Leaving California is always bittersweet for me. I am always sad to leave the weather and my family. But, I am also happy to go back to my friends, my husband and my routine... and leave my family. Mixed bag that family.
Of course leaving Santa Barbara isn't always so easy. We flew into LAX, so had to make the 3 hour drive to the airport. Which is fine, my mom is usually happy to drive us there, but it is still an exhausting start to an already long trip. When we got to the airport, it was not unusually crowded and we made it through the bag check line pretty quickly. At this point, I would like say, I love that Southwest does not charge for your bags, not only are they usually the least expensive choice they don't make me pay to check my luggage. LUV that!
Because someone, my husband, tarried so much in deciding about what to do about coming with us, we were unable to get a cheap fare for the return that did not involve stopping. So we had to stop in Denver. We didn't have to change planes, we just stopped. During the change over, the kids got to hang out with the pilot. So awesome. Again, did I mention that I LUV SWA? United wouldn't let you do that! They even let me take a picture. Sam about had a heart attack he was so excited!
To say that there was some weather issues in Chicago, was well an understatement. There were massive storms, tornado warnings and 80 mph winds. This of course delayed all the air traffic into Chicago. When we landed we were told that we were going to get in the air as soon as possible, before they changed their minds! Concerns about air traffic were top of mind. When we touched down at Midway, it was 15 minutes late. Pretty good all things considered.
That is when the trip home gets interesting. Walking to the baggage claim area involved navigating around a marching band, bag pipe players, a bunch of guys with flags and masses of people. When we finally made it to our carousel, well, we were in no mood. Then getting to the car required a mile long hike through the airport, back past the aforementioned hoopla.
When everyone is finally loaded in the car, it takes us 30 minutes to exit the garage. When we finally leave the parking garage, we learn that the highway on ramps are flooded and that the highway is closed. We have to find an alternative route home. Have I mentioned that Midway is not in a great neighborhood, it is 1:00 am, all the power is out so it is dark. We all know how I feel about driving in the city... I was a little apprehensive.
We finally find the next highway, only it is under construction, so we sat in traffic for an hour trying to make it home. Traffic at 1:30 am on a Wednesday... wtf. Every single road we needed to drive on was either closed or under water. When we finally make it home, over 2 hours after we landed, everyone was COOKED. Needless to say, it was a long trip home.