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Starting Location:  Bangor, Maine Ending Location:  The Compound (Home nest)
Weather There:  Clear, 47°F

Weather Here:  

Clear and warm, 67°F
Starting Time:  4:02am Eastern Time Ending Time:  12:57pm Pacific Time
Starting Mileage:  30,685 Ending Mileage:  30,689
Total miles today:  4 by car, 2,899 by air Total trip miles:  4,953 by car over 12 days
Connecting flights:  2 Lost luggage:  None

The day is an early one -- early to start (3:30am Eastern / 12:30am Pacific) and early to end (4pm Eastern / 1pm Pacific). Aside from the trepidation around whether or not our luggage is going to arrive safely, and when it would arrive, there is little anxiety about the trip's last journey.

3:30am The alarm went off. Don't think I was delighted with this, though... it's too dang early.
3:47am We were well and fully awake by now, showering completed, and bags in the final packing stage.
3:56am The roll-out of this and that begins. Whilst Robin repacked last night, Tubby elected to do it real-time once everything was wedged into the boot, er, truck, of the car. While that worked out well enough, the bounty of the voyage popped the zipper. The issue was promptly remedied.
4:02am Motel check-out is accomplished, Tubby runs next door to the vending machine next door for a $1 / 20oz bottle of Diet Pepsi, and we're on our way.
4:09am Fighting grueling traffic -- we hit a red light -- we made our way to the Bangor International Airport, and parked the rental car, our little bit of leased heaven, in Avis' stall 9, noting the mileage and fuel level.
4:14am The car was dropped off in the little boxy-thing, noting the ending mileage of
4:19am We're whisked to the front of the American Airlines/American Eagle line because of our imminent flight -- 5:10am -- which is fine with us.
4:22am Scott 23181, TSA, wands our bag to make sure we don't have anything that will go boom. He gives us the green light to proceed.
4:27am No reward for promptness, the security screening area isn't even open yet. But the TSA people are milling around, and one begins putting on the blue rubber gloves. A good sign.
4:31am An announcement is made to let us know to queue up for screening -- they're open. Being regular air travelers, we have our boarding passes and photo IDs ready, unlike many on our predominately aged flight.
4:34am By virtue of carrying a lot of electronics and fancy gizmos that aren't apparently a regularly seen item, we win the grand prize of a hand-check of our bags. Mike 23182, TSA (whose number is right after Scott's?) is quite pleasant, and found exactly what he expected to find when the screener gave him a heads-up -- a brick of AA batteries for the camera. We're waved on to the gate.
4:38am Perched at Gate 2A, there's a gaggle of folks -- 29, I counted -- but I suspect not all for this flight, since there's also a Delta flight boarding from Gate 2B for a 5:20am to Cincinnati.
   
