Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's Black Hills, You Fool

Sorry, it's not the Black Mountains, it's the Black Hills. Silly me, you can tell I flunked geography. Or didn't listen closely enough to the song.

Either way, we've landed safely in Kansas City, MO, and I've learned that all the things you hear about Kansas City, at least the good things, are referring to this Kansas City. According to the guy at the hotel, he said for the most part you don't even want to go to KC, Kansas. I'm still curious to see what the difference is.

We scrambled to get out the door this morning and we had so much time and seemed so prepared. You really get complacent when you think you're on top of things, and then your hubris comes back to haunt you. In all honesty, it wasn't that bad, it just gets stressful as we get down to the zero hour. We wanted to leave the house reasonably clean for PV when she came, but we also had to eat breakfast and prepare food for the journey. So while I packed sandwiches and cleaned up the kitchen, R cleaned up everything else. She did some last minute vacuuming and we got everything in order. By the time 10:30 rolled around, I was thinking we really needed to go. We had an 11:15 bus to catch in Lebanon, and there was no time to lose.

Of course, we had to fit all of our stuff in our car. We'd never packed so much stuff. Then again, we've never gone on a camping trip, but it went in. For the record, we have yet to get pads to sleep on, and if and when we get them, we're still not sure if we can get them home.

Also, a really cool thing about this trip is that for the first time both A&N packed their own bags and were responsible for them. It's cute as can be seeing them walk through the airport with their big backpacks, and they are such good travelers, it really warms our hearts.

One interesting note, we brought our own car seats because it saves us nearly $150 in cost from the rental car company. I called the airline and they said yes, you can use them on the plane, so I figured we were in business. The rental company charges $6/day for each seat, so you do the math. Life is really a bear when you're trying to save money.

Well, when we got on the plane, the flight attendants told us we couldn't use the seats. They weren't FAA sanctioned. I thought it was a joke, what's the big deal? They're booster seats! Fortunately they fit under the seats no problem, so no big deal. I asked one of them what the problem was, and she showed me the back label which read in clear red ink, not suitable for use on a plane. Ooops! Good to know. Checking them in wouldn't have been a big deal, they are not fragile, but it worked out fine in the end.

One other interesting note, they charged us for each check in bag. That has to be some new policy, and a crappy one at that.

All in all, though, I'm not complaining, because things went smoothly, sort of. And it's always a lot of fun being in airports and especially flying in planes. It's really a great experience and one the kids love. We were delayed in getting to Detroit, the tower put us into a holding pattern, and I immediately thought of Die Hard 2, when the terrorists took over the airport and all the planes were in a holding pattern. Real life intrigue, at it's best.

And, of course, there was the very real possibility of missing our connection because of the delay. One more thing to give us anxiety. As we taxied to the gate, we told A&N to be ready to bolt down the jetway and get to our next flight. Detroit airport is huge, but fortunately we caught the tram (one of those airports) and by the time we got there, they were just starting to board. Another happy ending.

Now we're in KC. The hotel is nice though it's one of those places where people stay for long periods. They have social nights where the residents get together and eat and drink and talk about how much they miss their real homes. It's modern, clean, and off the beaten track, so it's quiet. And A&N love it because not only are there two queen beds, but there are two TVs. Say no more. And there is this funky carpet in the hallways that I rather like.

It's steaming hot, though the weather is supposed to be nicer in the coming days. There is a pool and a breakfast buffet, so what else do you really need? Tomorrow we get our car and then it's off to Omaha and more adventure. I will say this, traveling in the US is a lot simpler than traveling in Europe, though maybe not quite as interesting. At least not yet.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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