Jul 8, 2013

Travel Journal: June 2013 {Amy}

On a hot Thursday evening in June, I stepped aboard a completely full plane and left the arid desert behind.
The first of two weekend trips to Oregon in three weeks time had me sitting in the third to last row of a 737 headed back to my home town for Allie’s bridal shower. Beside me: a couple about the same age as my parents who were adorably cuddly. They were headed for Kalispell, Montana, while I was destined for Medford, Oregon. Our connecting flights were three gates away when we got to Salt Lake City’s airport.
I didn’t see them again after we disembarked.
The airport at SLC felt huge. I’m not sure if that was simply because my gates seemed like they were in two separate states, or if it is actually rather large in the scheme of things. (I’ve been to a lot of airports, but not enough that I’m certain how this one stacks up.) Overall, the airport is a really nice place – once you get past the marathon walking sessions and the giant glass boxes for smokers – I’m not certain you could say much for the variety of in-security services. I walked past three restaurants that had Cat Cora’s name plastered across it, four fronts for the same coffee chain, and two “Xpress” spas. I was in “NEW AIRPORT” mode, and so I just scurried straight over to my gate – found a place to charge my phone, and got back to reading.
I finished my book on the second flight that night and spent the rest of the dark trip listening to two people (who didn’t know each other before they got on the plane) talk about the spirits of the Earth and how the land around us has god-like properties that influence and alter us.
And then because it was such a late flight, I got to my mom’s house and promptly went to sleep.

The next morning was sunny and thirty degrees cooler than it was at home, always a delight (especially when your normal June weather is already in the 100s). And after a walk with the ‘rents and their bouncy dog, Mom and I headed out for the three hour drive back to the home town we both left.
I have a really hard time deciding which of the ways to get “home” is my favorite. The 38 is pretty, but every time I drive the 42, I think it’s got to be the winner of the contest. So it stands to reason that since the 42 is the logical route from the south, I got to enjoy that stretch of highway again. And then we were back where it all started. Where I was born, where I met Allie… where I left, somehow thinking I’d learn to love Big City desert dwelling when I grew up on a farm nestled in the dense Oregon forest where the air always held at least a faint tang of salt.
We had lunch with my grandmother in an adorable little Italian restaurant set in the back of a building that is half condemned. It was a beautiful and breezy day. The sun shone, though it couldn’t have gotten above 60, and there was something about the day, the meal… that you can’t get in Phoenix, and it had nothing to do with the food – though that was pretty good too (I had a chicken parmesan Panini and way too many sweet potato fries).
Then I drove another half an hour north to visit my dad and his wife and my dad’s mom. (I left mom with my grandmother for this portion of the trip) where we had tea and cobbler and caught up on the entire goings on of small town life. And then we looked at their wedding photos, because they just passed their 15 year anniversary – I can tell you, I was an odd child and very attention hungry – and we looked at old photos of my grandparents wedding, and of my dad as a young boy. They gave me a copy of his senior photo (everyone agrees he looked twelve) that once belonged to my great aunt and a random copy of him and my mom from one of her Dairy Princess events that had somehow ended up in their possession.
And then, before I knew it, it was time to head back into town. I met up with a friend I’ve known since kindergarten, but because he enlisted in the Air Force, and was stationed all over the globe, I hadn’t seen him in Seven years. It was marvelous to catch up. I don’t think I’ve laughed that constantly for a tremendously long time.

The next morning, I was up early to go to breakfast with my dad and step mom and my sisters. One had driven down for a wedding that day, the other had had to work the night before, so I missed her! I had a pecan waffle that was delicious and we wound up talking like a flock of birds. I’m sure the people around us were amused.
And then, I went off to the bridal shower. More about that here!
When four o’clock rolled around, it was time to leave for that long jaunt back to my mother’s house (Though we stopped along the way to grab me a book for the return trip).

I know exactly why I prefer early morning flights (I don’t like waiting around), but I am not a morning person, so while my flight left at a reasonable hour (7am), I was still not the epitome of “bright eyed and bushy tailed.” However, there was a pilot and his fiancĂ© in the cabin on our flight and that was adorable – especially since they had their dachshund with them. And the quick flight on the turboprop plane was over before I knew it.
I both love and hate the Portland Airport. My ire for the terminal has to do with the fact that most of the flying done in my life has been on US Airways, their gates are at the VERY END of the C concourse… so you have to go three miles to get to them. That was not the case this time around (thankfully) and I enjoyed my two hour layover – though I found out when I landed, a cousin was two gates away and I could have gone and seen him while I waited, oh well!
I boarded my plane and nearly finished The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman by the time we started our bumpy decent into Sky Harbor. I, for one, love turbulence. This is one of the great things about arriving in Phoenix in the summer. All that hot air buffets the plane around. A LOT. It was probably in the top 5 as far as worst landings (turbulence wise) go, so that made me pretty happy.
And then I was home. I stepped out into the 99 degree weather and let myself thaw out (Why are planes always so cold?), and I was home… for another 10 days, then I was scheduled to hop back on a plane and return to my fair Allison for more tomfoolery.

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