Monday, October 4, 2010

A Whirlwind Weekend!

There and back in three days! I can't say the weekend went off without a hitch, but the flies in the ointment really just proved to make it more interesting. I'm so glad I took the opportunity and didn't let little things like a three hour drive to the airport, or needing to rent a car in Boston, keep me from making a memory.

I was in the car at 6:45 a.m on Thursday morning, only 15 minutes behind schedule. The weather was cloudy but not rainy, and I put on my tunes and settled in for a long ride. Construction in Brantford and a nosy border guard held me up a bit, but I arrived at the Buffalo airport in just under three hours. By this time it had started raining quite hard, so I was thankful I had brought my raincoat and an umbrella. I parked in an enormous long-term lot, and made my way to the shuttle stop, just as the shuttle arrived to whisk me off to the airport. Things were moving along splendidly.

Then came the first challenge. I had checked the weather on Tuesday and saw that rain was forecast for Boston on Friday (which is why I had come prepared). I remember also noticing a note about a tropical depression over Florida. I must have filed that info under "not important to my trip", and didn't think about it again until I tried to check in to my flight to Washington. It was delayed, possibly cancelled. In fact, due to the weather, nearly half of the flights to the east coast were being cancelled. They'd have to send me on a flight to New York, which was supposed to leave at 11:10, but wouldn't likely get out until 1:00, and then on to Boston around 5:00, arriving at 6:00. I figured that was fine, at least I'd get there, and only a couple of hours late. I proceeded through security and to my gate to settle in for a long wait with my book.

Around 11:00 an airport employee came rushing into the waiting area saying "We're leaving right away, but we have to board immediately". Great. I'd just have my long wait in NYC instead of in Buffalo. We arrived at LaGuardia around 12:45. Once inside the airport I started looking for a place to have lunch, but was quickly interrupted by an announcement: "Anyone with a later ticket to Boston, come to Gate 19 right now if you'd like to take the 1:00 flight". That's me! I headed to Gate 19 and had my ticket exchanged. Is this possible? Because of a tropical storm I was going to arrive in Boston early? That doesn't happen every day!

Wonderful. Two-thirty arrived, and I arrived at my destination. Sort of. I thought of grabbing some long-awaited lunch in the airport, but decided to get my rental car first. How long could it take? I found my way to the shuttle pick up area and watched for the Budget shuttle. I saw countless Hertz shuttles. Several Thrifty shuttles. Quite a few Avis and Enterprise shuttles. Where was the Budget shuttle? Finally, I saw it making its way through the traffic and beginning to slow down at the curb. I grabbed my bag and started toward the bus, just in time to see it speed up and pull away. %#$&!!! I decided to go have a seat on a bench, knowing I'd see many other rental shuttles arrive and leave before another Budget shuttle would be by again. About 20 minutes later I was finally on a shuttle and on my way to my car.

At 4:00, just after my scheduled arrival from Washington, I was in my car and ready to make the half hour trip to meet Tracy and the rest of her bus trip at the hotel in Tewksbury. The GPS system I had brought from home was plugged in with the address of the hotel programmed and ready. The woman at the rental agency had given me a map, just in case. I was ready to go. I headed out of the airport and immediately into a tunnel. Traffic was moving smoothly. Everything was working out just as it should. I emerged from the tunnel and the GPS took a few seconds to reconnect to the satellite. But there was a fork in the road ahead. Which way to go? I hadn't looked closely enough at the map to know, and my GPS wasn't ready to tell me. I picked a lane.

I picked wrong. And I couldn't get off that highway for 5 km, which had me right in the middle of downtown Cambridge. At rush hour. With a very rumbly tummy. I had eaten nothing that day except an apple danish at the Buffalo airport. And now I was stuck in an unfamiliar city in gridlocked traffic. My husband knows how I get when I'm really hungry. I'm completely irrational. So I called him to express my frustration. He was maddeningly calm, as usual. I texted Tracy on her bus trip. She did not expect to arrive until between 6:00 and 7:00. I hoped I'd arrive before she did!

In the end, I arrived at the hotel at 5:45 p.m. Only an hour and 45 minutes after leaving the airport. I drove right past the hotel to the Wendy's next door and ordered a hamburger. I sent Tracy a text telling her I had arrived and was having a quick snack before checking in. Her immediate reply came saying that they had just pulled in. What excellent timing! We had both arrived. Time to start our weekend.

To be continued...

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