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Greg Bailey's Travel Adventure

by wcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on November 2, 2009 at 6:11 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 1 at 6:11 PM

Greg Bailey


NewsChannel 36 Sports Director

Had to share. Just had to. Flew back into Charlotte from a trip on Sunday night. Nice flight on US Air with an "almost on time" landing; an empty window seat in the row in front of us so the big boy in my row's middle seat moves up and now we're living; bags on the carousel almost as soon as I got downstairs. Sweet! My bag was the third one out, and I was sure that I was sailing. Only one problem.

The bus to the Remote Lot doesn't appear with the others. (I would have parked in Long Term but all of those lots were full/closed when I took off.) 5 minutes, then 10. Lean over and ask the two nice girls, "Have you seen the bus to the Remote Lot?" "No, and we've been waiting for 20 minutes." Bad sign.

Ten more minutes to get to a total of 20 or 25 so I roll to the Long Term bus driver and say, "The Remote Bus doesn't seem to be running. Can you take me to that lot?" "No." Nothing more than that -- just "no." Decision time. Wait until it gets darker and hotter and more humid on the sidewalk or grab the Smart Cart and start hiking? A quick swipe of my credit card later the adventure begins.

My planning for the Grand Airport Expedition of '09 consisted of a quick look at the map of all the parking lots at Charlotte Douglas Airport. Did they post that on the column outside because the Remote Bus takes nights off? It can't be that far, can it? "Maybe" but I tell myself that this is decisive action. I'm a man and I'm single so this has to be good. Decisive.

I cruise through the hourly parking lot with this thought -- there are better places to dodge traffic. Apparently when we drive in the airport we're thinking about our trip. Or our flight. Or what we have to do when we get home. And besides, where did I put that parking ticket? It doesn't really matter that I can't see as I dig beneath the seat because it is just a parking lot. I'd rant and rave a little, but I realize I'm a member of the "attention is optional airport crew", too.

Same song for the daily lot. Dodge a few cars and look for an opening after hauling the Smart Cart up five or six steps. Now we're out in the open before rolling back into another garage. I'm rolling and I'm picking up speed for the next 10-minute segment. Sweating now but rolling. Back of the garage and our first sign of trouble. Concrete wall. Look for an opening before realizing that the only way out is the road cars take to go home.

Swing left to the spot where the wall drops to about three feet and say out loud, "I ain't stopping now." Decisive and defiant. Great combination, single man. Throw the 2 bags over the wall and climb. Over the wall with only a two lane road between me and the cell phone lot. "I can make it, bags and all." 2 Long Term buses and a cab sail by to taunt me and threaten me all at once. Pause. Now go!

Take a dozen steps before realizing that my great cardio workout isn't so great after all. Now drenched in sweat and telling myself my ex-girlfriend would have talked me out of this, and she would have been right. Don't go there. Do not go there. Hike some more before the ultimate adventure extender -- the bag switch. Now the heavy hanging bag is in the left hand. Smaller bag in the right. Benefit lasts for 4 seconds.

Remote Lot in sight. Only a half mile to go. Where did I park again? Got it! Close to car with sweet relief in sight. Sling the bags in the trunk and declare "Decisive!"

Find ticket before I start car. Darn it, I'm good! Roll to pay at the booth. Just as the arm goes up to signal my return to home and comfort and an end to heavy sweating, what do I look up to see? The Long Term bus. Guess he comes to the Remote Lot after all.

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