Sunday, January 16, 2011

Home again home again jiggity jog

I had the chance to spend 6 days in Denver over this winter break. Well, it was supposed to be 6 . . . One of several really big snowstorms hit Boston the day before I was supposed to return. I called Southwest Airlines to say my schedule was flexible and I'd be happy to swap my ticket for a later date if they would do it at no extra charge. And they did. So I left 48 hours later than originally planned and had a delightful 2 extra days in Denver.

Now that Southwest flies out of Boston, I always double check fares out of both Boston and Manchester. When I fly out of Manchester, parking is $8 a day. When I fly out of Boston, if all goes well, I can take a bus out of Portland for $26 one way that takes me right up to the Southwest terminal and I can park my car at the Portland bus station for $3 a day. Even better is if I can take the bus out of Augusta which is 45 minutes of drive time instead of 2 hours and the parking is free, but so far that infrequent bus schedule hasn't suited my flight times. But on this trip, Boston (and all the accompanying expenses) was cheaper than Manchester and I do enjoy not having to drive those last 2 hours but instead sit on a bus with free wifi, electrical outlets on every row, and a movie on the little screens overhead. And on this last ride, they offered bottled water and pretzels. :-)

So the storm left Boston incapacitated on Wednesday and I wasn't scheduled to fly out until Thursday. But the idea of sitting around an airport uncertain of take off or landing and hanging out with people who'd been stranded in the airport for 24 hours with even greater uncertainty did not appeal to me. And I figured someone who couldn't fly out on Wednesday would be thrilled to have my seat on Thursday. I did double check the flight status: my scheduled flight left Denver 9 minutes late and arrived in Boston 7 minutes early, so I would've been fine in my travels. But the only reason I was heading back Thursday was to attend a meeting on Friday that didn't happen, so I could easily justify returning later.

I lucked out with the way the winds drifted the snow after the big storm and before I arrived. Here's my car in the parking lot in Portland. I don't think Portland received as much snow as Boston (probably only 1 foot compared to Boston's 2 feet), but it still could've been a problem. As you can see, I didn't even have to brush the snow off my car. And that pile of snow in the back of my car would have daunted me 4 years ago and I would've used the shovel that I keep in the trunk of my car to move that snow. But nowadays I'm less daunted and sure enough, I pulled right out of that spot over that little bank. There was a car parked in the fire lane behind me which made negotiating the departure a little tricky, but I even handled that like a pro and left the Portland bus station just as the new snow was falling for the next storm.

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