Saturday, March 14, 2009

Planes, Trains, Boats and Buses

I am home from the cruise. I hope to post pictures and share funny stories later but for now, let's talk about transportation. Today I was on a boat, a motorcoach, a plane, a bus, a train, and another bus. I also made a lot of friends today. I felt very much like my sister, Amy, who knows no strangers.

While the rest of Travel Troupe (plus four) drove home from the cruise, I had tickets to fly home so that I would not miss tonight's Book Club Reunion Slumber Party.

My day of transportational adventure started this morning traveling on the boat back into LA. I got off the boat at 8:25 am with no hassles. Of course, I had no luggage, which helped! My stellar husband and my stellar friends got to deal with bringing home all my luggage.

The cruise line provides motorcoach transfers to LAX, so I hopped on board the Southwest bus and sat next to an elderly lady traveling alone...Friend #1. She wasn't really alone - she had been on the cruise with 2 friends and a cousin but they were flying home to different cities so she was only alone for this portion of her vacation. She spent the half hour drive to the airport telling me about how she tripped over a doorway on the cruise ship and cut open her skull and almost broke both legs. She could barely walk and had arranged for a wheelchair at LAX. Poor lady. I also heard about the Saint Bernard and the Collie she used to own many years ago.

We arrived at LAX at 9:28. I printed my boarding pass, zipped through security and decided to check to see if there were any earlier flights to PHX than my scheduled 11:25 flight. Even before I got to the monitors to check the flights, the very first gate I passed said PHX - 9:40 - Now Boarding. I got into line, upgraded my ticket and got a new boarding pass and got on the plane. I was at LAX for a total of 12 minutes, start to finish. Sweet. I made no friends on the plane, which was also sweet.

I've been wanting to see if the light rail would be a viable option for airport transportation, so I planned on taking the light rail home as an experiment. The light rail doesn't go directly to the airport - they are linked by a bus shuttle service. I waited for the shuttle bus for all of 2 minutes. Sweet. The bus ride was quick, too. I met two guys who were not from Phoenix and were trying out the light rail. I helped them buy their tickets. I sent Friend #2 to Tempe, because he was looking for something to do during his 6 hour layover. The other guy, Friend #3, was going in my direction. He was from San Francisco and was here in Phoenix for a Dental Educators convention. He told me that he would help me use the BART the next time I was in San Fran.

My lucky transportation day continued - we only waited for 2 minutes for the train. Sweet! Friend #3 and I did not get seats together on the train, but were separated by a girl going to the Irish Faire downtown. I was wearing a bright green shirt, so she assumed I was going there, too. Friend #4! She's from Mesa and was taking the light rail for the first time. The three of us chatted during the ride. Friend #4 went to the University of Illinois and graduated the same year as me. Small world.

Friend #3 and Friend #4 got off the light rail downtown, while I continued to the end of the line. I like the light rail, I really do, but good god is that thing SLOW! I thought I would never reach Christown! The longer it took, the less my sense of adventure was keeping me entertained.

Finally, I did reach the end and this is where my transportation luck and my penchant for making friends ran out. After getting off the train, I had to wait 14 minutes for a bus. I was getting very antsy as this expedition was taking so very long and I just wanted to get home to see my puppies. The bus finally came and then proceeded to stop at every major stop, every minor stop and a few made-up stops causing the three mile journey to take more than 20 minutes!

Total travel time from the Phoenix airport to my house was 1 hour and 35 minutes. I have learned that the light rail will never be my preferred means of airport transportation! I'd rather pay the $30 for a cab and get there in 20 minutes!

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