Bob and Julie head South travel blog

Weather in Phoenix was a little stormy

Looking for the gate for Alaska Airlines

This weather in Portland is typical for this time of year

Five hour layover? No problem for Julie.

Ah yes. Back in Anchorage. Could be worse. Could be Spokane.

Sunny and four degrees. Perfect for Sadie's first walk in a while.

San Antonio, TX to Anchorage, AK


Long travel day. Our “air day” started out at 6:30AM (Central time zone) and ended at 11:45PM, (Alaska time zone), or put another way, 3:45AM (Bob and Julie time zone). There were three legs. San Antonio, TX to Phoenix, AZ to Portland, OR to Anchorage, AK. That worked out to a bit over nine hours on an airplane and nine hours in airport terminals. It took us about 18 hours to travel from Texas to Alaska. I know it can be done in a lot less time, but that’s how we rolled this time.

Julie does a great job of making sure I get an aisle seat when booking flights, she also thinks long layovers in airports with time to walk around, relax, have a meal and coffee is preferable to short layovers requiring OJ Simpson sprints between gates in unfamiliar airports to make connections. The five hour layover in Portland was a bit long, but we passed the time with Julie knitting and me watching.

I received only one WB (“Whiney Baby” or “Whiney B——“, you choose the B word), lecture on this trip from Julie with regards to my patience when dealing with travel snags. It was at the airport in Phoenix. Phoenix International is a very modern and pretty airport, but it is undergoing renovation and some of the terminals are not accessible by modern conveyances such as trains, but via partially covered walkways on the tarmac. We arrived on American Airlines in Terminal 4. Alaska Airlines, our connecting carrier was located in “Terminal 2.” The signage directing you to this terminal was, in my mind anyway, inadequate. There were nice maps showing the new terminals and tram lines to them, then at the end, a dotted line to apparently nowhere to…”Terminal 2.” Julie is not afraid to ask directions to “Terminal 2”. I was looking out the window at an older building, with no airplanes parked near it that I could see. The part that really got me going was leaving one secure area and having to go through the “Check point Charlie” thing with TSA again at “Terminal 2.” As we walked in the rain, seeing our breath, (yes, it was cold and raining in Phoenix), I was reminded of a bush airport in Alaska. I was not 100 percent convinced we were going to the right place and glad we had 2 hours to kill in case we needed the time locating “Terminal 2.” I guess I let my frustration show and I received my WB lecture.

Anyway, everything worked out. “Terminal 2” was indeed in the older part of the airport. It did have airplanes parked next to it. TSA lines were short and the pat down that people with metal parts in their persons was merciful (I have two knee replacements). Onwards!

After Phoenix, things went smoothly. Just long.

We arrived in Anchorage just shy of midnight. We were fortunate to have our son come to get us at the airport and bring our dog Sadie along for the homecoming. The first thing we noticed is that it was cold. I guess it’s wintertime.

What did we learn from this trip?:

Texas is nice. We didn’t get the warm sunshine we were expecting everyday. It wasn’t hot, but there was NO snow or ice. Normally, you bring coats to the airport when leaving Alaska, then pack them away until your return trip. Not this time. We used them in Texas. It’s winter after all.

Julie kept remarking how nice the people in Texas were. Southern hospitality I guess. Just don’t get in their way on the freeways.

Gas is cheap in Texas. Really cheap. Less than 2 bucks a gallon most places.

The country in Texas is very diverse. You have the gulf coast, flat range country, and the Hill Country.

Julie said that she needs to be more specific in regards to weather next time she travels. She got the relative warmth she was looking for, but not the sunny. Since returning to Anchorage it has been very sunny and clear, but a bit nippy at near zero temperatures in the morning. To me, ten degrees in Anchorage feels like 40 degrees in Texas. Must be the humidity.

We like Texas. There are lots of cool things to do in south central Texas. We barely scratched the surface. Julie made the trip with an eye on possibly finding a place to “snowbird.” Weather here, and everywhere else in February 2019, was colder than normal. There was even snow on Maui. There is no clear advantage to Texas over, say Arizona, for “snow-birding.” The problem with Texas is the same as with Florida. Just too far away and there are no grandkids.

So ends the winter trip 2019. Had fun. Now time for sunshine and enjoying the winter carnival in Anchorage called the Fur Rondy and then the Iditarod (long distance sled dog race), in early March. Till next time…

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