Leaving BoiseWell Peachy gave me a nice wakeup call at 6:15 and I got up and got my shower. None of the guys were up, or at least they weren't around, so I only got to say thanks and goodbye to Peachy. We also realized I wouldn't get to say goodbye to Mumsy or Pop Pop. :( The last I'd seen them was after the fireworks 2 nights ago and I didn't realize I wouldn't see them again before I left.
Well I gathered my things and hopped in the car and my parents drove me to the airport. I didn't have breakfast and didn't want to have ONLY airplane food in my stomach, but couldn't think of anyplace fast to find something to eat. We ended up going to a 7-Eleven and I got an apple fritter to eat in the car and a one of those little 2-packs of "Grandma's" oatmeal-raisin cookies in case I need something on the plane.
We got to the airport, I checked my bag, and asked the ticket agent this time if I could pick my seats. He said there wasn't much of a selection but he gave me a middle seat to Chicago and a window seat to Rochester. Sounded good I guess. I said bye to mom and dad just outside the security checkpoint. Dad gave me $60 to cover the long-term parking I'd have to pay. That was really nice of him - I was prepared to pay it myself. Well, I guess that can be my payment for mowing the lawn. :) Well there was no line at the security checkpoint, so I had a little bit of a wait for my flight at the gate.
FlightWe finally boarded... this one was an Airbus 320, 6 seats across, one aisle, so I was in the middle on the right side. I saw a dad with his boy walk up the aisle and say to him, "It looks like we're on either side of that gentleman up there." So when they got to me I asked if they wanted to sit together and they said sure and let me take the window seat. Bonus! :)
This plane had the video screens that tilt down from above every 4 rows or so, and they used them to play a safety video instead of the flight attendants acting out the routine. Nice calm emotionless computer graphics. Hehe.
Mom told me to look for Snake River and the places I'd seen the day before as I flew out of Boise, since I should be flying right over it, but I didn't see anything. In fact I didn't even see any of the numerous flat-topped mountains we drove past between Boise and Twin Falls. I wonder if we took more of a northern route out of Boise.
Well, breakfast was served on this flight. Yay, what this time? The box looked the same, but the foil-wrapped object was long instead of flat and round, so it wasn't an egg muffin. Ah, it was a breakfast burrito. And yup, with cheese. But I couldn't taste it and there wasn't much. It was actually quite tasty. And the fruit in the box was an apple this time. Nice. Those do better in the cold than bananas.
The in-flight movie was Ice Age, which I had just seen in the dollar theater the week before, but was happy to see again. The boy next to me got a kick out of a lot of the scenes I liked too. "Where's the baby? THERE HE IS!" Hehe.
As we approached Chicago, I tried to look for the Sears tower but couldn't find the city at all. It's an enormous suburbia out there. And once again I deplaned at one end of the concourse and had to board at the other end. But I had plenty of time. I sat around and looked through all my digital photos on my camera. How exciting. On the way to my gate I noticed a little construction along the wall of the concourse called "Laptop Lane" or something... with the saying "Peace, Quiet, and a T-1 Line" on it. Wow. T-1 line. Must be nice. Must cost a fortune for a booth in there, too. I just thought it was cool to see a computer nerd term in a public place like that. Only hardcore computer users would know what a T-1 line is. Even your business execs who travel with their laptops usually don't know much about computers and wouldn't know what it means to have a T-1 line.
Pretty soon I boarded my final flight. This plane was an Airbus 319. Looks the same as the 320 to me. Maybe it has one less row or something I couldn't tell. Or maybe it had too many problems in general and the 320 fixed them all. Things like the video screens. They lowered them to play their safety video, and 3/4 of the way through, the power to the overhead lights and consoles toggled and the video screens retracted. Then they lower them again, rewind the video to nearly the beginning, so we have to see half of it over again, and finish it. That gave me a nice warm feeling. The safety video couldn't even play. :)
I had a window seat on the left side for this light. Some nice lady had the aisle seat and nobody was in the middle. As we left Chicago I once again tried to locate the sears tower. I think I saw it for a brief moment before the plane banked around to head east.
