Friday, September 17, 2010

Jumpin' Back on the Travel Train

I must travel a lot, because this is my fourth post in less than three months on my travels! Once again, I'm on the road...only a little sooner than I expected! Being stationed in Guam, the most practical thing to do on a military salary is to Space-A a military flight back to the mainland. Space-A is in a league of its own. Anyone who has been stationed overseas before probably has some experience with this concept. Essentially Space-A is a program for military and their dependents (me) to travel on military aircraft on you guessed it, a space available basis. Anyone who has done this knows the trip NEVER goes as planned. No matter how simple it may look. They can change/cancel the flight at anytime, EVEN after the plane has taken off. I likened myself to media mail, eventually I'll get there on the cheap.

I'd been chasing a flight headed to MCAS Miramar in San Diego for a few days. To catch a flight from Guam to Miramar (when your parents live five minutes from the base) is pretty much hitting Space-A paydirt. A free trip! When I found out that particular flight was taken off the schedule I was a little happy about that only because I wanted to maximize the time I had with Colin. So I quit packing, went to bed and when the alarm went off at 6:20 that morning, I went ahead and checked the schedule to see if maybe the flight popped back up later in the day. Oh it popped up alright. For 6:40am. Needless to say the tornado of Colin and I throwing stuff into my suitcase, grabbing my passport and driving as fast as those rediculous base speed limits allowed us, I ran into the terminal at 6:40. Bam! On the dot. And here's where it gets fun. After forgetting my travel papers and thouroughly ticking off the lady for not only showing up late but forgetting such important papers she said I could check in but ONLY if I could get those papers to her immediately. Colin ran home and got them and before we knew it I was accepted on the flight. Three hours later I found myself strapped into a jumpseat of a ginormous C-17 talking to a a jet squadron of Marines coming home from a 7 month deployment. I was ecstatically talking about how excited I was to be practically flying into my back yard and they gave me some funny looks. I then overheard something about them getting a bus to the hotel when we arrived when my stomach dropped. "Whoa, wait a minute. This plane is going to Miramar, right?" "Well yes of course, we just have to stop in Hawaii for a 48 hour crew rest. We'll head out on Friday or Saturday perhaps." My freak-o-meter about shot through the roof. Here I am stuck on a plane to a place where I could easily caught a plane to next week. Good thing Colin was headed to work already, I didn't want to ruin his day with that news.

So as you might guess I spent the next 7 1/2 hours stewing over this debacle. I tried to make the best of it, I snatched three airplane blankets and a pillow and found a cozy little (I mean little) spot on the cold metal floor and attempted to sleep as the temperature steadily dropped to 40 degrees. I lost feeling in my toes for the rest of the flight as I tried to ignore the A/C blowing on me. I was pretty jealous of the marines who got to monkey climb up onto the storage containers and stretch out for a nap. We arrived in Hawaii pretty late and after Customs confiscated my food (I'm pretty sure she just forgot her dinner and thought my sandwich looked tasty), I fought for my bag bag (they said if I took it with me, I had to give up my ticket to Miramar, seriously?) and was dumped off at the terminal. In both my experiences traveling Space-A I've arrived with no one expecting me. Great feeling. Really. I was lucky (so lucky) to find a flight leaving for Reno six hours later with a ton of seats...sold!

So 8 hours later I was on yet another C-17 to Nevada. This time I chose a seat near the front, away from the vents, still cold but not arctic. I was pretty tired by this point so sleeping (or at least laying, trying to sleep) on an airplane floor with earplugs in my ears was somewhat enticing. We arrived in Reno and since I was the only passenger not staying in Reno I had to find my own transportation to the main terminal. I much have looked pathetic because a guy from the charter jet terminal gave me a ride over there, for free. What a saint! It only got better. I got to the Southwest desk and met the second nicest person I'd seen in awhile. In less than five minutes I had a SWA ticket (no bag fees!!) home. The butterflies finally settled, I'd made it. The trip was uneventful, thankfully and what do you know I sat next to yet another group of jet guys from Miramar heading home from Tailhook in Reno. When I told them I flew to Hawaii with their rival squadron they gave me a funny look (what's with these marines and funny looks?). I'm pretty sure they believed me, or just assumed I'm one very tired, crazy lady.

I must have been tired I slept from 10:00pm until 1:30 the next day! Who doesn't love jet lag?

So for now I'm just enjoying San Diego, I ran the harbor this morning and got a visit to Target in, this girl is happy!


  1. YAY! so glad you got home ... eventually :)

  2. wow! all of your travels look amazing! Welcome home and can't wait to see where your journeys take you next :)

  3. Okay, I don't have a problem with the unexpected changes of flight schedules, or even getting stuck in Hawaii. I do, however, have a problem being ice cold for 7+ hours! Sounds miserable!