My blogging absence has been due to my traveling back to Virginia for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Fest. A week ago Tuesday was the day I flew back. I knew I wanted to go to the show, but I was torn about getting there. I could have driven, as we've made that journey many times, but I wasn't sure if the weather would cooperate. I also would be by myself, which wasn't all that appealing, either. In the end, I decided to fly--even though I don't enjoy flying very much at all.
My connections were great: I flew from here to Detroit (about a 20-30 minute flight) and then from Detroit to Norfolk, VA. That flight was only about 2 hours long.
Tuesday morning I woke up early and was busy packing and getting ready. I didn't leave until just after noon, so there was no rush. Around 7 or 8 I got a call from my friend Janice, in Tennessee. She was going to Virginia, too, and driving. She called because she woke up to 6 inches of unforcasted snow! (If you follow Bonnie Hunter, that was the same day that she woke up snowed into her cabin.) She wasn't sure if she was going to make it, but she was going to try. She crawled down her mountain at 20mph, passing the snow plow, which had gone into the ditch! She made it to the Interstate, though, and the conditions there were much better. Her late, slow start meant she wouldn't be there to pick me up from the airport, though, so another friend, Lorna, would come. Lorna and her husband had graciously invited both Janice and I to stay with them.
My weather here in Indiana was fine. Detroit was fine. Norfolk had some snow forcasted, but they backed off the amounts and said that they should just get "a dusting." We set out for the airport and everything went great. I think it was when I landed in Detroit and turned on my phone that I saw a text from Lorna saying that it was snowing a bit and that her husband was going to drive with her to the airport. (The drive from her house in Hampton, to Norfolk is usually about 25 minutes, but does require a trip through the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, and there can be snarls from time to time.) I texted back that I could stay in a hotel over there if it seemed bad, but she said they weren't supposed to get much snow and that it wasn't sticking.
I only had about 25 minutes in Detroit between flights, so I had to hustle. Is it always me who has connections in and out of gates that are the furthest apart possible? Good grief! I made it okay and even had a chance to grab a snack. (I had an early lunch at 10:30 because I was flying out at 12:30.) We boarded and I turned off my phone again. When we landed and I looked out the window of the plane in Norfolk, huge flakes were coming down at a great rate. I turned on my phone and had a text from Lorna that they were stuck in traffic--there may be an accident. I replied and understood. I had lived there and delays in the bridge tunnel were common. I made my way to pick up my bag and settled in to wait. Luckily I found an outlet, because my phone was losing charge--I was in "the red." In the end, it took Lorna and her husband over 2 hours to get to the airport! It wasn't just one accident, there were problems all along the roads, but it was the snow that was the major culprit. It took another 2+ hours to get back to their house. We just crawled along, but at least going slow helped us stay safe. I have never seen roads that awful before and I grew up in South Dakota and lived in Alaska! We finally made it to her house about 9 pm. I felt like a real heel for causing them so much trouble! On our way back from the airport, we heard from Janice. She made it to Richmond (about 1.5 hours away) but decided to stop there. By the time we woke up the next morning, there was over 6 inches of snow on the ground.! Janice made it by 10 that morning.
This is the picture I took in the morning out the window.
It wasn't through snowing either. The first full day of the show, Thursday, we crawled slowly through it to the venue. Janice took this picture walking in.
It quit snowing and warmed up that day! And then refroze over night. So on Thursday we had crawled through snow to get to the show, and on Friday we skated there on ice! (Notice the theme: despite the conditions, we made it!) More people made it on Friday, too, as well as buses, so it was much more crowded.
The weather got better, though. As Sunday approached, and I would fly home, I was checking weather there, Detroit, and home. Home wasn't going to be good. There was a "winter storm warning." It started snowing in the morning, but it was going to taper off through the day. I had a later flight out of Norfolk (6:20 pm or so) and wouldn't land until 10:30pm here at home. I got dropped off at the airport, got through security, and settled in. I wasn't in the gate my flight was leaving from, as another flight was boarding at the time. I read for a while and then decided to wander back to my gate. When I did, I saw that my flight was delayed by 50 minutes! It seemed that the plane we would take to Detroit was currently in NYC at LaGuardia and they were having terrible weather. I checked my itinerary and I had and hour and 20 minutes in Detroit, so I was still okay. And then it was delayed 15 more minutes. And then even more! I was not going to make my flight home from Detroit! I decided at that point to book myself a hotel room near the airport where I could ride a shuttle. The flight from New York was getting de-iced and it took over an hour. It finally took off and when the gate agent told us, we all cheered! By then all of us in the gate were making friends.
I was really impressed with Delta--they kept us informed! I know that seeems basic, but so many corportations don't do that! They also brought us snacks and drinks. The flight from NYC landed, and it was one really fast turnover! We took off and landed in Detroit. The agent had booked me on a flight the next morning to Indiana, so I scanned my paper to see if I could get my boarding pass, and I got a voucher for a hotel and transportation! Crap! I had booked that other room and it was too late to cancel. Our flight wasn't the only one with problems, though. Thousands of people needed rooms, and the one that Delta had for me was 30 minutes away. I stuck with my room that was just off the airport property! Down in the hotel shuttle area, it was bedlam! A shuttle would pull in and get swarmed by people. I've never seen anything like it! I had trouble figuring out which shuttle to get, but after calling the hotel, I saw the correct one. I made it to my room just before midnight.
In my carry-on bag was my camera, my coat, my book, and my day's purchases from the quilt show vendors. I had some pieces of wool, patterns, and a frame. No change of clothes. No toothbrush. No hairbrush. I did have my phone charger, though. I slept in my clothes and woke up the next morning. I had gotten a toothbrush and toothpaste from the hotel desk, which was really nice! I was okay otherwise. It turned out I most missed my face cream (my face was so dry) and clean socks. (I detest wearing "used" socks--they are stretched out and just don't feel nice at all.) I made it back to the airport, through the bedlam again (thousands of stranded passengers needing new boarding passes.) Once more I made it through security and found my gate.
How about you? Have you been stranded before? What did you miss the most?
I'll be back again with more about the show.
Meanwhile, I'm not sure if any of you also follow Rachel at Stitched in Color. She is a modern quilter and I enjoy her blog. I've followed as she shared about trying to have another baby, celebrated as she got pregnant, and was anticipating the birth. Well, her little Eleni was born last week, but there were problems and it is sounding fairly grave. I'll be praying for their baby and their family.
Have a great day!