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  • Writer's pictureRoy Thomas

Getting there

Is it half the fun? With proper planning, it can be.

We leave tomorrow, Sunday, for our Iceland Adventure. We will arrive in Iceland on Thursday. I know what you are thinking, 4 days of travel? How is that possible? The short answer, location, and weather.

Living on a remote island in the North Pacific requires some special planning when traveling internationally. Given that the weather can cancel flights to and from our home we plan on a three-day travel cushion before boarding our international flights. When we had family in Anchorage, Alaska we generally opted to spend the time there. For this trip, we will be passing the time in the Seattle area. We will shakedown our gear, visit family, and enjoying a trail or two. All of this before heading out to another Island, this time, in the North Atlantic.

Even without that travel cushion, the logistics of getting there are unique. For instance, if you use a simple Google Flights search, the "best flights" option brings the following results.

That first itinerary, oomph, almost 47 hours. Sort the flights by duration and you get the following results.

Nearly 30 hours. One of the losses for us that is carrying over from COVID 19 in 2020 is a direct flight from Anchorage to Europe. Prior to 2020 you could take off from Anchorage, Alaska, and be in Reykjavik in just over 7 hours, or fly all the way to Frankfurt for just a bit more time in the seat.

That straight line over Northern Canada and Greenland was sure convenient. Now it looks like this.

Actual flight time? About 12 hours plus layovers, or the same as flying from Seattle to Shanghai. Travel time for us?

So what can you do? You can complain and be miserable, or you can set your heart on adventure from the very beginning.

We don't sit still much. Many people find a day in a chaise lounge at the beach a special treat, truth is anything beyond an hour sitting still wears on us pretty quickly. So, what does 3 days, 5 hours, and 40 minutes look like for Just try and keep up.

4:35 PM we will board an Alaska Airline 737-700, hopefully, "Bill" aka, "@alaska737" will be our pilot.

The flight to Anchorage is quick, just under an hour. That leaves 1 hour and 46 minutes before our Anchorage to Seattle flight of 3 hours and 25 minutes plus a 1 hour time change for a total of 4 hours and 25 minutes of time passage.

An 11:40 PM arrival in Seattle leads us to baggage pick up and a hotel shuttle to the DoubleTree Seatac for a night of rest in preparation for adventure.

At 9 AM the next morning we will meet our Turo owner in the hotel parking lot. If you're not familiar with Turo, just think Airbnb with an automobile. With the current rental car shortage, a 3 day rental out of SeaTac was going to be over $500USD. With Turo for the same time frame, it was just over $200. This will be our first experience, we will let you know how it went. I have a hunch that like UBER, this will be our new way to get around in cities where it is available.

Two flights and a night in a hotel... time for a walk. Once we have our urban transportation it will be time for an urban walk. Time for Alike Beach in Seattle.

This 7.6 mile out and back trail offers great views of the Seattle Skyline and options for food truck discoveries as well as the opportunity to try our hand at a tandem bicycle. We will throw out a Facebook invite to friends and family who might want to take a stroll or a bike ride with us as we pass the time doing things we love to do.

Time to set up camp. Saltwater State park allows for a 2:30 check-in.

Urban camping provides us a safe spot to shake down our camping gear one last time before hitting the backcountry. If we find our gear lacking in any way we can access a sporting goods store in the morning before flying off again.

After setting up camp it is off to some family time to enjoy a BBQ and to catch up with relatives.

After time with family, it is back to the campground for the first of our tent camping gear shakedown nights.

Time to check the mail. Morning on Wednesday will bring a drive into the Cascade Mountains and a challenging hike to Mailbox Peak. We will follow the old route up and the new route down.

Time to dine out. A hike like Mailbox works up an appetite. Where would you recommend for dinner between North Bend, Washington, and West Seattle?

One more night of urban camping at Saltwater State Park brings us to our travel to Iceland day. We will return our Turo car at 11 AM, check-in for our flight, and then pass the time in the SeaTac Airport. Once onboard our Iceland Air Flight we will settle in for just over 7 hours of flight time on our way to spectacular adventures in Iceland.

Nearly 4 days later we will check into our Reykjavik Airbnb. If we were not planning to buffer our travels we could trim our travel time to about 30 hours, as it stands, taking advantage of layovers is the best thing we can do with our unique logistical challenge of flying from the remote archipelago we call home.

What is your travel challenge?

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