The Trip Home, from Hot Honolulu Sand to Yukon Snow

On Thursday, we began the 4,000-mile trip home. We were scheduled to fly out of Honolulu at 1:15 pm with Alaska Airlines, have a very short overnight in Seattle, and be in Whitehorse just before 2:00 pm Friday. Although there were some bumps along the way, that’s not too far from what happened.

I haven’t posted many photos of the hotel we stayed at, simply because I didn’t want to spend any time taking a good set. Everything about the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort was wonderful, though – this is the massive reception desk on the right.
Reception desk at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
We thought about laying on the beach and going swimming one more time, but to me it didn’t seem worth it to deal with wet bathing suits again for just a couple of hours. We did go for a last walk, though, and were greeted by this rainbow in a clear sky.
Rainbow over Gray's Beach, Honolulu
Out at the end of the jetty, dozens of these little fish were being bashed around where the waves hit the rocks. It seemed like an odd place to choose to live.
Little fish along the jetty at Gray's Beach, Honolulu
There were a few little crabs out baking in the hot sun instead of dropping into the still water a foot below.
Little crab on the jetty at Gray's Beach, Honolulu
While we waited for a cab to the airport at 10:20, I took this photo of the weather report screen in the lobby. *sigh* 🙂
Weather report for Honolulu
At the fairly quiet Honolulu airport just after 11:00, a very helpful agent assisted us with the checkin kiosk and Agriculture inspection, and we were soon through security.
Alaska Airlines area at Honolulu
Hawaiian music and a last photo op with a hula dancer in the terminal.
Hawaiian music and a last photo op with a hula dancer in the Honolulu terminal
The Japanese garden in the center of the terminal is lovely. That’s our plane in front on the left – very convenient.
Japanese garden in Honolulu airport terminal
The control tower, directly above the Japanese garden.
Honolulu airport control tower
Although I take photos of lots of airliners, I seldom post any to the database I contribute to, because they’ve all been done before. The listing for this one, though, Hawaiian Airlines’ 2013 Airbus A330-243 N393HA, didn’t have a photo yet so I added it.
Hawaiian Airlines' 2013 Airbus A330-243 N393HA
Awesome – Honolulu Airport with a Hawaiian Airlines plane, and Diamond Head in the background 🙂
Honolulu Airport with a Hawaiian Airlines plane, and Diamond Head in the background
At 1:27 we were off the ground, and 12 minutes later, said goodbye to Hawaii. Mahalo!
Hawaii from the air
Sunset out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean somewhere. Having a large beer with lunch at the airport was good for helping me pass the time with my eyes closed.
Sunset out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean somewhere
We landed in Seattle a few minutes before 10:00 pm, caught a shuttle to the nearby Hampton Inn & Suites, and were in bed by 11:00. Because we had to start Friday with an international flight (so a 2-hour-prior arrival), we had a 04:00 wakeup call. The fog outside didn’t look good!
Foggy morning in Seattle
The days of good dining were over – a fast-food breakfast in the food court at SEA.
Food court at SEA
At 07:00, we walked out to our plane for the 34-minute hop to Vancouver. It was Alaska Airlines’ (Horizon Air) Bombardier DHC-8-402Q (Dash 8) N402QX, which is decorated with University of Montana colours and logo.
Alaska Airlines' (Horizon Air) Bombardier DHC-8-402Q (Dash 8) N402QX
When there was no real attempt to increase power as we travelled along the active runway, I said to Cathy that an ugly message was coming, and a couple of seconds later the captain announced that the flight had been postponed due to weather issues in Vancouver. We taxied back to the terminal but didn’t get off the plane, and at 08:45, we tried again, though we were #9 in line for takeoff this time.
Taxiing in a Dash 8 in the fog at SEA
At 08:48, we were above the thin fog layer, looking across at Mt. Rainier. When we got to Vancouver I could see no indication that there had been any weather issues, but we were still in time for our connection to Whitehorse so it didn’t really matter.
Mt. Rainier above a low morning fog.
Security, Customs and getting our Air Canada boarding passes was all quick and dead simple, but Cathy’s Swiss Army knife had somehow ended up in my backpack, and she no longer owns it.
Quiet day at YVR
Our Embraer 190 taxied away from the terminal at 11:20 as scheduled, but we sat in the run-up area as plane after plane went around us. The captain announced that we had a minor maintenance issue to deal with, and a few minutes later that it was actually a crucial mechanical problem that had to be dealt with, so back to the terminal we went. It might not take too long so again we stayed in the plane.
At 12:20 we were on our way again, and quickly climbed into clouds. There were a few breaks around 2:00 as we neared the Yukon, though – just enough so we could see the mountains and feel at home.
Aerial view of mountains in north-western BC
At 2:33, the final turn to land at Whitehorse.

We arrived home just after 3:00 pm, to a joyous reception from the kids 🙂 As amazing as the trip was – one of our best ever, we agree – getting home to our family is the best feeling.

I can’t finish this off without thanking the wonderful woman we found to take care of our home and family at the last second when our regular sitter got very sick. Rebecca Barfoot is an artist from Colorado, and as well as taking an instant liking to her, we both love her work. She left this beautiful piece for us with a note that says in part, “a little piece of ocean & a little piece of the Aurora (which she saw here on her birthday), & the boreal”. You can see some of her work on her Facebook page and other pages linked from there. Monty clearly missed her the first day, so we have no doubt that life was good, and we can’t thank her enough.
Painting by Rebecca Barfoot

Now, back to reality. It’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, and that’s precisely what we’re doing – giving thanks for the amazing life we have here. I hope that you’ve all enjoyed travelling with us on our last long trip without our family for many years. From now on, the trips you’ll be seeing here will be motorhome adventures 🙂

You might wonder what this trip cost. In round numbers, the total for the 19 days was $9,000, and all of our flights and the Seattle hotel were free on points. By booking almost a year ahead, we got great rates on both the cruise (which sold out a couple of months in advance of sailing) and the Hawaii hotel.

Post #1 of 16 from the trip – 48 Hours in Vancouver, the Cruise Port


The Trip Home, from Hot Honolulu Sand to Yukon Snow — 5 Comments

  1. Hi Cathy & Murray Thank you for sharing your trip with everyone. Great photos. It’s nice to see places that I will probably never get to. It’s always nice to be home again. I am looking forward to your trips in the Yukon & Alaska. How much snow ?

  2. Thanks, Bruce. The dumps of snow that came (and did a lot of damage in our forest!) has all melted away, and though we have lots of flurries forecast for the next week, temps should keep it melting for a while yet.

  3. Hi Murray.

    Really enjoyed reading your Hawaii blog reports, its one of our other favourite locations, along with the recently visited northern BC and the Yukon of course ; ).

    Brought back lots of memories of our 2010 and 2013 visits.

    On our last visit to Big Island we were lucky enough to be able to take the hike from Kalapana to see the lava flows close up. It was an amazing experience, although the recent flows causing concern around the Pahoe region are maybe not so amazing for the locals unfortunately.

  4. Wow, that was certainly a well-researched trip that you got the absolute most out of in every way. I have been kept engrossed reading all your entries over several sessions. Three weeks must have been quite a wrench for you to leave your dogs. However, they’ll be very excited to be included in the travel from now on. I’m sure. As you have your first snow dumps (it seems yesterday since all your Winter photos) we have Spring bursting out all over and we are very much looking forward to Summer, which will bring two sets of Maple Leaf visitors. We will have to get back to Canada next time – we love your country. Good luck with all your new projects.