[Retro Post] Roadtrip to Whitehorse (Oct. 4)

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It was an early and sad start for the day for me. My flight out of Grande Prairie was first thing in the morning, so I had to be up in time to catch the first shuttle bus of the day from our hotel. Jess and Remi woke up with me to send me off. The hotel had some breakfast snacks, like fruit and muffins, to go, which I grabbed to eat at the airport since I wasn’t sure if the flight would serve snacks.

Anyway, when the shuttle bus arrived, Jess and I said our goodbyes and I left for the airport. However, by the time I got there, the agent at the check-in desk told me I was too late for my flight and they were already boarding! I had mistakenly thought the first shuttle bus of the morning would be early enough for my flight, and I had taken it because I didn’t want to pay for a taxi if I didn’t have to. I was rebooked in another flight, which would not leave until the afternoon. I was a bit upset, especially since my parents had planned to meet me during my stopover in Toronto and take me out for dinner. I hadn’t seen them in a couple of months, so I figured it would be a nice way to spend my time there

I sat myself down in the waiting area, called my parents to let them know the change in plan, and pulled out my knitting, knowing it would be a lengthy wait until my flight. About an hour later, the agent from the check-in desk sat down next to me and told me she put me on stand-by for the next flight to Calgary! This was only possible because I did not have checked-in luggage – yet another reason to pack light! Ever since my first trip to Japan I’ve strived to pack light because of the simplicity and flexibility it offers.

Anyway, if I made it onto the flight, I’d have a long layover in Calgary, but the agent said that at least there was more to see and do in the Calgary airport than the tiny one in Grande Prairie. True that. I told her that it sounded like a great idea and I thanked her profusely before heading to the security check.

At last, it was time to board! And luckily, I was allowed on the flight. I thanked the agent again at the gate and boarded.

The flight to Calgary was uneventful. My time at the Calgary airport was uneventful, too. I stopped at the food court for lunch and wandered around…a lot. I checked out some of the stores, but one can only browse for so long before getting bored. Eventually, I simply grabbed a drink from Starbucks and sat down in a comfy chair and went through my pictures, surfed the Internet, etc.

From Calgary, I flew to Toronto. By then, it was past midnight, so too late to call anyone I knew. I grabbed something to eat from Tim Horton’s (thank God for Timmies and their late hours!) and then found a place to rest until my flight. I couldn’t sleep, though. The airport night staff were cleaning and they kept looking at me and trying to chat with me. If I had to be honest, it was a bit creepy, especially since there wasn’t really anyone else around.So, I gave up and found an area with more people. I plugged in my phone to charge it and did some more Internet surfing and knitting.

My flight out of Toronto was early. Just before we boarded, they announced that there was significant fog in Sudbury, so there was a possibility that the plane wouldn’t be able to land, but that they would try. I was so exhausted from the delays, the long layovers, lack of sleep, etc., that I didn’t know if I would have the patience if we were forced to return to Toronto. Still, I figured that if we did have to return to Toronto, maybe my parents could pick me up, and bring me home so I could at least shower.

The flight to Sudbury was also uneventful, but true to their announcement,  thick fog blanketed the city.  The plane prepared to descend and the fog was so thick that you couldn’t see the tops of the trees until you were almost on them. All of a sudden, we were clearly not going to make the runway, so the wheels went back up and the plane made a sharp ascent again. The captain made an overhead announcement that their attempt to land was unsuccessful, but the plane had enough fuel to try once more.

I have to tell you that I’m not a nervous traveler at all, but after that announcement, I was definitely on edge. I actually wanted to tell the crew to just turn back around to Toronto!

The wheels were deployed again and we descended once again through the thick fog. Again, I could see nothing but fog until we were just above the trees. But this time, we made it on the runway and landed, if a bit roughly. I breathed a sigh of relief, and even the man across the aisle from me looked at me pointedly and said, “Whew, I was sweating for a bit there!” I  said, “Me too!”

And so my journey back to Sudbury was over. I got a cab back into town, picked up my car, and drove back home, at last!

EPILOGUE:

For those of you who were wondering, Jess and Remi made it to Whitehorse in one piece. Not saying they didn’t have their mishaps, though. The Uhaul truck ended up blowing a tire in the middle of the Alaskan Highway, although luckily, Jess was saved by a couple of other travelers who stopped and were able to call for help. From there, Jess encountered plenty more wildlife, crappy weather, and tough roads, but she made it! She is now settled in Whitehorse and is enjoying it.

As for me, I went back to my quiet way of life and worked a ton right up to the end of the year. Nothing new, right?

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