The Metropolitan Cathedral in Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 5, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

We made it, but it wasn't a smooth trip!

We left Rancho Altarose at about 11:40am, only ten minutes later than planned. Kenny, the full time RV resident there, had agreed to drive us and our bags the couple of minutes to town.

We got there just as the bus did! Great timing. However, it was the last time that day that our timing would be great...

It took about an hour to get to the Puerto Vallarta airport on the local bus. We knew the route, so we were pretty sure that we would arrive with time to spare, and we did.

Puerto Vallarta airport.

It was funny, we could see our two Heys e17Roller backpacks from the terminal. At least we knew they were loaded onto the plane!

And we had extra time to spare, because our flight was late leaving by a half an hour or so. No worries, we had about two and a half hours of time in Houston to make our connection. Or so we thought.

Arrived in Houston at 5:45pm. Our connecting flight was scheduled to depart at 7:53pm. Lots of time, right? Wrong.

We get off the plane and make our way to immigration. We turn the corner into a giant hall that has about 1,000 people (literally) snaking their way very slowly along the line. Very slowly.

Why is it going so slow? Because even though there are about 30 stations where you could do your interview with the border guard, only three or four of them are manned.

It took us two hours to make our way through the line! Idiots. We've done a lot of traveling, but we've never seen such a circus as the one we saw at Houston International. What a complete joke.

Fortunately, we had a really nice couple from England in front of us to talk to. They were passing through the United States for the first time ever, on their way to Costa Rica for a holiday. Great welcome for them, huh?

I'm sorry, but there was no excuse for this kind of stupidity. I am seriously going to write a letter to somebody. It took us longer to get through that line than it did to fly from Puerto Vallarta to there! Worse, our border control guy told us that it's like this all the time, and sometimes worse. Amazing.

So, of course by the time we collected our bags and then went through customs and made our way to the gate...it was 8:12pm and our United connecting flight had departed on time at 7:53!

So, we found out that the next flight to Chicago was scheduled for 9:15pm. No problem, that would work just fine, provided we could get on it. Our Chicago to Ottawa flight wasn't until 6:30am, so the later flight to Chicago was okay.

But, the flight was full. And due to other people also missing connections, there were five people in front of us on the standby list.

But, we waited. The plane was late arriving, and then there was a minor mechanical issue. After several delays, the 9:15pm departure became 10:30pm! Finally, they boarded the flight and all of the standby people gathered around the gate. The lady called out a couple of names and two people were allowed to board. Then, she called out another name, but it was a lady with two children, and we heard them say it was only a single seat left. The next name was called, and a single guy was allowed to board. Then we heard they were going to count the empty seats, and they came back and called our name, but they said there was only one seat.

They asked if only one of us wanted to go, but there was no point to that. So they called a single girl, and she got on the plane.

Then, another lady came back and said they found another seat. Wait a minute, that means there would have been room for two of us! Sure enough, they went back on the plane and dragged that one single back off the plane! She was pissed, and I din't blame her, but they made a mistake putting her on the plane to begin with. They issued Ruth and I boarding passes, and off we went! We couldn't sit together, but we were just happy to be on that plane!

Had we not made that flight, the next one wasn't until 6:00am, and then we would have also missed our Ottawa flight and wouldn't have arrived until mid afternoon. That wouldn't have been an issue, except that we're meeting our daughter and grandkids at Ottawa airport, and we already had transportation arranged for the group of us.

Anyhow, we arrived in Chicago at 1:00am. We had a five hour wait to board our Ottawa flight. Tried to sleep, but Ruth ended up reading, and I wrote some of this blog post...while everything was still fresh in my mind. Actually, I wasn't feeling all that fresh at the time!

Chicago's O'Hare Airport is huge!

Our Ottawa flight left right on time. We arrived a few minutes early, and made it through Canadian customs in record speed. In fact, in the relatively tiny Ottawa airport, they had a total of 5 immigration booths, and three of them were manned in order to process the 35 or so people from our plane!

Our daughter Lindsey and grandkids Cameron and Sadie arrived from on their flight from Nova Scotia a few minutes later, and Ruth's Dad was waiting outside with a minivan to pick us up.

Happy to see Cameron, age 3!

And Sadie, 7 1/2 months.

Big family gatherings this Easter long weekend. First time that we'll be together with both our kids Lindsey and Alex since September 2011!



31 comments:

  1. Wow. Epic journey. Enjoy your time with everyone this weekend. After the journey I should think you are going to need a beer and a rest!!

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    1. I think this day was one of our least favourite traveling days! It was still too early in the day for a beer but coffee and tea were needed!

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  2. At least you finally made back for the family get together, even with all the issues.

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    1. Luckily it did turn our well but is was a very frustrating for a while. Seeing Lindsey, Cameron and Sadie at the airport made it all worthwhile.

