Disembarkation was very organized, and we were part of the "Red Tag #3" group, and were scheduled as the third group to disembark. We sat in the Champagne Lounge on Deck 7, and waited for our group to be called.
When it was called, we proceeded to the gangway, and exited the boat without a line. We were escorted to our bus, on which are luggage had already been loaded. Mom and dad took the first seat on the right side, one reserved for the handicap. Vivian and I sat almost all the way to the back.
I'm almost positive that we had the same bus driver take us back to the airport that picked us up a week earlier. She had somewhat of a distinctive voice, and she made comments about the sites along the way, both to and from the airport.
After about a 40-minute ride, we arrived at the airport, where our bags were unloaded from the bus. I grabbed a skycap to haul our 14 bags to the terminal. He was a real nice guy, and I tipped him handsomely -- mostly because he was very helpful, and somewhat because I had a Canadian Twenty Dollar Bill left over from my last trip to Montreal that I wanted to get rid of. I also had three or so Canadian dollars of change, which I also gave him.
I tried to change our 1:00 flight laying over in Salt Lake City, to the one departing at noon, laying over in Atlanta, but they wanted to charge me $25 per ticket, and it would have gotten us into RDU only 45 minutes earlier. We passed on that deal.
So, we went to our gate, and waited a little less than three hours until boarding for our flight. We had a little snack here -- Viv and I split a turkey sandwich, and mom and dad had cheeseburgers, I think. Vivian took care of the food, while I worked on my blog.
In the meantime, with the Celebrity Cruise ending the same day, the place was teeming with gay men. I don't know if that made the time pass any more quickly, but it certainly made it pass more pleasantly.
Our flight to Salt Lake City was uneventful, with a flying time of about one hour, fifty minutes. The view coming in to the airport was beautiful, with awesome glimpses of the surrounding mountains.
The flight was uneventful in terms of flying related things, but one eventful thing that happened on the way was that I decided to definitely drop my class when I returned home. Vivian gave me a little "pep talk" about it, sharing some of her many experiences and perspective pursuing four degrees over the years.
I guess I'd first thought of doing it back on Thursday of the trip, when I realized that not only hadn't I done any of the reading I needed to be doing this week, but I also hadn't connected to the Internet, mostly because it was $.75 a minute from the ship, to see if I was going to be able to have access to resources I needed when I returned in order to finish a paper that would be due on Thursday.
We had been a little bit worried about having only a 45-minute layover in Salt Lake City, especially with mom's and dad's mobility issues, but as it turned out, we arrived in gate C8 and left out of gate C13, and they were, literally, right next to each other. I began to think, "This could be the first Delta flight in which everything actually goes smoothly."
Vivian and I bought a couple of sandwiches to take on the plane as we knew we were going to only get two "snacks" on the way back, and neither of them were going to be of any substance. Our time zone changes were going to affect our eating schedule.
We left at 1:00, then lost an hour when arriving in Salt Lake City, taking us to 4:00. We left there, and during that leg lost three more hours. This pretty much wiped out a "dinner time."
When we arrived at RDU, I went to get mom's and dad's car from long-term parking, while Vivian got our luggage. Mom and dad wanted to drive right home, to Jacksonville, NC, even though it was 11:00, since it was only 8:00 to us, and we had had some sleep on the flight. Vivian was driving back to Greenville, too. The plan was to get mom and dad on the road, and then we'd get Viv's car for us.
I rode the bus to Parking Lot 3, the Purple Lot, and as I was getting in mom's and dad's car, my phone rang: VIVIAN the display read. "Guess what. No bags. None of them made it." So much for a smooth trip on Delta.
By the time I got back to the terminal, Vivian had done most of the paper work for the lost bags, we put mom and dad in their car, and sent them off to I-40 East, and home.
Vivian and I took the bus to the purple lot, and when Vivian pushed her fob to unlock her car -- nothing. Dead battery.
We waited for about an hour for AAA to arrive and give us a jump. Thank god it worked, as their "Battery Service Unit" was not available, and had it not jumped, they would not have been able to sell and install a battery on the spot, but would have had to tow us to my house.
We got to my house at around 1:00, and I ran in to get Viv a Diet Coke, and grabbed the keys to my car. She followed me out to Gorman Street, where at the intersection of Avent Ferry, I signaled her forward to the I-40 junction, while I turned left to head downtown.
I got to Flex at about 1:15, where I found both Joe and Brian on the inebriated side, but both happy to see me, which was nice. We called it a night at around 2:00, I believe.