Well, today the high in Grand Rapids was supposed to be about 15 degrees and there was a 100% chance of lake effect snow. We weren't sure if we were going to be able to get out of town.
Our flight was at 10:00 a.m. and we made arrangements to be picked up at 7:30 just to give us some extra cushion for snow and rush hour traffic.
When we checked out, the snow was already coming down pretty good. I checked flights and all were still on time. Here are a couple photos from outside our hotel.
Good call by Linda on the early pick-up. Our ride called and said he was creeping along and would be about twenty minutes late.
Once on the interstate heading toward the airport, the roads were snow-covered and traffic was moving slow. We passed two vehicles that had just run off into the ditch.
Eventually, we made it safely and still had plenty of time to check our bags so they would make the flight.
Once at the gate, I still wasn't convinced we were going to get out, but there were several snow plows working on the runways in the distance.
We did load on time and, after de-icing, we headed to the cleared runway where we took off without a hitch.
About an hour later we arrived in Minneapolis where the expeced high for the day was supposed to be minus three (-3). When we got there, it was sunny but the temp was minus seven (-7). That wasn't wind chill, that was air temp. It was cold in the skyway, but we were dressed in layers and it wasn't too bad.
We had a layover of more than three hours, and the flight ahead of us at our gate was going to Los Angeles and then on to Honolulu. We chatted with part of a seniors group going to Hawaii, and they were pretty excited to be getting out of Minn-e-SO-tdah (sorry, I don't know how to spell with a Scandanavian Minnesota accent). :)
After the L.A./Hawaii flight left, we hung out in the empty gate area for a couple hours. Our batteries were running down on our laptops, so we found a charging station to continue.
Then we went to lunch at a little pizza restaurant that had four i-Pads on each table. You ordered food via the touchscreen of the i-Pad and then paid for it by sliding a credit card (gratuity already included whether you wanted it to be or not). Of course, we still had to chat with the server about special requests like "no jalepenos" and lemon for our water - thus the pre-paid gratuity, I suppose. The biggest issue for us was being required to touch a screen touched by thousands of people before us and then eating. What if Linda didn't have hand sanitizer in her purse?
The only time we get sick in this lifestyle is when we find ourselves in the midst of crowds for any length of time, and airplanes/airports are the worst. In addition to the hand sanitizer, Linda had sanitizing wipes and we were wiping down everything within reach on the planes.
Okay, so the i-Pads were something new for us in a restaurant. You could check your Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter along with a few news sources. Like I said, there were four of them at each table, so you could avoid any "dreaded conversation" with your friends, family, and/or colleagues altogether. :)
Fortunately, extreme cold doesn't seem to be an issue with planes getting off the ground, so there was no delay, and we boarded and lifted off on time. That was a bit longer flight at around three hours, so we napped a little when our Kindle reading put us to sleep.
We arrived in Phoenix several minutes early and, though it wasn't still the 80 degrees of earlier in the day, it was quite warm and we were quite over-layered. But I'll take hot over cold any day.
A shuttle took us back to our car which was parked at the hotel. Everything was in one piece, but our experience at that hotel wasn't very pleasant, so we chose another hotel we had scouted before we flew to Michigan.
The room isn't great, but it is better and a little cheaper than the last one, and the laundry facilities are a big improvement. We'll hang around and get some work done and then fly to Charlotte, NC on Thursday for the North Carolina RVDA Show.
I threw on some shorts and a t-shirt and was happy to be back in the land of the sun and warm temperatures. I'd rather be in our rig, but with a really early flight on Thursday morning it didn't make sense to make a roundtrip to Quartzsite and back.
That about wraps up the trip to Michigan and back. I'm expecting the next couple of days to be pretty boring, but you never know what might come up. :)