An astute reader might notice that that was “I return” and not “I have returned,” which is a key difference. And one that is quite meaningful in this particular case. “I return” confers that I am in the process of returning, a statement which is at the moment, quite apt. Flights are a little full (standby flier here), so I won’t officially depart Alaska until Monday, arriving back at my home sometime on Tuesday.
That’s actually a shorter jaunt then it took me to get here. I’ll tell you more about that in a bit. But first, as I was saying, I am in the process of returning. Which basically means crashing at my parent’s home for a few days while I wait for flights to open up. Which isn’t exactly torturous, barring the incessant itch at the back of my mind to get back to editing (which I need my stuff to do). As a double bonus my younger brother and his wife are also visiting along with their absolutely adorable little three-four month old son. Guy’s my first nephew, which means that I am suitably distracted at all times if he’s present. He thinks my beard is funny. Or maybe that’s all the funny faces I make.
Yeah, for a big bear of an Alaskan, I completely melt around little kids and babies. I spent an hour the other day just sitting and making the kid laugh.
Anyway, that said—mostly so that some of you readers don’t fear that I’m holed up in some moss-shrouded hotel room somewhere, which I’m not—I am basically stuck for a few days between the two points of travel (the fishing boat and my computer at home).
But, all that aside, the fishing is done! Over. Complete! We worked hard, pushed ourselves hard, and fished hard. And in the end, we managed to fill our holds with what we needed in six days. Despite some early sets that had us worried it was going to be a much longer trip. We got it all, we brought it in, got paid (the boat, not the workers, not yet), and got everything cleaned and put away.
We are done, much to my eternal relief. Halibut fishing is still the most tolerable and preferable of all the fishing jobs I’ve ever done … but it’s still not the way I want to spend my days if there are other options on the table. It’s the job I do for a short time so that I can go do other, more preferable things.
Now, I know I promised you guys pictures … and lo and behold, I in fact did capture some! Not just of beautiful Alaskan vistas either, but of halibut we caught as well, and you’ll all get to see them … Next month.
Yeah, this month they’ll be going up on Patreon for my supporters. They’ll get to see that as soon as I get back, and the rest of you will have to wait until September. Which isn’t that far away, realistically. So if you’re deadset on seeing those pictures ASAP, you can always become a Patreon supporter … or just be chill for a week or two, and they’ll be up here.
I will, however, right now deliver a little more content. Pictures and tales of the trip will have to wait until next month, but earlier I mentioned that it took some time to actually reach Alaska? Yeah, there’s a little tale there (and if you’re not interested in it, just jump down until you see the “NEWS” heading).
So here’s how it went down. Or, to set the stage, here’s how it is supposed to go down. See, air travel in Alaska isn’t always reliable. Thick, cloying, low-hanging clouds can render runways invisible. Sheer winds can render a visible runway unapproachable.* And small towns aren’t going to see more than two passenger jets a day at most coming through.
*Which, I feel I should mention, is why FAA rules concerning runway visibility, distances, elevation, and the like are actually all different for Alaska. It truly is another world up here. A required visibility distance for a runway in the rest of the states is something like 3-5 miles. In Alaska, IRRC, it’s a half a mile.
Anyway, so ideally, this is how travel to the small town of Wrangell, Alaska I was gunning for would go. I would depart Utah via the Salt Lake City airport and fly to Seattle, Washington. There, I would wait overnight inside the terminal (which reminds, me, the Seatac airport has added a siren to their regularly looped announcements over the PA, for reasons I can only guess at) and then take what’s known in my hometown as flight 65 up from Seattle to Ketchikan, then onwards to Wrangell. All said, pretty straightforward.
I was flying standby, as usual. And that early-morning flight was full.
Not a problem. As I assured the ticket agent, being from Alaska I learned at a young age to travel prepared. There was a spare change of clothes in my carry-on, along with a toothbrush and some food. I’m fine with being bumped or stranded, because no matter how hard an airline works in Alaska, it’s Alaska, and can at any moment render all your hard work effortless. That’s not the fault of the airline, it’s just the way air travel works in a country that’s still wild enough for people to go missing if they wander too far out their back door unawares.
Anyway, so I was bumped to another flight. Now, it did take a little bit of work to convince the airline that a better option would be to bounce me up past Wrangell on a later flight, to the capital of Juneau so that I could take the other flight through Wrangell—flight 64—down, but once that was worked out, all was well. I hopped on the flight to Juneau, dozed through the flight, and touched down two hours later in Alaska’s capital … not that far from my destination. Flight 64 was scheduled to begin boarding in forty minutes, there were plenty of openings, and all looked great.
