Thursday, 5 April 2018
April is finally here and with it comes the Fairfax Genealogical Society Spring Conference. Fairfax is one of my favourties. A great group of people and a chance to get caught up with some of my genealogy peeps. This year is made all the more special because the night before the conference starts, I will be meeting up with five of my past tour participants. A mini reunion of our time in Scotland. These women have lived with me for a brief time as we have toured or researched in Scotland. They have seen me at my best. They have seen me when there have been more glitches than rewards. And they are still excited about meeting up. It's a bond few genealogists share with their consumers.
I decided to fly in a couple of days early so that I could spend a day playing tourist in the Nation's Capital. The trip to the airport was fairly uneventful. Apart from arguing with Google Maps about where exactly Park and Fly was located.
I managed to get checked in, through security and decided food was next on the agenda. I made a valiant attempt at getting a bagel from the Great Canadian Bagel but after 10 minutes of what might have been a comedy of errors had I not been hangry, I packed in the idea and headed to the beer truck instead.
The boarding call came, we all boarded the plane. After a few rounds of musical chairs to allow people traveling together to sit together, we were ready for our safety story. The plane was absolutely rocking on the tarmac thanks to the gale force winds. And I mean rocking. The plane backed up. Waited. Then returned to the gate. The flight deck came on to tell us we had returned because Washington had grounded all of their flights and we couldn't land due to the high winds. We were going to deplane. Cell phone notifications came in like a cacophony as all of the passengers who had signed up for alerts received notice that the flight had been rescheduled to 4 pm. 90 minutes. Fortunately I didn't have connecting flights to worry about and could finally get some real grub.
Back to the gate and back out on the tarmac. The winds had definitely increased in their speed. As I lifted my computer bag, the wind caught it and it very nearly landed in Washington without me. I had visions of standing on a cliff in Caithness in September. Literally digging my toes into the ground so as not to land in the sea.
Back on board. Away from the gate. Onto the runway....well, almost. We parked on the shoulder and the flight deck came on once again to say we still didn't have permission to land in Washington but she hoped to have that in fifteen minutes or so. Twenty minutes later and we were on our way down the runway.
Have you ever stood and watched a hawk play in the wind? Up, down, left, down, up, right, down. That's what take off was like. In fairly short order we were above the worst of it and on our way to Washington.
In what felt like no time, the recording came on to tell us to prepare our seat backs and trays for landing. Again we were through the winds. We hit a pocket of turbulence that sent us into a fairly quick drop. Our stomachs didn't follow quite as quickly. The kids on the flight broke into hysterics. Suddenly the landing had become a rollercoaster ride!
Why do landing always take hours longer than we expect? Finally we were on the ground, at the gate and off the plane.
And now to get ready to play tourist.