12 hour travel fog

Somehow I find myself with a WiFi connection here in the middle of nowhere, Minnesota so I’m going to write a post.

Even though in the depths of my hazy brain I realize it is probably not a good idea.

Well actually, definitely not a good idea.

Oh yeah, this is gonna be a RANT.

.

BIG TIME.

.

Got up at 7am this morning, puttered around the house making sure I watered the plants, packed odds and ends I forgot the previous night (I still forgot stuff, like the cable that connects my camera and my laptop) and generally girded my loins for what was to come. I knew I had quite the day in store.

Drove to the airport and did what I never do, parked in long term parking. Realized after I got there that it’s astronomically expensive. Oh well. Walked to the bus stop, in a similar way Steve Martin walked to his bus stop in Planes, Trains and Automobiles except I did not fall down a snow bank and no John Candy selling plastic shower rings. (Love that movie.)

Got the shuttle to the terminal. Printed out my boarding pass. Read boarding pass.

Re-read boarding pass.

Realized I was in the wrong terminal. 😦

Got on the “air train” monorail (this is at Newark Airport, EWR, by the way) to get to the correct terminal. Realized, as the train began moving, I was going in the wrong direction. Le Sigh.

Got off air train, then back on, then back off when I finally arrived at the right terminal.

Okay – got thru security okay, got on the flight…non-stop thank goodness. Drank some water. Didn’t take a nap. Looked out the window. Hey, there’s Lake Michigan.

Arrived in Minneapolis, hooray!

Now I am HALFWAY to where I need to go.

Oh, yeah.

Crap.

Got my bag, and headed towards the car rental counter. Found every other car rental company except the name of my no-name car rental company (thank you Expedia.) It turns out, my car rental company operates out of a closet.

I wish I was lying about this.

I’m not.

I walked back and forth, went up and down escalators, searched high and low. Nada. Nothing.

Sooo, I CALLED the car rental company to find out where they were and got directions from the woman INSIDE the terminal to find out where they were.

She was all like, ‘we’re right here, just go down a level.’ I’m like, ‘What? I was just there?’ And she was all, ‘No, you have to keep walking ALL the way down the hall and look to the right.’

What she should have said was look for the closet. The one you can’t find because there is no signage. We’re in there. And then I would have been like, OH, why didn’t you say so?!

O-kay, I find the closet. Sign my life away for the rental car. Get shuttle to the place where the cars are kept. I rented an economy car (I don’t really need to explain that because you already guessed, right?) and when I got there they upgraded me to a Kia Soul in lime green for the same price. Since lime green is one of my favorite colors, and the Kia Soul is pretty cute, I’d say I’m happy for a moment. A little slice of lime green happiness just for me. Yay!

When I think about it now, I should have savored that more at the time – but how was I to know?

Well, here was the first clue: I ask for directions to my location.

Everybody, and I do mean ALL FIVE PEOPLE at the car rental place give me a blank stare and hand me a map. They’re like, hmm, I’ve never been there before, I don’t know the best way to get there. Where is it?

Note: When people who LIVE in the state ask you where you are going because they never heard of the place, this is NOT a good sign.

I’m all like, ‘never mind, I see it on the map, I’ll figure it out.’

Then I get on the road. The road is a highway, which at first is leading me out of Minneapolis. So get this kids – Minneapolis has traffic jams! YES, they do, I swear it – I was in one this afternoon! Crazy.

So I get out of the urban center, and I’m driving along this highway and thinking, hmm, there isn’t much along this highway. It’s flat, and beige-brown with maybe a tree and a McDonalds thrown in every once in a while, but the highway is like that FOR HOURS.

And I’m driving and driving and driving, and when I see two or three cows on a farm site I’m so grateful because there are black and white lumps meandering over the beige landscape.

The drive I drove? Tiring. After all that nonsense in the morning, then more nonsense with the car rental thing… and then four and a half hours of beige, well kids, that was about all I could take.

I got the hotel where the wedding is being held tomorrow and checked in. I decide, in my exhaustion, that I should probably eat something because I suddenly realize I haven’t eaten anything in 12 hours and it probably didn’t help me while I was driving into the beige.

I take the elevator down to the ground floor and walk over to the restaurant – and then I see it. Now I realize why I’m here in the middle of nowhere.

There is a lake.

It’s right outside the ceiling to floor windows just outside the restaurant. And there are two loons swimming in the lake. They’re beautiful.

I manage to score a window booth at the restaurant – which is packed by the way – and just look at the ducks and loons swimming on this magnificent lake with a sandy beach just steps away from where I’m having dinner.

And you know…it relaxes me. All the ridiculous that happened today melts away and it hits me: my nephew, who I knew when he was just a bitty baby, is getting married tomorrow.

I’m glad I’ll be here to see it.

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13 Responses

  1. A lovely post and semi-rant. Enjoy your time there and don’t forget to catch the thingamajig!

    Aloha,

    Doug

  2. I’m glad you didn’t drive the WRONG way into the beige…

    Enjoy the Lake, the event, and the quiet.

    • It’s C-C-c-c-COLD here! The kids wanted the ceremony to be outside and it was windy and overcast. It felt like 35 degrees. (The forecast did call for a 30% possibility of snow, but thank goodness it didn’t!)

      The poor bride and bridesmaids were underdressed…they all had skinny strap dresses and nothing covering their shoulders and arms.

      I was sitting in the seats with my coat on, a sweater under that too – but my hands, legs and feet were frozen. Brrrr!!

      The ceremony was beautiful, I took lots of pictures and then headed inside. I didn’t realize, they’re doing a break between the actual ceremony and the reception.

      Since I had a few hours to kill, I figured I’d answer you Patrick. 🙂

  3. Story idea: hard-boiled Jersey City gal goes on a jaunt to visit old relatives in the cold woods of Minnesota…only to encounter…I tell ya, it’s the germ of somethin’, CD….see you soon back here.

  4. Holy cow! (literally) That was craziness. I’m glad you’re making up for it from the loons on…

    • Honest to god it was so boring a drive and I was so tired I was scared I might nod off behind the wheel!

      I kept changing the radio channels, opening the windows for very BRISK air and generally ploughing forward to get where I needed to go as quickly as feasible.

      And yes, I’m having fun now… just waiting out my ceremony to reception lull in my room. But then I’ll go back downstairs and hopefully dance with one of my two nephews (the groom or his brother) who are both military men and VERY grown up. (I’m vaklempt!)

      I’m like… wait, when did they get that big? And handsome too! (I’m such a proud Aunt!)

      🙂

  5. So cool Carol – I’m glad you’re having fun and getting to hang with family!

  6. That was quite a “busy” travel. And I can imagine you were exhausted by the end of the day. I enjoyed reading your challenged travel. And it ended it a very nice – even for you. And as I understand from later comments the wedding was a blast. Have a more relaxed travel back – if you aren’t already home that is.

    • Hi Munchow, thanks so much. Yes, the wedding was a blast and I had a lot of fun. My nephew and his wife had a great time, and it was wonderful to see them so happy.

      I’m still on the road in Minnesota. Yesterday I went hiking along the North Shore of Lake Superior (I’ll probably write about this when I can post a few pics, I forgot my camera to laptop cable).

      Today it is rainy, wet, very chilly and kind of gloomy. I’m in Duluth at an Internet Cafe just hanging out. If I could have checked into my hotel a wee bit early I’d have already crashed into a much needed nap!

      🙂

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