Sunday, September 25, 2011

Travel Diaries, Day 1: Lessons in flexibility

Welcome to my 2011 CA Vacation mini-series. Each day this week, I'll be recapping a day from our trip!


Our trip did not begin as expected.

To put it mildly.

But I'll back it up a little bit, and tell the story from the beginning :)

The day started off perfectly. Jon & I woke at 7 am, did our final packing (said a few prayers that we didn't forget anything important!), kissed the kitties a bazillion times, and loaded into my parents' car for the ride to the airport. Our flight plan was to fly out of CMH through Chicago, leaving at 11 am, so we arrived at the airport at 9, breezed through security, and got some coffee & breakfast (her: perfect oatmeal; him: chocolate chip scone) on our way to the gate.

And I'll pause here, because this was, honest-to-goodness, the best part my favorite part of the day. It was early and we were excited, the whole trip stretching out before us, ripe with promise. Jon had never been to California. I had been to San Francisco once before... and it was life-changing (perhaps worthy of a future post?). Neither of us had been to wine country, but... come on... it's a perfect romantic vacation.

We just knew this was going to be the trip of a lifetime ♥

So there we sat, in the warm coffee shop, sunlight streaming across the runway behind us, dreaming. Planning out what we wanted to do during the week, all the sites to see.... the pictures to take... the food to try. Cradling warm cups of coffee and speaking in hushed tones. So in love with each other & the moment.

It was, in a word, lovely.

(Columbus Airport)

Unfortunately, after that, things started to fall apart. First our flight to Chicago was delayed for 2 hours. … Then we got on the plane and sat for and hour before they announced to us that there was a big storm over Chicago and all landings were being held. …So, we de-boarded and began the tedious process of patching together a new flight plan.

Part 2 of the plan was to fly through Philadelphia (you know… go east to go west… meh.) From there we would catch the flight out to San Francisco. Because we now had 3 additional hours in the airport, I won some 'good wife' points by suggesting that we grab a beer while we waited. ... That was a good decision :) We sipped as we watched people bustling past, and laughed about "the best laid plans". …I had actually never had any problems like this when flying, and I was still feeling positive & hopeful.

We rolled with it.

(Philadelphia Airport)

It was once we boarded the plane to Philly that we started to get a little discouraged. …I'm not really sure what happened, but from the sounds of it, the delays in Chicago were delaying everything to the east. …As we sat on the runway watching our 50 minute cushion slip away, we began to realize that the trip was going to be a tricky one.

When we got to Philly, we had 10 minutes to grab our plane-side luggage, catch a bus to a different terminal, race to our gate, and catch our plane. When we were about halfway through the bus line, we heard them page us for a final call, and when we arrived breathless at our gate, it turned out we had missed our flight by minutes. UGH.

As we exited our first flight, we had been intercepted by a flight attendant, who encouraged us to try to make our initial flight, but handed us a pair of "back-up tickets" for a later flight. It was while we were shaking our heads at the the gate of our missed flight that we discovered, while we had 2 tickets… we only had 1 seat. Jon was on stand-by. He was not a happy man. (And it was at this point that I started seriously wondering if our marriage was going to make it to 2 years…)

It's no stretch to say that I was praying constantly last Sunday. Our moments of good during those stressful hours included slices of margherita pizza in the food court, and texts with both sets of parents, providing needed encouragement.

(Philadelphia Airport)

I am so happy to tell you that Jon got a seat, and we landed in CA at about midnight (which was 3 am "our time"… and we were really feeling it!) From there, we rented a car (um… rented 2 cars, actually. We returned the first after hitting the highway at 5000+ rpm and an engine that sounded like it might fall out of the bottom of the car…) and drove the 1.5 hours to Santa Rosa.

Neither of us was in particularly good shape when we got there… but we were both awake :) Jon's strength & patience with driving through a confusing city after being awake for 24 hours astounded me. …Finally laying my head on a pillow has never felt so good :)

A few short hours later, we woke for our first day of adventures :) Stay tuned for tomorrow's Travel Diary: Adventures in Healdsburg!

Your Turn! I know I am in the minority when I say that travel issues like this had never happened to me before. Has anything like this ever happened to you? Road trips, plane trips, etc. … Tell me your stories!