And away we go! And . . . away we go! Away we go!

 

Witch Hazel -- away she goes!

Witch Hazel -- away she goes!

 

 

The logic behind spending the night in a hotel near the Portland airport was obvious — we would be near the airport for our flight the next day. For while Susanne and I consider ourselves to be above average intelligence, we surely enjoy a good obvious moment. Sometimes what is right in front of one’s face proves elusive anyway, after all, despite the best intentions. Or road map.

Here is where our careful planning went wrong. More precisely, my careful planning. For while I traced our route from home to Powell’s bookstore, and from Powell’s to the nearest Burgerville, and from there to our airport hotel, I did not plan the route to the actual airport for the next morning. I figured, lazily, “it’s an airport hotel! How far will we have to go!”

Far, it seems, when one winds up driving around in circles. We could actually hear planes landing and taking off while we drove around a dark warehouse district. It would make sense for warehouses to set up near a hub of transportation, it’s true, but can’t these folks plant an airport sign or two?

We started off with a wakeup call at 5 a.m. that wouldn’t stop ringing until we’d picked up both phones in the room. Not sure if that’s brilliant or sadistic. We were operating on the premise that our flight was leaving at 6:45. Now I know the adage, since 9/11, that you’re supposed to leave two hours at the airport to get on your domestic flight, but come on, really?

Yes, Ev. Really.

So we’re driving around clueless at 5:48, knowing we’re right next to the darn airport. 

I come to a T intersection. There’s no street sign. We don’t know which way to go. So we try both options. I thought Susanne would know how to get there. She thought I would know how to get there. To say we were annoyed would be to grossly understate the situation.

I pull into a Howard Johnson’s, hoping I’m still in the city of Portland and haven’t somehow made my way down to Eugene. I hop inside and ask the concierge for the directions to the airport, in a way that clearly identifies me as a harried, stressed out, idiot of a person who is also not from this area. I brace for his answer, thinking the directions will look something like this:

orifice-c-equation

He tells me to take a right out of the parking lot, go down three lights, and make a left.

That’s it?

Even better, the name of the road just outside the parking lot is Airport Way.

I could hear giggling from somewhere. I’m not sure it’s real or not. Or if it’s coming from me.

We make our way to the airport, find the extended parking, and scramble to the shuttle, grabbing our bags and coats. I press blindly at the car lock thingie on my keychain, locking it up as I run to the shuttle.

We made it! Susanne pulls out our itinerary. Our flight’s at 6:30. Not 6:45. 6:30 is in 20 minutes.

We didn’t make it. The Northwest computer laughs at us as we try to check in. The Northwest rep at the counter is really helpful though, and books us on a nonstop flight, getting us into Detroit about half an hour earlier than we would have with our original itinerary. Which, for $200 in changing flights fees . . . is nice?

We settle into the airport for some breakfast, since now we’ll have time for that instead of $3 trail mix and Sierra Mist on the plane. Portland airport has free Wi-Fi. How cool! We pass the time reading useless email and playing Facebook games. Ten minutes before boarding Susanne goes to get an iced tea, and I stress out again as folks are called to board and I don’t see her. Then, unlike in a romantic dream sequence, I see her walking down the corridor, carrying her tea, seeing the queue for the gate, and frowning. Apparently it is Training Day at Starbucks, and we all know how that movie ends. We get on the plane, promptly fall asleep with our necks in such a contorted position that we can not look directly ahead for the rest of the day, and wake up 3.7 hours later in the frigid tundra known as Michigan.

And away we go, on the hour-plus ride to my in-laws. They already knew the way there, fortunately for us.

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