Off to a interesting start
We all know how exciting and stressful it can be right before we leave to travel to the port. Well, DW Jane and I were scheduled to fly from Roanoke, VA to Orlando, FL with a short layover in Charlotte, NC. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 5:30 am Friday 5/14 and arrive in Orlando at 9:20 am. Then we were going to pick up our rental car from Budget and drive over to Cape Canaveral in time to see the space shuttle Atlantis lift off on her final voyage to space.
Well, being the obsessive guy that I am, I logged onto the Roanoke Airport website at around 11:00 pm Thursday evening to check on our flight status from Roanoke to Charlotte. Imagine my feeling of panic as I saw the word CANCELED listed by our flight number. No call or email from US Airways, nothing! I immediately called the airline and spent the next 40 minutes with an agent trying to find an alternate flight that would get us to Orlando in time to see the space shuttle lift off. After checking with all of the airlines serving Roanoke, the best we could do would have us arriving in FL late Friday night instead of Friday morning. At this point, I was a basket case, and summoned up the resolve to go and tell Jane the bad news. As she looked at me in disbelief, she said in a determined tone "Go lay down for a bit while I finish up, you are going to drive us to Charlotte to catch the connecting flight!" Now why didn't I think of that...probably because I was in shock at this point. And I certainly wasn't going to be able to go to sleep.
So...at 2:30 am with a cup of coffee in hand, we pulled out of our driveway and begin a 3-1/2 hour drive to the Charlotte Airport. The drive was not bad, as there was very little traffic at that time of night. We arrived at the check in counter at 5:50 am with luggage in tow and tongues hanging out. As we were checking in, the agent informed us that we had been upgraded to first class and that there would be no baggage fees. Oh yeah...things were finally starting to look up!
Our flight left on time and we arrived in Orlando with our canceled flight a distant memory. We deplaned, got our luggage, picked up our rental car and left the airport. It was a beautiful morning, and we merged onto Highway 528 towards Cape Canaveral with a song in our heart, and brimming with anticipation! We had driven about a mile when traffic just stopped. I mentioned to Jane "Must be an accident ahead or something", she replied "Or it could be everyone going over to see the launch of the space shuttle". Oh right...the shuttle launch. So, we spent the next 2-1/2 hours in stop and go traffic inching our way over to the coast. At this point, I was down to my last nerve, and someone was stomping on it!
We finally got to Cape Canaveral at around 1:00 pm, and stopped for lunch at Zachary's. We had eaten there before, and loved their lunch menu. Also, it was right next door to the Radisson at the Port where we would be staying Friday night. After lunch, we checked in around 2:00 pm and got set up in our hotel room. We then joined several others in front of the hotel to watch the Atlantis lift off for the last time. It was an awe inspiring sight as we viewed the bright trail of flames and the vapor trail that was created as it climbed through the sky!
Later that evening, we had dinner at the Flamingo Restaurant at the hotel (which was very good, by the way). At 8:00 pm, we had our first planned get together with our roll call group from Cruise Critic. We were able to meet many of the people who would become our friends as the week progressed. However, after about 30 minutes, my body hit the wall and I had to go to our room to get some rest. I then realized that I had been without sleep for over 36 hours! We said goodnight and closed out what was a very exciting and tiring travel day.
to be continued...
Link to my Dream 5/15/10 review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1208732
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