Planes, Trains and Pterodactyls

We arrived home from the Western Writer’s convention in one piece, but totally exhausted. Our exhaustion, however, had little to do with the convention, which was well organized and well-run. The authors in attendance were gracious and willing to help folks who were looking for the room they were supposed to be in, or simply had a question on their mind. Our confusion and exhaustion came from simply trying to get to Loveland, Colorado. Let me explain.

Judy had made our reservations with both the WWA and the hotel with plenty of time to spare. We discovered our plane would be landing at Denver, so she reserved a shuttle from Denver to Loveland, which is 40 miles away. We were supposed to arrive at the hotel around 2:00 in the afternoon. Plenty of time for checking in and wandering around shaking hands and meeting folks. Well, somewhere between Oakdale and Sacramento we entered the Twilight Zone. We got an email informing us our flight had been cancelled. Not a good sign to start a journey. Then we got another email saying our backup flight had been cancelled, but they were trying to place us on another plane. We arrived at the terminal and Judy tried to check our suitcase at the counter. She was told it was too early to check our luggage and we would have to come back later.

Judy emailed the shuttle service and told them our predicament. They were sympathetic, but told us told us it didn’t matter too much, since they wouldn’t be running another airport shuttle until the next day. No, we couldn't get Uber, and didn't want to rent a car for four days in order to go 40 miles one way.

About then rumors were going around that the Southwest computer had been hacked, and someone was playing with the flight reservations. There was also a hint of them demanding a sizeable payment. It made me wonder why no one’s ever discovered someone doing something like this and beaten the pee out of them, but that’s another story.

Southwest placed us on a brand new plane (seriously) and we arrived in Denver in one piece. We were then packed into a tram that shot us across the airport like a bullet then slammed on the brakes to stop. Those that survived collected their luggage and began a four-hour wait. The baggage department at the Denver airport really isn’t passenger friendly, and wasn’t designed to be. Collect your luggage and be on your way. That’s good advice, unless you have no way of leaving. People of all ages were sleeping on the concrete floor. We spent the next four hours with me trying to sleep sitting in an upright position, and Judy futzing around trying to find a way of getting us out of there.

  The shuttle, when it did arrive at 4:40 a.m, looked like an ark of safety when it parked at the curb. Judy and I were somehow the first ones on board. I felt like giving the driver a hug when he parked in front of the hotel, but settled for a handshake and a tip. The sun was rising as we checked into our room. We ordered scrambled eggs, bacon and hot coffee before crashing on the bed.

We joined the convention the following day and enjoyed every minute. That’s where we learned from one of the attending publishers that we are doing exactly what we should be doing to sell books and need to do more. We also discovered from John Boggs that Pterodactyls are still alive and well in parts of America. (The man could make a good living as a comedian.) The only question is, would we do it all again? Yes, with a few changes like driving, I believe so.


God bless


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