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  3. Thankfully the two times we went through Houston (this was to and from Puerto Rico), we had already gone through customs first at Toronto, and then in P.R. Just the same, we never traveled that particular way again, as I wasn't overly thrilled with the airport at all.
    Surprisingly, the last time we came back to Canada, there were so many check points open that we didn't even have a chance to stop walking through the "snake your way up to the front" part of the deal. I wasn't completely ready, as I had tucked my passport into my pocket along with our declaration.
    I tend to think it's whatever Monkey happens to do the scheduling that tends to mess things up. It's as if, even though they're working at an airport, the idea of being prepared for passengers coming off of AIRPLANES comes as a complete surprise.

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    1. I think that we were able to that in Halifax as well last year on our way to NYC, it sure made the process much quicker.

      I think they need a special section that will take connecting passengers though that is separate from the regular passengers so that they are able to get to their connecting flights at these busy airports.

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  4. Enjoy your family time, and welcome home, eh!

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    1. Thank you Dianne, we will enjoy our family time!

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  5. Seeing those beautiful big eyes of those Grand-kiddos .... Waiting in line should really be a minor inconvenience. Enjoy and cherish the time (I know you will!!!)

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    1. We mind standing in line but it was having missed our flight that would in turn have made us miss our next one that was the inconvenience and than that would have been a huge inconvenience to our daughter and the grandchildren and my Dad having to wait around another 5 hours for us to arrive. Luckily we were able to get on that one flight by going standby, so happy that we were able to get on it.

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  6. Ah yes, the joy of International travel. You probably could have gotten into the U.S. faster if you had just jumped the border fence. I've had this kind of fun in other countries, too. Must be some kind of Immigration Services International conspiracy!

    At least the reward of seeing your adorable grandkids at the end of your travels was worth it all! :c)

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    1. I think this was didn't our worst time with Immigration Services for any country we have ever entered.

      It was definitely worth it all seeing Lindsey and the grandchildren, just glad it all worked out in our favour.

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  7. You're right! There's no excuse for what Houston airport put you through. They must cause people to miss their flights all the time. I guess your bags made it okay. Funny how that happens!

    Enjoy the time with your family. What fun!

    Grace (in Tucson)

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    1. They sure do cause a lot of people to miss their flights and it seems that isn't a big deal for them. The lady we spoke with at the check-in counter made us think that it happens all the time. Yes, our bags made it through fine but on the same flight as the one we went on because they missed the original flight too as they had to go through customs with us.

      We will enjoy our time with the family for sure.

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  8. I agree - there is no excuse for that mess at Houston. Thank goodness the family time at the end of the journey will help you forget that misery.

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    1. It certainly will Jim and Sandie, thank you!

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  9. How easily we forget the inconveniences of flying. All those times we were diverted to another city because of weather and flights delayed or cancelled due to mechanical problems. Norma and I have no fear of flying but we flew so much when we both worked that we have no desire to do it any more. Same with eating in restaurants. We did that way too much when we worked. Give me travel in the motorhome any day and a home made meal.

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    1. Sorry Croft - had to laugh at that one. Guess that wasn't you guys out at restaurants during the winter! LOL

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    2. We have no problems with being diverted to other cities or flights being cancelled because of weather as this is something that they can't control but by not putting on more staff when and where it is needed seems to us very poor planning on their part.

      Have to concur with Teresa on the restaurant part this winter, lol!

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  10. Replies
    1. We will thank you Kenny and Angela!

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  11. The last time thru Huston there were 4 jumbo jets arriving the same time with just the same amount of lines open. It took me 2-3 hrs also to get thru I tey to avoid that airport from now on. Have a great visit and see you soon Wendy

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    1. We will try to avoid this airport as well and if we can't then we will make sure that there is way more time between the connecting flight. Live and learn!

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  12. Love those grandbabies - they are adorable - enjoy your family time - Happy Easter to All!!!!!!
    Connie & Barry in PA

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    1. Thank you Connie and Barry, we will have a wonderful time, and hope that you enjoy your Easter with our family too.

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  13. Welcome to the USA, I am glad you got out on time. Homeland Security is so inept, we live here and dread coming home.

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    1. We accept this a part of the travel experience but this was when beyond what should be expected.

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  14. I am with Croft. Flying today is the pits. Much prefer to travel in the motorhome and enjoy a home cooked meal. Enjoy Easter with your family.

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    1. We really don't have a problem with flying but have to admit that we love our motorhome.

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  15. Yep, of all my work travels the U.S. is the pits. And don't dare say anything, you'll be jerked out of line and interrogated. I think the U.S. has the strangest airport rules and regs and their flying record stinks. Besides, they're looking in the wrong place anyway.

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    1. You said it, the States definitely seems to be one of the most time consuming borders to go through at least so far in our experiences.

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