Wanderung 25

Fall Follies

August - September 2011


First Day 4


Prolog: Planes, trains, automobiles, buses, and shank's mare!


A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and our Fall trip was no exception. I drove the luggage and Monika over to the nearest Gold 2 bus stop across from our local Post Office, then I immediately turned around to drive back home, park the car, and walk back to the bus stop. When I arrived, Monika suddenly remembered she had left her indoor glasses on the kitchen table (!), so I guarded the luggage while she hot-footed it right back home, grabbed her glasses, and returned ASAP, even jogging when she had a shady stretch (it was already in the upper 70s and humid). Good that she did, however, as the next bus arrived only seconds after she returned.


Monday morning came sunny and warm. Since our plane out of National Airport did not leave until 2:40, we decided to use public transportation all the way. The day before at the library I had snagged a CUE bus schedule, so we kind of aimed for the one around 10:15. Bob drove us to the CUE bus stop, dropped the luggage and me off around 9:30, drove back, and walked back to the stop, a 15 minute round trip. I watched the earlier bus come and go, so I knew we had plenty of time. But when Bob got back, I remembered I had left my regular glasses on the kitchen table. We talked about just going with the sunglasses on our trip but I finally decided, I really needed my reading glasses. By now it was 9:50 and I decided, if I walked really fast, I might make it back in time. So off I went, walking fast and jogging a little in the shade - after all by now it must have been already well into the 80 degrees.

My glasses were just where I thought they would be. I snagged them, locked the house again, and hotfooted it back. I was glad when I did not see the bus when I rounded the final corner and slowed down a bit. The bus came only a minute after I got back to the bus stop, and I was glad to sit down in the nice air conditioned bus and cool off.


We quickly bundled our luggage on the bus, which was thankfully air-conditioned, and enjoyed the meandering route over to the Vienna Metro station where we caught the next Orange Line train heading for the District of Columbia. At Rosslyn Station we changed to a Blue Line train to go down the Potomac River to National Airport, but that went exactly on schedule. Monika's sharp eye spied a "free WiFi" sign at the airport as we were checking in our luggage, so once we arrived at Gate 33, I sat down to catch up on my email, which is always a hit-or-miss proposition when we are on the road.


The Metro trip to National with a switch at Rosslyn was no problem. But at National the escalators were not working and we had to schlepp our luggage down the awkward escalator steps. But then check-in was quick. Since I had printed our boarding passes already, all we had to do was getting our to be checked luggage tagged and haul it over to TSA.

Now unencumbered by our luggage, we sat down at the gate at about 12:30 -- 3 hours after we left home and two hours before our plane should leave -- munching on hard boiled eggs and Knaeckebrot (cardboard bread made in Sweden).


Our first leg was Washington to JFK airport in New York. where we spent the afternoon waiting for the second leg from JFK to Manchester, England. The JFK to Manchester flight was a "red-eye", so we had the dubious pleasure of spending the night trying to sleep on the plane. Sleeping in the economy-class seats in a Boeing 757 proved to be quite difficult although we did doze a bit in the middle of the night.


The plane left on time. I had a window seat and tried my hand at some photography, but the results were marginal. The flight to JFK was only 40 minutes. I was surprised how close to the ocean JFK is, and did get some nice pictures of the peninsula jutting out into the ocean as we descended and flew the approach to landing.

We got into JFK at gate 33 and were told that the flight to Manchester would be leaving from gate 12. To get there we had to walk to the end of one concourse, down to the underground, walk over to the next concourse, up again, and walk over to gate 12. But we had plenty of time, since by now it was 4PM and our plane did not leave until after 8PM.

The advantage of this concourse was that it had a nice food court and around 5PM we went there for some Chinese food. I knew we would get fed on the plane but that seemed an awfully long time in the future. Afterwards Bob turned on our cell phone and there was a message from AA telling us that our departure gate had been changed to gate 35. I checked the monitor, and indeed that's what it said. So we again went down one concourse, down an escalator, over to the next concourse, up an escalator, and back over to gate 35. Oh well, we could have had that easier, but after all we had plenty of time and a little walking did not hurt us.

Our plane to Manchester was a Boeing 757 with 6 seats across and an aisle in the middle. We had picked a window and aisle seat, hoping that the middle seat would remain empty. However, the plane was sold out. So we let the nice young man who had the middle seat have the window seat, so that we could sit together.

Dinner was served pretty quickly, but no free wine on this trip. Oh well. After dinner we all tried to get to sleep as well as possible, which was really not very well.

Copyright 2012 by R. W. Holt and E. M. Holt


First Day4

Prolog Map of Drive in England Map of Transatlantic Cruise Epilog

August 2011
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31
September 2011
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30

Return to the Wanderungs Homepage.
Sign the Guestbook or Read the Guestbook.
Comments about this site? Email the Webmaster.
Contact Bob and Monika at bob_monika@hotmail.com.