Bye Bye Michigan
Il tavolo operatorio su cui Jay ha abilmente smontato le bici, qui, la sua, e giocato a tetris per farle stare in valigia. Sullo sfondo, il mega camper.
Jay broke down the bikes and fit each into two new luggage (biggest ones allowed, 30x20x12 inches). It all seems to work pretty well: only racks and helmets don’t fit, and are easily stored into the third luggage and our backpacks respectively. Then, we fit all the gear and clothes and presents in the empty spaces left from the bike stuff, and cover nicely the most delicate components of the bikes.
Dettaglio della bici di Jay smontata durante una delle prove.
The next morning, we get up early to have breakfast with Brenda and Dave, say goodbye, and leave in our huge van heading to the Detroit airport. We get there very early, but then the day seems to turn around a bit.
Concentrazione e determinazione solcano il volto di Jay durante le delicate operazioni.
15 minutes prior to our scheduled departure, we realized we have been waiting at the wrong gate all this time both Spirit and American Eagle (our carrier under American Airlines) had flights to Philly within a few minutes of each other - the Spirit counter kept announcing gate changes for the Philly flight, without mentioning that it was only for Spirit, hence our mixup. Our gate was actually on the other side of the terminal, some 15 min walk away, and the flight leaves in 15 min. Check the boarding card, it says that doors close 10 min prior to departure.
Jay is wearing flip flops. Anna is wearing running shoes! At top speed - considering backpack, purse and multiple breaks due to travellers agglomerates, she is much quicker. She gets first at the correct gate, but it is closed and empty. Check the time, and there are 11 min left before flight departure. Jay arrives noisily, slap slap slap slap down the moving walkway, and we talk to customer care at the neighboring gate, Sally. She tries to help but its not very easy, as we just missed our flight! Anna already has tears in her eyes, because she does not know that customer care in the US is much better than in Europe!
Thankfully there are free spots on the flight Chicago-Venice, but first we have to reach Chicago! We are put on standby for the flight to Chicago. After some extenuating wait at the gate, we get our new boarding passes and we get on the Detroit-Chicago plane.
But surprises are not finished…
We spend 2h waiting while boarded and with door closed because of bad weather in Chicago. Then, we even get deplaned… and boarded again some 1.5h later. The wait is eating up all our layover time in Chicago...
Once we reach Chicago, after some 10 additional minutes of taxing (Chicago is one of the biggest airports in the US), we have only 20 min to reach our gate for the flight to Venice. Nearly impossible!
Jay uses his excellent skills and manages to head out among the first people. Anna does not. But, once out, she is running like a champ (who has the running shoes, after all!). The airport is huge, and cramped. But at least, our flight is in the same (humungous) terminal.
Anna makes it to the counter after some extenuating running exercise (felt like 5 miles) and the nice lady greets her with a “you made it!”. Except, she doesn’t have the boarding passes so she has to hold the lady there while talking about flip flops and husbands :)
We finally board. Everybody seems pleased with our success as they see the two sweaty panting people with backpacks entering and sitting at random spots.
The plane is wonderful, Anna sleeps some 4h (best sleep on flight ever) and will rate highly the sweet part of the menu, also a first ever on an American journey.
At our arrival, of course, all luggage is nowhere to be found. Luckily we get it back (...let’s avoid any comment on Venice airport organization) and find that the grey one, with Jay’s bike in, is broken.
The bikes made it ok! And so did we :)
On our last post, the final report on bird species / miles biked!
Uno scatto del papà di Jay, Dave, al nostro arrivo a Newberry. Ora che l'avventura è finita, è tempo di bilanci. Quante specie e quante miglia abbiamo visto e percorso?