What a way to start the year…

Hi Everyone!

Thanks to my father for the following description of the first day of our trip… I’ll leave it in his words and continue after.

Hope Ted doesn’t mind his Old Man filling everyone in on some of the first day’s events…
Ted, Erin, Kate, and I arrive at Logan just past 10 a.m., four hours early for his connecting flight to JFK. After a discussion between Ted (no) and airline clerk (yes) over validity of a $100 charge to ship his bike to JFK Ted wins and as we see his bike boxes disappear behind the curtain we are informed his flight to JFK has been canceled and won’t leave til (gulp) Friday. A quick trip to a baggage agent to retrieve the boxes results in a one hour wait but finally the boxes come back, newly taped and carrying a tag that they were opened for inspection. So it’s good to know they are good to go, this time into our car. Road trip to JFK as the guys’ flight is leaving JFK for Santiago at 8 p.m. Katie hops a bus back to Cape Cod while Ted, Erin, and I climb into the trusty Fusion. I share the back seat with one of the bike boxes as for lack of about two inches both packages would not fit in the trunk together. It’s around noon.

We head out into the sunshine with high hopes of making it to JFK in time to meet up with the companeros (pardon my Spanish, I took French in high school a long time ago) as Ted gets to drive a car for the last time in what might be three months. We make good time for the most part but traffic slows to a crawl on approaching the airport. There’s a lot of snow everywhere to say the least. ’nuff said. And it looks like half the world is trying to get into the airport.

Luckily we escape the parking lot in one piece as SUV’s try to force their way into parking spaces disguised as snow drifts. We make out way into a parking garage where there are an abundance of snowless spots, grab the bike boxes and head into the terminal with about 2 hours to spare until flight time. Phew. And there, about 100 travelers in line ahead of Ted are Dan, Zack, and Anthony, each with their bike boxes. We made it. And it looks like in plenty of time as Dan informs Ted that their flight out to Chile has been delayed indefinitely. But at least four of the five are together and Erin’s and my mission is accomplished as we got Ted together with his away-from-home-boys. Let the wild rumpus begin. Erin and I bid the boys adios and are homeward bound.

On the way out of the airport parking area we watch a guy in a brand new Escalade try to mount a three foot high snow drift because he can’t wait to get somewhere. After about five attempts he makes it through as Erin and I can hear the cracking whatever the plastic/fiberglas material is that constitutes the vehicle’s from bumper. Oops, that’s gonna cost about a grand to fix. It takes us about an hour to get through the parking toll gate and we hit the trail home as Erin gets a call from Ted saying their flight is now scheduled to leave JFK at 12/29 at 11 a.m. They’ve circled their bike boxes for a night at the airport.

Smooth sailing back for Erin and me as I arrive back home on Cape Cod at 2:30 a.m.

What a day that was… let’s just say that this journey began with a bang, called JFK International Airport Terminal 4. By the time we boarded our plane at noon on 12/29, we knew half the people in the terminal and were somewhat famous. After the melee subsided and we realized our flight was postponed indefinitely, we found out we couldn’t check boxes because the baggage system was broken. As a result, we lugged our boxes to a corner by some places of worship and a lounge for the first class passengers and pushed them together to form a fort of sorts… How do you like me now, mom? All those couch cushion forts in my single digit years paid off because we were self contained and popular as could be. All the airport employees that walked by stopped to chat and told us it was the first fort they’ve ever seen in the airport. Yes, we have pictures and will post them when we figure out a way to do so. One fellow traveler and his family was so impressed with our fort that he treated us to a round of McDonald’s cheeseburgers, french fries, and Dr. Peppers at 3am or so. After a while we traded off turns of watching our stuff and trying to grab a couple minutes of sleep and then got up at 5 to get back into the already bustling lines where we would wait for a few more hours until the LAN staff showed up to try and sort out the mess. We never opened our boxes because we all independently declined the packing tape our loved ones offered as they dropped us off, and we wouldn’t have been able to reseal the boxes after they’d been opened. As it turned out, we walked our boxes right over to security after getting our boarding passes and they cut them open right in front of us, which was funny and ironic in hindsight. We made it through security without a hitch and held our collective breath that we’d actually leave. The flight passed quickly, we ate rather nominal amounts of food, and then we got to Santiago with no sleep, barely any food, and no idea what was about to happen. We all paid our entry fees (save for Dan, as they are valid for the life of your passport and he paid his 2 years ago). We got to the baggage claim and after a long wait, we were ready to see what became of our boxes during the trip. One came out, in good shape, and we were all elated. Then more came, all in decent shape all things considered. Then the bags stopped. Dan had his, Zach had his, I (Ted) had mine, and Derek had one of his. Anthony had neither.

I’m going to finish this at another time as I have a minute left on the internet, but I’ll ruin the end and tell you we finally all have our bikes and there were no catastrophic issues. Happy new year, and talk to you all soon.

Ted and all.

About companeros2011

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8 Responses to What a way to start the year…

  1. Kate says:

    Wow,that was quite a start! Glad to hear that the bikes are all in good shape! Can’t wait to hear about your first ride and New Years. Thank you to the family that fed our boys…and the tape…oh,well. Keep smiling and keep posting. Kate and Judd

  2. Kate says:

    Bravo! Happy travels are never without hitches. Glad to hear y’all made it safe and sound. And happy new year!

  3. Ron Manganiello says:

    May good luck continue to be your constant traveling companion! I’m a big fan of dumb luck myself and credit it for at least 1/2 of my 61 years on the green side of Mother Earth. Abrazos – Ron

  4. Kate says:

    Be sure to check out Anthony’s blog (Anthonywanderedaway). You’ll find out how his and Derek’s bikes never made it onto their flight to Santiago.

  5. Sandy Sheble-Hall says:

    What a tale! And you’ve barely set foot in foreign soil!! Thanks to “The Old Man” for watching the backside… Off and running!

  6. Uncle Hank says:

    Great story from both Juddy & Ted- can’t wait to read more.
    Be careful and be safe!
    Hank

  7. John C. Dermody says:

    A blanket/pillow fort protected me from having to get rabies after a bat flew around my house while everyone was sleeping. The only thing about it was that I was eighteen when that happened and not in the single digits like Tedward. Good luck to you all and safe travels.

  8. Melissa says:

    Quio! Buenaventura en 2011!
    Looks like all the fort building with my brother in the Andover paid off for you DAN! Kudos! Say hello to Cami and her Fonkster bro for me.🙂

    Also, my friend Mauricio in Quito, Ecuador said he would LOVE to show you around the city when you arrive sometime when…
    MILES ABRAZOTES Y BESOTES!

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