Sunday, September 28, 2014

From One End of the US to the Other: Part 1

 Where it all began: The ferry ride
We left Sitka on the Columbia, the same ferry we arrived in Sitka on.  It was a two day-three night trip and had it been any longer, I probably would have started pulling my hair out.  It really wasn't all that bad, especially because we had our good friends, Kate and Cooper, with us.  We only had a few short stops that were during the night or early morning.  For the most part, our entertainment consisted of walking around the ship, hanging out on the back deck, and eating meals in the dining room.  Throw in a few play sessions on a plastic kiddie slide which Brinleigh was obsessed with and watching a few movies in our cabin and that was our exciting boat ride.  Each night, after we put Brinleigh to bed, we would take the baby monitor up to the bar or the cafeteria and play Uno with Kate and Cooper.
Brinleigh absolutely loved exploring and walking all over the ship and she would actually throw herself on the floor and have a full blown meltdown as soon as we would get to our cabin door.  She despised being in our cabin for some reason but that's where the portable DVD player came into play.
 Let me also just say, the little monkey harness that we have for Brinleigh was a lifesaver!  It didn't matter if we were going to eat or walk around, we put it on her every time we left our cabin.  She loves her monkey harness and would get soooo excited when we would tell her to put it on.  Mostly because she knew that meant we were leaving the room.  Some people judge me, some people think it's brilliant, I felt like it was safe.  There are lots of stairs and long hallways and not to mention a lot of other kids running around everywhere.  But with the harness we could let her walk and stretch her legs but still keep her within reach, especially when we would go out on the deck.  So people can judge me all they want, but my kid was safe!

  Ketchikan was our last stop before the final homestretch to Bellingham and it was several hours long.  Kolt and I decided to take full advantage of this and planned to explore another part of Alaska before we were out of the Last Frontier for good.  There was a bus stop right outside the ferry terminal and we only had to wait a few minutes before hopping on one.  We took about a 20 minute roller-coaster type ride to Downtown Ketchikan which Brinleigh seemed to enjoy.  It was crowded and super busy since there were two huge cruise ships in that day.  After a few minutes of walking, I went into freakout mode and had to figure out the bus schedule so that I knew what bus stop we needed to be at and what time the bus was coming to get back to the ferry terminal on time.  According to the schedule, we had maybe one shot to get a bus back to the ferry on time and that wasn't even guaranteed.  I decided to call the bus operator to ask what our best option would be and she did not help the situation at all.  So of course, I immediately lose my shit.  I mean, full on thought I was gonna have to pop a Xanax.  I didn't think we could catch a cab because we didn't have a car seat for Brinleigh so I was fully prepared to run the entire way back to the ferry terminal.  Thankfully, Kolt figured out a bus that we could get on that would hopefully get us back to the ship on time, however, that bus was on the south route and we needed to go north.  Since we didn't want to chance being late, we opted for this bus.  So we got to ride around Ketchikan for almost an hour before being dropped off at the ferry terminal.  We made it onto the ship about 20 minutes before the ferry was scheduled to leave.  Kolt and I were sweating bullets the entire bus ride, but my sweet husband didn't let me know that he was worried at all.  He kept reassuring me that we would make it back on time and Thank God that he did because had I known that he was worried about missing the ferry, I would have had a panic attack.  So there it is, our Ketchikan shit show.

I know some people are really curious about how the whole ferry thing works or what it's like and after arriving in Sitka, a lot of people asked questions about it so this time I decided to document everything.  Well, almost everything.  I didn't get any pictures of certain features inside the boat, such as: the dining room, cafeteria, movie room, gift shop, purser's office or viewing areas.  Ooops!

Getting on the Ferry:
We drive over a small bridge to get onto the boat, this entire level is the parking garage.  Once we are on the boat, we are directed as to where to park based on our end location.  Cars will be getting on and off during the duration of our trip so vehicles have to be parked a specific way.  Once we are parked, Kolt checked in at the purser's office and got our room key.  He made several trips to get all of our luggage into the cabin and then we had to set up Gunner.  We cleared out an area in the bed of the truck and set up his kennel.  He then stayed in his kennel the entire trip except when we had port calls or garage calls where we could let the dogs out to feed them and let them run around.

On the Ferry:
 The ferry has cabins that you can reserve at an extra cost, 2-birth and 4-birth.  The 2-birth has one set of bunk beds and the 4-birth has two sets of bunk beds.  Passengers are not required to reserve a cabin and when you walk around the ship you will see people set up area's that they plan to stay in during their trip.  At night a lot of the lights on the boat get turned off and you will see people sleeping on random benches, in corners of rooms on the floor, in the movie room, etc.  There is also a designated area on the back deck for tents.  You can pitch a tent and sleep under the stars and not have to pay for a cabin.  There are also public bathrooms and showers on the ship for all the passengers who do not have a cabin.

Getting off the ferry:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Quick Check-in

I feel like I have so much to write about since leaving Alaska and I have not a clue where to begin.  I really really wish that I had time during our travels to post updates but trust me when I say.... shit. was. cray.
We were really looking forward to arriving in Florida because we were going to be able to relax and get settled and it has been anything BUT relaxing.  OMG.

Of course I have managed to squeeze in a few shopping trips to target to relax my nerves during the shit show that is our life currently.  Let me just say that I cannot stop thinking about these boots for Brinleigh!  I saw them and absolutely HAD to try them on her.  They fit her perfectly and she loved them and wore them the entire time we were in the store.  But Kolt doesn't think it's gonna get cool enough in Florida for her to wear them.  I am crossing my fingers that it cools down before they go out of stock so I can run out and buy them for her.  Because wouldn't they look absolutely A-dorable with this dress?!?!?!  Don't worry, I'm completely aware of my addiction and I really am trying to work on it.

We have been trying to squeeze in family days here and there so that during all this chaos we can all get a little break.  Our new favorite go-to for family fun is the beach.  Brinleigh wasn't so sure about it at first, but now..... she loves it!
Our household goods were delivered on Tuesday and Kolt had to report to work on Wednesday so I get to spend the rest of the week unpacking the house.  Which is super easy with my tiny toddler tornado wrecking shop every time I turn around.

I will be posting more about our travels, hopefully soon, and also pics of the new house! Stay tuned!