Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Transcontinental Foray on Crutches

As I mentioned in my last post, Greg & I decided to make a last minute trip to Nashville a few weeks ago. While our preference was to visit in April, we could not find any seats using our American Airlines mileage award tickets. We also considered waiting until the summer, but again, the restrictions of our previously issued tickets extremely limited our ability to find seats. So on Saturday, March 2nd, we got up at 3:30AM to make our way to the airport for our 6:00AM flight to Dallas.

In order to fulfill our commitment to taking public transportation whenever possible, we had to first find a way to get to the Hollywood Transit Center MAX station for the first train to the airport at 4:21AM. There are no buses running until after 5AM (Line 14) or 6AM (Line 75) on the weekend and therefore no way to connect to the MAX from our house. We were confident we'd be able to find a car2go nearby and could drive it to the MAX station and leave it on a nearby side street.
We were amazed how many people were out & about in our neighborhood at 4AM on Saturday morning! We located a car2go just a few blocks from our house but didn't worry about reserving it (you only get a 15 minute hold anyway; you can't reserve any further in advance). Of course, just as we were about to cross the street to pick up the car, we saw someone drive off in it! Thankfully the next closest car was less than 1/2 mile away, so I reserved it using their iPhone app and we had no problem driving it the couple of miles to the transit center. We still had plenty of time to make our connection to the MAX train and arrived at the airport as planned at 4:45AM. Total cost: $4.56 for the 12 minutes we rented the car (which was actually free because I had credit on my account) and $2.50 for one transit ticket (we have one monthly pass). Minimum cost of taking a taxi would have been $30.
Greg & I both traveled very light for this trip. I only carried a regular-size backpack with one change of clothes, a book, and a few miscellaneous items plus a small tote bag with sandwiches, fruit, etc. to eat throughout the day. Greg had to carry a backpack with his work laptop, headset, etc. since he would be working remotely all week plus a second backpack with a few changes of clothes. I have the luxury of carrying minimal supplies whenever we go home because I still keep a bunch of extra clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc. at my grandmother's house in Hermitage. I have the extra stuff (dated as it may be) because I always had dual residences (New York/Nashville; New York/Sacramento; New York/New Hampshire) when I worked as a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines.

Another motivation both for traveling light and getting to the airport early was to allow plenty of time to get through security and to the gate on crutches. I had seen my hip surgeon and physical therapist at the end of the week and, due to a flare up of tendonitis caused by walking too much, they both recommended I use crutches if I was going to be on my feet for any length of time. Obviously, the airport requires lots of walking! Thankfully, on the two flights to Nashville as well as on the three return flights, those crutches qualified me for complimentary seat "upgrades" (typically to the bulkhead row directly behind first class) in order to give me more legroom and have less distance to the bathroom. For the most part the gate agents were also very helpful in allowing us to pre-board and one flight attendant, who obviously felt sorry for me when she found out why I was on crutches, tried to ply me with free mimosas for the entire flight (but I only accepted one).
there were snow flurries in Nashville when we landed
We made it to Nashville without incident and had arranged for Greg's parents to meet us at the airport with their spare car. Due to a scheduling issue with my sister's kids (their dad gets them every other weekend), the only opportunity we would have to see them the entire week that we were home would be the Saturday & Sunday of our arrival. Since they, and my mom & step-dad, live an hour north of Nashville in Orlinda/Springfield, TN, we needed a car to get there. Thankfully, the LaRowe's are always happy to share one of their two cars with us!

The week went by very quickly from the minute we landed. Considering it has taken me multiple paragraphs just to describe the process of getting to Nashville, I'll cut this post off here and pick up next time with a few highlights of our visit.

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