Go Ahead and Delay my Flight - I Dare You!

When an unexpected snowstorm grounded us in Denver for three days, we took the high road... and decided to drive home to D.C.


Go Ahead and Delay my Flight - I Dare You!

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by VA_traveler on February 28, 2007

A new schedule at work means that I have a Friday off every so often. Being the travel-lovers that we are, we're going to take advantage of that, right? Of course! We plan a trip, pack our bags and head off to Las Vegas. Three days of travel, and I didn't have to ask for vacation time, or really let anyone at work know! How sneaky I feel! How free! How wonderfully easy this is!

How could something this fun go bad?

Now, don't get me wrong. The trip itself was great. We were first-time Las Vegasers, we enjoyed the things we saw, didn't lose too much money, liked our hotel, etc, etc. That's a different journal. This one starts on the day we LEFT Vegas.

Sunday morning we woke up really early, packed up, and got our shuttle to the airport. When we called for the pick-up, they recommended a 5:30am pick-up for an 8:45am flight, because of long security lines. When we got to the airport, though, it was the line for the United desk that was huge. Turns out, there was nasty weather at Dulles, our final destination, and United was canceling the direct flight there.

With a layover in Denver, and the assurance of the United folks that flights after noon would be going "no problem," we checked in and raced to get through security. Barely made our flight, but slept all the way to Denver, confident that we were on our way home.

Stupid, stupid us.

We even IGNORED the huge line in the middle of the Denver airport, had lunch, thought about doing some shopping in the three hours before our flight. Then we looked at the line again.

We realized it went to the United customer service desk.

And it was about a mile long.

Ouch.

So. I got to wait in line. Hubbie got to wait in a shorter line for the "red phones" direct to United's customer service line. Everyone in front of him gave up, he was the lucky one and got through to a person. We got re-booked (and he handed the representative off to the next person in line, rather than hanging up. Isn't he clever?).

This was Sunday. Our new flight was Tuesday. So much for my great "oh I'm so sneaky, why tell work that I'm travelling this weekend" plan. Grr. ${QuickSuggestions} ${BestWay} We've been to Denver before. We have family in Denver. We even had extra family in Denver that weekend, in town visiting their family. We didn't really WANT to stay in Denver for three days. No.

Well, what do travel lovers do? Why, they travel, of course! We've always said we wanted to do a cross-country driving trip, and heck, what better time than the present?

We rented a car. (Thanks, Avis!)

We stopped at Walmart - purchased snacks, sodas, and a good map. Also some clean underwear. (Thanks, Sam Walton!)

We read the map - how easy. Route 70 to Route 64, into Virginia where we know our way around. Easy. Long, but easy. (Thanks, Rand-McNally!)

We checked in with my sister, who assured us (we didn't even think about this one) that although Route 70 HAD been closed for snow, it was now re-opened. (Thanks, Kansas!)

Hooray! Road trip time!

Econo Lodge

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by VA_traveler on March 9, 2007

A weekend in Vegas is NOT the best preparation for a marathon trip across the country. This is because one tends not to sleep in Vegas, but one needs to be awake and alert when driving long distances. Therefore, we didn't make it very far our first day of driving. We pulled into Wakeeney Kansas at about 9:30, had a very nourishing and healthy (HA!) dinner at the local Mickey-D's, and settled in for the night at the Econo Lodge.

Our room was cheap - about $50 for the night. The surface of the bathtub was peeling off (who knew it would be purple underneath?), but the water was hot and plentiful. No bedbugs or roaches that we saw, the bed was comfortable enough for two people who had been travelling all day. The room was clean, the town is safe. My husband doesn't really remember stopping - he had done most of the driving, and therefore, did most of the sleeping.

The night clerk was a high-school kid, complete with laptop, amp, and electric guitar. I bet that if you couldn't sleep, he'd play you some tunes.
Econo Lodge
705 South 2nd Street
Wakeeney, Kansas
(785) 743-5505

Gates Barbecue

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by VA_traveler on March 9, 2007

We rolled across the Missouri State line around lunchtime. (We're not in Kansas anymore!) Stopped at the welcome center, and got the following advice from Dave.

First, you can pronounce Missouri two ways: mizz-ER-uh, or mizz-OR-ee. Just don't pronounce it like misery.
Second, go to Gates to get some Kansas City barbecue. Good advice - thanks, Dave!

Gates is a local chain, with several locations in the Kansas City area. We weren't exactly sure what made Kansas City BBQ special, so we got some more good advice from the manager (folks in Missouri are very helpful!) and got the "mixed platter" to share.

Good advice again! Sliced ham and sliced beef, each with a sauce, and three beef ribs. The sauce was more vinegar-y than other types of barbecue I've had, and was very tasty. We though it was interesting that there didn't appear to be any pulled meats on the menu - maybe that's more of a southern tradition? Also, the choices definitely leaned more toward beef, and away from pork. This is cattle country!

Our mixed platter and two sodas set us back less than $20. The restaurant is very casual. You are greeted as you enter with a shouted "Hi, can I help you?"; place your order at the counter, and carry your tray to your seat. And then enjoy!
Gates Barbecue
10440 E 40 Hwy.
Kansas City, MO
(800) 662-7427

Gateway Arch (The)

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by VA_traveler on March 9, 2007

Does it make me sound like a stupid tourist if I go on and on about how I didn't realize the St. Louis Arch was as big as it is? Probably. So I'll minimize my comments on the subject, and just say - WOW! This thing is HUGE!

The arch is located right along the Mississippi, and in a national park. It's a pretty spot, and there are walkways through a park-like area on either side.

We parked our car along the river, and crossed the street to climb the stairs up to the Arch's base. Unfortunately, the inside was closed - the museum is open from 9am-6pm, and rides to the top run from 9:30am-5:15pm.

Still, the view of the river is pretty, and the structure itself is impressive.
Gateway Arch
St. Louis Riverfront 707 North First St
St. Louis, Missouri, 63102
(877) 982 1410

Route 70 Through Kansas

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by VA_traveler on March 9, 2007

If you leave Denver, heading east on Route 70, you will run into Kansas.

Actually, it's more that you will look around and finally realize that you are in Kansas. As a matter of fact, I think that if you were to start in the mile-high city with a good push, you could probably coast down and down until you got about halfway across Kansas, where the lack of effort involved in going "flat" and "straight" would bore your car to sleep. Kansas offers no resistance.

That said, Kansas is beautiful. When we drove through, it was snowy in the fields lining the road, and the sun set and rose miles away, and you could just about see forever. I don't know how anyone from Kansas can ever stand moving away from those big, wide-open spaces into a city. If that's what you grew up with, surely anything less would give you claustrophobia?

I, however, am a suburban-type girl. I like to look out of my window and see the house across the street, not miles and miles of prairie. For me, it was a bit intimidating to look out and see so far. And where was the traffic? The other people who are supposed to be sharing the road with me? Where are the tailgaters?

We drove through Kansas in about a day, although we split it with an overnight stop in the middle. There are all kinds of interesting-sounding places advertised along the way... although I couldn't convince my husband to stop at the Museum of Oz.

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