Just a thought… In life, it’s not where you go, it’s who you travel with. [Charles Schultz]
Well, that certainly did not go as expected. Oh, I’m not talking about our sweet family time plus visits and business in Toronto, London and Ottawa (although there was something amazingly unexpected that happened work-wise on Sunday that I’ll fill you in on here tomorrow). I’m referring to our travels on Monday evening.
Yesterday’s Rick Mercer memories journal was all set to go just in case and we were glad of that, as Monday we were on the edge of our seats wondering whether we were going to get out of the city-sized ice arena also known as our National Capital Region. As we pondered the seemingly unlikely concept of Tulip Festival starting there just three weeks this Friday, a thick coating of ice made travel – and even just walking – treacherous. So we stayed inside at Phil and Brooke’s and awaited news from WestJet about whether our 6:50 pm flight to Calgary (and then Victoria) was going to be happening at all.
We watched online and got alerts saying that a one-hour delay became a two-hour delay. No worries. We weren’t those hapless travelers who find themselves on a shuttle to the airport with no firm flight news, because the resort needs to free up rooms and really doesn’t care what happens to you after your time there is up. No, we were so lucky: the coffee was plentiful and we l0oked at any delays as a chance to spend just a bit more time with Phil, Brooke and, of course, Colin. Not having to get up for work (or hockey) obligations brought the potential panic levels way, way down.
But then, something very unusual happened.
At about 3 pm Rob called WestJet. Because their website was showing a two-hour delay, that meant we’d miss our connecting flight to Victoria, the last of the day. Knowing that there had been a flight to Calgary cancelled earlier in the day, we offered to fly home the next day (Tuesday) and let someone else have our seats, if need be. That’s when the friendly (but probably frazzled) person on the phone told us that rather than a two-hour delay, there had been an update: our flight was now just five minutes behind in expected departure!
Wait, what?!? A quick check online proved that yes, indeed, the departure had changed! She explained that the problems probably emanated with crew numbers and when WestJet fixed that (by switching planes) we were on time! We left so quickly there was no time for tears – a big old blessing for us all. And after Rob chipped the ice off the SUV, our travels began to come to an end.
Despite numerous airport area road closures due to downed power lines and slow traffic because of traffic lights that were out, we still made it in plenty of time to drop off the car we’d rented in Toronto 12 days earlier and get to the airport in the pouring rain. We got a call yesterday from the Routes rental car folks at head office in Toronto who didn’t know we’d returned their Jeep because the Ottawa branch had no power, phones or computers, so that was a wrinkle. But other than that, we had just one more tiny hurdle.
Because of that plane swap I mentioned, WestJet had no inflight iPads or live TV, so Rob, who thought that for once he’d be in the air at the exact time of a hockey game he wanted to watch, couldn’t see what happened after the Leafs scored on Boston in the first period of game three. D’oh! But the news was good when we landed in Calgary: the Leafs had won.
After two hours at YYC, we left there at midnight, only to get to Victoria to learn that there were but three cabs at the airport at 1 am and we weren’t getting one. But eventually we did make it home to the flannel sheets of our king-sized bed. And after a 22-hour travel day, we slept. And slept.
And speaking of sweet dreams, I’ve a pretty amazing story for you in tomorrow’s journal that could be luck or just a lot of work paying off. You decide!