Lewis and Clark Trail Back Home 1805 — 1806

Day 1: August 12th, 2001 Munich — Pittsburgh

This time will probably the last time where I can use the benefits of my Lufthansa Silver Card Status. It will expire on February 2002 and I doubt that I will be able to collect enough miles. But for now I can pass the long line at the Economy Check–In and use the Business Class counter. This saves me at least an hour.

Security takes a little bit longer. I have a self built charging unit for a second car battery with me. This looks very suspicious to the security guys. But after a check for explosives I am ready to go.

Now I can relax at the lounge. I have my book about the Lewis & Clark Trail with me, which I bought two years ago at St. Louis. This books helps me to step back in time again.

My flight leaves at 11:20 exactly on time. This time I have a window seat. But I didn’t use my camera during take off this time. I already have a bunch of take offs and landings on tape now. Only when we pass Greenland I take some footage from the ice covered glaciers.

At 2pm local time I arrive in Chicago. Next stop is the immigration. But this time they only ask a reasonable amount of questions before I am allowed to proceed. After immigration its time to pick up the suitcase. Then I have to proceed through customs. This time the officer even checks what is written on the form.

Next stop is the baggage drop off for the connecting flights. But the conveyor is broken and the suitcases have to be put in front. The airport guys tell me that they will take care about everything but with my bad experiences in the past I am not really positive. Lucky me I have the most important stuff in my carry–on. I walk on to the departing terminal.

This time my plane leaves from the usual United Terminal. Now I am more optimistic to receive my suitcase in Pittsburgh. Also I have plenty of time until my plane leaves. Maybe this time my luggage is in the same plane as I am in…

My plane departs around 5pm in Chicago. I also have a window seat during this short flight. I am thinking of my friends in Pittsburgh and if everything will work out with my car.

I arrive around 8pm in Pittsburgh. I pick up my suitcase from the baggage carousal (this time not lost in Chicago!). Next I look for a public phone to call my friend Helen. I am really lucky that she is already back home. She was on a business trip and I was not able to exchange e–mails to check if everything works out.

She arrives half an hour later. We drive to David, her son. I can stay in his house for the next couple of days. We have a nice talk until half past ten. Then I go to bed. Tomorrow Helen and I want to pick up my car from the mechanic — at least this is the plan…