5:09am I'm no air safety expert, but shouldn't we have someone seated in the exit row (row 9)? We're all packed into row 10, but the exit row remains empty -- and the plane is anything but empty.
5:13am Flight 4556 from Bangor to Boston is now in the air, and only 3 minutes after the scheduled time -- close enough.
5:20am We're cleared to use electronics. I thought it was rather soon after take-off, but didn't complain any.
5:41am We're already begun our descent into Boston, where it's 54°F. Nifty.
6:06am Our flight has touched down in Boston at Terminal B. Which is super, minus the detail our next flight is on United, which is in Terminal C.
6:09am And an added bonus -- we just walked out of the security area, which means we get to go through security screening again.
6:14am The bus arrives to shuttle us between terminals. We take note that the water on the ground may be evidence of an early morning rain, but it's still moist.
6:21am A special treat for us is the discovery that we're only shuttled to the main area of Terminal B, versus the Terminal B annex we'd arrived at. We begin our hike. (At least our luggage is being switched between planes -- supposedly -- versus us having to tote it with us.)
6:29am We arrive in Terminal C and are able to electronically check in. So far, so good.
6:30am Arriving at the Terminal C Gate 11 area, we pass through screening. Robin gets the full-on search, whereas Tubby gets off with just an explosive scan of his laptop (and the bag was checked for those pesky bulk batteries again). I suspect the laptop checks are prompted by the stickers on the lid.
6:37am Fortunately the gate is a very short distance from the security area (first gate on the left), so we locate a set of electrical outlets that are actually working, and try to charge up.
6:49am Boarding began minutes ago, but trying to squeeze in a few minutes of charging, we lagged behind. When the ling was no longer growing, though, it seemed a good time to queue up.
7:02am The passengers were all aboard, which seemed reasonable given the 7:15am departure.
7:07am Our luggage was seen actually being tossed into the plane, so we know it's at least going to make the Boston to Chicago we're on now. But, the engines aren't spinning yet, which seems a bit suspect.
7:25am The departure is now 10 minutes past due, with no word from the cockpit as to reason. The light rain seems as though it could make things interesting, though. The channel 9 (communications between Air Traffic Control and the planes isn't yet enabled).
7:40am The captain explains we're being pushed back now, and we'll be queuing up for departure. The ATC/plane communication channel is now available, and we hear ATC bumping an American Eagle to let our flight taxi to the runway first.
7:48am Taxiing is good, but only half the battle. There are four planes in line ahead of us for departure. We get to wait, and watch the safety video.
8:06am At long last, we're off the ground and on our way. On the upside, the flight time is estimated to be 1 hour 58 minutes versus the 2 hour 39 minutes we were expecting.
8:31am The captain announces the net effect of the 50 minute late departure, flight time updates and what-not will put us into Chicago about 15 minutes later than planned. And that it's currently 48°F in Chicago, and a bit wet.
9:09am Air Traffic Control (Toronto Traffic) on 124.37 MHz directs us down to 31,000 feet from 35,000 feet to allow for eastbound air traffic. We find a bit 'o turbulence, but ATC Toronto has the pilot hold here; the captain re-lit the "fasten seatbelt" sign. (And obviously, the tower traffic channel is back.)
9:20am We have an ATC alert for cross traffic 12 miles out off to the right. The captain told 'em we'd watch for 'em (snickering not heard). ATC Toronto clears us to move back to 35,000 feet, which is now clear.
9:24am We've moved up to 34,100 feet and things have smoothed out. The seatbelt light has been switched off.
9:27am We are directed to switch to Cleveland Center ATC on 133.87 MHz. The captain does just that. And yes, if you think this is boring to read, try having to choose between ATC radio and re-runs of Frasier. Enough said.
9:31am We're directed by ATC Cleveland to descend back to 31,000 feet, and while the captain sought to chat about the change due to the earlier "chop," we were directed to that level after crossing DeWitt. Whatever that is (a place, perhaps).
9:40am We're passed over to Chicago Center at 126.12 MHz, which I would presume is our final hand-off. We have a 30 minute ETA to touchdown at O'Hare International Airport (airport code ORD).
9:42am EDT / 8:42am CDT Oh, by the by, Chicago is in the Central Time zone, so here's we go...
9:08am Touchdown in Chicago, at gate B18. By a small stroke of luck, we only had to traverse the concourse to B5 for our final flight. Moving my bag, I wondered if this was really a non-smoking flight.
9:14am A cruise of the concourse revealed an appalling lack of Pepsi vendors, but we found one, and paid the marginally insane price of $1.85 for the 20 ounce bottle. Small price to pay for freedom, though.
9:46am The first boarding call for our flight. Being lazy, and since I'm charging up the laptop (or trying), we ignore it.
10:02am Ignore it no longer, we queue up and join the gentle stampede onto the plane, and back to seats 30E and 30F. We're not alone here, but I think 30F is looking over my shoulder. (We ended up sitting in 30D and 30E, versus trying to displace a settled 30D in 30F).
10:22am Liftoff for the nest. Arrival in just four short hours plus a few minutes. With the time changes (-2 from Central back to Pacific, that puts us on the ground around 12:33pm Pacific Time -- yea!
10:56am American Airlines flight 263 is requesting a landing at St. Louis via Quincy due to a medical emergency on board. The First Office elects not to declare an emergency, however. They clarified the condition requires prompt attention, but does not require emergency services personnel on the ground.
11:00am We are transferred to ATC Minneapolis Center at 135.77 MHz on the dial.
12:51pm CDT / 10:51am PDT Just to mix it up as we sit through Raising Helen, I thought I'd flip the time back to our final destination. Per the First Officer chatting to the tower, we're at 37,500 feet to keep out of some chop we were seeing at 39,000`feet. And, we were just transitioned from Denver Center to Salt Lake Center on 135.77 MHz.
11:46am We're directed to switch over to the ATC center on 132.05 MHz, in preparation for our descent and approach.
12:20pm We landed without incident, excitement, or drama -- and 18 minutes early.
12:32pm After some undue and unexplained
12:57pm Luggage is in-wing and we're leaving the terminal. Another trip is now a part of the history books. Ta!
 
Trip Stats

14 days, surrounded by orange leaves, American history, and political bumper stickers. Oddly enough, I didn't expect anything less this close to a presidential election. That aside, honestly, I just don't feel the "stats" thing in me this time. Call it jet lag, fatigue, whatever. You'll live -- I believe in you. ;)

 
Trip Summary - Don't Tread on Me Tour
 

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