Grand Africa, voyage, the long trip home

20 & 21 December 2022, Ft. Lauderdale to Home

Tuesday:  Today I leave the ship to travel home.  Last night I received a Delta email that my perfect connecting flight had been canceled.  I have been rescheduled to a 5:52pm to 9:53pm direct flight to Seattle.  Will sort this out at the airport.

I was up at 5:45am to prepare for the 8:15am departure from ms Zaandam because of my (canceled) 11am flight.

Special breakfast this morning.  I went to the Main Dining Room for a table for one.  I am still careful and wearing a mask to avoid Covid.
My special breakfast was Dakota Figs, Eggs Benedict with honey glazed ham, orange juice, and coffee.  Delicious and with a relaxing atmosphere.
Afterwards I went up to the Lido aft deck to take a few photos.  Nice sunrise.  Our luggage is being hauled into the Ft. Lauderdale cruise terminal.
Stopped to hug and say farewell to Jan & David at their usual table.  They were sorting out boarding passes.  I already have printed boarding passes for my (canceled) 11am connecting flights.

I stayed in my room, putting together the carry ons and listening to the news.  My black #1 tags were called after 8:15am, and I left at 8:30 for the gangway.
Everyone had to wait for a while, because the power in the cruise terminal went out.  Still no power for elevators and escalators when we were allowed into the cruise terminal.  
A kind Holland America Line gentleman carried my carry-on bag down the stairs.
A man with a baggage cart offered to help me find my three big bags, and off we went.
No customs, no passport check.
Outside, my baggage man put the bags into the lower part of the transfer bus to the Ft. Lauderdale airport.  I thanked him and found a good seat on the bus.

We arrived at the airport about 10am.  No baggage carts in sight.  I ended up handing $6 to the HAL lady helper, and she came back with a luggage cart.  I went into the airport, ready to talk to the Delta people.

I found Delta Agent Assist Jennifer, who moved mountains to help me.  My Detroit to SEA flight was canceled, because a big storm is expected in SEA this afternoon.  Later flights are OK.  I could have flown to JFK, then SEA arriving 8pm, but still too late for the shuttle home.  I confirmed the 5:52pm to 9:53pm direct flight to Seattle.
Jennifer tried to use my air miles to pay for luggage, but the 26,309 miles have disappeared.  Jennifer charged me $70 for 2 of the 3 bags (45, 46, and 50 lbs.) (one free).

I found a place to sit down.  Phoned La Quinta, and they are full tonight.  They recommended Days Inn Wyndham.
I phoned Days Inn and reserved a room for tonight with airport shuttle.
Then I emailed Rocket Transportation to cancel tonight and ask for tomorrow.

I found an electric outlet to charge my phone and borrowed a wheelchair to sit with it and write in this journal.
Our family text conversation is where Jonathan went on record as being the only child offering to pick me up at SeaTac.  Jackie chimed in, “Anything for Grandma.”  And Joni in Baltimore, “Darn, I’m on my way.  Guess I’ll turn around.”  Ana, Lisa, and Chris all added their thoughts.
Jack sent me photos of six inches of snow at home in Port Angeles, WA.  So beautiful.  More than Seattle got.  Jack has also texted me photos of the Christmas cards that we have received.
I am not traveling alone.

At 2:30pm I used wheelchair assistance through security and to gate D7.  Along the way we picked up a Shack Burger and filled my water bottle.
Selected my flight seat at the gate counter. The man said, “I didn’t know we flew to Seattle.”
A Delta email says that my flight 1414 has been delayed to 6:31pm – 10:32pm.

No email response from Rocket Transportation, so I phoned them.  Good thing that I did.  Rolf (ext. 28) will pick me up tomorrow morning at Days Inn after 9:30am.  (At first the lady said that I should use the Days Inn shuttle to take my bags to the airport to meet driver Rolf.  When we finished talking, she agreed that he would pick me up at Days Inn after 9:30am.
Then I received an email from Rocket saying that I would be picked up at SeaTac airport.  
I was concerned.)

