December 20, 2005
See this guy? He lives in front of a Ramada Inn in Minneapolis, where Mr. Karen and I spent the night last Wednesday. We’d planned to sleep in Idaho Falls (which is, quite sensibly, in Idaho), so being in Minnesota was rather disconcerting. It wasn’t even in the same time zone as our intended destination. How did this happen? Well, let’s see–our plane pushed back late in Detroit because we were waiting for a few straggling passengers and bags, then we had to de-ice, then the airport Minneapolis had to close one of their two runways to plow the snow off it so we circled over Wisconsin for a while. By the time we finally landed and made our way to the gate, we had ten minutes to make our connection and that was just not enough time. Had the airline shown the same disregard for an on-time departure on that flight as they had on our Detroit leg, we would have made it, but no. Before we even deplaned, they’d already printed out a hotel voucher and rebooked us on the next flight out to Idaho Falls at 9:20 the next day–9:20 P.M. I don’t think so. If it were a work trip, hey, sure, delay me a whole day, but don’t be messing with my vacation. We trooped to the main ticket counter and eventually got booked on a flight to Bozeman, Montana on Thursday morning. So we hadn’t intended to go to Montana–it was at least generally correct as far as geography, and the flight time made salvaging a half-day of skiing a possibility.
We got to Bozeman bright and early on Thursday–well, it was at least before noon–but our luggage did not. We weren’t 100% sure it had left Detroit, since we’d opted to let the airline reroute it rather than claiming the two big duffles and the two double ski bags and schlepping them to the hotel when it was so late and we were so tired only to have to schlep them back eight hours later. The woman we talked to at the ticket counter didn’t know where our bags were, either (so what are those barcoded tags good for then?), but admitted that they sometimes didn’t get all the bags on the morning flight in because it was such a small plane and seemed to think there was a good chance they’d be on the afternoon flight. Or they might go to Idaho Falls. Who knew? Not us, not the airline. We left the counter with a lost luggage receipt and a voucher for ski rental at Big Sky, an hour or three down the road, depending on weather. So we hadn’t intended to go to Big Sky this trip–it was at least skiing, and a new hill for us to try as well.
See me at Big Sky smiling? I’m happy for several reasons: 1) It only took us an hour to drive there from the airport, so we were on the slopes by about 1:30, only a couple/few hours later than we’d planned to start skiing that day. 2) After only one trip down the hill and a walk back to the parking lot intending to exchange the rented boots, I figured out that they wouldn’t make me want to cry if I just left the power strap and the top buckle undone and put the other cuff buckle on the loosest setting. Of course that’s not how boots should be worn, but it was better than quitting or trying to ski with one foot fast asleep and both calves screaming. 3) Despite having ridiculously loose boots, I did not fall on my head all afternoon. Good thing, too, since my helmet was in the wayward duffle. 4) After several unsuccessful attempts to check on the status of our luggage, I just stopped caring about it. No point in getting frustrated with the automated voice recognition system at the 1-800 number or the fact that the Bozeman airport apparently shuts down for siesta between 2:30 and 6. Either our bags would show up or they wouldn’t and there wasn’t anything I could do about it either way. Ah, freedom.
After the lifts closed at Big Sky and we turned in the rental equipment, we headed through the dark and snow and ice to Grand Targhee. A four-hour drive on two-lane roads later, we were there. Amazingly enough, our luggage was there, too, having been dropped off a couple hours before we arrived. Wow. I didn’t expect that to happen. Even if it did come in on the afternoon flight to Bozeman, I didn’t think they’d rush it right down to us, but there it was. Now we were in the right place with the right stuff and all we had to do was sleep and eat and ski. Excellent.
It being early season, the snow wasn’t as ample as on our first visit to Grand Targhee, but everything else was as good as I remembered it–the low key atmosphere that makes it feel more like visiting friends than staying at a resort, the friendly mountain that does not try to surprise me at every turn with steeps and bumps, the beautiful views. Unlike last time, I did not fall down getting off the lift or crash on a road. I did once manage to get my downhill ski uphill of my uphill ski and fall on my pole and bend it, but once we took it inside and it warmed up Mr. Karen was able to bend it back. No harm done. The worst injury my body got the whole trip was a bruised shin from running into the corner of the metal bed frame. Gotta watch that pointy furniture.
All too soon we had to leave the mysterious shrine in the woods, the uncrowded slopes, and the little village that we’ll probably look back in incredulously if the development plans go through. Sunday night we drove down into Driggs for dinner at the glad-it’s-still-there-because-the-food-is-excellent Tony’s Pizza and Pasta before continuing on to Idaho Falls to spend the night. Then way too early yesterday morning we were on a plane headed back. We did not miss our connection or lose our luggage and, because the universe thinks it’s so funny, we came home to six inches of snow in our driveway–coulda used that on the slopes, universe.
One year ago, I shared the second quilt I ever made.
Two years ago, I was up early.
Three years ago, I mused on being a geek girl. I’m still the only woman here who’s a full-fledged web application developer, but we do have one junior developer who’s female and one client server developer who’s learning web stuff.