Trip Report: Down the West Coast on Alaska Airlines

In Adventure, Alaska Travelgram by scott

Like many other readers, I took advantage of last month’s pre-PFD sale to snag a $149 ticket to Seattle from Anchorage on Alaska Airlines. My itinerary included a few flights on sister airline Horizon. We flew from Santa Rosa to Seattle on a sleek Bombardier Q400:

Checking in for the 6:30pm flight (#104) was a snap. Everything in Anchorage was going nicely.  The flight, however, was delayed two hours due to a mechanical glitch. 

I ran into a friend of mine, Mike D. from Seattle, at the gate. He and I retired to the Board Room to chat about kids, careers and all things internet. 

The plane, a 737-800, was in good shape and the pilot put the pedal to the metal, getting us to Seattle in less than three hours. Nonetheless, with a 12:45am arrival, I missed my shuttle and had to take a $38 cab ride to my hotel, the Quality Inn, near the Space Needle. Thankfully, there was no traffic! 

Seattle always is a blast. We stopped in at Theo Chocolate, where Andy, the COO, gave us a tour. Then, over to the Pan Pacific Hotel for a “Girl Power Hour” event with Spinmistress to the Stars, Darnell Sue. Read about her adventures here.

I snapped a few pictures of the event. Here’s Darnell doing her DJ thang:

Here’s Kaycee checking out the donuts from Wink! donuts. Girls just gotta have fun–and they were all having fun at Darnell’s unique networking event:


If you haven’t discovered it, Gray Line’s Airporter Shuttle is one of the best deals in Seattle. Even if you’re renting a  car, it may be worth it to take the shuttle into town to avoid those horrendous airport taxes.

Cost is $11 each way. There are about five hotels on the list, including the Sheraton and the Warwick. I hiked over from the Quality Inn to Top Pot Doughnuts for an early-morning cup of coffee before hopping on the shuttle to the Alaska Airlines counter. Again, check-in was a snap. This time, the flight left right on time for San Francisco. I arrived on schedule in the City By The Bay at 11:29am.

The BART is my favorite way to get to downtown from SFO. It’s just a little more than $5 from the airport to Union Square, about 10 percent of the cost of a taxi. Faster, too. 

Our hotel, the Hotel Union Square, was one block from the BART station, right near the Cable Car Turnaround at the base of Powell Street.

I like the hotel. Comfy beds, free internet and a manager’s hospitality reception each afternoon. There’s no restaurant on-site (although parking is available), but there are plenty of places to eat. The first night, we opted for nearby “First Crush”.  It featured small plates of tasty grub and nice wines by the glass. Our bartender, Danny, made some great recommendations: a halibut dish with curry sauce, some asparagus with fresh toppings and other goodies:      

The next evening, we hiked about six blocks to Bar Crudo, which means “Raw Bar”. Lots of raw fish and tasty treats. Yum.  Arctic Char. Yellowfin Tuna. Lobster. Even some oysters. Nice setting, too:


One of America’s great drives is California’s Highway 1, which snakes up the coast from Los Angeles through San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge:

We drove from San Francisco up to Jenner, at the mouth of the Russian River. Fabulous views, rugged coastline, scattered farms and grazing lands for dairy cows:

Wonderful dinner with my friend Trini on the banks of the Russian River between Duncan Mills and Monte Rio–in the midst of wine country.


We stayed at the Highland Dell in Monte Rio. Comfy hotel and restaurant right on the Russian River. Here’s a beautiful shot of the river from their deck:

Just landed in Portland after flying Horizon from Santa Rosa through Seattle. Wonderful flight–beats the pants off an early-morning sprint from Santa Rosa to San Francisco Airport. Oh-check out the cool Regional Jet we flew from Seattle down to Portland (about 19 minutes!!):


Headed back to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines’ nonstop from Portland this eve. Scoop up the great PFD air fare deals to Portland, Seattle and around the system between now and Oct. 13. More to come…

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