After an entertaining and/or character building (depending on your perspective), virtually un-re-create-able travel adventure, we are finally home.
Perhaps the deer that darted onto the busy highway between Sand Point and Coeur d’Alene in front of our driver’s car was an omen. But since the car missed the deer or the deer missed the car (depending on your perspective), we blithely continued onto the Spokane airport and arrived there with time to check in and eat lunch. We even snagged a free pizza since whoever ordered before us never picked up theirs.
Buoyed with the anticipation of snarfing down free pizza once we landed in Denver and ran to catch our connecting flight, we blithely walked to the gate and waited to board our Southwest Airline flight to Denver. Maybe strange overhead announcements were an omen of what lay ahead, but we and the other passengers only laughed harder as the warnings progressed:
ANNOUNCEMENT #1: It is against safety regulations to allow children to sit on the edge of a baggage carousel. Please do not allow children to sit on the edge of Baggage Carousel #2.
ANNOUNCEMENT #2: It is against federal safety regulations for children to sit on the edge of a baggage carousel. When it starts moving, they could be injured. Parents, be sure your children are not sitting on the edge of Baggage Carousel #2.
ANNOUNCEMENT #3: This is the third warning about allowing children to sit on the edge of the baggage carousel. It will start moving in 2 minutes, and they could tip onto the carousel or lose fingers when it starts moving. Please remove your children from the edge of the baggage carousel immediately.
ANNOUNCEMENT #4: Parents, this is your third warning. (Apparently, the announcement maker had lost count.) Get your children off the edge of the baggage carousel immediately. The luggage will be arriving soon. Remove your children immediately.
We were still chuckling about the announcement 2 hours later on our approach to Denver, but the laughter dried up when the pilot mumbled, “The Denver airport is closed due to a severe thunderstorm, and we’re being rerouted to Amarillo, Texas.”
No one was laughing fifty-five minutes later when we landed in Amarillo. No one laughed when the pilot continued his mumbling. “The storm has moved out of Denver, so we’ll get gas and go back. All your connecting flights have been delayed, so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to make them.”
Except that half of the 200+ passengers were in line to use the 2 tiny airport potties, and the good news went right over our heads. The other half were staring out the windows at the oddest looking aircraft we’d ever seen.
“Looks like a dolphin,” said the young woman next to me. “And it has NASA printed on it.”
“Or it could be Shamu,” I suggested. “Who knew there was a Sea World on the Amarillo, Texas airport? Or we’ve been rerouted to a hush, hush NASA site for flight training.”
Pretty soon, we were on our way and arrived in Denver just in time to board our connecting flight to Omaha, snarfing free pizza as we ran.
That flight was uneventful, as was our late night drive home and our arrival at 3:30 AM. We were asleep in our beds by 4:00 AM. Our luggage, which did not make the connecting flight is supposed to arrive tomorrow. And I cleared up the NASA Shamu mystery with a little online research. It revealed that our NASA Shamu is really a NASA Super Guppy. Which leaves only two loose ends to wrap up right here, right now.
To the person who ordered and forgot to pick up the Hawaiian pizza at the Dave’s House of Pizza Kiosk: It was delicious. Thank you so much for sharing your supper with us.
To anyone who was in the vicinity of Spokane Airport’s baggage claim area between 2 and 4 on Tuesday afternoon: If you know what happened to the kids on Baggage Carousel #2, please leave a comment. We could use some closure and a final hallelujah!