We flew Alaskan Airways out of Santa Rosa airport and from the time we walked in the door the welcoming was boisterous, humorous, friendly and unlike any airport experience Virginia and I (all the group were enamoured by it) had ever had. The fellow looked like he could have anchored the All Black scrum and when he found out we were KIWIS… he told his colleague to get the rugby ball and announced we could go out back of the terminal and they would give us a rugby touch up. Amazing how infectious it was and how that vein of service (not just with a smile, but with plenty of humour) extended everywhere throughout the lounge, ground and flight staff, never enjoyed an airport wait or flight so much in my life!
After touching down in Portland, we were greeted by our coach driver who ushered us onto our bus for the next 6-days. Whoa… it was a party bus for 23 people (we number 17, so cozy), totally unexpected. Nevertheless, the seats all faced in to each other so the conversation on our hour-long ride to Alison Spa Hotel in the Willamette Valley was more animated and inclusive than it had been for the whole tour, great outcome, also very comfortable and the driver is a major character. It's going to be a great 7-days in Oregon, it's got that feel! Tonight, is a free night, Virginia and I are going to enjoy a casual bar meal, a couple of glasses of wine and a quiet evening.