It’s been a few days since we returned from Myrtle Beach and I didn’t honor the last statement in my last post about “more tomorrow”, so this is to get you up to date and share with you the end of the trip.
Getting out of Myrtle Beach was a breeze. It’s nice there, but we were ready to be home. There’s stuff we need to do there.
The trip to Seattle was just fine and we didn’t have any problem getting to our connection to Portland in plenty of time. As a matter of fact, we could have been an hour late and still made that flight.
Remember on our trip where Alaska wouldn’t hold our connecting flight for 10 minutes so we could make that flight, because our uflight was kept on the tarmac for 30 minutes after landing? Well, after missing it we discovered that they didn’t have any problem delaying every flight we were on thereafter. After landing in Seattle coming home, the Captain told everyone that we’d be at gate D-5 as he pulled the plane between terminals D and N.
Then he stopped. And we waited about 5 minutes.
The terminal we wanted was on the left of the plane and I told Diane I bet he turns right into N. That’s exactly what he did.
Doing this, of course meant we’d have to catch the underground train to D terminal and walk lots further than we wanted to. As we debarked, the Captain was waiting the door to the flight deck greeting to people and I said, “D-5, huh?” to which he replied, “it looks a lot like D-5. I was lucky to get what we got.” That pretty much sums up the mass confusion that seems to affect Seattle’s ability to keep track of how many gates they have and how many are open to receive planes. It’s pathetic, in my opinion.
Oddly enough, our connecting flight to Portland was leaving from, gee, D-5. It was empty when we got there. We chose to just park ourselves in the area and wait the hour required for it to show up.
About the time we were scheduled to board the plane the pilot, copilot and all the flight attendants showed up but the plane still wasn’t there. We waited for an entire hour more before they changed the time to delayed, then it was most of an hour more before it actually showed up. No reason was provided for our delay so I suppose it was just something we were expected to endure. We were, after all, at SeaTac International. That seems to be the way it is.
We eventually made it back to Portland and vowed to never, ever again make a connecting flight through Seattle. I don’t think I’d fly into Seattle even it that was our destination. The train would be faster, and more reliable.
Now, having shared all of the foregoing, I will add that I don’t think Alaska Airlines was the only one at fault for our delays. Not having a berth at a terminal for incoming flights seems to be a theme at SeaTac which I think is due to mismanagement some where up the chain. I don’t think traffic controllers are the ones calling the shots for where planes park, they just relay the information. Maybe.
Now I’ll share a photo form Joint Base Charleston where we found a Navy Uniform Shop. We wanted a new hat.
What caught my eye, and the reason I took the photo, is the “68” in the bottom right. It’s the USS Nimitz (CVN-68), the oldest nuclear super carrier in the fleet. It’s stationed in Bremerton, Washington and our grandson, Cedric, is currently serving aboard her. Looking closely you can see a sailor shoveling snow off the flight deck of this carrier. I’m pretty sure it’s not Cedric. It’s just struck me as very interesting that the Nimitz was part of this east coast collage.
Here are a couple more photos I took when we finally got home.
We left Myrtle Beach this morning around 10 am, headed for Charleston where our assigned airplane will be flying from Monday evening. Before leaving town, however, Diane was curious to see a house she had spied for sale that’s only about 4 blocks from our hotel. We found it, and I took a photo which I will add later. The home is brick but one end is missing because a tree obviously fell on it. The tree is still there, but a little bit of the house isn’t. I think she said it’s been on the market for a year and can be had for only $78,000 even though they say it’s worth $140K. After seeing it from the street, we figure that doing a $100K renovation would probably make it worth $140K. Possibly.
We decided not to buy it.
Most of the way out of the beach area it rained on us. Not really hard, just steady. So, tropical storm Nestor is still exerting its influence in areas we had to cross. Diane had weather alerts on her phone the reports tornados in Georgia that were spawned by the storm, but nothing in our path. Then, once we made it to Joint Base Charleston she got one that said Myrtle Beach is currently under a tornado watch so we bailed out of there in the nick of time.
