Go West: Day One

Friday, June 7, 2013

I had gone to bed at 9:00 the night before our trip. Thankfully, I’d done everything that needed done in the days leading up to our vacation, so I didn’t lie awake trying to mentally plan my morning. Therefore I succeeded in getting a few hours of sleep before our alarm went off at 3 AM. Skye Kitty blinked at me when I switched on the light as if to ask, “Are you NUTS?”

Hubby and I arrived at the airport two hours prior to our flight, as directed. My first inkling of trouble was the absence of our flight number on the electronic board. But we blindly plunged ahead (have I mentioned neither of us had been on a plane since 1984?), found the alternate security check line. And waited for what would be the FIRST time that day. The actual check was uneventful. We boarded the train to Pittsburgh Airport’s airside terminal. But still, there was no indication of our flight number on any of the boards.

At our gate, we learned why. There was a FOUR HOUR delay.

This was going to play havoc with our connecting flight in Houston to Colorado Springs. We were sent to another line where all the other disgruntled travelers stood. We joined them and waited AGAIN.

After what felt like hours (it wasn’t), we made it to the front of the line and learned there were no earlier flights to Houston, so we opted for a later Houston-to-Colorado Springs one. Instead of getting in a one o’clock, we’d arrive at 4:30.

We had plenty of time to kill (waiting yet AGAIN), so we found a McDonald’s for some breakfast. Then back to our gate. To wait. I killed some more time going online to chat with my friend Leta Burns, who would be meeting up with us in Aztec, New Mexico on Tuesday. She gave us the news that there was a new wildfire burning farther south in New Mexico, where she would be traveling to get to us in Aztec…and where we would later be driving back with her to Silver City.

Adding to the tension was the recorded announcement that “There has been an alarm in the building” telling us not to use the elevator. This was accompanied by flashing emergency lights. I admit I was a tad unnerved. But I could see the exit doors. And I didn’t smell smoke. I had to wonder though if this was some indication of how the entire trip was going to be.

Finally, the looped message quit and the lights stopped flashing. Shortly before 11 AM, they called for boarding. After such an inauspicious start, I was more nervous about the flight itself than I might otherwise have been. However, it was relatively pleasant, if you can call being crammed into a full-to-capacity plane “pleasant.”

United Airlines provided a map of the Houston Airport in their magazine for which I am very thankful. Otherwise, we might STILL be searching for our gate. We arrived with just enough time to catch our breath before boarding the Houston-Colorado Springs flight, which was ON TIME.

I gazed out the window, watching as the landscape below turned from green to brown. Miles and miles of absolutely NOTHING. At long last, on our approach to the airport, I had my first glimpse of the mountains and had to blink back tears. I’d waited all my life to see that sight.

My friend and critique partner, Donnell Bell, and her hubby picked us up and took us back to their house. Their backyard has a beautiful view of Cheyenne Mountain.  

We had dinner at a Greek restaurant with slow service, but excellent food. Jet lag was kicking in and I had to battle to stay awake after a very long day combined with a two-hour time difference. But I was excited for the next day’s adventure! I had an appointment with a horse!

To be continued…


Joyce Tremel said…
I am so thrilled that you and Ray got to make this trip!
Annette said…
Thanks, Joyce!
Mary Sutton said…
Wow, four-hour delay. But at least you made your connecting flight. Glad you were able to make it out there safely.
Annette said…
No, we didn't make our connection! They had to put us on a later flight. But I was thrilled to get there at all by then!

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