America 2022 – Day Thirteen

I’m makin’ my way back to Chicago
I’m makin’ my way come rain or shine
I’m gonna find true love waiting for me
I’m gonna make it all work out for good this time

Let’s go walking by the beach tonight
And watch the sun come up on Lake Shore Drive
Then I’ll take you in my arms
And I’ll keep you from all harm
Cause I know everything is gonna be alright

– Styx

Monday 29 August

Day Thirteen! Could have been very unlucky. For a while, things were looking a little grim as far as our arrival into Chicago went, but everything turned out fine in the end.

Let me rewind: we had a dream run to the airport (about ten minutes outside of Boise), checked in with no problems, breezed through security and had plenty of time to get some breakfast before we boarded. It was an on-time boarding, the overhead lockers at our seats hadn’t been used by passengers who boarded earlier. We had great seats over the wing. Took off on time. Had a nap, nearly finished the book I was reading.

All good stuff. Until the pilot came on about twenty minutes before we were supposed to land. I expected he would be directing the cabin crew to prepare the cabin for landing. Instead, he had bad news. A storm that was expected to hit Chicago around 3:30pm had come three hours early, and O’Hare had closed due to the lighting that was part of the front. We’d apparently circled for about twenty minutes, but the pilot said that we couldn’t do that forever, as we were running short on fuel. So all we could do was land in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and wait out the storm.

There were some very unhappy people around us when we landed at Cedar Rapids: mostly folks making connections (some international) at O’Hare, which were now in serious danger. We pulled up to a gate and got more fuel, but didn’t get off the plane. At least we could stand up and walk around, use the bathroom and our phones. Pretty sure everyone was on The Weather Channel app watching the passage of the storm, which had begun to push north and east.

About two hours after landing in Cedar Rapids, we were off again, for the forty minute flight into Chicago. We came in over the lake and by downtown Chicago, and it was just about all blue skies and sunshine. Hard to believe there’d even been a storm.

Anyway, three hours late. Hardly a big thing considering we’ve been away three whole years. Got off the plane, got our bags and went to the rental car lot. Nathan’s name was up on the board, so we walked to the parking spot where our car was supposed to be – right at the other end of the mammoth facility – only to find that the slot was empty. So, all the way back to the office, and then over to the other side of the garage, where, thankfully, there was a car waiting for us.

We had just enough time to get into the Airbnb, drop our luggage off, go to a local bottle shop and get over to Mike and Jane’s for dinner. Great to see Jane’s folks, Frank and Ivana as well. We just beat the pizza delivery in. Giordano’s deep dish pizza is better than I remembered. Washed down with a few Bud Lights. After Frank and Ivana left and the kids were in bed, we hung out with Mike and Jane, talking about all sorts of things, and catching up on three years.

A fun night to kick off a big ten or so days in Chicago.

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