Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Seattle or Bust

Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Well, the adventure started today. It began at my place in Clayton, where I woke up with my GF about an hour earlier than planned. I was excited about the trip with Big Sis, and simply couldn't sleep. So much for trying to get a full night's sleep.

So, we got up and had a cup of coffee, just enjoying the quiet of the morning before waking Bar. I hardly ever sleep well on the eve of a big trip, and this time was no exception.

We left the house for the airport, and ran into the usual stop and go traffic on Raleigh's belt line and I-40 en route to RDU. But the delays weren't bad, and other than my taking the wrong fork in the road at the airport that took us to the pick-up area of the terminal, all went fine.

Check-in went well, and Big Sis got lucky by randomly being chosen it get in the TSA Fast-Track (or whatever it's called) and going into the shortest security line. She only had to show her ID AND boarding Pass and essentially walked right through security. No removing of shoes or belt, no standing in the X-Ray booth--just sailing right through.

In the meanwhile, the TSA agent who pulled Bar out of line for the fast track, put me in the "Priority" line. That sounded great until I realized that this was the line for people who were so old that they were afraid the people might not live long enough to make it through security, plus those with strollers (and their entire travel group) PLUS their ENTIRE travel group. And, both groups went to the head of the line. Needless to say, I think the regular security line moved much faster than the "Priority" line.

After quite a while, taking off my belt, my shoes and ENTIRELY emptying every pocket, I was able to get into the X-Ray closet and be scanned. Luckily, that went fine.

The flight from RDU to Chicago went just fine. Like clockwork.  And our arrival gate was almost beside our departure gate to Seattle.  So, that was good fortune.  

However, due to a fire in the control tower nearby, they shut down the entire airport. Nothing arriving, nothing leaving, for about 2 hours. And once they loaded the plane, we sat on the tarmac for another hour.

Not a problem, except that meant arriving in Seattle 30 minutes after the rental car agency in Kent, WA closed. We were going to take a cab to Kent anyway to save $400 on the rental car cost, but we realized that now our rental car savings were about to evaporate in thin air.

Big Sis to the rescue--she called the rental car agency enough times that they finally agreed to extend the pickup time so that we could get the same deal on the rental.

A little about the rental car issue. Before I looked at actually renting one, I thought there could be no issue to renting a car in Seattle and dropping it off in San Diego. And, except for cost, it was no issue. But the cost was out of this world! Would you believe $1,400 for a car rental for an economy car!! Crazy...  We decided to look and look and whenever we saw a "bargain" ( under $1,000), we'd rent it and keep doing that until we were certain we had the best deal. So we did. I ended up canceling 2 and Bar 1 until she got a rate of around $800 for the 2 weeks. Expensive , but closer to reasonable. That's why it was so important to deal with the rental car issue.

Once the flight got underway (2.5 hours late), the flight went well and we arrived in Seattle about 30 minutes after the rental agency closed.  We'll find out tomorrow whether or not they will keep their word about extending the reservation.  Retrieving the bags went well, and getting a cab to a hotel we had just picked near the car rental place was not difficult.  The cab ride was pretty pleasant, and we were in the hotel in no time at all. 

Oh, I need to say something about the Rockies.  They were breathtakingly beautiful.  Heavy snows several days earlier coated the peaks and much of the bodies of a lot of the mountains.  The angle of the sunlight made viewing them just beautiful.  One of the flight attendants even commented that she had never seen thenm so beautiful and asked me to take a couple of pics for her!  Stunning to say the least...

Checked into the hotel, walked across the street to a local eatery, had a good meal served by a very cheery waitress, and called it a night.

Tomorrow, the Seattle adventure begins for real.


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