Wednesday, September 29, Day 23 of my 30-day JetBlue All You Can Jet Adventure. A really long travel day, flying from Tampa, Florida, through JFK, and into Seattle. And just one week remaining!
As I mentioned in the previous post, this travel day started, after only short tries at napping Tuesday evening, at 3am Wednesday, when I drove my rental car from Tarpon Springs to the Tampa Airport. The good thing about driving at 3am is... no traffic! The bad things are finding an open gas station, and finding your way in the dark to a place you've never been. It's about a 45 minute drive, I found an open gas station, almost missed the ramp onto the short tollway to the airport, and definitely missed the turnoff to the Alamo Car Rental return location.
Alamo's location at the Tampa Airport is quite confusing and not with other car rental return places. And when I finally drove around and found the correct turn-off, thanks to a helpful employee at the other car rental location, I had driven so far, I thought I must have missed it, but it was still ahead of me. The signs weren't well lit at night, it was hard to find, but apparently they're in a transition time, and their location might be changing in the near future. I can't be the only one who has found this confusing so hopefully their new location will be easier.
The good news is, even at 4 am, they had employees ready and waiting to take my car and to shuttle me to the terminal, so that all went smoothly. Arriving at the JetBlue Terminal at about 4:15 am, several of us were there before the JetBlue employees arrived, which they soon did, when the counter opened at 4:30.
Things went smoothly, although Tampa Airport is the first place I've had to go through one of the body scanners at security. I have to say, it was creepy. Didn't like it at all. As my laptop, shoes, purse and other belongings went through on the belt and sat out there, waiting for me to claim them, I had to pause to go into the body scanner. I wasn't even sure what it was until I had to stand on the foot marks, and lift my arms out in front of me, as a thing moved around me.
Then they asked if I had anything in my pockets... kleenex, does that count? I did have on a canvas belt, but the buckle is metal I guess. Had to take that off, and they had a woman pat me down around my waist for some reason. The rivets in my jeans pockets maybe? It was creepy, and I was nervous as my laptop and everything just sat at the end of the conveyer belt and I tried to keep my eye on them. Plus it was 4:30 in the morning, after no sleep, so I wasn't in the best mood. But I got through that, and went to the gate by 5 am.
The 6 am flight from Tampa to JFK was fine. I lucked out weather-wise, as there were weather delays in NYC the day before, and a tropical storm was predicted to travel from Florida, up the east coast the next day, so I think I flew this route on just the right day, between 2 bad weather days. No way to plan that ahead of time, I just got lucky.
Being very tired, I did fall asleep on the plane. To me the best reason for a window seat is having a place to rest your head, and lean against the plane, to try to nap. My small inflatable pillow came in handy here, though it's still hard to get any real sleep. But I figured any little bits of sleep I could get had to be helpful. We landed at JFK by around 8:30 am, and I had until 10:20 am before boarding the flight to Seattle.
Flights to Jamaica were being cancelled, due to severe weather, but the Seattle flight was on schedule. I had some breakfast at JFK, went online with my laptop for a little while using the free WiFi at Terminal 5, and boarded for the 6 hour flight to Seattle. Combined with the 2 1/2 hour flight to JFK, that's a long time on a plane. Not the longest stretch by any means, but it was long enough. And most of the flights I've been on have been almost or completely full.
photo: Mount Rainier peaking (peeking) through the clouds as we approach Seattle
Arriving in Seattle at 2 pm (5 pm east coast time), I got my luggage, called my friend Gail, and found the light rail train to take me from the airport into Seattle.
You see interesting people on trains sometimes.... A couple of young women got on the train, went to opposite ends of the train car, and proceeded to have a conversation with each other... from opposite ends of the car. They weren't even really shouting, but, well, it was... amusing. Then another woman on the train was putting on hand lotion, and a few minutes later, was putting on nail polish. When I looked again, and her hand was under her t-shirt, I realized she was putting on deodorant. People are funny...
My friend Gail met me at the previously determined train stop, and we drove back to her house. By now it was around 4pm, which was 7pm on my east coast body clock. Other than a few plane naps, I guess I had pulled an all-nighter, which I haven't done since... well I don't remember when. I decided to take a nap, and slept from 5pm until 8pm, which felt great. Then Gail, her son Peter, and I had a delicious spaghetti dinner, watched TV, relaxed and chatted. I was in bed by 12:30am, and slept until 9:30 the next morning. Ahhh 9 hours of sleep. Just what I needed.