down, buckled up and we were pushing away from the gate.
Of course I was exhausted and also hungry. Other than that beer at the airport and a ginger ale on the previous flight, I hadn’t eaten all day. Neither the pastrami sandwich or the Pringles potato chips appealed. So I sipped another ginger ale and nibbled on a small pack of pretzels. I had anticipated a leisurely lunch in Phoenix. This is the last time I will ever book connecting flights with only a two hour layover. Somehow killing five or six hours has now become an attractive option.
I must admit that the aircraft used by American Airlines are quite comfortable and the seats have lots of leg room. Of course I’m only 4’11”! But it was definitely more comfortable than Westjet that I use to commute to Canada from Mexico. And the view as we approached Seattle was incredible.
Upon arrival in Seattle, once again I found myself at the farthest gate from the baggage area. But I needn’t have rushed. Not all the carousels were in use and it was a full forty-five minutes before the bags from our flight began their descent down the chute. Actually, mine was one of the first to show up. By some miracle Steve found me in that madhouse. The Wifi at the airport may be free, but my iphone was being stubborn.
We then began the long trek through the airport in search of the elevators to the parking area. We arrived at the level and then walked several minutes before finally spotting Steve’s Explorer. Once there, we popped open a couple of beer and finally relaxed for a few minutes before heading out on the highway to Leavenworth.
The traffic in Seattle is ridiculous. Once we were out of the city, it was considerably lighter. We drove for about a half hour and then headed into a small town in search of food. The first place we came across was McDonalds, and that hamburger was amazing! I must admit that in the last few years the only time I ever went to McDonalds was in search of coffee or a summertime smoothee. It’s not my favorite place at all, but that night it was delicious! We sat by the fireplace and it was most enjoyable.
Back on the road again, the highway was full of treacherous twists and dangerous curves in the darkness. But Steve knows these roads well and we arrived in Leavenworth just after midnight. After a quick tour of the town we arrived at Steve’s home. I immediately hooked up to the Wifi and posted a message on Facebook that I had arrived safe and sound. A couple of What’s App messages later and I collapsed into bed.
The next morning we went to church where I met several people and chatted with the pastor. There was a special service that morning as the children had just completed a Vacation Bible Camp. Two visiting missionaries also spoke. I felt completely at home here and it reminded me so much of Church of The Rock back in Winnipeg, down to the backdrop.
After church we headed downtown to the Icicle Brewing Company for a cold one and a platter of cheese, crackers, meat and fruit. We chatted with several tourists and did a lot of people-watching. Leavenworth is a quaint Bavarian style town and attracts hoards of tourists, especially on weekends. You really feel like you’re in Germany rather than in the USA.
We then went for a long drive along the river and up to the Enchantments. The scenery and the views were absolutely spectacular! This is truly God’s country, and I have never been in such an amazing place in my life. We passed people rafting and swimming. I’ll post just a few shots of the scenery although I took dozens more.
We came back home and rested for awhile. After a delicious dinner of barbecued chicken and vegetables, we headed out to Safeway to do some grocery shopping. The last time I was in an American grocery store was in Texas two years ago, and I was totally overwhelmed by the selection of foods. Mexico is not the ideal haven for shopping for groceries.
Well, Monday morning has dawned with clear, sunny skies and I will leave you for now with the view of the 17th hole from the deck.