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The Infrequent Flyer

Cheryl's Musings: The Infrequent Flyer

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road


The Infrequent Flyer

I'’m writing to you from the Missoula, Montana airport (note the cool mosaic), where I am very very very happy to be and I’m very very happy to be here with all my various bags and devices. Why so happy, you ask?
Because apparently I’m one of those people who shouldn’t fly by herself. I don’t fly all that often—not what you’d call the Experienced Traveler—and In the past four hours, I’ve already managed to:
  • Leave my suitcase at security
  • Backtrack through "Do Not Enter" sign to retrieve said suitcase(and yes, the TSA guy at the top of the stairs actually let me re-enter security, although he did roll his eyes
  • Take a trip the wrong way down the sliding walkway AWAY from my gate (at the far end of terminal B) after stopping for coffee—and when I saw signs saying "this way to terminals A and C" I actually thought, wow, they've installed a new way to get from terminal to terminal, maybe in response to the fact that so many people got stranded here during Oct snowstorm five or so years ago. Seriously. But they hadn’t. I’d just gone the wrong way.
  • I next traveled BACK the way I'd come, farther and farther down the B terminal. When I could see windows at the end of the terminal and still didn't see signs for gate B94, I started to worry. Turns out there's another whole section of the B terminal never before discovered by yours truly: the whole thing is more the size of the entire terminal back in my hometown PA airport, a funny section of terminal with lots of twists and turns, no moving walkway, and you'd better not plan to run here because the walkways are skinny and crowded even at 6:45 in the morning. On the plus side, I finally found Starbucks here. Two of them. I’d been looking for one because I have a gift card compliments of my older son—but I’d already given up and bought coffee elsewhere (see bullet #3).
The next humorous turn to this adventure is that 20 minutes after I finally reached the gate, it changed to B65, back in the better-travelled regions of the airport. I reached the *new* gate just in time to board…which seemed odd, because the plane wasn't supposed to board for another ten minutes. It turns out that they begin boarding earlier than advertised, because passengers must venture down a flight of stairs and down another lengthy stretch of hallway into the bowels of the terminal, where another string of heretofore secret gates lead directly out onto the tarmac, where people have to venture if they're flying on one of those little planes that you board via stairs instead of the more usual moveable breezeway.
Did I mention it was a smallish plane? Not a puddle-jumper, like those that fly into the Corning-Elmira airport near where my family lives in PA, but smaller than I expected.
Since it was a smallish plane, we had to gate check bags--and since I'm in a losing-things mood today, I dropped my little green claim stub before I even reached the gate. (I noticed, backtracked, and actually found it—can you believe it?—and then, of course, didn't actually need it to reclaim my bag!) On board the plane, I immediately managed to lose my cell phone. In my seat.
I'm just wondering: can adults fly as unaccompanied minors? Because I could really use someone to hold my hand when I travel!
photo (1)We had a smooth flight with the nicest flight attendant I’ve ever met and a clear view of the (very cool) landscape below.
What’s next? Now I get to wait in this lovely airport for the bus to take me to downtown Missoula, where I have a few hours to locate my lodgings, register for the conference (Society of Environmental Journalists Conference—more on that later), find lunch, and other such exciting tasks. And I probably won’t spend that time working on my computer, as planned, because my power cord seems to be on the fritz. Again. Sigh. Luckily I have a very sweet husband who’s already bought a new cord and had it shipped to me here in Missoula.
Nothing’s ever simple…but if it were, life would be dull. Right?
Smile  Cheryl

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