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Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Trip to Alabama--Getting there!

Let me preface this by saying *Please note: It has been at least 7 years since I've left the Utah/Idaho area. You will notice signs of a severe rookie during this post. You will also notice that I took a lot of pictures. Please refer back to the first sentence in this note.*

Now, let's begin!!

Due to the fact that life likes to throw completely random/difficult curveballs at you all of the time, my Aunt decided to pick up everything in Alabama, and move 30 hours NW. Finally back home!! She flew out there to pack things up, and prepare for the 30 hour drive back. No one wants to/can drive 30 hours by themselves, so that's where I come into play on this "vacation".

Deciding which flight to take was an easy call for me. I could leave Monday December 16th at 8 PM, or I could leave Tuesday morning at 5AM. Easy peasy. I'd take a night flight over a morning flight *anytime!!*

The only issue with this night flight, is that it was a red-eye flight. Meaning that I left at 8PM, and would arrive to my destination at 10:15AM...the next day.

Yeah, I still chose the 14 hour flight.

Whatever. So, I'm not a fan of mornings, and would rather take a 14 hour flight as opposed to taking a 6 hour flight. No biggie.

I knew it would be an adventure, and I was so excited!! Excited mixed with a little bit of stress. It was just a couple of weeks before Christmas, and I needed to shop/wrap still. I worked Monday all day, meaning I had to have my bags (for a week) packed and ready to go on Sunday night. I was out of town with work the week prior, so that left me the weekend to make sure I had everything ready to go! Also, apparently there is a 50 lb bag limit for your luggage, so I was just a little stressed over that as well. PS--It's a good thing Auntie Tammy had the wonderful idea of weighing yourself, and then standing on the scale with the bag. Genius. I would have never thought about doing that!!

Every time I'd talk with the family about the trip/flight, they'd give me advice.

"Make sure you take your stuff with you everywhere you go!!! Even if it's to use the restroom!"

"Find your gate before you explore the airport. DO NOT miss your flight!!!"

"If you get lost, follow the crowd, you will be fine."

And my favorite--from my Grandpa--"Jess, make sure you have quarters. Do you need some quarters? You don't want to go without!" --which reminds me, I forgot to tell my Grandpa that they take debit cards on the plane!! My quarters are no good there ..Technology, crazy..

Turns out, navigating the airports was pretty fun and not hard at all. The fact that I had 3.5 hours per layover really helped the situation, too.

I did get a kick out of my first adventure at the SLC airport though. This time "the crowd" was going in the opposite direction. I totally felt like a rebel.


So..I had it all planned out. I took (too many) some pictures of this guy because I was really worried about having to take my shoes off in security. I was not a fan of being barefoot on a floor that lots of other bare feet were on. Ew.

I had to do it anyway, but I saw this man after and thought I should totally use him as my inspiration, and not freak out about taking my shoes off for a few seconds. I mean, he was rockin no shoes throughout the airport!

Fast forward almost a month later and I'm watching a show with Travis when all of a sudden **I see this man!!! On TV!!! He is famous!!!** Trav said he hasn't worn shoes in over 10 years, and that's his way of life! Crazy. Anyways, he has his own show on TV. It's called Dual Survivor. I guess it makes sense now. During the time I was having a personal photoshoot with him, without his permission...Some lady went ballistic when she saw him saying "Oh my God!! I love your show, can I shake your hand?!"

I guess you could say in a way I met someone famous, and out of all of the states I went was in my home state!! Awesome!


I had *plenty* of (worried family members) time to kill at the SLC airport before my flight left, so I decided to grab some grub in case they didn't offer anything on the plane.

I enjoyed a delicious BK salad!


And then it was time to board the plane!! Remember, it's been a really long time!! I'm sure everyone else could tell, too. I sort of wanted to be one of those people who just sat there on the plane with their head back, resting their eyes, waiting for the flight to be over. Or like the ones who peacefully read with their personal reading light assisting them.

Instead I was the one on the edge of her seat, freaking out a little because she couldn't wait for take-off. I was the one who took a million pictures out the window...even though every single picture looked the same as we were still on the ground. I was the one who took pictures of the mini pretzels because I thought they were the cutest things in the world. I was the rookie..but I loved it!

Oh, and the best part? I sat next to one of those people who were like "Ugh..just another flight. No biggie. I'll just sit here and read." She was cranky, and sort of annoying. Also, this flight was only around 45 minutes long, so the plane was very small (unlike my neighbor lady). It was sort of awkward, but we made due. Didn't say one word to each other. I was also going to note that we didn't even look at each other, but the glare she gave me when the kind lady said "Phones will need to be put away in 5 minutes or so" counted as a look, I suppose.


I worked on Monday, so I started my 14 hour flight out in my work clothes. Ha..bad idea. Well, not horrible bad I guess. I looked good for the first little while (40 minutes), but definitely changed at my first layover in Denver.

My under the plane bag had rollers on the bottom of it, and I thought I was so cool. Next time though, I'll definitely be cooler if my carry on bags (aka--the bags I'm dealing with for 14 hours) have rollers. I can't even explain how much of a pain in the ass it was to cart those things around everywhere!! They were so heavy!!

(You'll see a random picture of a Vegas gate. I seriously considered a quick trip during my layover. That would have been delightful!)


The first layover was around 3 hours and 40 minutes. It was after hours so everything in the Denver airport was closed!!

The airport was crazy huge though, so at first I walked around and took some pictures.

