Thursday, January 6, 2011 (Flying back to Orlando, FL)

Well, that was certainly a fast 3 weeks! We had a great Christmas with family (thanks, Nadine and Mike for a delicious turkey dinner!) We took care of a bunch of things we needed to get done while in Victoria and had great visits with friends and family. Chris was home for just over a week and we were so happy to also meet his girlfriend, Sheannie, when she came over the day before Chris had planned to head back to Vancouver. Thanks so much, Rob and Angie, for your hospitality and putting up with Mom and Dad for 3 whole weeks!
But we were ready to return to our truck and 5th wheel (aka “Home”) and continue our travels.

Our journey back to Orlando actually started last night (January 5) with our flight leaving Victoria at 6:50 to Seattle. Steve’s Dad dropped us off at the airport at about 5:00 p.m. and we checked in at the Horizon wicket where we found out that our suitcase was 3 pounds overweight...geez...this time I had no shoes to take out. I took out a couple of things which lightened it up to 51.5 pounds and she let it go through without the $25.00 extra charge...whew! After getting our boarding passes, we had just over an hour until boarding time so we headed to the White Spot where we could continue to watch the Canada-Russia hockey game and have a beer. [When we left the game, it was 3-0 for Canada...boy, were we ever surprised when we checked the score after arriving in Seattle to find Canada had lost—what happened Canada??!!]

We went through security with no problems whatsoever, and with few people on the flight to Seattle, we were the first ones in line when boarding commenced. This is where things took a bit of a twist...Steve was advised by the attendant that he had been “randomly” selected for additional security screening...I was to board and he would join me when finished. I had a moment of “what happens if the plane takes off without him?” as I headed toward the door but then I was called back to partake in the additional screening as well. “Passports and boarding passes, please...put your carry-on bags on the table...coats off....” well, okay then. Luckily, they did not take everything out of the small suitcase but rather just took their “magic wand” with the small cloth on the end and ran it along the inside edges and then put the small cloth in the machine. I guess it can detect any explosives residue. The real interesting part was when it came to the pat-down. “Have you ever had a pat-down” she asks me...”No” I responded but she offered nothing further...perhaps she was just more gentle...haha! You certainly feel like criminals as you stand legs spread and arms out, with all eyes from everyone in the boarding area on you. We figured it was all a bit of a training session for the fellow that was “doing” Steve because of the conversation that was going on between him and the woman taking care of me. Well, I guess we checked out okay because we finally boarded the plane (last to board) and were on our way.

The rest of our trip to Orlando was uneventful. I was not looking forward to the 5 hour flight and the plane was full which meant no spreading out at all. After boarding 15 minutes early, the Captain announced that we would be delayed about 30 minutes while we waited for some folks (in first class, it turned out) from a connecting flight. Hmmm...would they do that for us peons in economy, I wonder?

The Alaska Airlines plane was fairly new and we found the seats much more comfortable than previous planes. Steve and I had seats in the 7th row...”B and C”...and as we waited for the person in seat “A” to board, all I could think of was please, oh please, do not let that person to be “big”! It turned out to be a very fit young woman from Ancorage heading to Orlando for a marathon...along with some 45,000 other runners. All was good. The flight went fairly quickly after our 45 minute delay, so I guess I must have managed to get a bit of sleep...although it didn’t really feel like it.

We touched down at 7:23 a.m. (that’s 4:23 a.m. BC time!) and after gathering our suitcase, we grabbed a quick breakfast and then a taxi to Suncoast RV. Unfortunately, they had had some trouble getting some parts in over the Holiday Season so there were still a couple of things to be done on the trailer. We will return on Monday for those things to be taken care of. Sheesh!

I had made reservations at Crystal Lake RV Park. It is about an hour and a half east of Orlando on the coast. With the help of Serena (GPS), we found our way...going through 4 highway toll booths...$10.25 in total...arriving at the park just before noon. The morning rain had cleared and the afternoon sun was warm as we set up in site #4.

We were exhausted and did not want to have to go grocery shopping so with 2 hot dogs left in the freezer and some bread, that was dinner. We had coffee and toast for breakfast. So after showers and a little TV, we were in bed by 7:00 p.m. I was “out like a light” but Steve managed to watch a bit of TV until 8:15.

We were looking forward to exploring the area tomorrow.

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