The time had come. I was due to repeat the best holiday that I had ever had. Sadly though there was trepidation in my heart as I set off. It had all started less than 12 hours earlier. I’d realised when I checked in that I had made an error on some information that stopped me checking in online. I was able to correct it, but I was nervous that the correction would have fed through to the live systems and whether that would affect my journey.
I’m not good on very little sleep and a relatively sleepless night with an early start didn’t bode well. Thankfully it was such an early start that while the roads weren’t empty (I don’t think the M25 ever is), it was free flowing enough for a hassle free drive. Passport in hand, well pocket, suitcases pulled behind me, I arrived at Heathrow to find out my fate! Would I be going on what I consider the best holiday ever or would I be turned around.
I was reassured at the bag drop that it wouldn’t be an issue, but checked at customer services anyway. I was glad I did as the updated information hadn’t fed through. I was reassured it wasn’t an issue and they updated then and there and I went on my way. I didn’t have much time once I had cleared security having queued up for customer services twice (different airlines out and back to check the information was correct). That was fine though, I often find there isn’t much to do at airports now a days and while in the past I’ve spent a good deal of time looking at books on offer, these seem to be dwindling in quantity and quality. I grabbed a healthy snack for the plan and made my way to the departure gate! It is often said that the secret to a happy life is timing. There is though often a strong sense of irony that can come with it, and that was certainly the case this time! At the exact time that I handed over my boarding pass at the counter, the request for me to make myself known came through. So, here we go! There was a problem with my information. However, seeing the information that they had I wasn’t surprised. My name was just a jumble of letters and my passport number was no longer a number! Clearly the update hadn’t gone to plan. Thankfully another swipe of the passport and everything was corrected. However I’d lost the seat I wanted and would spend the next 10 hours wondering what would happen when I got off the plane.
What awaited me once I was off of the plane was not what I had expected. I had the smoothest and quickest entry to the US that I ever had done. In fact, with the plane arriving a bit earlier than planned I was through all the checks before the flight was due to arrive. Even being diverted to the agricultural part of customs didn’t cause an issue, but then my boots were, once again, spotless to the degree that they commented on them!
I now had 4 hours to pass at the airport. Knowing Dallas better this time, I stayed in the international terminal. There’s more there. I grabbed a bit to eat as it would be another 4 hours at least until I would eat dinner. I’ve always found that American’s are a friendly bunch. This remains the same when passing time at an airport terminal. Sitting at a bar enjoying a light snack, I fell into a conversation about gas (petrol) prices. Coming from the UK I can always make Americans weep at what we pay.
A couple of hours down, it was time for some culture. I can recommend to anyone who is at the terminal for a few hours to sign up in advance for the Art Tour. This was a wonderful and informed way to pass an hour and I can only extend my thanks to the volunteer docent who walked me around the different installations and spoke so knowledgeably about them.
One flight down and one short (2 hours) hop to go. Sadly there was a problem which left me an hour late, but thankfully I knew the transfer driver to the ranch would still be waiting for me and that with the time I would be arriving, dinner would still be there and that would be the priority for the ranch rather than checking in. The one disappointment I had with the delay was only being able to observe the wonderful sunset over the mountains from the car, my camera safely stowed in the boot!
As I expected I had the usual welcome from the office staff and it was much like meeting old friends, such is the atmosphere. Bags would go to my room and I was to head straight for the buffet. Suitably nourished I went to my room and got out of the clothes I had been wearing for the last 20 hours. It was time for some line dancing. I’ve always enjoyed dancing and this was fun as well. However I was starting to feel the effects of too little sleep the night before and of having been awake and on the go for almost 24 hours. Mistakes were being made too frequently and while it wasn’t a competition, I knew I had to listen to my body. There would be chances for line dancing on other occasions when I hadn’t had such a long day. There was a whole week of a great holiday lined up in front of me and there was no point in over doing it on the first night.
I would sleep quite soundly!