Then I realized that I was *carting* a ton and decided that it was time to get serious and 1--change, 2--sit down!!

I finally found a map, and secretly wished that I'd need to take the train in order to get to my gate.

--My wish came true!!


So, I boarded the train. The train of humiliation is basically what it ended up being.

Because of that fact that I was 1--exhausted 2--excited to take a picture on the train 3--a rookie, I sat on the bench at the veeeerrryyyy back of the train.

..and took a picture. I thought the tracks looked cool.

Pictures from phone 166

So, I took a few more pictures.

Pictures from phone 165

And then I realized I could see my reflection and thought to myself "Self, it'd be super awesome if you could catch a picture of the tracks *and* your reflection. Oh, and it'd be cool if you were like smiling or something in the picture."

Pictures from phone 164

So, I took my advice and took (way too many to admit) a few pictures.

Pictures from phone 163

It was pretty hard to capture a good reflection.

Pictures from phone 162

And then it dawned on me. Just because I was at the back of the train, didn't mean that I was back there by myself. In fact, what it meant was that everyone on the train was staring at the girl who sits by the window of the train and takes pictures of herself the entire time.

I know this is true because when I turned can probably guess what happened.

It was sort of awkward. I simply smiled, and tucked my phone into my coat pocket. Then I was on my way!

Pictures from phone 160

Once I finally found my gate, I had about 2 hours to kill. At this point it wasn't super late, and it was my first layover so I was kind of excited. I found an outlet, and got all comfy. There was a couple about my age who sat pretty close, so we were able to keep each other company for the biggest part of the layover. It actually flew by!

Another lady was sort of escorted to the gate by one of the security guards. She was in a wheel chair so he helped her with her luggage and all of that. It was really nice. I talked to her for awhile too. She was a sweetheart.

About 30 minutes before boarding, someone came around and told us that the gate was switched, and we had to move everything to the new gate. I instantly wondered what the lady was going to do. The man took the wheel chair when he left.

I noticed her grabbing her cane, so I went over and told her I'd grab her bags for her and take them over.

I hadn't even planned on mentioning her, but I noticed that when I took the pictures of the second plane I was in (soooo much nicer and roomier), she was in the pictures!!

If you look closely, she's the lady in the red vest type thingy, with a white shirt under it.

She was such a sweetheart! :)


By the time we boarded the plane taking us to Charlotte, I was tired. It was around 4 in the morning and I hadn't slept yet. This was going to be the longest flight, so I'd planned on sleeping for a couple of hours.

There were three seats accross on this plane, which was so fantastic!! I was at the very back of the plane, and for the first 5 minutes or so of boarding, *no one* sat down next to me. I was so hoping that I'd have all three seats to myself so I could really get some sleep. Plus my first experience with a neighbor wasn't the greatest.

And then the very last person got on the plane, and his seat was the aisle seat of the three. We had an open seat in between us, so that ended up working out really well. He was about my age, too. A lot better fact, I didn't sleep at all on that flight. He ordered some pringles, and I ordered some lightly salted almonds, and we talked the entire time. He was from Colorado, and taught guitar. He was facinated about Utah, and the different laws and such. It was good times, but we were both sooo tired. It's just really hard to actually get some sleep on a plane.

I got to Charlotte around 5am. That was nice because the stores were actually open. It didn't do me any good, because all I really wanted to do was sleep..but I did walk around a little. I loved the Charlotte airport. It was really cute.


I got in line at a breakfast place and got a little something to eat. Everyone in front of me ordered "grits" so I figured I'd do the same. Bad call. They are not so neat.

The coolest part about the Charlotte airport was the rocking chairs!! They had a huuuuggge row of white rocking chairs. Next to each one was an outlet. It was the perfect setup!

I sat down on one after I ate, and wanted to take out my laptop and kill some time but the fact that I'd have to take it out, plug it in, and put it away in a short time mixed with the fact that I hadn't slept yet, and was exhausted killed any motivation, so I just sat in the rocking chair...rocking. I stayed there for about 30 minutes. At one point I took out my phone and wrote a few notes down. Sort of like a mini blog I guess...

"Pensacola is the next and final stop!! I have three hours to kill at the Charlotte airport but that's okay. It's adorable and I found some rocking chairs!! The best part? They don't cost 7 dollars! Everything costs 7 dollars, I swear! Other than that, North Carolina is freezing!! They said it was 11 degrees today, and for some reason they don't believe in heaters in this airport. The people are different here. It's hard to explain. It's so much more diverse. I love it! It's cool to hear the different languages and see the different styles. Man, some people think things look good. I wonder if they look in the mirror before they leave.

PS..note to self: Next time you fly for 14 hours, please bring a pillow, an apple, and a toothbrush. Also, invest in a rollie bag. Even long rides on the escalators start to hurt."


Then I tried to sleep. It was so cold though, and *so* not comfortable. Also, I was really worried about my bags being by themselves while I slept, and that if I fell too asleep, that I wouldn't hear them announcing my plane boarding, so after maybe a 15 or 20 minute power nap, I got up and took pictures of the sunset...which was sort of cool because at the same time, a plane was landing so I watched that as well.


Another short plane ride (which I was actually able to sleep for a good 30 minutes on) I was no longer the picture taking rookie. I was definitely the Ugh..another flight type.

Except for when we got into Florida! I was wide awake, and excited!! I was finally there!


Next, I'd grab my luggage from the bag claim, and go meet AK outside! It was time to bust out a vacation in only 3 days!! (...and off of an hour of sleep)

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