The Wonders of Western Washington
The Title of the Trip Report Has Been Officially Changed!
I don't know where to to start....
First of all....this was not supposed to be the original title of this report. I may change it back as the report goes on.... but we'll have to take that day by day...
At one point, completing this trip almost didn't happen.
The first couple of days of this trip will not be very "Roadfood"
worthy" but will definitely go into details regarding our ordeal.
An ordeal that would even make Ralph Melton
and Ice Cream Chick
Like my previous trip report "Dust in the Wind" I thought I would include a song that completely embodied the place I was supposed to visit. Outshined by Soundgarden could not fit the bill better. Incidentally the lead singer, Chris Cornell is just a few precious months older than yours truly. Friday September 26
We woke up at 3:15 am sharp, as we had a 5:50 AM flight to catch. An early flight that would surely get us to Seattle by 11:00AM pacific time. Although we really had no actual plans for the day, other than a Mariners game in the evening (they were playing the Angels) I was glad to get some seats on stub hub as it appears there were very few tickets left and most were going for a premium (and I couldn't figure out why?) Be that as it may we were going to stay in downtown Seattle Friday and Saturday nights.
At first this appeared to be a very routine flight as we took off heading to Chicago. That was where we were supposed to be changing planes to get to our final destination. I was following the flight tracker on my smart phone and pointed out to Sandra that we were just west of Cleveland (probably flying over the Sandusky area) At this point I told Sandra, perhaps if we're not too tired, we can driver over and spend the day in Gig Harbor. I'd never been there and I heard it's very scenic.
Almost too soon after I had made that statement the Captain announced on the PA that there was a fire at Chicago control and there are no planes landing or taking off at both airports, therefore our flight has been diverted to Pittsburgh. I thought "Pittsburgh?" wouldn't Cleveland or Detroit be closer. Be that as it may our plane turned around and we landed in Pittsburgh about 2 hours after we took off. One of the flight attendants announced that there would be customer service agents who would rebook everyone's flights. I turned to Sandra as we disembarked and said "I think we're turning into Ralph
As we exited the plane we observed large, large lines with crowds of people. There seemed to be utter chaos and very, very few customer service agents. There was a family behind us, they were heading to wedding in Salt Lake city, in fact one of the family members waiting was the father of the bride- and the wedding was that evening!
I made the unfortunate mistake of not bringing my laptop (I was trying to be nice and not bring it so it would not divert my attention on that trip) I told Sandra I will never make that mistake again. I checked my smart phone, there was a flight later that morning that went through Denver and would get us to Seattle by mid afternoon, however the one way fare for the both of us would have been $1100....Of course Southwest would have to reimburse us...they diverted us and now there we could get this available flight...However just to be safe, I asked one of the customer service agents who was just handling "baggage" if Southwest would reimburse us, his response was "I doubt it" (the first issue I have that will be included in a very long letter to Southwest) Out of an abundance of caution I decided against purchasing those tickets
We stood on that line for what appeared to be forever...Eventually we were told for "faster" service there was a 1800 number to call, I called that and there was a 3+ hour wait which to me reads...4 hours?? 5 hours??? perhaps 6 hours?? or more..
While we were heading towards the front of the line standing for nearly 5 hours a customer service agent told us that if everyone needed to stay overnight, Southwest would supply vouchers and the hotels would be "on them" but we would be on our own as far as rental cars are concerned....Ok...really?? fair enough....
Eventually we found out that some jack ass of a nut job tried to set the Chicago Control on fire and then tried to kill himself.
Apparently an FAA contractor who was upset that he was being transfered to Hawaii.
Finally after 5 hours, it was now 1 PM and my lunch which I purchased while Sandra kept our place in line, consisted of a BBQ Chicken Sandwich from Quaker Steak and Lube
inside the airport. We were told all flights leaving for Seattle that day were sold out (even though I could have gotten one earlier that morning if I purchased that ticket on my own but would have had to have sacrificed $1100 even though it was the same airline!!!!) Our flight would leave at approximately 5pm on Saturday, we would change planes in Chicago and we would get into Seattle at around 9:30 pm. Oh well, there goes our baseball game and our first night hotel
Fine, we get a rental car after checking with 3 or 4 different rental car companies at the airport which appeared to revel in price gouging.... we went with the cheapest. National... it was now 1:30 pm and I clearly told the customer service agent that I would be returning the rental at 3:30pm the following day..
We arrived at the hotel near the airport, voucher in hand. The front desk attendant told us that it is actually Southwest that would reimburse us and that we would have to pay the hotel.... There were other folks arriving at the hotel who we recognized from standing in line and they seemed just as confused as we were... At this point the hotel was approximately $75 including tax. (my second gripe in that long letter I plan to write to Southwest) I paid it but I was going to insist that Southwest reimburse us when I returned to the airport the following day. It kills me though because I know I could have gotten a better deal on priceline at a much nicer hotel had I had my laptop with me.
We tried to rest during the afternoon, ok, Sandra rested, I couldn't, I was too riled up.
It was very ironic that we ended up getting diverted to Pittsburgh as I used to live there back in the mid to late 1990's...
was on his huckleberry trip and I couldn't get in touch with my friend Lisa (who unfortunately turns her cell phone off when she is at work) however when travel woes ensue, who are the best folks to call...Ralph and Ice Cream chick of course.. Apparently before we called, I was reading Sandra's mind, just as I was suggesting where we should go for dinner, Sandra had asked if we could go to that "Pierogi Place" Pierogies Plus
of course and it's only 8 miles from the airport!
We got in touch with Ralph and Ice Cream Chick and luckily they were available to meet us for dinner. We agreed to meet at Pierogies Plus
at 6pm IMG_5456
, on Flickr
Housed in a former gas station, must folks take their food to go, however there are a few tables and chairs outside to sit at during nice weather. It was a beautiful 75 degree day and the sun was starting to set.
Unfortunately I was very bad at taking photos. However we ordered several different items to share including noodle halushki (noodles and cabbage) dumpling halushki (tiny dumplings replace the noodles) IMG_5458
, on Flickr
We also ordered potato and cheese pierogies as well as breakfast pierogies IMG_5457
, on Flickr
Kolbassi, and of course Stuffed Cabbage IMG_5460
, on Flickr
Pure Polish Comfort food. Ralph
i brought some drinks as well, including sodas and adult beverages (Yuengling beer!)
Although we always enjoy spending time with Ralph and Lori, it was very, very surreal, all I just kept saying to myself "what am I doing here? I'm supposed to be in Seattle!"
We ended up closing down the place afterwards Sandra and I drove back towards our hotel. While I was at the hotel earlier that afternoon, I was doing some research on bars that had Penn Pilsener on tap. When I was living in Pittsburgh, even after visiting several years later it always seemed easy to find, but as of late it seems more and more difficult to locate.
I found a bar a mile from our hotel that has Penn Pilsener on tap calledThe Bocktown Beer and Grill
We stopped there and I had my Penn Pilsener and told Sandra that when we get to Seattle, the multitude of local brews there will be just incredibly amazing.
Afterwards we got back to our hotel. I had gotten in touch with my friend Lisa hoping we could get together with her either for breakfast on Saturday or for lunch, unfortunately she had to work but would be available by mid afternoon,unfortunately I told her we will be heading to Seattle by mid afternoon..... (or will we?)
Much more to come.....
post edited by wanderingjew - 2014/10/23 19:20:07