Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Walking To Ohio

We had a fairly uneventful one questioned our carry-on bag of meat or the baggies of spices Amy stashed in our luggage.

We flew from Austin to Minneapolis, being as this is the most inconvenient route conceivable to get to Ohio and therefore makes sense to the airline industry. From there we took a 50-seat jet to Cincinnati...although the airport is actually in Kentucky - again if you let logic creep into your thoughts you're going to strain something so go with it.

Amy and I had the last seats in the tiny jet next to the one and only bathroom. It was an hour-and-a-half flight, and I swear at least 30 people - Amy thinks it was everyone except the pilot - used the restroom during that time. After a while, we started wondering if there was something we should have known about the Minneapolis/St.Paul airport before we left, like everyone who used the numerous and spacious bathrooms there came down with Ebola. I have never seen so many people use a restroom on an aircraft. It gave new meaning to the term "non-stop flight."

They did take away our meat on the puddle jumper... not because it was meat, but because all carry-on luggage over the size of a cracker jack box was being checked due to the aircraft's diminutive size. Presumably, if they had allowed room on the plane for carry-on luggage, they would have had to sacrifice something else, like the restroom, and believe me that might have had catastrophic consequences.

Upon arriving in Cincinnati, we deplaned directly onto the tarmac. It was like a scene out of Casablanca except there was a carry-on bag full of meat waiting for us which would be hard to incorporate into any movie plot that didn't include members of the Donner party.

Then our real journey began.

I'm under the impression the Cincinnati airport is in Kentucky but it could actually be in Indiana or Oklahoma.

We left the tarmac and entered the terminal building whereupon we walked about 2 miles to reach a moving sidewalk. That allowed us to walk and glide for another few miles all the way following signs promising "baggage claim area ahead." Then the moving sidewalks disappeared and we started hoofing it again thinking it couldn't be much further...we were wrong...apparently that's simply where they ran out of moving sidewalk. After a mile or two, we finally reached the end of the line...or at least that terminal building. The baggage claim area was no where in sight. Instead we found what appeared to be a bus terminal.

I'm not kidding.

There was a woman standing there directing us to board a bus which then took us across miles and miles of concrete to yet another building. I'm not sure if we went through any time zones along the way, although I'm certain we didn't leave the continental United States since no one asked for a passport.

Upon exiting the bus, we were greeted by a sign reading "baggage claim area ahead."

And so we walked...then there were stairs...then an escalator...then another mile or two of corridors and an occasional sign reading "baggage claim area ahead." I became convinced these signs were strategically placed along the way after consultation with members of the psychiatric community at spots where it was deemed folks were most likely to simply give up and either pitch camp, start homesteading or commit suicide.

Some 30 minutes after we exited our plane, we finally reached "baggage claim"- I now have an idea of what the feeling will be when I reach the actual "promised land."

The only thing I could think of was, "Man, if I had known we were going to have to hike 32 miles I would have used the restroom on the plane before we left."