We left our hotel Monday morning at 11:30 for the Rapid City Regional Airport, which had just opened that morning for the first time since the major snowstorm five days earlier shut everything in the area down.
However, the power and all computer systems at the airport were down, so all ticketing was being done by hand. Also, we learned that our first flight to Chicago had been cancelled.
We stood in line three hours (I timed it), until being booked on another flight that would be leaving later in the afternoon. Sore from standing so long, we got on the plane and had an uneventful two hour flight to Chicago.
We had been assured that we would have time to make our connecting flight to Harrisburg, but they were wrong. It was too close and although we rushed, oh about five miles, through the airport to get to the concourse and gate from where our flight was to leave, when we got there the doors had closed and they would not open them for us.
This required another 1 1/2 hour stand in line at the Customer Service counter. We were given a new flight departing this morning, requiring us to spend last night in Chicago. Because they determined that we couldn't possibly have made the second flight in time, they provided coupons for us that provided a dinner and a night in a local hotel.
If you are familiar with the Chicago O'hare Airport, you will understand that this meant another long hike to get to the area where shuttles take travelers to the local hotels. At this point I was seriously wondering if I had overestimated the capabilities of my tender healing foot. I had figured that since my heel surgery was three months ago, I would be capable by now to do the walking required by this trip. However, by this point I was in pain. Lots of pain.
We made it to our hotel, our room was comfortable, and we got a few hours of sleep before returning at the crack of dawn via shuttle to that
After a pleasant 1 1/2 hour ride, we were home. Home, sweet home. Although I love to travel, this time I was very glad to be safely home.
|We saw a lot of these before the storm hit.|
Some of our thoughts:
Would we take another trip like this, an escorted group trip, again? Definitely. On the first day of the trip, the day we were able to complete some of the scheduled itinerary, the company proved itself to offer a quality travel experience. It started off great, and we were enjoying ourselves.
The subsequent storm and trials due to it were beyond the control of the company. I find it ridiculous that some folks in the group were planning to sue the company or the tour escort. How would they have any control over a storm?
I'm grateful for the new travel companions we met during our adventure. To our new friends in New Jersey and Texas, we hope you returned home safely and look forward to crossing travel paths again some day in the future.
On this experience of freezing and starving, I do not like it one bit. I hope to never be in that situation again. The most frightening part for me was the moment it was announced that the food in the hotel was gone. Not knowing how many more days we would be there until power was restored or until we could get out or food could be brought in was concerning. Trying to stay warm takes a lot of energy and seems to make you hungrier, faster, too.
|Bob and I shared this last "meal" of chex mix before the food ran out.|
Finally, I'm glad to be home.
But really, I need a vacation from my vacation.