Pretty soon we were over water as far out as I could see. Obviously one of the great lakes but I wasn't sure which one. I found a map in the Hemispheres magazine and figured out it was Lake Michigan. I thought it was cool how, with no turbulence, no details on the ground, and no clouds in the sky, I could look out at the wing and see it dead steady against the horizon. There's no sensation of flying at all. Weird. I was quite bored over the water. I'd hate to have to fly to Europe or something.
We must have been flying over Canada and following the north shore of Lake Erie. But I couldn't tell if people down there were ending their sentences with "eh" so I'm not sure. Pretty soon we reached the east end of Lake Erie and then the captain told us we were passing Niagara Falls on our left. That's out my window! I looked around and thought I saw it, but then the enormous Niagara River came out from under the wing and I followed it to where the falls really were. I was thinking too small I guess. I had my camera ready but it was too hazy and bright and it really couldn't see anything.
Soon I found us flying over I-90 and I saw the T&A truck stop at the exit where we get off to go to Darien Lake. Unfortunately that meant Darien Lake itself was on the right side of the plane and probably too far away to see. Darn. I was hoping to get a picture of it from the air. :( But by that time they had told us to turn off electronic devices anyway. The pilot also kept us up-to-date on the weather in Rochester, telling us the temperature is, "are you ready for this? 94 degrees!" Heh. I don't think it ever reached that the whole time I was in Idaho. Ironically, the time I spent in Idaho was the first in a week or two for my parents that hadn't broken 95 or something.
As we approached Rochester, I noticed us heading for the Lake Ontario. And then we were OVER the lake. I guess we were coming around for a landing from the north. So I got to see Webster and Irondequoit Bay! :-D I couldn't see our house - that was too far away. But I did see the bay bridge. Then I started looking for the city. I wasn't sure if we would pass it on the right or left, so I was trying to look out both sides of the plane, but I almost missed it out MY window as I was trying to look across the cabin. Yay! I saw the city from the air. :) Then I thought maybe I'd be able to see my apartment too. But no, we were getting too close to the ground by then. And I guess we landed on the runway that starts just south of where 390 loops around and all the streetlights are short and masked so the runway lights can be seen. I think we passed over 390 way too fast for me to even see it though.
And... TOUCHDOWN! I'm back home. :) We had to taxi back the entire length of the runway that we had used to land though, so that took a while. Then we finally got off. Ahh, good old Rochester International Airport. For once, I was the one getting off the plane, but nobody was there to greet me. Not that I'd asked anyone to do it, but now they wouldn't even have the chance. I may have finally flown, but I can still say I'm in a unique crowd that has never walked off a plane into a gate swarming with friends and relatives of passengers. That ritual took place at the end of the concourse instead in a more watered down style I guess. So much for the spontaneous reactions and surprise of seeing someone finally walk out of the gate. Instead now you have to watch them walk the entire length of the concourse once you identify them with your eagle eye vision and make happy faces and weird gestures and stuff for 50 seconds before they're finally in your arms. How cruel. But I wasn't running into anyone's arms, so why should I care.
I went down to the United baggage claim but our flight number wasn't on the sign, yet everyone else from my flight was there. So I went to the bathroom first. Still the wrong flight number. Then a concierge-looking guy walks across the conveyor belt and hits a button to stop it, then grabs the one suitcase that had been circling it for 5 minutes and carries it into the baggage claim office. 5 minutes later the buzzer beeps for 30 seconds and the conveyor starts back up again. Now our flight number is on the sign. Another 5 minutes later the bags finally start coming out. Thank goodness mine was there.
I walked outside into the blistering heat and find that my car has melted into a big pile of black goo. They're nothing but plastic these days, I tell you. Well I opened the windows and it retook its shape and thanked me, then I headed for the exit and the fee came to $54. Good call on the $60, dad. Do you want the change? :)
So, I drove home and thus ends my best birthday present ever. Thanks, mom and dad! *HUGS* :)