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Seattle 2010 Trip

Day 13 of 13

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Tuesday, July 6th
Fly home

We woke up early to finish packing, then had breakfast. After checking out of the hotel a bit after 9am, we drove to a nearby UPS Store under sunny skies. Part of the reason I'd chosen to return on the 6th rather than the 5th was that I knew most stores (including all UPS Stores) would be closed on the 5th in observance of July 4th (which fell on a Sunday this year). So we needed to plan our departure so that we could ship our stuff back. Another reason was to give ourselves a chance to pack and clean up before getting on the plane!

We shipped our stuff home via UPS (it would arrive a mere two days later), then went to the airport. Almost all the elevators were on the fritz for some reason. Only 1 out of 6 elevators worked from the rental car return area we were at. After we crossed the bridge into the terminal, the one elevator there was not working. So I had to lug 120 pounds of luggage up a flight of stairs. Let me tell you, it's not easy, especially when they're on wheels.

I was a bit worried when I saw all the crowds at the check-in lines at all the other terminals. But when we arrived at the Virgin America counter, it was virtually empty. Our check-in was quick and painless, and then it was off to the security checkpoint. The line looked long but moved fast, and 15 minutes later we were on our way to the gate.

After mostly flying United Airlines for the past several years, I have to say that I rather enjoyed flying Virgin America instead. The luggage allowance of 70 pounds versus 50 pounds is a big difference for us. The lines were generally shorter. And each seat has an individual entertainment system (TV, radio, games). Very cool, especially with kids. I (along with many others on the flight) was able to catch much of the Uruguay - Netherlands World Cup semifinal during the flight.

Back home, the weather at SFO was sunny and warm, a contrast to most of the weather we'd experienced in the Pacific Northwest. Our friends the night before had told us that July 4th is usually the start of summer weather in the Seattle area, while the weeks before that are hit or miss. So it's no surprise that we experienced a bit of cloudy, cold, or rainy days. That being said, it wasn't all bad. Hiking in overcast conditions can be quite nice, and it only really rained on us on one hike. If I were to return to North Cascades, I'd probably schedule a trip later in the summer just so that I could do higher-elevation hikes, but we probably didn't miss too much by going earlier in the year.

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