The South East Binder Association Meet n Greet was going to be last Saturday (January 23, 2016) in Greenville, SC. (Spoiler alert: It was cancelled due to weather).
The date was set in mid-December. I had to be in Green Bay for work the week before. I did not want to fly home on Thursday and then go for a 450 mile car ride on Friday, but I did not want to skip the Meet n Greet. So…
I found out I could fly Cincinnati to Green Bay and then fly Milwaukee to Greenville/Spartanburg for the same cost as roundtrip Cincinnati – Green Bay. Therefore, work would cover the flight and it would not cost me anything to fly to Greenville.
The plan: Mary drives to Greenville on Thursday. Carl flies in Friday morning (Milwaukee to Detroit. Detroit to Greenville, arriving at 11:00 am). We spend Friday evening and Saturday with our International truck friends and drive home on Sunday.
I pack my suitcase for Green Bay and a second bag that Mary will bring to Greenville. Monday afternoon, I head to Green Bay.
Tuesday morning it is 3° in Green Bay. My concerned Chevy Cruze displays, “The roads may be icy, please drive safely” on the screen on the dash. I think, “No shit Sherlock!”
The Omen (Tuesday evening):
Mary agrees to bring Scout floors and rocker panels (sheet metal), a Scout roll bar, and SSS door prizes to Greenville for John.
Thursday, Mary leaves for Greenville.
She is almost to Knoxville, TN when Mike from Northern Virginia calls. They are expecting serious snow and he is chickening out. He prefers to stay home, rather than get stranded in Greenville, SC
I finish the work day and drive to Milwaukee. I walk across the street to the restaurant and have dinner and drinks – alone, but soon will be with Mary.
Mary arrives at the hotel at Greenville and we text back and forth. I pay the bill and get ready to leave the restaurant and a text from company travel arrives.
I call. “Delta has rebooked you on a 1:05 pm flight to Atlanta and the 7:15 pm flight to Greenville arriving at 8:17 pm.” Well I can sleep in, go for a run and get some work done. I still make it to Greenville.
Friday morning. I look at flight status on Delta.com. Three of the four Detroit to Greenville flights have been cancelled. The two earliest of the eight Atlanta to Greenville flights have been cancelled.
8:41 am Text from Randy
Mary and Randy start to text.
And Mike shares the good news with Mary.
10:09 am text from travel company arrives.
The omens are getting darker!
Mary clears the ¼” of ice off the car. People ask her how she got her car windows clear of the ice. Mary responds, “I have an ice scraper.”
“May we borrow it?” Mary ends up loaning the ice scraper to 4 people.
Mary heads to Ted’s hangar and drops off Mike’s sheet metal (meanwhile Mike is getting snowed in in Northern Virginia).
The only restaurant open in the area is a Waffle house. Even McDonalds is closed. Mary refuses to eat at Waffle House (something to do with watching the person clean the grill 15 years ago) and heads to the grocery store to procure items for lunch.
Mary and I talk. A third Atlanta to Greenville flight has been cancelled.
Thoughts of “do I bail on getting to Greenville?” “But Mary then needs to drive home alone.”
I head to the airport.
I arrive at the airport and as I arrive at the gate. Yes, it is a text from the travel company.
AND the fourth Atlanta to Greenville flight has been cancelled. Remember there were 8 flights and my flight is number 6.
Finally in the air to Atlanta. We land just fine, I turn on my phone and the ultimate text from the travel company.
I call the travel company and inform Mary of the conversation.
While I am on hold, Mary is working on Plan B.
And so implementation of Plan B has started.
I have dinner and then check out hotels in the area. Mary is making progress on the drive.
I find a Hampton with an airport shuttle about 10 miles southwest of the airport on I-85.
There are 8 of us on the shuttle. A mom and two younger couples returning from Mexico who are trying to get to Baltimore. A pilot the flies the Brussels to Philadelphia route trying to get home in Raleigh-Durham. Another man who will not reach his destination and me, who will not make it to Greenville.
Arriving at the hotel, I am the last to check in. I explain the situation to the desk clerk, telling him that Mary is on the way from Greenville. “Oh your job is to warm up the bed for her.”
“Yes, it is.”
I check out Delta.com. All four Detroit to Greenville flights and all eight Atlanta to Greenville flights end up being cancelled.
Phone rings. Mary (in slightly annoyed voice), “Where are you? I sent you a text”
The Hampton we are staying at cleared out one floor of mattresses and they we all piled up under the carport waiting for the someone to pick them up.
It ends up she went to the Hampton before the airport and they told her I wasn’t there. She then drove past the airport to the Hampton I was at. We discussed what “past airport” meant. I survived the discussion without too much damage.
Settled in and the adventure in another direction will continue tomorrow.
— To Be Continued —