Barb & I arrived back in Buffalo early Tuesday morning with no weather issues and our flight was on time – whew…. at this time we are hoping we can get up to Jasper to see Jim and Lydia then head back to Alabama and our winter home. We are also looking forward to some heat and sunshine to warm these weary bones!
We arrived in Washington DC for a shortish layover. As we wait, we hear an announcement that our flight to Pensacola had been cancelled and we have to check-in with the airline for further instructions. Waiting in line, we learn that Pensacola has been closed due to sever ice on the runways. The flight attendant booked us on the next day flight and gave us a chit with instructions on hotel information with an 800#. We learn that because the cancellation was due to weather, the airline does not cover the costs of accommodations but will help us with preferred rates. We made reservations at the Sheridan Suites in Alexandria, VA, just a few minutes from the airport and they have shuttle service. We spoke with another couple in the same predicament that were flying down for a month of warm weather, escaping out of Truro, Nova Scotia.
Our room was great for the price we paid – the rate card suggested it was a $300/night room but we got it for $80. It was a suite with a separate bedroom, a microwave and coffee pot and a sitting room, we thought for 1 night, it will be fine. We had free internet access in the lobby so as I was checking email, the Truro (Phil & Linda) couple walked past and of course I had some smart ass remark and they stopped to chat. They were coming to Orange Beach for a month of beach time.
We kept an eye on the airline plane schedules first thing Wednesday morning and found out Pensacola was still closed and we were here for another night. I checked with the front desk about the room rate and found out we had to go back to the airport, check in with the airline and get another chit for the Wednesday night! You might think that the desk staff would know that we are already inconvenienced with the layover and yet they required us to go to the airport again to get a chit for the ‘special’ room rate! So, Barb, Phil & I were back on the airport shuttle to check in at the airline again! So, the three of us are checking in and the attendant says the earliest we can get out is Friday now! Yikes…. We asked the attendant if she could give us 3 chits in case the worst happens and we get to stay beyond Friday and she said certainly, how many do you want? She would give us any amount whatever we asked for! It took me a few minutes to determine if there was some easy money there but….. nothing that I wouldn’t get thrown in jail for! So, back to the hotel and plan on something to keep us occupied for the rest of the day and Thursday!
It was Wednesday afternoon that we found out that our dear friend Jim had lost his battle with cancer and passed away while at home in Tate, GA. We spoke to Lydia and his funeral is set for the following Tuesday, in Jasper, GA. We will make our arrangements when we get back to LA. Again, our hearts are full of sorrow for Lydia and their family which we have been with for a couple of Thanksgivings in Georgia. Jim was another good guy that we shall miss deeply.
There was a small grocery store down the block so the four of us ventured out for happy hour supplies etc. Oh, what do we find next door but an ABC Package store for more goodies! Now we have all the accoutrements for added fun besides hooking up with other Canadians while stuck during our return flights. We hosted the first happy hour and of course, there was way too many treats but we all fought threw it and had a fun time doing it. We also agreed to plan an outing for Thursday, like a city tour etc. Phil & Linda were easy to befriend and we had lots of laughs and a great time. After we devoured the treat trays, we met in the lobby later for dinner.
We needed to add time to our prepaid cell phone so back to the grocery store to purchase a card but they didn’t sell our brand but apparently the 711 a few blocks away did. The clerk was not sure exactly where it was but a lady in line behind us was and she gave us directions. Off we go, walking to the directions she gave us and it was cold! After about 30 minutes of trudging through some snow and ice, we start to think she was somewhat mistaken! We turn around and stop at a couple of gas bars along the return trip but no success. We ended up back at the hotel, cold and empty handed and a cell phone with very few available minutes on it!
Thursday, we met Phil & Linda in the lobby and were off to our city tour of Washington, DC. We saw many of the high lights of DC, The FDR Memorial, MLK Memorial, Lincoln, WWII Memorial, Korean Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, the National Mall, the Capitol Building and of course, the White House. We were on a double decker bus with a blind lady with her service dog and no one else! Wow, talk about personal attention by the bus driver, it was great! The four of us were seated across the top level in the first row of seats, what a great view. The only thing that could have improved our day was some warmer weather!
The FDR Memorial was most moving. His quotations etched in marble can still ring true today but of course, today’s politicians have their own ideas. The next was the Korean War Memorial. The statues and the pictures in the marble wall were breath taking. The statues were so life like to the looks on the men’s faces as they wade through a field. It was another incredible scene. The last one was the Vietnam Memorial. The wall of names really does cause one to stop, pause a minute and first pay your respects and then consider what lays in front of you.
Our bus took us right back to the door of the hotel. It was Phil & Linda’s happy hour this evening. After, we couldn’t decide on where to go for dinner but Phil noticed the hotel dinning room was offering half price wings! That didn’t tickle Barb & Linda fancy but we were sure there would be something on the menu they would like – what could be better for the guys? Touring most of the day and then cold beer and good wings! After dinner, we said our goodbyes as they were off very early in the morning and we would not see them but we did agree to get together when we all got back to Alabama. Our plane departed at 1PM and we arrived in Pensacola at 5PM.
Our next challenge will be Jim’s funeral but for now we are ‘home’ and we have some down time before we drive up to Jasper, GA. Hope all is good where you are and come back again…..