The actual traveling portions of the trip were much anticipated because my kiddos had never been on a plane, motor coach, shuttle or cruise ship. I know, they are sheltered and abused ;).
As you can see, Ben earned his wings and thought the flying part was super fun . . . . as did Ellie (this is a shot of our first take off). Maddi did not enjoy the changes in altitude and pressure and used up our first of many Dramamine tablets. We were too late in dispensing a tablet to Ben, as you can see in the third photo. He was pale and nauseous as we exited the plane in Fairbanks but was still giving a thumbs up to the flight.
While Ben was recovering, I was busy heading to Fairbanks International Airport's Gate #3 to meet fellow D-mom, Amy of My Diary as the Mom of a Diabetic Princess! Amy is a customer service agent for Alaska Airlines and had noticed from one of my Facebook posts that I was flying into her airport. She just happened to be working late THAT night/early morning and was there to greet my very tired self at 1am (4am my time). Unfortunately, we were only able to spend a couple of minutes chatting before I needed to get the family to a hotel for some sleep.
The first thing I noticed about Alaska was that it was light outside at 1am! Not day-bright light, but dawn/dusk sort of light. In fact, I never did see the kind of nighttime darkness I am used to. It would take several days for us all to get acclimated to constant light and once we did it was very energizing. You just didn't feel like sitting around, even if you were tired. My brother-in-law and niece even booked and played a 10pm t-time at a Fairbanks' golf course . . . . staying out until well after midnight.
Once in Fairbanks, we had a day to rest and tour the town before the official 'tour' portion of the trip was to begin. We rented a car and set off to explore around the city of ~30,000 people.
Our first stop was the Museum of the North on the University of Alaska's campus.
We had a great time both inside and out and could not get enough of the majestic mountain views. The weather was so nice (about 60 degrees and party cloudy) we decided to find a hiking path.
Not only did we discover a perfect walking trail, we also met one of the most aggressive animals of Alaska. No, not a bear or moose or fox . . . . . but hundreds of swarms of mosquitoes. We quickly applied our natural bug mist and walked further into the woods but too soon noticed the mosquitoes were not only following us, but also pointing and laughing at our efforts to thwart them. After being devoured, we ran back to the rental car and vowed to stop by the nearest drug store and pick us up some stronger stuff. Better to be absorb a little deet than be laid up in bed with the itchies.
Day 2 in Fairbanks was filled to the brim with activities, as the 'land' portion of our Celebrity Cruise Alaskan Tour was revving up and rolling.
The first item on our agenda was to board the Riverboat Discovery ship and tour the river banks of Fairbanks, along with a couple of educational and discovery stops along the way.
We sent the men of our group to reserve seats aboard the top open deck while the women and kids shopped the first, of many, souvenir shops.
Along the banks we anchored to listened to Dave Monson of Trailbreaker Kennels talk to us about raising sled mushing dogs. One of my favorite places to learn about on the trip.
The Chena Indian village was another stop and explore place along the route. We learned about the ways the Indians smoked and preserved salmon, how they lived and flourished in this harsh area and climate.
No, not a real moose. Nor did Ellie really ride a dog sled. Bet yes, the kids did smile and enjoy the ride!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Since this blog is used for the intent and purpose of educating and sharing information related to type 1 diabetes, you may be wondering just how Ellie's blood sugars were doing with all this travel.
Well, the answer is . . . . meh. Which can equal very good! Not too many highs and not too many lows. We prepared by packing an insulated backpack full of everything we could possibly need in a day and we had it with us wherever we went. We could not, however, pack full meals. This is where the frustration and uneasiness came into play. Sometimes Ellie just needed a meal and most of those times were not in coordination with the tour. We did the best we could with what we had (complained quite a bit in the meantime) and moved on.
I wanted Ellie to experience an EXCELLENT range of blood sugars during the trip, but I soon learned that would be an unrealistic expectation. We guesstimated the amount of carbs in her foods to the best of our abilities, crossed our fingers and shot the insulin. We tested her blood sugar often and prayed thanks for getting through another round.
If you ask Ellie, she had a great time and doesn't feel like her T1D interfered with her experience. What more could we ask for?!