Traffic alert: Blizzards and volcanic ash ahead


By Elleda Wilson

Posted: September 11, 2009


PAMELA MATTSON MCDONALD, who is a cook and a deck hand, sent in an intriguing photo of herself on the deck of a tug in the Inside Passage, left, along with two COMMUTING HORROR STORIES:

“Most folks have to deal with rush hour when commuting to work. I have to deal with blizzards and erupting volcanoes. For the last two voyages with my assigned tugboat, the Guardsman, for Crowley Maritime, I have been hindered in my commute by natural forces beyond my control.

“The end of December 2008, I was to fly from Portland to meet the boat in Alaska … It was below freezing, with the deep snow holding us hostage. Most of the hill roads were full of sledding bodies. I got a ride with friends who had four-wheel drive to Portland, which took over five hours, only to find the airports were closed. A week later I drive to the airport myself with chains.

“I drive to Portland to fly to meet the Guardsman tug again in March 2009. At the SeaTac connecting gate I see five of our crew for the boat. In the middle of the flight to Anchorage, the eruption ash of Mount Redoubt north of Cook Inlet, flowing south into the path of our plane, turns us around. Our boat is in Cook Inlet. I cringe as I think about the air intake vents for the 220 electro-motive diesel engines.

“Our company puts us up at a hotel and feeds us well, but for five days from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. we sat at the airport chasing waiting lists for any flight to Anchorage. By the way, our luggage is sent ahead and we have no changes of clothing or toiletries. Finally, on a 6 a.m. flight to Anchorage, we go! … When we land, everyone picks up their luggage, but me.” That’s pretty hard to top. The Ear thinks maybe she’s a two-time “worst commute from hell” record-holder.

Reprinted with the permission of The Daily Astorian of Astoria, Oregon.

Published in: on September 28, 2013 at 7:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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