Setting Up The International Woodland Project

Mr Humble Goes To America ...

Thursday 6th May 2010

The journey began on the day before my birthday. I caught an evening train from Oxenholme down to Manchester Airport. The carriage was full of a lot of serious looking people, except for one old chap who was quite dapper, smiley faced and polite. The train arrived a few minutes late at the airport where a shuttle bus took me to a Premier Inn. It was very busy at reception, but I was eventually seen by an efficient young lady who processed my booking and gave me the card key for my room. After telephoning Fiona and the kids to let them know I'd arrived safely, I settled to watch a little bit of the television coverage of the General Election. I slept well.

Friday 7th May 2010

Up very early on Friday; 5:30am. Showered and watched a bit of election news in my bedroom. Rang Fiona and let her know everything was fine. Talked with the kids and told them how excited I was ... but secretly quite nervous about the flights! A few photographs from my room and I then waited outside for the shuttle bus to Terminal 2. It all began to feel like an adventure. Terminal 2 bustling at 7:30 am. Chatted with scottish lady with her very young daughter who was also going to Philadelphia. Very reassuring chat. "Don't worry, you'll see what you need to do." Novel experience going through check-in and security. Nice chap from US AIRWAYS called Frederick talked me through the procedure. Appreciated his help and understanding that I was an inexperienced traveller. Manchester Airport staff were efficient but impersonal ... perhaps a necessity of the job!? Once through, I felt more relaxed and enjoyed the luxury of buying coffee, texting Fiona, not rushing and generally taking it all in.

45 minutes before scheduled departure we were called to the gate. Enormous queue of very patient people lined up and were processed, boarding the plane in order of zones on the seating plan. Sat next to Martin, a seasoned flyer from Cheshire. Very little leg room! Cramped! Settled and then waited for whatever was going to happen next, preparing myself to be terrified by the take-off experience. Nothing happened ... for three hours! Volcanic ash and other operational matters delayed the flight and also caused a re-routing via the Bay of Biscay. Everyone realised that connecting flights were going to be missed and the US AIRWAYS crew did their best to explain that re -booking would be arranged once in the air. A sense of doom descended.

Saturday 8th May 2010

Delays and late arrivals meant I missed all my connecting flights. But when I eventually arrived at St Louis, Fifi, the Cape Air representative very kindly booked me into a nearby Holiday Inn where I slept very well indeed and had an excellent breakfast of eggs benedict and coffee ... delicious! Very friendly staff as well. I recommend Cape Air and Holiday Inn to all distressed travellers!

Up very early and caught the shuttle bus (driven by Maurice) to Lambert St. Louis Airport. Lovely mocha in the lounge before boarding the Cessna. Two very young but highly competent pilots explained that the flight to Quincy Regional would be bumpy due to the wind conditions ... they weren't wrong!
Cape Air at St Louis
Arrival at Quincy

In all the excitement, I forgot to inform Fiona that I'd arrived safely. After a worried text message from home I eventually remedied the oversight! Spent the rest of the day settling in at Terry and Mary's lovely home and explored the science hike route at Fall Creek to see if everything was safe for the 4th grade next Friday.

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