Then boarding time arrived, and the dreaded “mechanical” announcement came over the PA. Boarding was delayed by a half-hour.
Then another half-hour. And another. And another.
Again, I don’t blame the airline, nor do they deserve any blame that I know of. I wasn’t upset, or irate … in fact the whole thing came with a blast of nostalgia as the wait stretched on and on. This is Alaska; leave a car sitting for a few months, and you can find plants growing on it. And in it. The rainforest here eats civilization. So a mechanical is just par for the course. Unexpected for those unused to travel here, but everyday normality for those there.
The wait stretched on. And on. And on. Before long, the airline handed out vouchers to redeem at restaurants so that passengers could go find a meal. I’m guessing that this was based on a timer of how long we’d waited, because to the attendants’ knowing embarrassment, both of the restaurants in the airport had already closed for the evening. The nearest diner was a twenty-minute walk on foot, but with announcements concerning whether we would board or wait a little longer coming every twenty minutes (and once that plane boards, it’s gone to make up for lost time), heading out for food was a bit of a gamble. I ate the last of the bagels I’d brought with me and opted to wait it out.
Sure enough, before long the issue had been located and resolved, and we were ushered onto the plane alongside much applause and good-natured cheering from the passengers and on towards our destinations. Now, before I finish regaling you with the circumstances of my journey, I must say something regarding the Juneau, Alaska airport: It’s nice. Other airports have those cramped little seats with crappy plastic backs. The Juneau airport, on the other hand, has what are essentially love seats everywhere. Big, gigantic, cushy ones you could lay down and sleep on. Faux leather. And wheeled, matching footrests. Juneau’s airport might not have a McDonald’s, but when they’ve got seats like those, who cares? Every other airport should be looking at those and taking note!
Now, where was I? Oh, yes, getting to Wrangell. We boarded the plane, took off, and … everything went smoothly. No problems. I disembarked where I was supposed to, got picked up, and just over a day later was on a boat leaving the island behind.
Total travel time? Over a full day. Not exactly unexpected. I got where I needed to go, which is what matters in the end. And the airport where I spent my unexpected stop was certainly a nice and comfy location to spend several hours reading my kindle in.
So that’s the story of how I traveled to my job. Personally, business as usual, but I thought you guys might enjoy it.
Now, that’s not all I’m going to write at the moment. I’ve actually got two posts to write after this one, one a follow-up to one of the earliest posts on this site, the other Monday’s BaBW post (even though I’ll be travelling that day, I still want to get something up). But I also wanted to give you guys an update on what’s coming along. So, here goes: the news.
There we go, now those searching for it can find it. Anyway, not too much of note here, just figured I’d give you all my plans for the coming months. First, Colony.
Colony will be leaving Alpha in the next week or two. That’s right, at long last, Colony will be heading into Beta, which means that I’ll be sending out notices to past beta readers (as well as perhaps opening the pool up a little).
The goal? Right now I’m aiming for an October Release. Yup, that’s the goal. I’ve got nothing else on my plate, and if things look dicey I’ll cut my hours at my other job (since I have a cushy savings account now) to compensate for it until I’m caught back up.
Now, as soon as Colony enters Beta 2 (which is nearing release), that’s the point where I throw the doors wide on Shadow of an Empire‘s Alpha 1, so I can get that ball rolling, aiming for a Holiday 2016 Release. So, think November/December.
Am I going to be busy? Sands yes. Is it going to be awesome. The same, with gusto. I’ve been working on Colony for so long, with such positive responses from those that have read it, that I’m excited to finally be close to releasing this juggernaut (at 1300+ pages, it certainly counts) into the wild at last.
Plus, once Colony is out and Shadow of an Empire is nearly to that point, I can finally start work on Jungle, the sequel to Colony. And yes, that whole “throw it all in a blender and then have the blender blow up on the reader” experience? The sequel is definitely going to do that again. I’m having a lot of fun with this one. After that? Well, then I think I’ll finally be getting started on Hunter/Hunted to appease my fanfiction readers, and from there …
Well, I’ve got plans. No worries.
Anyway, that’s the news! It’s good to be (almost) back!
Oh, and I got to miss the continuing debacle that has become the Hugo Awards, so there’s that plus to make note of.