Saturday, March 28, 2015

The End of the Trip

Even now, almost seven years later, I still feel a bit of a twinge thinking of a wonderful two weeks in England coming to an end. The first few nights being back home I would waking up wondering where I was. I still get this almost homesick feeling for England sometimes. I was definitely born in the wrong country. I should have been born somewhere in the United Kingdom.

Oddly our last dinner in England was at Burger King.

Now I'm not sure which way to go if I want Pizza Hut!!

Waiting for the tube to take us to the bus stop to take the bus back to our hotel.

Our stop.

So, no successful trip would be complete without some sort of disaster story, right? Wait, you say, you already had yours, your luggage got left in Chicago and you had to wait several hours at the London airport, exhausted and hungry, for it to get to you. True, but that was not the end of it. To get home we were taking a flight from the Heathrow Airport to the Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C., from there we were to take a flight back to Phoenix. Easy enough, right? Well it should have been. Except.... our flight from London to D.C. left a tiny bit late, which wouldn't have been a big deal, except there was some sort of storm in D.C. which caused us to circle above the airport for awhile, causing us to run low on fuel. Due to low fuel we had to land to the Baltimore airport in order to refuel. We sat on the plane at the Baltimore airport for about two hours for refueling and to wait for the storm to pass, that somehow didn't hit Baltimore, before we were able to take off and land in D.C. By the time we made it through customs and had our bags checked, since we stayed on a sheep farm they had to take extra measures, our flight to Phoenix had already left. We went to the desk to figure out what flight we could take to get home. They told us there was a flight first thing in the morning to Chicago, and then a flight shortly thereafter from Chicago to Phoenix. We decided that was our plan, they offered us a free hotel night, but since we would only get about four hours of sleep and have to worry about getting back to the airport in time, we decided to just try and get some sleep there. 

One of my favorite pictures of the trip. Tyler and Karen sleeping, or trying to sleep on their luggage, and my luggage in the middle.
Turns out Dulles International is a bit notorious for having people stuck there. We were far from the only people stuck at the airport for the night. Some people had been stuck there for a week+ as there were so few flights going to their remote country. There were several dozen people there trying to sleep, I doubt anyone was terribly successful at this.

The next morning we head up to departures, ready for the next flight. We checked our bags, and headed to the gate, only to discover that the flight to Chicago was delayed, meaning that we would miss our flight to Phoenix, again. Our next option was a flight that left later that day, arriving in Phoenix that evening. By this point we had already been up pretty much for more than twenty four hours straight. We didn't have much choice, so we agreed. We were a bit bummed that we wouldn't be on the flight to Chicago as two of our tickets for the flight to Chicago had been upgraded to first class. 

We settled in for a day at the airport. By this time we were really too tired to try and see any of D.C. in the time we had before or flight left. We settled into seats across the hall from California Tortilla where we had breakfast from, and tried to sleep some more, and just spend the day. I bought a copy of Gone With the Wind from the Border's bookstore down the hall in the mall, and Karen actually wound up reading it. We got lunch from California Tortilla, it was REALLY yummy, and the guy working there jokingly asked us if we were moving in. He would occasionally wave at us from across the hall. 

I remember at one point during the day having to go to the bathroom, I had to keep my hand on the wall to keep from falling over I was so tired. I felt like the floor was moving under me, like a boat hitting the waves.

Finally it was time for our flight, we gathered our carry on belongings, waved to the guy who had fed us all day and went to board our flight. I was in a middle seat and couldn't lean against the window like I usually do. I watched the movies playing for awhile, but towards the end of the flight needed to lay my head down. I felt bad leaning back, so I pulled down the tray in front of me and rested my head on that. 

When we finally landed in Phoenix we had been awake for 48 hours, with a few little bursts of catnaps, and we were exhausted. We had to track down our luggage, since it was on the flight to Chicago, and then got to Phoenix somehow. It managed to actually reach there before us, so we aren't quite sure how that worked out. In the end, although we were tired and ready to sleep for hours, it was a great experience. I think everyone should be stuck overnight in an airport at least once in their lives. Karen and Tyler both felt like they never wanted to fly, ever again, for quite awhile after that. I, on the other hand, was ready to get back on a plane and go within a few days. 

No comments:

Post a Comment