Archive for October, 2014

the unexpected blog post

Folks, we’re still in the States; Dallas-Fort Worth airport to be exact. Over the last 34 hours, our travel plans have changed again and again. I’ve lost track how many times.

The shenanigans all started when about 11 am Friday, two hours before we were due to head to a Cracker Barrel lunch pre-Cleveland airport, we got an sms and email from Qantas saying our travel plans had changed. Contact them. So we did. I’m sure about 900 other Qantas passengers did too!

We left our phone conversation understanding that due to an A380 flight from Sydney having to turn back due to a fuel issue (mmmmm …), we would be on the 11.59 pm flight the following night from Dallas. Book your o/n accommodation there and Qantas will reimburse you. Just keep receipts.

So, off to the airport we went; with me booking a bed at the Dallas FW Airport Sheraton at a great price through Expedia.

We start checkin at the America. Airlines counter at Cleveland and great news – we are on the original flights, including flying out on the A380 at 9.15 pm. Great! I’ll need to cancel the Expedia booking. Oops. I booked at a no cancellations price. Aaaahhhh.

All good. Watched a great Springsteen and I documentary on the flight to Dallas.

Then we get to Dallas. Our instruction had been to go to the Qantas ticket counter to get our boarding passes for the international 16hour leg.

Well – no international leg that night. We would not be flying until 11.59 the next night … Two hours time as I peck away at this on the iPad mini. Not only that – our baggage was somewhere at the airport, irretrievable that night. This meant PJs, spare clothing, phone chargers, medicines … we’ll have to wait until 6 pm Saturday before we ‘might’ be able to access them.

Aaaahhhh Aaaaahhhh .

So off we go after all the Airport Sheraton. The hotel and staff were outstanding. We managed a 4 pm late checkout, borrow a phone charger and are given complimentary buffet breakfast vouchers. And for PJs, we purchase his and hers Dallas t-shirts. Stunning photo below!

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We manage about 7 hours sleep in a lovely room, king size bed.

Next morning, we boom a cab to the nearby Grapevine Mills shopping mall and kill about 3 hours window shopping, but manage a coffee etc at the themed Rainforest Cafe.

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Back to the Sheraton, get another device charged, get some sleep, check out and head to the airport.

So we get there around 6 to the news that sorry – sir, your luggage is already on its way to your plane. Aaaaaah. aaaaaah. aaaaaaah.

I need to say that the Qantas staff at DFW have been outstanding,y helpful. Just wish that the guy at Cleveland Airport had his act together AND that American and Qantas actually talked with each other.

Anyhow, we’ve managed to kill time at the Qantas Lounge and so, so look forward to getting into Brisbane mid-morning Monday.

The next posting? Watch this space.

Cheers,
David

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ready to come home

Just a few hours, and Dale and I will be on our way to Cleveland airport to begin the long trek home. 2 1/2 hours from Cleveland to Dallas-Forth Worth, a meagre 75 min layover (incl. going through immigration & security) then the biggie – longest flight available in the world on the longest/biggest plane. Just under 16 hours by A380 from DFW to Sydney. And yes, our seats are on the ‘top floor’ in the far back RH corner. Maybe they can’t trust us!😀

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Back down under, 2 hours to go through immigration, customs and get to Qantas domestic for our flight to Brisbane, getting in around 8 am. We’ve put ourselves through this so many times before. This time I’m trying my C-Pap machine on board – a first. Maybe I’ll actually get some sleep!

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Since getting back from the big road trip,it’s been a case of basically taking it easy. That ‘taking it easy’ has included the must-do of berry picking (on Dad’s property), doing some housework, driving once again to Millers in Garettsville for breakfast – yesterday morning was as foggy as it comes …

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… spending time with Wayne & Sherry, two special US friends of ours, dating in Sherry’s case to highschool band days with Dale, enjoying a lovely dinner at Applebee’s … we splurged …

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… checking out the stores (yes-Walmart) for a final time pre-Halloween …

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… and catching up on some reading. Tim Winton’s Eyrie is close to finished.

It was kind of sad, yet satisfying driving Dad’s van back into the carport last night. I kind of got attached to it.

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Tom and Diana (Dale’s sister) are taking us to the airport, so they’ve driven up from Pittsburgh and we’re just back from a yummy breakfast at Eat’n’Park

A few things around the house and off to the airport via – yes(!) Cracker Barrel. There we’ll meet up with Bonnie and Jim, Dale’s aunt & uncle. Then plenty of time to reflect on the flights home. Once again. More than anything, really, really special time with Dale’s family. We thank God for this opportunity.

Cheers,
David

The road trip is complete!

After around 4000 km travelled, bacon (or sausage) and eggs with hash browns, toast and bottomless decaf coffee virtually every morning, 5 different beds, some stunning scenery … we made it back to Dale’s Dad’s place around 8.30 Monday night, US time. I drove all but about 400 km of that. I loved the driving. When you have highways that leave most of what Australia offers sadly in the shade, you will enjoy travelling.
I used Google Maps to plot our route.

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On Sunday night we had made it as far from the foothills of the Smoky Mountains to Beckley in West Virginia. We ended up at the Holiday Inn. That was nice, especially the heated swimming pool. To get there we travelled through part of four states – North Carolina. Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. I’ve never quite got the hoopla surrounding Halloween, but it’s only a month away here … and you can’t miss it, including this display greeting us as we unpacked at Beckley for the night.

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What delighted us all the way back to Ohio were the changing colours of the trees – yellows, oranges, reds and greens in beautiful abundance wherever one cast their eye. These pics don’t do it justice.

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Closed to home we made a big detour to Pittsburgh, Pennysylvania where Dale’s sister, brother in law and some family leave. Dad’s mate Tiger (the cat) had been cared for there since two Saturday nights ago. They were mutually delighted to be reacquainted.

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After dinner at IHOP (International House of Pancakes) where – no fried chicken for me – I ordered the most disappointing BLT ever (but appreciated our hosts paying for it all the same!), we set off for the final 2 hours of travel back to Dad’s home. The hot water system is out of gas, but that’s OK. We’ll shower tomorrow. Just more deodorant!

Dale and I managed some obligatory shopping mid afternoon. Took some lovely images on our return.

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Cheers for now,
David

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