I have never hitchhiked anywhere. Something about potentially being murdered I never found appealing. I did however have an experience recently that was comparable to what I imagine hitchhiking is like: a desperate attempt to jump from one vehicle to another in an effort to reach your destination, no matter how long it takes to get there.
Let's set the scene. Early December. My objective: a week of snowboarding fun. My destination: Portland, Oregon. I left Tampa (flight 1), bound for a quick stopover in Houston, then on wards to Portland. I didn't even have to change planes in between! This couldn't have started out as an easier day. Unfortunately, a massive ice storm was making its way through Oregon and shut down Portland airport completely. I found out about this when we were asked to de-board (is that a word?!) in Houston. '..But.. I had my window seat picked out and everyth...Ok fine.' As we sat by the gate waiting for further instruction, there was some good news! The flight wasn't cancelled, just delayed and we have to switch gates. Yippeee! I was going to make it to the slopes in the morning after all.
Fast forward to the new gate, same plane. We've boarded and I even got an entire row to myself plus window seat. Score! As we're about to close the hatch and push off, there was an announcement that the flight has been cancelled. You could physically feel the 'you're joking, right?!' atmosphere in the plane. No joke. Once de-boarded (it's now a word) we were told there was another flight from Dallas to Portland so we've gotten rerouted there. A quick hop, skip, ascend, and descend later, I was in Dallas (flight 2).
Fast forward to a terminal restaurant where I just sat down. The phone dings. My flight from Dallas to Portland has been cancelled. I'm about to get annoyed when I overhear a TV in the background announce the 'winterstorm in the Northwest that is affecting millions of travellers'. I'm just one of many and mother nature will do as she pleases. Getting upset about this is a waste of everyone's time.
Let's skip ahead to the Southwest counter. I am being rerouted via Albuquerque over San Diego to Portland. Anything for the chance to make it to Portland this evening because I want to be on the mountain tomorrow with ... my snowboard!!! It occurs to me that there is a slim chance my board has managed to follow me around but no time to think about this now, the flight to Albuquerque is boarding!
After landing in New Mexico (flight 3) I didn't even get 5 minutes to enjoy the airport because guess what?! Yup. The flight out of San Diego to Portland was cancelled while I was in transit. The advice was to head to San Diego anyways because it was a much larger airport with better connections. The fact that my arrival and departing gates where right next to each other, would prove that to be true. Another ding from my phone. My friend in Portland has sent a picture of the ski lodge I was supposed to be at by this point - you motherf*cker. But not much time to sit and stew on this; next flight is boarding, must hop on and California bound I was (flight 4).
At this point, it was nighttime. I had left home before sunrise, and my only glimpse of sunset was on final approach in NM. I had never been to San Diego before, so not being able to see much on landing was quite disappointing. In retrospect, not as disappointing as the news I received once I landed there. You guessed it! San Diego - Portland flight was cancelled. My last attempt to reach my destination left me with one final option - head to Seattle. Exhausted from the constant up and down (he he ... ) I settled for this option. And without much hope of any kind, I asked about my snowboard.
No record of it in Houston. No record of it in Dallas. It hasn't been scanned in anywhere. Well, that's just how the cookie crumbles because at this point all I wanted was a bed and a proper meal. I sent some positive thoughts to Lily (my snowboard and I are close) and wished her the best for her journey wherever she may be; living in transit, like I was (flight 5).
Fast forward to a random airport hotel in Seattle, where after 22 hours of travelling I finally get to go to sleep. So when my friend in Portland was my hero for the day and booked me the bus from Seattle to Portland the next morning, I gently declined the 6:30 AM departure and opted for the 8:00 AM. A girl needs her beauty rest! Which I'm sure at this point should have been more like a week!
I finally made it to Portland at 11:00 AM - 24 hours after I was originally supposed to arrive. Lily? Well believe it or not, after a few phone calls, I found out she had been rerouted and would arrive in Portland at 11:30 AM that morning! And yes, I did make it to the mountain for a few runs that afternoon - Mission Accomplished!