Before checking in to our quarters on the base, we stopped at the Long Point Grill for lunch. You may remember that place from the first entry on this trip because we stopped there on our way out of town before heading for Myrtle Beach. Good food and good service.
Because of the stop we arrived at the Inns of Charleston, on the base, a little later than planned so our room was ready and we were able to move right in. The desk clerk was very helpful and was only momentarily confused when I asked where the spa was. I can do stuff like that with a straight face, but I always come clean in the end. Still, she looked relieved when I told her I was kidding.
It’s still early here (1451 hours) but we had a rough time last night due to eating so late at the Pirate thing, so I was given the option of staying in or going out to investigate Charleston. I chose to stay in and Diane was totally OK with that. She only got 4 hours of sleep last night so needs to power down early.
That’s about it for today, unless something interesting happens. The main thing we need to do is repack all our stuff so we can get under the 50 # weight limit without having to send stuff home in a box. That’s the other alternative. I still think that’s a good idea, as does Diane, so we’ll probably do that just to make our bags as light as possible.
On the trip we talked about the things we learned while here in South Carolina. Here’s the list, as best as I can recall:
Apparently a rule that every third building you encounter is a church.
All bank buildings must look like either a church or a mansion.
Even the bad roads in South Carolina (at least the ones we drove on) are pretty darn good. Most are great.
The Nissan Rogue we rented is a good little SUV. Very comfortable, and a spectacular metallic green. (see below)
There are Waffle Houses everywhere.
The are Dollar General stores everywhere.
In general, anywhere there are 4-5 homes within a 1/2 mile of each other, there are shopping malls to accommodate them.
Most businesses along Highway 17 are shielded from view by 3 rows of pine trees. If you don’t know where they are, you’re going to miss the turn.
I’m sure there are more, but I think my brain is empty.
It’s dry and warm here in Charleston and we’re safely tucked into a large brick building.
Today was our last day in Myrtle Beach. It startedout like this …
Pretty nice, huh?
We’ve been here for two weeks and it’s been terrific. Apparently we visited at the proper time of the year because it was just great. I say that even though we’ve made attempts to visit this time of year for the last five years but little things, like hurricanes, prevented us from making the trip. Until now. And, we’re really happy about that.
Because of this successful trip, we both feel that visiting Myrtle Beach is preferable to visiting Hawaii. The weather is pretty much the same, the people here are super nice everywhere we’ve been, it’s not expensive, cheaper to get to, lodging is reasonable, and gas costs about $2.30 a gallon. It was only $2.19 when we got here but then came the weekend when gas prices magically increase. Still, compared to Oregon, $2.30 is acceptable.
This morning we got out of bed early (me at 0530 and Diane at 0730), had a bit of breakfast, then hit the road for Loris to check on the 37th annual Chicken Bog-off. Diane came across an advertisement for this and it caused her to go, “Hmmmm.”
What the heck is a bog-off? Sounds a lot like something that takes place in a swamp, doesn’t it? With motorized vehicles that have really big tires. After a little research we discovered Chicken Bog is simply a kind of food. Like calabash is a kind of food. Look it up. The reason we didn’t know about it is because we’re from Oregon and those things just don’t show up on menus there. Nope. It doesn’t.
Only in South Carolina, apparently. Loris took it one step further when the mayor decreed that each restaurant in town will serve Chicken Bog one day a week as it’s main dish.
While making our way to the massive crowds we passed the Backstreet Cafe where management had a table set up outside to sell chicken bog in addition to many other food choices. A young man standing there offered us some bog stating it’s the best in town. We begged off, wanting to see what was going on, and stated we’d be back.
The booths were simple, everyone was friendly, and there was a school choir performing.
Small town stuff and just plain fun.
