Zebulon Montgomery Pike Trail to Red River, Arkansas Journey 1806 — 1807
Day 1: August 15th, 2004 Munich — Pittsburgh
This year the public holiday is on a Saturday, so I have to take the whole 30 days of vacation that I have. But as kind of compensation my flight departs at 11:15am, which makes it much more comfortable than the 7am departures over the past years.
As usual things are getting very thoroughly at the security for me — and all of this two times. Once the regular checking, if you walk to your gate and then another check, when you go to the USA departure gates. Additionally they also check your passport again and the borading pass. But at the end, I managed to pass all checkings and I arrive at the waiting area.
Because I am arriving pretty early, there is plenty of seating space available. The boarding later is like always German chaotic. Why can’t they do boarding according to a seating area, like in the US?
Eventually I reach my seat. On time at a quarter past eleven the plane departs. The movie selection is not bad with Shrek 2. Only the country channel is still missing on the audio selection…
My neighbor in the plane is a biology student from southern Ilinois. She was in Bulgaria for two months and will be awaited from her boy friend and family in Chicago. Then she still has to travel for 4 hours by car. But it’s not really better for me. Due to the numerous changes of my flight to Pittsburgh, I have now more than 4 hours of waiting in Chicago.
We arrive at Chicago with only little delay. First I have to pass the immigration. After all these horrible stories I have heard so far I am really curious to see how it goes this year. All in all they improved ligning up. In the past you had several lines to wait for one officer. Now you have one line, that will be distributed to all the officers. So things are really going fast despite a long waiting line.
My officer is extremely friendly. He also takes no pictures or finger prints. This usually only happens for people, who arrive with a real Visa. So I only have to answer the usual questions about my stay before I can proceed. At the luggage claim I meet my neighbor from the plane again. She is also currently looking for her suitcase. Finally I have my suitacse and proceed to customs. This time there is no long waiting line and after a quick look at my papers I am allowed to proceed.
Behind the exit door an employee is mumbling something I don’t really udnerstand. But as I know what I have to do, I just walk on. When I try to reach the wrong door she says more understandable that I should take the left door. Then I realize why: Both of the middle doors would lead to the outside. In that case you have to walk around the barrier until you reach the point, where you can drop your luggage for the domestic flight.
Then I proceed to the train. On my way I run into my neighbor for the last time, who already found her friend and family. I take the train to the next terminal and search for my connecting flight. As this one leaves around half past six but it is still around three, my flight is not at the monitor yet. But I have a rough idea where the flight will depart and I proceed to the security.
Also they do a thoroughly checking here together with an explosive test. After I have packed everything back together, I proceed to my guessed gate, where already a plane to Pittsburgh departs. Unfortunately the next plane is not the expected flight. Therefore I have to change gates after a long waiting again to reach the correct gate.
Eventually I depart for Pittsburgh and around nine the plane lands. This time I call Helen before I receive my luggage. This will shorten my waiting time. Around a quarter to ten she eventually arrives. She waited more than 15 minutes in a traffic jam right before the departure terminal. She has no clue, why things are so busy today. At a quarter to eleven we finally are back home. My usual bedroom is already prepared. As it is now very late and she also has to leave very early tomorrow morning, we go to bed around eleven.
- Breakfast: Home
- Dinner: Plane
- Motel: Home
- Distance: —