After about nineteen hours of travel, we arrived in Minneapolis today and looking forward to our upcoming trip. We flew from Melbourne to Sydney, then to Dallas and a final two-hour flight to here that arrived just after 5.00 pm. I had about seven hours sleep on the Sydney to Dallas sector which arrived there at 1.30 pm and perhaps that is why I don’t feel too much jet lag (yet???).
The first part of this trip will be a river boat cruise down the Mississippi River and then followed by a self-drive trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway – one of America’s most scenic drives through the Smoky Mountains and Appalachians.
We’ve been faced with a couple of short term challenges already on this trip. On Thursday morning (the day before we left), I woke to find an email from the riverboat company, telling us that there has been a forced change of departure point for the cruise, Instead of it leaving Minneapolis and travelling down the entire navigable length of the Mississippi we are now starting from Louisville in Kentucky and cruising down a stretch of the Ohio River and then down the Mississippi south of St Louis. Apparently, the water in the northern part of the river is very high because of exceptional local rains and the boats can’t navigate under the bridges.
This caused some consternation requiring me to frantically try, on Thursday morning, to rearrange our travel plans. We had a heavily discounted business class fare Qantas ant to try and change it to a new destination would have cost over $7000. In the end it turned out much less expensive to stick with our original plan to travel to Minneapolis and spend a few days here as planned. We needed to buy an add-on fare from here to Louisville (of Colonel Sanders KFC fame)
There was nothing remarkable about our flights today but our airport experiences were quite challenging. Our flight was one hour late arriving into Dallas. This shortened our connect time to just five minute more than the minimum required time for an international to domestic flight connection. Fortunately, our flight from Dallas was running ten minutes late and we made it by the skin of our teeth after rechecking bags and taking the automated train between terminals. We had a wheelchair booked for Jill as she is not too fast getting through the airport and we were very grateful to have a man pushing her at a speed that was faster than I could walk . He also knew the way. He pushed Jill all the way from the plane door in Terminal D to the next one in Terminal A..
We we arrived in Minneapolis on time to find that two of our bags had made it there but one (Jill’s bag) was still in Dallas. The airline assured us that it willl be delivered it to our hotel tonight but at 10.00 pm we have confirmed that it is on its way but we haven’t seen it yet.
Our room at the hotel is quite cool. The temperature here in Minneapolis has dropped from about the mid-twenties two weeks ago to nine degrees today. We have certainly made our presence felt here with a call to the maintenance man to get the room heater to blow hot air rather than cool air as well as asking for an extra blanket.
We’ve used the time already to order a room service meal as well as to arrange to have lunch tomorrow with old friends, Jm and Janet Morris. I’m really looking forward to seeing them again after about forty years. Jim was worldwide head of Personnel for Control Data Corporation when I worked there between 1977 and 1984. He is a wonderful man who looked after people with a fine sense of ethics and care. I’ll look forward to seeing him and his wife Janet tomorrow.