I sat and waited until boarding started after 6pm.  I was in the first group to board, because I had had some wheelchair assistance.  Nice.
I was onboard in my window seat at 6:30pm, but we did not take off until 7:30pm.

It was a quiet and dark flight.  Good for resting.  First, I nibbled the snacks that I had brought with my water.  I must have dozed through any offers of snacks or drinks.  Near the end of the 6+ hour flight, the flight attendant asked if anyone wanted “more snacks.”  I spoke up and enjoyed a cup of hot tea.  She handed me two “snacks” – tiny bars.

We landed in Seattle 11:20pm (2:20am Eastern time). Left the plane at 12:30am and I asked one of the wheelchair helpers to take me straight to the restroom.  Then we went to gather luggage.  She got me a luggage cart.  When it was filled, I thanked her and said that I could get to the shuttle pick up.  

I phoned Days Inn, found my way to pick up 1A, and waited in the 28-degree cold. Eventually the Days Inn driver arrived, and we were on our way.
I checked into the Days Inn at 1:30am.
Crawled into bed at 2am (5am Eastern time).

Wednesday:  I was supposed to wake up in our own bed this morning, but I was in the Days Inn.  Thankful to be there.  The phone rang with my 7am wake up call.
I phoned Rocket Transportation Rolf and left him a message that I would be expecting him at Days Inn after 9:30am.  No reply.  Hoping and praying.
The downstairs breakfast bar had much welcomed coffee, juice, yogurt, and pastries.

Family texts celebrated my making it this far.  Jack sent photos of 8 1/2 inches of snow.
I decided that yesterday’s family email would have to wait.  But I enjoyed sending photos and texts to family. Wrote in this journal until time to haul bags downstairs for the hopeful pick up.

Rocket Transportation Rolf arrived at 9:40am.  I celebrated.  Rolf asked me to sit in the front passenger seat, and I felt honored.  Since I will be his last far west drop off, he picked me up first, so that my bags will be on the bottom of the heap.
Then Rolf picked up passengers at SeaTac airport and at several motels.  It was a full load this morning.  We left Seattle at 10:30 am.
The scraps of snow in Seattle felt like a white Christmas.  Driving west became a winter wonderland.

We drove through Tacoma, over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and continued on a way to McDonalds for a break.  I bought two hamburgers to share with Jack at home.  Crossed paths in the restroom with Ruth from Sequim, who was also on the Grand Africa Voyage.  We had shared different travel plans and ended up on the same shuttle bus this morning.

Back to the winter wonderland drive.  I took lots of photos from the front seat.  At 12:15pm the Port Townsend passengers were dropped off to meet another shuttle at the park & ride.
A number of passengers were dropped off at their Sequim homes, including Ruth.  More snow the farther west we drove.  
I arrived home 2:30pm.  Jack helped Rolf with my baggage.
It is so good to be home.

Thank you for traveling with me on this grand adventure.  
I am feeling so thankful and blessed.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each of you.

Photo gallery by Barbara Cummings

As I followed Barbara on her 71 day grand voyage, it was heartened by the fact it so many people surrounded Barbara with love and care. and I want to take this opportunity to thank all the staff and crew, and even the people Shoreside that made this a memorable experience. She has spoken about how much it meant to her to have this time and be surrounded by these beautiful people, and all these wonderful memories, and to those who were involved thank you from the bottom of my heart. JWC

5 thoughts on “Grand Africa, voyage, the long trip home

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and trip thru Africa with Barbara. She is remarkable to take this long journey on her own, but she survived. Loved all her journal entries and meals and just everything. Thanks Jack and Barbara for my chance to share Africa with your family. Happy Holidays.

  2. My goodness, Barbara, you certainly had an adventure getting home.

    I hope you are safe and sound and ready to spend a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year with Jack and your family.

    We had a wonderful time getting to know you. I hope our paths cross again.

    Charlotte & Bill

  3. So glad to hear you arrived home safely, abet later than anticipated.
    Thank you again for allowing me to travel with you.
    Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy 2023

  4. Barbara, I’ve so enjoyed traveling vicariously with you this trip. I’ve shared your posts with Fred. Perhaps we’ll see you and Jack on an Alaska cruise this year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s