A long day begins with a long drive. During which we stop to get me dramamine and ginger ale. Just remember, when life gives you drama, take dramamine.
The road is lovely, and after my dose, just seems to float by as I doze, never really asleep, but never really awake. Fortunately this wears off as we near Spokane, just in time for lunch at IHOP, since we're really early for Will's flight.
The IHOP is very crowded, but we have time. Our group takes up a fair amount of the waiting area. We finally get seated, and find that we have been assigned to the waiter on turbo charge. He is a short latino with only one speed - super-fast - and he calls everyone "my friend" except for Amy. He calls her "boss." Twice. Me he calls "sweety" once, and I think he finally calls Mark boss, or at least something other than my friend. But the guy nearly runs around the table, filling water, bringing us a carafe, etc. It's awesome.
We go to fill up the cars before returning them. We figure if we drive down this major-ish looking road, we'll find a gas station eventually. Well, we do, but it's absurdly far from the airport. We console ourselves, as we drive and drive and drive without seeing a station, that at least we aren't lost. We can always u-turn and end up right where we came from. When we finally find a pump, it's a pay first, no credit cards, old school sort of job. But hey, it's an adventure. And it works. And we finally head for the airport.
Will's flight leaves, and the rest of us wait around for a bit. We catch the end of the world cup on TV. Italy wins. We find out that Ken Lay has died of a heart attack. People ask us where we've been that we hadn't heard. It really was fun to drop off the face of the earth for a while. Going back is going to be a bit harsh.
The Houston crew leaves Teebs and Amy behind to wait for their flight. We get to Phoenix, only to find that weather in Las Vegas has delayed a lot of the connections, and the gate area is in chaos. We've got plenty of time, so we find some neutral ground to park in while we wait to find out which gate our plane will actually be at. We pull out the lap tops and connect to the wireless. We all take turns checking e-mail, and it's just about business as usual already.
Our flight is delayed, of course, and by the time we get on it, I'm regretting that I didn't request tomorrow off from work. I'm going to be pretty ragged tomorrow. As I expect, I don't sleep much on the plane. We land in Houston around 1 A.M. and the first thing I notice getting off of the plane is, of course, the humidity. I knew it would be bad, but the air actually *smells* like water. Not to mention feels like a sauna.
We collect our baggage. Mark and Joanna drive me home. I drag everything into my aparment, and, already half asleep, shut out the world and the stray cat that apparently wants to come live with me. I fall into bed at 2 A.M. and my trip to Glacier National Park is officially over.