If there's one thing I've learned about traveling between October and April in the Minnesota/North Dakota region, it's that the weather will mess with you. I've spent hours and nights in airports in between my college town and my parents' house on Holiday weekends. But this one might make my Top 5 Worst Flights Ever list.
My classmate and I were flying together on Tuesday, on the same flights. We got a ride to the Grand Forks airport and found it very crowded. High winds, winter storm, blizzard watch, etc. Grand Forks airport canceled all of its flights that day except for the first flight in the morning -- which our other colleagues were on -- and the 3:05 PM, which my classmate and I were on. "Lucky." The night only got worse and worse as it wore on and we were denied landing at two airports, landed at another where we weren't allowed to get off the plane, were unable to eat due to restaurant closures and no food on board, had very turbulent (baggage-tossing!) flights, and finally arrived at LAX when we were supposed to arrive at Orange County, at 2:30 AM (4:30 our time), where we were picked up by a SuperShuttle driver who price-gouged us (over twice what the website quoted) and whom I'm pretty sure was the Texas Chainsaw guy, if the Texas Chainsaw guy liked music by UB40. (I've rarely been so scared in a vehicle than I have been on this occasion. My classmate and I were unbelievably relieved when we arrived at our hotel decidedly un-raped.) When I asked our driver for a receipt for our per diem, he smiled and jotted an obscene invitation on it. That's nice.
I found my room, brushed my teeth, put my contacts in a water glass and hit the sack. A few hours later I was up at the conference. Then I had to go to the Orange County airport at noon the next day with my classmate to pick up our luggage. Mine was wet (weird?!) but otherwise unharmed.
My husband was supposed to join me that evening, but he didn't. He had so many flight troubles, he was 24 hours late (and 15 of those were spent in airports.) Thankfully, I reserved a prepaid ride to the hotel for him so no one tried to swindle or assault him when he arrived.
I picked up the rental car too--I wish I had booked it originally so my classmate and I would not have had the shuttle issues, but oh well. I wish the two of us could have spent more than 1 full day in California together (we flew back on Saturday morning after returning our rental car).
I learned a lot and had a great time at the conference too, but it was still a really stressful trip for both of us due to all of the travel and exhaustion! Plus that whole You Failed The Comps thing weighing on my mind (yet to be discussed here on The Blog)... and the classes I missed in order to go there... we cannot forget those.
Also, when we arrived home, storm winds had blown our fence over and in to the neighbor's yard. Super!