We didn’t stay long before heading back to the car, stopping by the Backstreet Cafe on the way. We got one order of chicken bog and this is what it looks like …
It’s rice, chicken, and sausage in a very tasty mixture. It came with enormous green beans and coleslaw. It was pretty awesome, all of it. Diane is going to find a recipe and make it when we get home and force all the Littles to eat it. We’re betting they will eat it voluntarily because it’s just plain good. I suspect there are a lot of versions of chicken bog so she will have to search for the right one.
We left Loris after that brief visit then headed for Conway to see what their River Walk is like. We were going to do that when we visited Conway a few days ago, but forgot. Since Conway is on the way to/from Loris we took advantage and stopped to check it out.
It’s not a big river walk, but it’s nice. We met a nice guy on the visit who gave us a little history about the area. My question was what makes the water black? He told us it’s the leaves from the various trees that fall in the water.
From Conway we returned to our temporary home on Ocean Blvd, Myrtle Beach.
I wanted a nap but Diane insisted that I eat something, so I ate the two remaining chicken thighs from last night and Dane ate the remaining tuna salad. I only had an hour because we had tickets to attend Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show.
We had absolutely no idea what to expect at this venue. It was intriguing, though.
When we left our hotel it was raining. The first rain we’ve experienced during this entire trip. The cause is the tropical storm Nestor in the Gulf of Mexico. It wasn’t bad and we actually didn’t mind since were very good Oregonians.
Turns out the Pirates Voyage is quite an elaborate venue. They have a pre-show for a couple of hours before people are seated for dinner. The crowd was enormous and we thought we were going to wind up standing for the entire event. But, the pre-show was just that. All hundreds of us were shortly ushered into the next room of the venue where we were fed while watching a very elaborate pirate show consisting of very talented young people who danced, sane, dove, and tumbled. It was very much like a Cirque du Soleil show.
While the show was going on each section of about 20 people was being served their meal, one piece at a time. First there was a biscuit, then a cream of vegetable soup, half a small chicken, corn on the cob, pulled pork, and an apple turnover for dessert. Due to the ongoing show, we were eating in the dark quite a lot.
To start the show two very large yellow and blue parrots were release and they flew all around the set numerous times before swooping down to land on their handler’s shoulder and arm. That was followed by two red and black parrots that did the same thing. I tried to get photos of them but none turned out. Trust me when I say they were quite magnificent to watch.
The photos I took don’t do justice to the entertainment. You had to’ve been there.
Now we’re ‘home’ powering down for our last night here. Tomorrow we head back to Charleston.
Before going golfing this afternoon, we drove north into North Carolina just because we could. It’s only about a 30 minutes drive. Our goal was Calabash, NC, then we went a little further to Sunset Beach. The only stop we made was at the Pea Landing mercantile in Calabash, NC. This place is one incredibility huge knick knack shopping center that stretches at least one city block long then turns a corner for another block. Inside is an indescribable array of “things”, many of which are things I’ve never seen before and can’t remember the name of. Here’s a little of what it looks like.
While driving around in Sunset Beach, this sign caught my attention and decided I had to share it. I can only presume that whoever made it had a speech impediment of some sort.
Then we went south, and back ‘home’.
After returning from our NC adventure we fortified ourselves with a great lunch of tuna fish. Diane had hers plain on the remainder of her salad from yesterday’s fare, and I mixed what was left with various things for a tuna sandwich. We did that because Diane wanted hers plain and I like to put onion in my tuna salad for sandwiches. It’s way better that way. Really. Diane will disagree. turns out I have enough remaining to make another sandwich for supper this evening, if Diane lets me. She’s turned into my food alarm so she can ensure I eat enough of the correct things, but not too much of it. It’s all about my diabetes and I understand her concern, so I comply. It’s easier for me to do that than to remember everything I’m supposed to do and what I should do. far less complicated for me.
