1-24 The First Twenty-Four
25-48 The Second Twenty-Four
49-72 The Third Twenty-Four
73-96 The Fourth Twenty-Four
97-120 The Fifth Twenty-Four
121-144 The Sixth Twenty-Four
145-on The Seventh Twenty-Four
145 Just Another Trip
JUST ANOTHER TRIP
I watched the preseason reservations for JR and Courtney’s Derby Lane Cottage and finally chose two weeks in May that would not conflict with Memorial Day or the high season. I always fly to San Diego direct, stay a couple nights to rest up and see Stuart and Jen and then go on to Maine. I ran the plan by the two groups and found conflicts. S and J travel a LOT, and it is hard to catch them. I adjusted to stay three nights to catch Stuart and went ahead with the itinerary.
The flight to SD was uneventful; I got to see S and J, three nights rest helped with adjustment to the time zone change, and I had scheduled a comfortable late morning flight to Philadelphia with connection to Bangor. I don’t recall where the problem was, but the flight to PHL was way late. I had less than an hour to make the connection and it became hopeless. I was impressed that the flight attendants got people who were not connecting to stay seated to enable connectors to try. Many people actually obliged!
PHL is so large that I asked for a wheelchair. Since the connection was impossible, the chair took me directly to ticketing where they arranged for a room at Doubletree and a morning flight to Bangor. The chair took me on all the way to the Doubletree shuttle, w/o luggage of course.
The next morning flight to Bangor was fine except for a line of 40 or 50 flights before our takeoff. Apparently this is how PHL is normally.
I signed up for my rental car in Bangor and drove to Bar Harbor. As usual I enjoyed the drive. The springtime budding had just begun.
The return to Maui was supposed to be pretty much the reverse of the trip to Maine. I drove to Bangor, turned in my car, and checked in. Since I was quite early the agent asked if I wanted an earlier flight to PHL. The only advantage was more time at the PHL A/P for connection. I opted for the earlier flight and sat down to wait. Boarding time slipped and slipped – takeoff was only minutes before original flight and got me to PHL about 4 minutes earlier. Flight to SD was “normal”.
In SD, I took my time getting to baggage claim, walking slowly and enjoying the stretch. I got to the appointed carousel as it was winding down from my flight. No bag. I checked the standing bags. No bag. I went to baggage claim and stood in a short line. No bag. One agent took me under her wing. She got me a chair and a bottle of water and set out to find out what happened. I have no idea where she went but she made several trips, came back with bags, but not mine. We ended up drafting a baggage claim and I found the shuttle to my hotel with – no bag.
On my rest day, I called American Airlines claim HQ in Arizona and added my Maui physical address and gave them my schedule for getting home. The Holiday Inn Express gave me a few toiletries so I could clean up and I met Jen for dinner. Stuart was still away.
Flight to Maui was normal – lo-o-ong! I started mentally listing what I needed to purchase to replace the items in my luggage. Nothing was particularly expensive, but the inconvenience and personal value stressed me. I got home with – no bag.
On Tuesday evening, the fourth day after I checked my bag in Bangor I got a call from AA saying my bag was in Maui and would be delivered in a few hours.
At about 8p I got a garbled call from a man and woman saying they were delivering my bag. I asked if they knew where Grand Champions Villas was. They said they were at the car wash. Eventually I learned they were at GCV in the area used for car wash. I told them to drive back to the left turn and I would wave at them from my patio. While I was gone workers did a power clean of dryer vents and they had locked my screen door. I had no idea how that lock worked so I couldn't get out. While on the phone I saw their headlights and told them to look at me in the doorway across from a lone red car. That clicked but they couldn't find my entry door and/or a parking place or something. In 5 or 10 minutes I went out looking for them and they were just by my car. We connected and they had a bag. It was mine! The little old lady had American Airline forms and an AA badge. The two of them were in an unmarked white van - all very strange.
I started unpacking and although the contents were scrambled, everything seems to be there. A "Notice of baggage inspection" by TSA found in the bag indicated that it had been "selected for physical inspection". On retrospect, my careful packing of a pint jar of JR maple syrup may have been the key. I put it in a gallon zip lock bag inside another, with a slipper on each side, inside a plastic shopping bag. That package was placed toward the bottom of the bag on some shirts. My several chargers, electric toothbrush, camera, and toiletries shared that level and were covered by more shirts. I can just imagine what that “solid” jar with sundry wires and gadgets around it might have looked like on an x-ray!
Supposedly the barcode on the bag tag was scanned when it was taken off the plane in SD. What happened after that is unknown to me. It could have been in the hands of TSA, someone may have claimed it by mistake and returned it, or - who knows? All I know is that "Auntie" in AA baggage claim spent lots of time searching for it when I got in to SD. And eventually my bag found its way back home!
Tips: If you have a cell phone (who doesn’t), keep the charger in your carryon bag. If you take regular medication, keep it in your carryon bag. If you have irreplaceable items (checkbooks, thumb drives, address books, password lists, etc.) keep them in your carryon. I failed by putting cell phone charger and medication in the checked bag. I totally failed by forgetting to even take my password list along!
Derby Lane Cottage is the rental property owned and managed by JR and Courtney. I try to sneak in before or after the summer surge. They have a guest bedroom at their house, but at my age and condition, with sleeping and other personal habits, I’m not a very good guest.
I visited the family nearly every day for afternoon and evening. I did spend time with and observing the kids, but I made a little private nest with the pellet stove, a rocking chair, and my wine glass between events.
Derby Lane was starting spring blossoming. Forsythia and one species of rhododendron were in full flower.
At their house, I was treated to 4 deer just across the driveway from the dining area. The deer and the family ducks were very comfortable with each other.
Pono, Poppy, Scarlet, Clover with JR in the dining area.
A rare quiet period with kids in a brief screen viewing. Clover and Scarlet not jumping, dancing, eating, doing art, building Legos, playing outdoors, or otherwise actively occupied. If you watch carefully for a few minutes, you can see them growing!
So, it was just another trip. I suppose you who travel a lot think missed connections and lost luggage are no big deal, but at my age, the stress is telling. No, it probably won’t stop me, but longer rest periods between time zones and more realistic connectivity times may help.
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