I have a little bit of time to write an update, so I thought i'd loop everyone in! Aaron and I have been in Eagle River, Alaska (which is just outside of Anchorage) for about a week now. I hadn't mentioned anything about this trip before because it was a surprise for Aaron's mom :)
We flew military space available and it was quite the experience. You really learn to be flexible. We made it to Travis AFB in Sacramento, but it took us 5 days to finally get a flight from there to Elmendorf here in AK! We can't complain too much, though. Flying this way is FREE. But, it wasn't easy because it was a bit of a let-down each time we showed up for a flight and discovered that we couldn't get on. Fortunately, my very best friend in the world, Bre, lives in Sac so we got to spend time with her! Aaron's best friend, Matt, is also in the area. He flies c-17's out of Travis, so he kindly carted us back and fourth multimple times to the terminal and then picked us up again when we couldn't make the flight. Thanks to Matt for giving us a place to shower and lay our heads!
We did end up sleeping in the terminal at Travis for one night. Thankfully the military flight terminals have showers!
Finally, we caught a kc-35 (refueler jet) to Eilson AFB in Fairbanks (6 hours from where we needed to be) but we were just happy to finally be in Alaska! Our flight there was really exciting because we got to go down in the belly of the plane to watch them refuel two Navy f-18 jets (very similar to AF fighter jets.) It was amazing to see all of the ground below and it felt like we were hanging off a cliff with the big windows in front of us! Refueling from this type of jet is done maunually, so we could see every move they made and it was strange that we could look at the face of the other jet pilots. So fun!!
Once we arrived, we thought we would rent a car and drive down, but we discovered that it would cost us $1200. Are you kidding me?!? That was out of the question. So shortly after we arrived at Eilson, we heard that Fort Wainwright, the army base just down the road, had a small leer jet leaving for Elmendorf later that day. Praise the Lord!! So we hopped in a taxi with a retiree who was on our first flight and trying to get back home to Anchorage and the 3 of us hopped a plane at 4 p.m. It was just a small 6 passenger and a really exciting experience! The flight was only 45 minutes and we got to see all the beauty of Alaska from the air. We like to think of it as our personal rock-star jet. It kinda felt like that! Ha!
So our time in Alaska has been wonderful and almost indescribable! I've seen moose, a bear down on the Kenai, TONS of bald eagles, dall sheep, Alaskan husky puppies (used for the iditarod) and I caught my first Sockeye salmon! Actually, I caught 4 and they are huge! Let me just tell you all, God really took his time working on Alaska. It is breath-taking! Aaron and I climbed Mt. Baldy which is basically in his parent's backyard. It was a humbling hike. Just when you think you're in shape, you trek a hike like this one! Once up at the top, we could see over Anchorage. Aaron also took me float-tube fishing (the link gives you an idea of what it looks like)! All of these experiences I won't soon forget!
We are loving our time with Aaron's parents and his brother Sam. We also finally got to meet Sam's lovely girlfriend, Marilyn! Our conversations together as a family are a gift to us. Time spent with family is so precious!
It's soon time for us to head back and we hope to be back in VA this Sunday. I'll be sure to post pictures of our many adventures when we return! Please pray for our safe travels and a speedy return - at least speedier than our trip out as I have a really important Dr. appointment I need to be back for on Monday. More updates soon!