The weather here in Myrtle Beach has been most excellent the entire time we’ve been here. It rained twice, in a tropical manner (at night) but it was OK. The temperatures were in the mid to high 80’s a few days ago, but the last few days it’s been chilly in the morning (45 this am) and warms up to 70+ as the day progresses. As I sit here typing (at 1800 hours local) it’s a balmy 68. There is no wind and the sea is so calm it hardly makes any noise at all. Quite different from the rambunctious Pacific Ocean. Way different.
But, there’s a storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico that may change all that over the weekend as we prepare to pack up and head back south to Charleston. Should be interesting to see what transpires.
Now, back to goffing …
The course we chose was the Mt. Atlanticus Minotaur Goff course.
No doubt you gasped when you realized I was talking about putt putt golf, not real golf. The thing is, if you think about it, me being an unemployed, retired, old navy guy means that $10 for 18 holes of putt putt beats real golf green fees that range from $28 to $80+. I don’t know if that’s for 9 holes or 18, but putt putt is cheaper and I’m cheap. That, and it was Diane’s choice of which course to play.
We had a great time even though it involved climbing many stairs. According to Diane’s fitbit we logged about 5000 steps and a little over 2 miles during our match. According to the score sheet, even though Diane had 4 holes-in-one (I had one) I beat her by 2 strokes; 43-45. Pretty close. Diane had such a good time that she’s decided to go Golfing with the Guys when we get home. I’ve been trying to get her to join us for a long time and I know she’s going to really enjoy it. She’s got this really nice set of golf clubs I bought her about 10 years ago and they still have the plastic wrapped around the club heads.
It was a good day.
Now it’s 1926 hours, we’ve had dinner and are winding down for a restful night so we can venture north (and a little west) to Loris where we plan to see what the Loris Bog-off is all about.
So. Why did we go to Conway, you may ask yourself. Well, Diane did some searching and found out that the Horry County Museum is there and that Conway was one of the first settlements in South Carolina. Upon learning all of this, she made a decision that we should go see what it has. So, we did that.
After breakfast. We had eggs and fried spam which was pretty darn good.
The drive to Conway is not a tough one since it’s only about a 30 minute drive. It was a leisurely trip and we found the museum with no trouble.
The artifacts of the museum are displayed the renovated 1905 Burroughs School. It’s a magnificent brick building with lots of rooms full of amazing things relevant to the area.
Regarding the avocado … I think it cost $1.78, or about that much. Maybe it was $1.78 a pound which would make it cost about $8.00. It’s pretty heavy. And, it tasted pretty good, too.
Upon our return from Conway Diane prepared a scrumptious dinner of bake chicken and cauliflower. I whacked up a bunch of carrots, tomatoes, and that avocado, and made a salad far larger than either of us could eat.
I actually only used half the avocado. It might be known as good fat, but there’s a point where you can have too much of a good thing. I believe this is one of those times.
Now we’re going to rest up for tomorrow. We’re going golfing.
We walked again, very slowly because our little legs were sore, and there is a lot to see and do here in Myrtle Beach.
Instead of trudging our way up the beach (north), as we did the day before, we stuck to N. Ocean Blvd, walking south. I think we walked a couple of miles (one going and one coming) and the handy dandy app on my iPhone incorrectly reported that I took 6400+ steps doing it. I know that’s wrong because Diane’s fitbit told her she walked over 9300 steps and covered over 4 miles with the effort. I’ve brought this discrepancy to her attention many times and she always says, “you set it up.” What she means, of course, is that I entered the information about how long her steps are.
Considering that she gets credit for twice as many steps as me I can only presume that she either changed the settings or I made a mistake setting it up.
The other possibility is that the app I’m watching is the generic one provided by the infallible Apple people that keeps track of “stuff” only when it’s on your body. My phone isn’t always on my body. Ergo, I’m going to use Diane’s numbers instead of mine from now on. Looks better. Also, the length of her step isn’t much different than mine any more because I’m in the shuffling stage of life and, due to my excessive military career, tend to walk in step with her as we mosey along. So, I walked over 9,000 steps yesterday, too.
