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Apr 19, 2013

One-of-a-Kind Trip

The trip to get back home was the most unusual trip return we’ve ever taken together.

We are finally home — we slid into Traverse City Cherry Capital Airport just before midnight Monday April 15.

These are pretty exact photos of the kind of shuttle we road in both times in the story ahead!


Shuttle Bus

This one was from Leon to the Hotel  on Sunday


 This one was from the Hotel to the Airport at 5 a.m.

The ride to Leon after we left San Miguel was a true thrill ride!  I’ve never gone so fast on such a winding road (and somewhat dangerous road at that speed anyway) in my life.  He drove like there was no tomorrow (we thought there might not be!) and he tailgated even worse than Michigan — and that’s really bad.  We followed a pickup truck loaded with the usual “all-family-members-aboard” with kids sitting up on the sides and going like 80 km an hour.  We were 2 feet behind them as all of us swerved on the corners and the kids gripped the sides of the pickup.  I was hoping we weren’t going to be going over them like topes (speed-bumps) as they bounced off the truck.

Kris was totally ill.  I was in the front seat totally scared, and the ladies in the back who had ridden with him before simply closed their eyes at certain times — Kris asked how they did it and that’s what they said — they close their eyes and trust at times.  I finally just said inside myself — well if it’s my time I’ll go.  If it’s not I won’t.  I know that’s rather fatalistic, but it turned out to work for me!  ha ha ha  I had to do something!  It was an hour and a half trip and my nerves couldn’t wind up any tighter after about 15 minutes.

It was CERTAINLY a trip we won’t forget soon.  Nor will we forget the one that came the next morning!

The hotel in Leon was nice.  We were glad we chose a 5-star (so-called by the description they gave) rather than anything lower!  ha ha ha again
The bed was comfortable and they were very polite but they absolutely do NOT speak ANY English which proved to be an interesting situation too.  Goodness we wished we spoke more while we were there.  We were cracking up all the time at how funny the whole thing was.  They didn’t even have a clue most of the time, when we spoke our gringo Spanish.  They really needed the real word in Spanish.  Oh how we laughed.  There were no cups or wash clothes offered in the room.  1 TV channel – whoopee!  They did give a free bottle of water!  Emoji  (One for the two of us to share.)

Then the next day at 4 a.m. we got up and got everything ready.  We had spent a good amount of time the night before repacking the bags and decided to pack one of the carry-ons to be checked this time, and Kris carried a little Soriana grocery bag (like all the stores here in the states sell) with her stuff in it for her carry-on, plus her computer.  I went with my backpack and computer.  But, at the Leon airport, one of the main shoulder straps on the backpack tore completely off and I had to carry it differently all day.  Obviously it was too heavy!   Oops!


Broken backpack strap

But I digress.  At 5 a.m. the airport shuttle (of the hotel) picked us up to take us to the airport.  There was just the driver and us.  He drove up the entrance to the hotel (out the in) and turned left onto the toll road.  Yes, he turned into the oncoming traffic lane and drove about 1/2 a block ( I was beginning to freak), and then he turned down a dirt path.  It was like the kind of thing where dirt bikes have formed a two track where they ride the hills.  He went down that road/path and just kept going.  Potholes the size of crater lake were everywhere.  It didn’t feel right to us.

This was all we could see in the headlights — this and bigger than this — but this is the best photo I could find that “sort of” shows what it was like — big deep potholes!  Not exactly what you expect when going to the airport in a shuttle bus!

Sharp-Edged Potholes On Dirt Road
There were just the three of us, and it was still totally dark outside — no other traffic, no lights, and getting weirder by the minute.  We went under an overpass and the dirt pothole road continued.  I got a very sick feeling and Kris finally cleared her throat and said — uh – –  a donde vamos?? (trans. where are we going?)   He smiled — al aeropuerto! (trans. to the airport)  So we started asking some very serious questions about the route we were taking.  Then he realized that we were not kidding.  He laughed and told us we didn’t need to be frightened because he was not one of “those” kinds of Mexicans.  Actually that made me feel  worse!  But sure enough we came up this very rough dirt hill and there was the toll road again and there, on the right was the airport exit — which he took.

As it turns out, to get to the airport exit, he had to take this route because otherwise he’d have to drive 10 km down the highway before he could get off and come all the way back to catch the airport exit.  So this way he saved himself an extra 20 km drive.  He thought it was all very funny that we were worried.  We, however, didn’t find it quite so funny and wondered why they don’t just tell you that they have to take this backass route to save time and gasoline.  Emoji

After all that, the Leon to Houston flight was delayed 2 hours.

The flight to Houston was uneventful – thank goodness.  But there was an 1 1/2 hour delay at Houston just about when we were supposed to leave for Chicgao, because they had put too much fuel into the plane and had to un-fuel it.  So we had to sit while they siphoned off enough fuel to make it “safe” to land in Chicago.  Yep.  Never heard that one before.

The flight to Chicago was uneventful.

We had a 3 hour layover in Houston, and supposedly a 5 hour layover in Chicago.  But Chicago turned into an 8 hour layover because they couldn’t find a crew to fly the plane to Traverse City, so we had to wait until a crew from a Kansas City flight landed and they could take the shuttle over to the terminal where we waited.  They said they would get us to Traverse City quickly, which, believe me they did!

The flight normally takes about an hour.  We made it in 35 minutes flat!  I thought it was fun… a bit noisy… but fun.
We crawled into bed at about 2 a.m.

So there you have it!  A very strange trip home, but no one got wounded in the process!  chuckle

I thought all of you would enjoy this story.

The Leon Airport:

leon aeropuerto

1 Comment

  • all I can say is “WOW” what a trip…I would have been terrified most of the time.
    glad your home sale and sound.

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