John and I flew into DC in the middle of a city-closing-snowstorm on Friday night. A cold, icy storm had us delayed on the DC runway for an hour while they de-iced the runway and the planes. Obviously escaping winter for a warm tropical post will be coming a little later.
But let me start at the beginning of our exodus.
After an early morning arrival at the Bend/Redmond airport, some wrestling and cursing of our 4 checked bags and 4 carry-on bags, and a sigh of relief that we actually had tickets on the flight (not another run-around-wild-goose-chase from the Feds!) we were on the short flight to Portland and were feeling at peace with leaving Bend and starting our new adventure.
When we landed in Portland we saw a familiar face: Wes Anderson, an old pal from our ski bum days in Tahoe!
This was honestly not a surprise, and seemed a very fitting addition to our long list of goodbyes. We tend to see Wes whenever we're at the airport. He assures us that he really doesn't fly that often, and we know WE don't fly that often, but for some mystical reason we end up flying at the exact same time as Wes. Turns out he was going all the way to DC on our same flight to visit family out east. And now I'm sure we'll be running into Wes in all the DC airports... wait a minute... Wes, is there something you're not telling us?...
We had free passes to get into the Alaska Airlines "Emperor's Club" in Portland and took full advantage of the free breakfast spread they had in there. I think it's actually called something corporate and PC like "The Board Room" but we wanted to add to it's prestige to help ourselves imagine the free champagne, caviar and massages we'd be enjoying during our 20-minute layover. It was only 8:45am, but I ordered a mimosa much to the delight of my dining companion. He was busy gulping the free coffee and orange juice. I'm sure we looked like Julia Roberts in the fancy hotel, wide-eyed and disbelieving at how the rich folks live. We gotta figure out how to get some access to these VIP spots in the future, they're awesome! And some even have showers which would be so nice after a long, sweaty international flight.
The plane to DC was only half full so John and I got a row to ourselves and were able to stretch out and nap a little (veeeeeeeeery easy to do after mimosa). I watched an episode of Game of Thrones and read my book, Johnny played with "his little word game" on the iPad (he loves him some Chicktionary!). A quick 4.25 hours later, and it was wheels down. It looked like we were flying into Snowmagedon, excellent! The East at it's best. A couple inches of snow and it shuts down the city.
Grabbed our bags from the carousel and muscled them out to the taxi bay. We just had an address for the AirBnB room we were heading to so the cabbie put it in his GPS and off we went. The snow storm was swirling around the Washington Monument and the Lincoln memorial as we drove past on the opposite bank.
At about $25 on the meter and on the side streets of Falls Church Virginia, the cabbie got lost. At first we were like, "okay, um, isn't this the oldest trick in the book?" But he assured us that he would cut us a deal no matter what the meter said. Okay dude. So we called our host and luckily she was able to talk him in with only a few more wrong turns and understand his thick African (or Haitian?) accent.
Her driveway was a steep little hill and homie hesitated right in the middle of it, breaking the first rule of winter driving: never loose your momentum. The front tires started spinning and the cab started sliding back into a truck parked on the side of the road. So John got out to help push the back end to the side as I told Homes which way to turn the wheel and when to hit the gas. It worked out pretty darn well. We parked at the bottom of the driveway and baby-step-walked our suitcases up it. Total bill? $25 dollars. Thanks homie, he really did cut us a deal, probably thanks to Johnny's help on the hill.
Our AirBnB host was super nice and our room looked great, but we were starving and ready to stretch our legs. A quick check on Yelp told us there was a good Lao/Thai restaurant nearby so we bundled up, I strapped on some YakTraks, and we hoofed it into town for dinner. What a lovely quiet walk in the snow! A delicious, spicy meal, followed by a cozy, contented walk home.
And that was just the first day of the adventure. This is going to be awesome.