So, on this trip south, which fronts pretty much all of the big resorts along the beach, for 50 miles we had an opportunity to see some pretty snazzy places. Lots of them have tricky names like RipTydz, or Sea Dip Motel & Condominium Family Resort. Tricky stuff like that. There were many more, of course, but I can’t remember all of them.
We stopped in a few shops and determined that shopping on the ‘strip’ wasn’t financially feasible and decided to drive inland for a while to see if things got better.
We’re thinking we’ll go to Conway today. Diane read something about it in the tour guide book and thought it would be fun. On a map it looks like a long ways from the beach, but it’s only about 30 minutes away. More on that later. Maybe.
We found this boardwalk not far from our hotel. As you can see, like most other vacation destinations Myrtle Beach has it’s very own giant ferris wheel. We will not be going on this one, called Sky-Something, even thought it actually stops to let people on and off unlike the really BIG ones.
In the middle of all the busyness there was a plaque that totally defines Diane’s Credo.
On the way back I was intrigued by this facility. Considering it’s diminutive size I thought it was improperly named. But, since it’s right across the street from a very large, tall, resort, and it appears to be pretty old, I suspect that it’s been here a while, no doubt before the big boys moved in.
After the walking tour we went to the movie to see Downton Abbey. Diane’s been wanting to see it since it was released and, I admit, so did I. Yes, I’m a fan.
The last two photos are just looking ahead to future movie possibilities.
Then we went “home” and watched the sunset from our porch.
This morning Diane noticed that the water was making scallops on the beach as it came it, unlike it’s been doing previously. Although the waves were still pretty straight, the way they finished coming in was very interesting.
Now we’re going to Conway to visit a museum which you will learn all about when we make it back.
PS – The movie Downton Abbey was absolutely wonderful. Highly recommended for those who were addicted to the TV series.
Over the years Diane and I have walked a little on our trips and vow to continue doing so when we return home. For many reasons that never seems to have happened. Mainly, I think, it’s because it’s easier to sit in our comfy recliners instead of walking. It could be, also, that it was raining a lot. Yeah, that could be it. We don’t walk in the rain.
Today, however, we walked almost 4 miles on Myrtle Beach this afternoon and didn’t cramp up even one time. Although we didn’t discuss continuing our walks at home, I think it’s understood that we really should. If it’s not raining when we get home, we will walk for sure.
The thing about walking on Myrtle Beach is that the beach slopes pretty sharply toward the water and the flat part is all soft sand which is very difficult to walk in. Plus, Diane’s fitbit doesn’t give her any credit for the extra effort involved with walking in soft sand. It doesn’t give extra credit for the wear and tear on knees and hips due to the slope one must traverse on the north and south trek.
One thing Diane learned, because of that slope, is that her right leg is shorter than her left. That revelation is based on the fact that walking north (left leg on the up slope) hurt more than walking south (short leg on the up slope).
I may have a similar affliction because walking north I was always wandering off to my right, toward the water. Now, in addition to the possibility that I have a short right leg, it could have been caused by my distraction with the water as it recedes away to my right. It’s very disorienting and causes me to lose my balance. On the trip south, however, my tendency was still to wander off to my right as I walked. I guess I’m just totally out of whack. I was happy that Diane found the trip back less stressful on her joints. So, all of our walks from now on, while we’re here, will be south bound only while on the beach. On the way back we can take one of many surface streets. Although they’re level, Diane thinks if she walked with her right foot on the sidewalk and her left on the street it might even things out for her. We’re going to give that a shot tomorrow. Don’t know why we didn’t think of the a lot sooner. I’ll let you know how that goes. If I remember.
After returning from our walk Diane warmed up some soup for a simple lunch, then we took another walk to our rental car, which is parked in a facility about 1 block away. There is no parking at the hotel for anyone. They do have a valet service but all vehicles are parked in the same building. The difference is valet is $10 a day and self parking is free. For me it’s a no-brainer to opt for free.
