Zebulon Montgomery Pike Trail to Red River, Mexico Journey 1807

Day 1: September 28th, 2003 Munich — Pittsburgh

This year everything was chaotic. I was not able to start my original planned trail at the time, when I planned to do it. Due to the project situation at my company, my boss canceled my vacation. So I had to prepare a new trail within a couple of weeks where I usually need a couple months. But somehow I made it and now I start the second part of the Zebulon Montgomery Pike Trail. Hopefully I am able to do the first part next year. All in all it feels like starting to “read a book from the middle”. But at least better than no vacation.

As I was forced to book my flight short notice, I was not able to get a flight from Munich to Chicago directly. Therefore I have to fly via Frankfort. In return I am able to leave from the newly build airport terminal in Munich. The first thing, I encounter as very positive is, that you don’t have to pay for short term parking! Let’s see how long it will stay that way…

The plane departs for Frankfort on time at 6:55am. Also the arrival at Frankfort is on time at 8am. When I did the booking, I took one plane earlier as necessary, because I didn’t knew how long security at Frankfort will take. After all you have to undergo the same security procedure as in Munich — with the only difference that the controls in Frankfort are now much tighter than in the past!

But after the almost usual deep verification of my stuff and the usual check for explosives, I also made it through this obstacle. Then I can walk over to my departure gate. Boarding is also here on time. Also I was able to get my window seat. Now it’s time to put in a roll in my camera. You never know if security wants to take a test picture. And before I have a picture, which no one wants…

The plane is completely booked. But even then they start their engines on time. But this was also the last thing that happened on time. We taxi to our departure runway, but were then put on a waiting position due to high traffic in the sky. We have to wait for almost three quarters of an hour before we eventually are allowed to depart. But our pilot is positive that we are able to gain the lost time. Let’s see…

The flight itself is without any issues. Also the movies are really good. First they show “Bruce Almighty”, where I have already seen promising trailers in Germany. Then they show the new Disney production “The Lizzy McGuire Movie”.

Unfortunately the dinner was a disaster. When the trolley arrives at my place, they are already out of chicken. There is only beef left. Enforced I take beef, but it is so chewy and inedible, that I only eat the vegetables.

Eventually we arrive on time in Chicago. But again our gate is blocked and we have to wait for almost half an hour. Finally we are on our terminal. Lucky me that I kept enough time in between to my departure for Pittsburgh. So I can leave the plane relaxed and have enough time for immigration.

But this year they have improved the queuing. Instead of picking an officer and wait in that line, there is now one queue, where you will be distributed to the officers. The questions are this year more intense, especially with all my USA immigration stamps. Additionally I have one immigration stamp from Australia, where I had been on a business trip for my company this year in spring. But after a bunch of questions I also made this and I can walk over to the baggage claim.

Because it took so long for me to leave the plane, my luggage is already on the baggage carousal and I only have to pick it up. But then the next shock: There is a long line at customs. Behind me is a guy whose flight leaves within a couple of minutes. I offer him to step in front. But he declines thankfully. There will be no chance for him to catch this flight anyways.

The same would have happened to me if I would have trusted my booking agent. But so I can take the custom officers piercing glance. Then I made it and can take me suitcase to the next baggage registration.

There is the next surprise: In the past you just put your suitcase on the carousal and that’s it. Now there is another security check. But you don’t have to wait for it and you can just drop your suitcase. The officer only telly you, that you shall not lock your suitcase — which he demonstrates impressively by cutting a lock with a big bolt cutter.

I assure him (still the big bolt cutter in my memory), that my suitcase is not locked. Then I start to walk over to my departure gate with my carry on. The little train takes me to my next departure terminal. There is the next procedure with security. This time they also added a special shoe checking.

There is a box, where you put your shoes on. If it beeps, there is too much metal in your shoes and you have to put in on the X–ray belt. So I put all my metal parts on the belt and walk through the metal detector. But even then the detector starts to beep — either because of my buckle or the rivets in my jeans.

So I have to step into a special rectangle and must wait until one of the security guys eventually shows up. Then he orders like a military sergeant: Sit down on the chair! Lift your legs! Stand up! Spread your arms! — the only thing that is missing is, that he takes out some handcuffs…

After this very unfriendly treatment the usual search of my carry on starts — this time also very thoroughly. He takes almost everything out of my bags. Then he tries to get everything back in my bags again. But he acts so unhandy that I almost offer my help begging…

He grumpy moves my stuff over and leaves. After a couple of minutes I have everything in order in my bag and I can walk over to my departure gate. I am really happy that I extended my waiting time at the airports for one plane. This gives me the chance to walk over very relaxed to the departure gate for my Pittsburgh flight.

This flight also leaves on time at a quarter to four and without any additional waiting. The arrival in Pittsburgh is also on time at a quarter past six. I take the train to the main building as usual. There I am even able to receive my luggage — which saves me the additional stop at the “Lost Baggage Claim” office.

I take out my phone card and call Helen. But somehow the call is taken, but I can hear nothing. So I give it another try. But now there are too less minutes on my card. Hopefully I have enough quarters. But they are enough and on my second try I have her on the line.

She wants to be at the airport within 20 minutes. I wait the first 15 minutes inside the building, because it is already pretty chilly outside. Then I walk outside and sit down on the bank. But it takes another 15 minutes until she arrives.

A little bit chilled through I enter her truck and we depart. On the way to her home we stop to buy some coffee for me in the morning. Back home I get the same room as last year. After I put all my stuff in the room we sit down to watch a little bit TV. Around ten I go tired to bed.

  • Sights
  • General
  • Breakfast: Home
  • Dinner: Plane
  • Motel: Home
  • Distance: —