I’ll start with the good first: All of our checked bags made it from Kaua’i to Baltimore. Our rental car was upgraded at no cost from an intermediate car to a small SUV. Our hotel in Pennsylvania (once we found it) has a very comfortable bed.
Almost everything else about our journey from Lihue to Philadelphia was not so good. We knew it was going to be long, but it was also one of those trips where I wondered why I ever considered traveling to be a good thing.
As we neared Lihue on Monday morning, Brett noticed the parking tag for the condo complex was still hanging from the rearview mirror. It was required to be in the car when parked at the complex ($150 if not there), but returned to the room when we departed. Since there wasn’t time to turn around and take it back, a $50 charge will be assessed to us. Not a great way to start the day.
We were very grateful though when we got to the airport that we had gotten such an early start. We were astonished by the number of people there – the security lines snaked out and down the sidewalks! The only other times we’d seen similar lines were at the end of the winter holiday season, but this was a Monday morning in May! Brett dropped me off at the terminal with the suitcases before returning our rental car while I got our bags checked in and then got into the security line, where I learned these crowds were now an everyday occurrence. Let me also just say that I will never travel with that many bags again! Hawaiian Airlines staff were very helpful but it was still overwhelming wrangling four BIG bags to where they needed to be. I had initially attempted to check the bags when I checked in online for our flights but the program kept assessing a fee of $670 for the extra bags which I knew wasn’t correct, so I was glad I waited and paid just $140 at airport, the correct amount. I got a knot in my stomach though when our bags were placed w-a-y off to side for the TSA check, but we were leaving on a later flight and I was told they would get to them as our departure time approached. Then, halfway through our wait in the security line Brett suddenly realized he still had the key fob for our rental car in his pocket (push button start), but he was able to run over and give it to the Budget shuttle driver for return – apparently he was not the first person this has happened to! I hate to think what that would have cost us if he’d discovered that thing any later than he did.
It took us an hour to go through the security line at Lihue. Both of our carry-on bags were pulled for an extra check and the woman pawed through everything in my bag and pulled things out looking for who knows what – it took me quite a while to get everything repacked after she was done (and didn’t find anything). We had a less than an hour at that point until our flight, and $19.64 later we had a bottle of water and a dry turkey and cheese sandwich for lunch, the least expensive food we could find (and after standing in another long line). The flight over to Honolulu was as quick as usual, we were at the gate for our Delta flight in no time, and left Honolulu for Atlanta on time.
The extra comfort seats on our Delta flight were well worth the expense as we had room for everything and room to cross our legs. We were in the middle of the row though so had to climb out over people on the aisle whenever we needed to use the bathroom. Thankfully the people on either side of us stayed masked as we did throughout the flight. The plane was COLD though – both of us wore our jackets the entire time, stayed covered with a blanket, and we still shivered. We each got about 1 1/2 hours of sleep – the woman behind me kicked the entire time; Brett said it was the same for him.
We arrived on time in Atlanta, a little after 6:00 in the morning, for a three hour layover. Delta had fed us right before landing (a surprisingly delicious egg muffin sandwich) so we got some coffee and waited. Our flights always, always seem to be at gates the furthest away from each other, and Atlanta was no exception – getting from our arrival gate to our departure gate we walked nearly a mile! The flight up to Baltimore was easy, just an hour and a half and we slept through most of it. We were thrilled to find all our bags when we got there, but had to pay a ridiculous $6 to rent a cart to carry them out the door to catch the shuttle over to the rental car pick up. After our experience getting a rental car in Lihue we weren’t sure what to expect, but there was no line and the rental agent upgraded us to a Honda CRV at no charge. Getting all of our bags to the car was another adventure but we eventually got them loaded and were on our way.
And then everything fell apart.
Brett, unknown to me, had put together a very convoluted route to Philadelphia in order to avoid the tolls . . . and then he got lost. I had fallen half asleep on the way, and woke up when he started grumbling that he didn’t know where we were. I fired up Google Maps on my phone and discovered we had somehow ended up 65 miles east of Philadelphia, near Lancaster! I got us going the right direction, but our car trip from Baltimore to our hotel ended up taking us over six hours! Our hotel turned out to be in a business park and very difficult to find, which also didn’t help. We were beyond exhausted when we arrived, both somewhat angry with each other but knew that was from being so tired. We eventually got our bags up to our room and fell asleep for 14 hours.
We will see YaYu this afternoon and be more than glad to turn her suitcases over to her. Our first stop today though will be the Whole Foods Market just down the street for some healthy foods we can keep in the room. We’re otherwise going to continue to rest and recover from what turned out to be a ridiculously long (over 36 hours) and difficult travel day. We’re in Pennsylvania, we have our luggage, and the adventure is on!