Anyway, we got the car and drove approximately 1 more block where Diane parked equidistant between a barber shop and a Dollar General store. The barber shop was for me because I agreed with Diane that I needed a haircut. She wanted me to get it cut before our trip but I refused. Today was the time, so I agreed. The Dollar General store was for Diane for two reasons; 1) she loves cheap stores and 2) we needed more bottled water. We apparently needed another bottle of wine, some chips, fruit, place mats, a cheese grater, and some spices, too.
Diane got all the stuff she wanted and I got a pretty stellar haircut from a guy named Enoch. Best haircut I’ve had in years.
Now, here are some photos that commemorate the day …
After a bit of resting we went to the activity center to paint a picture. This was Diane’s first try at painting with acrylics and she did awesome. Now she wants to do it some more.
Today in Myrtle Beach we had a brief scare in the morning. There was evidence that it rained during the night because the railings on our balcony were dripping wet and there were dark angry clouds covered the sky, hiding the sun. It made one wonder what the day held in store for us.
Turns out there was a sunny day hiding from us. It finally made its appearance late in the morning when we were at Wal*Mart obtaining provisions that are to sustain us for the remainder of the week. We hope. If the weather turns nasty, like we’re told it will tomorrow night. We’re talking thunderstorms by midnight. But, that leaves the entire day open for opportunity. We’ve already decided that we’re going to walk 5,000 steps north on the beach then turn around and return to our room to cook something. Maybe we’ll have a tuna sandwich.
That’s what’s left. We ate the steak this afternoon.
I think there’re a couple cans of soup, too. And crackers and cheese. We’ll make it stretch to the weekend.
Shopping at Wal*Mart wore us out. That’s why we ate the steak when we got back to the condo. Then it was touch and go for a bit while we contemplated the benefits of a nap over actually doing something.
We determined that it wasn’t the right time for a nap so we went outside and sat on the beach for a while. Diane spied an umbrella with two empty beach chairs under it so we headed for them. When we got there the “For Rent” sign on one of the chairs was a little upsetting because I didn’t think we would be comfortable in one chair so I let Diane sit while I wandered around on the beach and took a couple of photos.
Now the truth – the For Rent sign on the chair indicated we should see the lifeguard. Looking around there wasn’t a lifeguard in sight so we sat down and enjoyed the view, the breeze, and the silence for just a moment before a lifeguard showed up as if he was waiting for someone to sit down.
I asked him what the deal was with renting and learned that the two chairs and umbrella cost $35 for the day, from 9am to 4:30pm. He added that since it was 4:30 it was OK if we just sat there till 5pm and he’d only charge us $5. Apparently $20 is the suggested price. I forked over a $5 and we just sat there enjoying the warm breeze and the sound of the ocean. For some reason the Atlantic Ocean sounds different than the Pacific Ocean. I think it’s because the Atlantic is quiet. The Pacific is much noisier as the waves crash with with more energy. However, if that were the case, you’d think the Pacific would be warmer from the friction of the crashing, but I guess it doesn’t work that way. The Atlantic is warm and quiet here.
We returned to our assigned perch on the 17th floor and nibbled on stuff until it got dark and the moon came out. It’s a full one today and we weren’t sure we’d be able to see it this evening. But, we did see it and it was wonderful.
Today (Friday) we ate quite well. Not that we haven’t eaten well on previous days lately, but today we ate exceptionally well. The Sea Mist Oceanfront Resort, where we currently reside, had a package for all of us old USS Cleveland sailors that included tickets to eat at The Original Benjamin’s Calabash Seafood buffet. The web site shows the innards better than I can but here’s a quick peek at some of our group chowing down in our own private section of the facility.
