I made SeaTac in plenty of time and parked at Doug Fox. I was the only passenger on the shuttle bus. The driver said that Saturdays were traditionally slow. I checked in at the kiosk and magically two boarding passes spit out, one for Salt Lake and one for Elko. Security was easy. TSA at SeaTac is friendly. I picked up a grande nonfat latte and a chocolate chip muffin at Starbucks.
Gate A12 is about the farthest gate at SeaTac. I took my time walking. Getting on the plane a young woman was sitting in my window seat. I was polite and she politely let me take my assigned seat. She had dyed blonde hair and I’m sure a boob job. Her friend showed up as the last passenger and so seats were exchanged so the two fake blond friends could sit together and the one who traded the seat sat next to me. She was another young woman attired ‘organically’ for lack of a better term. Normally I’m not chatty on planes and for the first portion of the flight I had my headphones on and my nose into Nevada mining regulations. But during the beverage service we began to chat and she was very interesting. She had left Bellingham where she had been making large puppets, the kind that are held up by long sticks. She was traveling to Santa Barbara for a few days then on to Alaska for a few more days with family. After that she had a one way ticket to Puerto Vallarta where she was entertaining at a large hotel there. Did I mention that she was a juggler and I’m sure a good one. She had spent four months over the summer in Europe, bicycling, and getting by being a street entertainer. She clearly was an environmentalist, having participated in tree sittings in the redwoods. She asked me if I thought the rainforest was the single most important resource on the planet. Trick question maybe but I gave a long answer, oxygen, climatic influence, deforestation, etc. Our conversation made for a quick flight and soon we were in Salt Lake, going separate ways.
I had two hours to kill in Salt Lake before flying on to Elko. Salt Lake had a big dump of snow that morning and it was cold getting off the plane. I picked up a tall nonfat latte and a ham & cheese sandwich at Starbucks. The sandwich was awful but I was hungry. I caught up with the family by text and a phone call from my wife. New computer at home, yeh!
Finally it was time to board for Elko. The plane was a small EMB 120 twin-turboprop. Only nine passengers were on board. There was an issue with the fueling truck that caused about a 40 minute delay. They finally brought out another fueling truck. After taking on a load of fuel we taxied to the deicing ramp for a glycol bath and then we quickly got in the air.
It was a short, quiet flight to Elko. The Holiday Inn had no shuttle but they called a cab for me. While waiting for the cab, I chatted with the Red Lion shuttle driver, an old guy about 70 years old. He told me that the Holiday Inn had been owned by ‘Mr. McCaskey’, a big hotel owner in the Intermountain West. The Holiday Inn was sold after ‘Mr. McCaskey’ died. The old guy told me about the fantastic woodwork in the Holiday Inn and turns out he was right. It’s a beautiful hotel, clean and new. Stephen at the front desk checked me in. He saw my book about Stonewall Jackson’s campaign in the Shenandoah Valley and we talked history.
I finally got to my room and made my nest. I’ll be here three nights. Tomorrow the mines of the Snake Mountains.