National Parks Tour: Traveling Home

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Another early morning and we have no coffee in the room. I just don’t understand the reasoning. If the hotel had a 24-hour coffee shop, I would be fine with going down to bring a couple of cups back but we were again just out of luck. I think Treasure Island could do better.

Chuck and I disagreed about how early to leave for the airport. I wanted to be there at 8:00 as our flight was to leave at 10:00. He wanted to be able to use our breakfast coupons at the hotel restaurant. It didn’t open until 7:00. Al had told us that there would be taxis lined up outside the hotel but with the road construction, it would be at least 45 minutes to get to the airport.

I acquiesced and we were down at the restaurant at 6:50 to be the first in line when they opened. I thought if we miss the plane, Chuck could just deal with the logistics of getting us home. Luckily, the service was fairly fast but I didn’t have much of an appetite because of my nervous travel stomach.

Felt strange having to go back to the room and collect all of our bags as I’ve been so used to having them gone and only dealing with the backpacks. We went outside to the taxi stand and there were NO taxis – zip, zero, zilch. The attendant said there used to be taxis waiting but since Covid and the Vegas crowds being sparce, he would have to call us one. My travel stomach did a huge flip/flop.

I guess it was less than 10 minutes before one arrived but it felt longer. There was road construction but the taxi driver knew how to skirt around it and had us at the terminal in 15 minutes and not 45 minutes. Okay, feeling better.

Luckily our bags weighed in about the same. We weren’t selected for TSA pre-check for this flight either so I was very distraught when I saw the very, very long line. I couldn’t find the CLEAR kiosks at all. There were no signs. We got in the line but I finally found someone to ask and they pointed to the wall where the kiosks stood. We ducked under the ropes and went to the kiosks. We were quickly at the front of the line.

I was prepared with my shoes off and laptop out. The TSA agent said to put my laptop back in the backpack. What? I got scolded for not having it out of the bag fast enough at the other airport. She said, “well each airport is different.” Really? I thought it was supposed to be the same TSA rules for every airport. And they wonder why people get frustrated.

This time it was Chuck’s backpack that got held up in screening. They sent it through twice but never opened it. I had taken some of my camera accessories out of the backpack and put them in my checked bag so maybe that is why my backpack went through okay.

We got to our gate at 8:50. Chuck was right. We did have enough time. Stomach has now settled down.

The gate area was crazy though. It was one big seating area and there were three gates. Each gate had a flight leaving within 15 – 30 minutes of each other. Each gate attendant was calling out information. I had to just stop listening and just start concentrating on the boarding screen that was in front of our gate to know when our flight and section would be called.

Neither Chuck nor I understand why people stand up and crowd the gate area waiting for their section to be called. When your section is called, you have to push your way through the crowd to get to the check-in. If everyone would stay seated until called, it would be so much easier. But I have never seen that scenario happen – ever.

Our gate agent also kept calling for volunteers to check their carry-ons as it was a full flight and they were going to run out of overhead space. They weren’t offering any incentive except that the bag would be checked free. So, unless you already have a checked bag you have to wait for when you arrive, you are not going to give up your carry-on.

We were finally seated at 9:50. We still have one more SNAFU. Chuck thought he had pulled his earbuds package out of his suitcase and put them in his backpack. When he opened it, he realized he had pulled out his sleep mask. They had similar packaging. I gave him my earbuds and was just going to read my book but instead he bought a pair of earbuds from the flight attendant.

The plane was full. Chuck and I sat across from each other in aisle seats. I watched the action movie “Wrath of Man.” It was okay. I watched a couple of sitcoms after it and soon we were touching down.

Our shuttle home was right on time. This ride was not as peaceful as the one we took coming to the airport two weeks ago. There were two people right behind us carrying on a very loud conversation with personal details. I was glad when they got off on one of the early shuttle stops. I have never understood people who put all their drama out there for everyone to hear. I put my earbuds in to try and drown them out but it only slightly muffled their conversation.

Once we got back to the shuttle office, we got all the suitcases in the truck and headed for home. We hoped all would be well at the house and it was. Our cat scolded us for being gone although it looked like he had gained some weight under the care of the sitter. Think the sitter was generous with the treats. Initial sorting through the mail and the trip is a wrap. We’ll deal with the mound of laundry tomorrow.

Final Thoughts

There were pros and cons about this trip just like there is with any travel –

Minimum travel planning details to worry about – one contact person to deal withTime schedule set by Company – no days to just rest and relax
Able watch scenery, sleep, read, or talk and not worry about trafficNo spontaneity for starting/stopping when and where you wished
No hassle with hotel check-in or check-outNo real in-depth time at any one place
See a lot of places in relatively short amount of timeEarly mornings
Learned a lot of information about places we sawGood tour director is a must.
Met a lot of nice people – very polite, on-time, considerate of each other, and followed the rules of masking and hand sanitizingWould have been aggravating if any of the passengers had been habitually late, chronic complainers, or rule breakers.

While cruising is still our favorite form of travel, we really did have a good time on this trip. We would absolutely consider traveling with a Globus tour again.

We had some issue with ankle swelling, dry skin, and lower oxygen levels in the high elevations but they quickly cleared up once we got back to the lower elevations. We need to be mindful of those issues for other travel.

I do think I would do what others did and bring more snacks to eat on the bus and use my lunch times more for wandering around the towns instead of eating meals. Help to get more exercise and keep me from gaining vacation weight.

This Mindy’s Memories journal is now complete.

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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