Pretty much any kind of seafood you desire, especially shrimp, is presented in many different ways. Pretty amazing. Calabash, by the way, is a word that describes food in this way: Calabash seafood typically refer to seafood that is lightly breaded (usually dipped in milk & then a combo of flour & cornmeal) and then fried. Usually in a calabash-style restaurant you will get huge portions, oftentimes with a combination plate of several types of seafood – shrimp, various kinds of fish, crab, oysters, etc.. and hushpuppies. Calabash is also the name of a small town in North Carolina near the southern border north of Myrtle Beach. Driving on Myrtle Beach one is assaulted with all manner of calabash restaurants. It gets a bit confusing after a bit. Just remember, it’s all good. I’m happy to report, too, that none of it caused my blood sugar to spike. I think another reason it was OK is that Diane was very careful about what I ate. She takes really good care of me.
I would have liked to stay a little longer at the buffet but we had to leave in order to make it to the Alabama Theater before 7 pm to see ONE The Show. It was truly a great show and is highly recommended by all of us who attended.
We weren’t allowed to take photos of the show so this is the only picture I got of the inside. It’s special because it has Diane in it.
The host of the show, Greg Rowles, who won Ed McMahon’s Star Search Show as the Best Male Vocalist 25 years ago, honored all of us USS Cleveland sailors and even provided a lot of the ship’s history. Pretty special evening.
After the show we all headed back to the Sea Mist for our last night at that facility. After breakfast Sunday morning we packed up and drove all the way north to Hilton’s Ocean 22 high rise. It took 11 minutes. We fiddled around a while, driving north to an enormous RV park, with a very small dune that one must traverse to access the beach. It looks like a place we should visit.
From the looks of things, fishing off the beach is a requirement.
Yes, we’ve embarked on another journey. Some of you may be thinking that, considering the sad time we had in Maui recently, we would have given this trip a little more consideration before committing. But, we’ve actually been trying to get some time at Myrtle Beach for the last five years or so but something always comes up that messes it up. Mostly the deterrents come in the form of hurricanes this time of year.
This time, we made it all the way. Here’s proof …
OK, yes it’s the baggage carousel at the Charleston airport, but that’s the airport we flew to and rented the car that got us to Myrtle Beach. Another reason we flew to Charleston was so we could reconnect with our luggage which got there 8 hours before us.
Here’s what happened – there are no non-stop Alaska flights from Portland to Charleston, but there is one from Seattle. So, all we had to do was get to Seattle early enough to make the connection so that we could arrive on the east coast at a decent time of the day. The reservations she got allowed us almost an hour to get to the connecting flight in Seattle that would arrive in Charleston at 4:30 pm their time. If you think about that for a minute, considering the 3-hour time difference, we would arrive at 1:30 pm St. Helens time. Then, figure in flight time from Seattle you can see we had to leave pretty early.
We got up at 3:30 am to catch the PDX to SEATAC leg that left at 6 am. The first snafu we encountered was when TSA kicked us out of the precheck line because out KTN wasn’t printed on our ticket. We knew that but had the letters from TSA as proof that we had KTNs. That’s Known Traveler Number in case you didn’t now. Not good enough for the ambitious little guy who insisted that it had to be on our boarding pass. The first time this happened, on the way to Maui, the TSA agent would have let us continue if we knew the KTN. Not this guy, however.
So, we returned to the ticket counter and fixed it with some manual interventional assistance of a cheerful Alaska Agent.
We breezed right through.
Got to Seattle in plenty of time to make our connection then ‘things’ kinda went south with regard to customer service and scheduling accumen of managers at the SEATAC International airport who parked our plane on the runway for 30 minutes because there wasn’t an open gate for us.
There we sat, with 12 other folks who needed to make the connection, watching the clock tick away, diminishing the probability of making the flight to Charleston.
We finally parked at N15 about 7:20 pm and our connecting flight was scheduled to depart at 7:45. Our pilot and crew assured us that everyone knew we were on the ground and the reason we were late and that they would hold the plane for us.
