Friday, July 23, 2010

Home Sweet Home

July 22 – Home sweet home

We are excited we will be home today. Really excited. It is a four hour flight. Our dear friends, Wei and Yee-Ping invited us to stop by Palo Alto for lunch which was gladly accepted. Wei brought flowers and cameras to welcome us. Thanks Wei and Yee-Ping.

As we departed the Palo Alto airport, the control tower radioed us and said, “ We were informed that you guys just finished your around the world trip. Congratulations on your achievement, and thank you for including us in your trip.”. What a gracious statement! We will appreciate and remember the remark forever.

Approaching Palo Alto.
With Yee-Ping and God-daughter, Jackie.
With Wei, Yee-Ping, Jackie, and God-son, Eric.

Home! In front of hanger at El Monte airport.
We are at El Monte!

Pushing the airplane back to the hanger.
Unloading three months of luggages.

Home, at last!

A Big Thank you!...

We want to thank each and everyone who has made this trip possible. The Air Journey Corporation who arranged the trip with class and professionalism that has exceed our expectations. Came through every time when difficulties and challenges seem overwhelming. With a smile and high spirits too. Thank you, Air Journey.

The group members who accompanied us for the past 80 days. We want to say also, “Thank you for including us in your trip.” You are gracious and patient with the slowest airplane. Many times, you gave us your hands when we needed help by standing by us when taking off, and taking loads from us when weight was critical. We learned so much from each one of you. Thank you all.

Our dear friends and family at Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Taipei Brunei, Cambodia, ….. Your encouragement and support made this trip even more special. With your blessing and good wishes, our hearts are filled with love and spirits all the time. There were not a moment in this trip we did not feel blessed and appreciative that we have your support. Thank you, thank you!

Special thanks to Fred who joined us from Singapore to Bali. You have represented all the XO friends with your trust and support which is dear to our hearts.

To Victoria and Jonathan. Thank you daughter for picking up the Camera for me and teaching me how to Blog. One more new skill acquired from this trip and enjoyed every minute of it. Jon, thank you for keeping the house clean when I come home. One of the best surprises.

We will see each other soon and catch up on all this. Until then, everyone, thank you for being with us. We love it and we love you.

Sincerely from Jeffrey and Renee

Seattle, Washington

July 21 to July 22 – Seattle, Washington

One more day, we will be home. To us, the journey is not finished until we are home. For the first time, I have the “can’t wait” feeling. Check in at around 5:00 pm. The dinner was arranged at the top of the Space Needle. An official ending of the Around the World Journey. It is the last stop of the Itinerary. At the beginning of the trip, we were wondering how we would feel when we flipped over the last page of the three volume pre-printed flight plan, now we know.

Mount Ranair a 14,000 feet.

City of Seattle.

Space Needle tower.

View from the rotating tower top restaurant.

Sunset and moonlight.

July 22 - the flight home.

Alaska, U.S.A.

July 19 – Anchorage, Alaska

We gained one day when arrived Alaska. It was 11:30 PM. The customs officer came to our plane and escorted us to the customs building. Got congratulated by the officers for finishing the trip.

Our group had arrived several hours before us and were awaiting in the hotel for a celebration toast. We were all in an enlightened state of mind. Congratulating each other for a life enhancing journey. There are so much to learn. The energized enrichment from mother nature, on land and in air, human being spirits, self discovery, …. and much much more. It will take time to realize the impact of this trip, I guess. But at this moment, we all know, we have done it and all still are in great spirit. Congratulations to all and each one of the 2010 Around the World Journey group member!

Passing the Pacific Ocean and entering U.S. airspace and seeing Alaskan mountains.

Anchorage airport near mid-night.

Largest water plane park in the world. Water airplanes everywhere. Taking one day of rest in Alaska after 4 days of straight flying. Casually walking around town. Weather is pleasant. Locals wear T shirts only.

Yes, we cannot resist. On board a water plane for a glacier tour.

Anchorage city.

Low altitude and slow speed flying. About 85 nautical miles per hour compare to the regular 200 t0 300 nm.

Frozen rivers near and close.

Massive glacier break.

Over the water fly by. Spetacular.

July 21 - Continue the long way home. From Anchorage to Seattle is a long flight crossing the whole British Columbia, Canada. About 1300 NM. The airplane can just make it without fueling in BC which will require in to Canada and through U.S. customs again.

Anadyr - Russia

July 19 - Anadyr, Russia

Anadyr is the most Northeastern point of Russia. Pacific Ocean on one side and Arctic Ocean on the other side. Closest point to the U.S.

Upon arrival, two drums of Avgas awaiting us. The same as all other situation of drum providers, no pumping equipment. Jeffrey took out hand pump, and filter, and starting to work. After a while, he realize his lack of triceps muscle, he pull out a $20 bill and ask the truck driver to pump for him. We did have a electric pump with us but the problem is whenever there is only drums, there are no electric hookup at all. So the hand pump has to work. The fueling took an hour, just finish before we almost miss the last ferry boat to town for the day.

You can tell the ferry boat has been in service for a long time by the thick exterior white paint. Only locals are on board. Russian look very much like Asian, especially some woman. I even try to talk them in Chinese, when English does not work, of course, no one understands. After 30 minutes boat ride, and 5 minutes taxi ride, we arrived the hotel. Pleasantly surprised, a quite new and nice hotel with a receptionist understands some English. What a relieve!

Anadyr is a nice and modern small city. Banks, super market, drug stores...and so on. Very much similar to Iceland town where we just started our journey. After a walk around the hotel and visited a well stocked super market, we retire to the room and getting ready to catch the 8:00 AM ferry back to the airport tomorrow.

July 20 –

7:45 Am at lobby to be picked up by taxi, just to discover we are short of one person. Turns out the group member took a morning walk and underestimated the time needed to walk back to the hotel. By the time the taxi came, luggage loaded, and arrive to the ferry dock, sure enough, the ferry long gone. The next ride is 3 hours later.

The lesson learned? Do not walk away from the place you are not familiar with, walk in circles. Anyway, we are strained at the ferry dock with a taxi driver does not understand us. Right away, we thought of chartering one of the other boats on the dock. Those looks like construction ferries. After 1 had refused us, the other one agreed for US$200. Taken, of course.

What a recover! We managed to arrive at airport just 20 minutes late. Well, unfortunately, a Boeing 747 with full load of passengers just arrived too. We had to wait for 3 and half hours at the airport, by plane side, before our passports get stamped by customs.

By 2 PM, we took off and on our way to Alaska, U.S.A. Yeh!

Only one and half hour later, we reached U.S. radar control. Yes, it is nice to come home. Forgot to bring a bottle of Champagne on board.

From air, the swamp looks like cut outs. In the winter time, covered with ice and snow.

Anadyr airport.

Pumping Avgas.
By the dock, there are several sank ships. We have nice weather in the afternoon.

On board ferry boat.

Sharing Orios with Russian children.

Jeffrey calling "Russia!" to the Russian flag.

Anadyr town with road to ocean side.

The hotel.
Streets of Anadyr.

On board the construction ferry. An exclusive ride. Actually, an experience money cannot buy.

A straight ladder to the upper deck.

No seats, everyone needs to find a place to stand.

Airport in sight.

The living quarter of the two sailors.

Okay, no GPS, where do I go?

Here we are, dropped us off at the construction site.

It seems a over the sea bridge is being built.

Airport, at last. A pretty new airport only has no ramps, all stairs. Maybe, ramps and elevators are being built.

Ferry helocopter.

Leaving Anadyr toward the finishing line.

Here we come, Alaska!