Wednesday, January 19, 2005

What a Long, Strange trip it's been.....

With apologies to the Grateful Dead

Just got back from the Sabbath Summit at Estes Park CO. This was a great chance for diocesan youth leaders to gather and pray and think and be with God. Very cool.

But the travel at either end...............

Let's start at the very beginning (a very good place to start). My flight out of Buffalo was scheduled for 7:50 AM (actually I thought it was 8:05 but it had been moved up). So my lady wife dropped me off just before 7 AM. Made it through security in a twinkle and was sitting waiting at the gate. Then word comes. Fog in NYC. My flight goes to LaGuardia then catch a flight to Denver. It's pushed back. And pushed back. And the pilot of our plane comments that the computer shows visibility listed as ZERO and he'd never in all the years he'd flown EVER seen such a listing on the computer! Great!

Eventually I'm told that even if we took off right now I'm never gonna make my connection. OK, I'm a fair and reasonable kinda guy, it's not their fault, so what can we do? Answer, as it turns out is, not much. Seems since it's Martin Luther King weekend and a three day holiday everybody is going to Colorado to ski. There are not available seats out of Pittsburgh, Chicago or Charlotte. The first available seat is on a 6 PM flight out of Pittsburgh. To get there they can put me on a 3 PM flight out of Buffalo. It's now about 9 AM.

Can I send a quick note to the folks at NFTA who run the Greater Buffalo International Airport? You have one damn boring airport. Pittsburgh, Denver, Dulles are all MUCH more fun to be stuck in for 6 long hours. I'm thinking we need to work on this. Really.

The flight to Pittsburgh went smoothly. I had about a two hour layover, then onto the flight to Denver. Smooth sailing.

Now at the other end all the arrangments are in the toilet. And for some reason my cellphone won't hold a signal for any of the folks I'm to meet. One of them (Yay Silvestre!)sends me a text message. (I didn't know I could receive text messages. It was very cool) and told me that someone would meet me in baggage claim. Great! Umm, no wait...which baggage claim? There are four of them at Denver and they're in pairs at opposite ends of this very large terminal. Finally I find my connection and the other two folks also arriving late join us and we're off.

For a two hour drive to Estes Park. It's now about 9 PM Mountain time. I will skip over turning the wrong way and having to back up an on ramp we didn't want to be on. (Heck I thought it was the right place to turn as well). Once off the interstate and onto the winding roads up the mountains we almost hit a coyote. Don't know who was more surprised us or him. Finally arrived around 11 PM, bedraggled and exhausted. Said hello to a few folks that I knew, gave them the short version and asked where my room was.

I'll tell you about the Summit later.

And I'll tell you about the trip HOME in the next post!

I can hear Jerry and the boys singing....


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