It was a huge lie. We got to the next gate, D21, in time, but management had already filled our 12 seats with standbys and sent the plane on it’s way, 20 minutes early. Kinda makes your day, ya know?
Then we were sent to the Alaska Customer Service desk near gate D2 that is manned by folks who are accustom to dealing with upset people and apparently don’t see the need to be friendly any longer. We 12 were demoted to 3rd class citizens (whatever that is) and the fact that we missed the flight due to decisions made by the airline.
The two agents behind the counter were working to re-book flights for misplaced people but their hearts weren’t in it and they weren’t very careful about information they doled out. For us, for instance, after they professed to have got us seats on an American Airline plane leaving shortly, gave us a confirmation number and sent us to gate D8 and told us to talk to one of the AA agents there to get us seat assignments. We made that trek and learned that the confirmation was invalid and that the flight we were supposedly put on was full. No seats available.
Back to D2 and customer service. At different agent made another attempt and actually got us seats on a plane leaving in a few hours for Dallas. From there we were booked on an AA flight to Charleston which was to arrive at 11:30 pm.
Interestingly, our bags were transferred from the Portland flight to the original non-stop connection with no problem, but they couldn’t delay 10 minutes to wait for the people who owned them. That’s why our luggage arrived in Charleston on time.
And, they didn’t have any trouble delaying the newly acquired flight, for some reason, which pushed our arrival time in Dallas a little later yet. That was OK because we had a 2-hour layover in Dallas.
Once in Dallas the flight to Charleston was delayed twice ensuring our arrival time wa pushed beyond midnight. Yippee!
By this time both Diane and I were to the point that we could see humor in all the things that had happened to us during this trip. It was like a comedy of errors so it was easier on both of us to accept the comedy of the situation instead of being bitter and upset.
Now, the good part of all this. On both of the flights we met passengers who went out of their way to accommodate both Diane and I by switching seats so we could sit together. You see, with all this switching going on, we were considered standby passengers with no real guarantee we’d get on an airplane. Because of that, we were placed in seats that were rows apart because, you see, all those other passengers made their flight on time.
Our fellow passengers made it all OK and we had a great time talking with them. Had we caught our original flight we would have missed that opportunity which would have been kinda sad.
When we got to Charleston we sent directly to the AA office in the baggage claim area to retrieve our on-time bags. The cheerful agent said, “oh, you were on that Alaska flight …” which kinda told the entire story.
After getting the bags we went looking for a cab because I was told the car rental agents closed up at 11:0-0 pm. But, we saw some lights on at the rental area and saw people turning in to that area. There was hope, after all. You see, we had a car reserved for the trip so we could get to the Air Force Inn at Joint Base Charleston for the night, then drive to Myrtle Beach in the morning.
When we turned the corner and saw lines of people at pretty much all the various rental agencies, and way off in a corner was Enterprise, with one agent working and a line of 2 people ahead of us. It was a miracle.
Long story short, we got a car and made it to Joint Base Charleston with no problem. It was only about 5 miles away, so we didn’t expect problems.
At the Air Force Inn we had a reservation and the agents were waiting for us. We got our room, spent the night, and took off for Myrtle Beach earlier this morning. We fudged our check out time beyond 11:00 am because it was so late when we checked in (1:30 am or so) and stopped at a really busy restaurant for lunch. It was the Long Point Grill in Mount Pleasant, SC for lunch. It was absolutely wonderful and the place was jumping. I had shrimp and linguine. Diane had a chicken BLT sandwich and a cup of tomato and artichoke soup. It as good, but getting it meant she could only eat half her sandwich. So, of course, I ate the other half.
The drive to Myrtle Beach was very relaxing and it was great sailing along without a care, our worries behind us. Life was good.
Now we’re here on the 9th floor, at 1200 S. Ocean Blvd with an ocean view.
How sweet it is.
Oh ya, the reason we’re here is to attend the 22nd annual reunion of the USS Cleveland Reunion Association. So, there will be more news later.