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Archive for August 16th, 2008

Cross Country Trip From Hell Part 2 (Luggage Held Hostage)

Posted by The Scroll Saw Lady on 16th August 2008

Sorry this has taken so long to write, but things have been hectic here.  So, on with the show.  As we left our heroine she was stuck in Springfield IL. with her luggage being held hostage behind the United Airlines Ticket Counter and no one around to release said hostages.

The reason we are told that no one is working the ticket counter is because they are out unloading the next plane that came in and landed!  Where am I?  Is this the smallest town on the face of the earth?  The ticket people also have to unload the planes.  If you know anything about geography Springfield IL is the capital city of Illinois.  You would think they would have a big enough airport that the ticket people could just work the ticket counter etc… Apparently not so!

So, we wait and we wait and we wait.  Of course my family has called 500 times and want to know when I will be getting on the road for my long ride to Springfield MO.  My nephew who is coming to pick me up, needs to know what time he needs to leave from Mountain Home Arkansas to pick me up, remember he only has a 2 hour drive and I have a 5 hour drive.I have now been on this trip for about 15 hours and I am past being over it.  I am ready to drive back to Seattle, but, the thought of my dad in the hospital keeps me going. I have to get there to see him for myself and know that he is going to be okay.FINALLY, the ticket counter people come back.  They announce immediately that anyone waiting for a connecting flight can forget about it.  All planes are delayed and they would probably not get out till early tomorrow morning, collective groaning everywhere.Two couples in front of me are told their luggage has been lost and when they find it they will send it to them by courier.  Of course my head races now, what if they lost my luggage?  I am not even supposed to be in Illinois and would they actually send a courier to Mountain Home, AR? I need my luggage, that is all that is going through my head now, I am in no mood at this point to hear, Sorry we lost your luggage! I make my way to the ticket counter, I tell them I need to see if my bag is there she takes my luggage claim ticket and says, “I think I have seen this back there”, whew!  She comes back with my bag in tow and suddenly, this trip isn’t so bad, all is good!

I have my luggage, I have my rental car, I have a map of how to get out of Springfield IL and get to Springfield MO.  I am now on the road for my 5 hour drive.

Of course the minute I start driving I realize that I have to go to the bathroom!  Forget about it, I’m not stopping till I am exploding!  And so I drive, and I drive and I drive.

Let me tell you, the bladder is an amazing organ.  That little sucker obviously can expand rather well.  I bet I get a good 2 hours out of Springfield IL almost to the MO border before I can’t take it any more and have to stop. 

Now, some of you are saying, “That’s no good for you to do that to your bladder.”  Yeah, well, I have now been on this trip for about 17 hours, I have been awake for 36 hours…. I am both ready to fall asleep driving and I am over this trip.  The full bladder kept me awake and alive (this is good right?) and I will be damned if I am going to make this trip any longer then it needs to be, so I drive.

The rest of the ride to Springfield Mo is very uneventful (thank heavens, I can’t take any more events or excitement).

I arrive at the Springfield Mo airport where I was supposed to land.  Drop of the rental car there and call my nephew to find out where he is.  He says, he is kind of lost, his girlfriend is in the background yelling how he should have listened to her, she knew what exit he was supposed to take.  And so I wait!

They are not lost long and soon we are on our way. I meet my nephews girlfriend for the first time, seems very nice just very quiet.  Poor girl doesn’t stand a chance in our family, we are all loud and definitely not shy about saying anything.  Good luck to her!

It is now, oh maybe about 10:30pm and I have not eaten since 8 am the morning before, I am almost to the point of not even being hungry again but my nephew and girlfriend say they did not get dinner and would like to stop somewhere.

Okay, we are in Springfield MO at 10:30pm, not the hub of excitement and night life.  And none of us really know our way around the town either.  So, we drive and drive and drive, make some calls home to see if my sister can tell us any place that might be open to eat at (she knows Springfield rather well, but not about what is open at 10:30 at night). 

We get several ideas where to go from my sister, we try them, all are closed, we are now driving down roads we have already driven, going “I think we have been here before!”We decide it is no use trying to find something open, we are just going to drive the 2 hours back home and forget about food.  As we get on to the express way we see a sign for a truck stop Waffle House, what the heck, we are all nearly asleep anyway, maybe we won’t notice what we are eating.The clientele are all interesting folks, hey it is now probably 11:30pm, you have to expect some interesting folks right?  My big thing is, they still allow smoking in public place down here.  In Seattle you can’t smoke in any public place any more except Tribal Casinos.  So, I am used to eating without that smoked flavor.

We have a pretty decent breakfast, don’t even get me started on the fact that we had a good laugh over the fact that they (Waffle House) put bacon on everything on the menu.  I think if they had a PBJ sandwich on the menu it would have had bacon on it too!

On the road again, it is after midnight we still have a 2 hour drive through no mans land into Arkansas in the middle of the night or should I say the early morning?

There is some confusion now though on how we actually get home!  Remember none of us really know Springfield MO very well.  My nephew says we need to be on I44, his girlfriend says no we don’t go that way.  I chime in like I know anything, saying, well I came in on I44 wouldn’t that take us back to where we want to go.

Remember here, that my nephews girlfriend was right about what exit he was supposed to take to get to the airport earlier today, who do you think we probably should have listened too?  NAH!

We get on I44 and start driving, my nephews girlfriend decides she needs some sleep as she has to get up in a few hours to go to work.  So, she goes to sleep in the back seat.

About an hour after we start our trip on I44 my nephews girlfriend wakes up and says, “our we still on I44?”  “Yeah”, we say.  She points out, that if we were going the right way, we would already be off the express way and onto the side roads that go into Arkansas.  Wow, she is 2 for 2 today! (I can’t decide if I am liking her more now that she has been right twice and told my nephew so, or if I hate her now because she was right once when I chimed up and said something and was obviously wrong! Nah, I like her)

We finally pull off at a truck stop and ask for direction, which in Mo or AR is a dangerous thing to do.  Sure enough, go right at the first stop sign, go over the train tracks, go to Bob’s hardware, make a left, the road curves….. well you get the idea.  I know this trip probably just got longer then anyone could ever imagine (oh wait, I think we hit that time along time ago!)

So, we are now following the direction of some guy at a truck stop, who had no teeth, and smelled like he hadn’t showered in several days!  Anyone see Deliverance?  I am worried!

Strangely enough the route this guy gave us does get us back to where we are supposed to be which is Route 60, once we get there about an hour and half after we left Springfield originally my nephews girlfriend pipes up again and says “oh look, we are about 10 minutes out of Springfield on the right road!” (maybe I am not liking her so much any more…. we STILL have a 2 hour drive back to Mountain Home AR.)

The rest of drive is okay, except of course that every night time creature tried to commit suicide in front of us.  The bat actually did, crashing into the windshield.  Other then that one little incident no other animal was successful in ending its life in front of us.

 We finally arrived at my mother’s house at 3:30am, 25 1/2  hours after I had started my trip from Seattle, WA to Mountain Home, AR.  Next time I might just drive to AR myself, I think it is faster.

The good news, dad is getting better.  He left the hospital after two days, he is home recuperating and getting stronger every day.  My mom’s knee is getting better everyday, she got rid of the cane yesterday and is able to walk further and further each day. 

All in all, the trip was well worth it.  I get to spend time with my family and I get to help out with my folks and chores they need done around the house.  I am happy to help and glad I get to watch them get better everyday.

Cross country travel is like pregnancy, once the baby arrives you forget all about the pain. (sort of)

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