Those of you who’ve been following this blog know that I spent the past week photographing first in Ohio and then in southern California. I finally got home yesterday – and my flight was only 16 and ½ hours late! Here’s the deal:

I had a hell of a time getting home Sunday. In fact, as I said, I never did get home! Things started promisingly Sunday morning as I drove my rental car back to the airport, LAX. The infamously legendary Los Angeles traffic jams were nowhere to be seen. I even had a celebrity encounter: on the rent-a-car shuttle bus, I met and got to speak with Scott Hamilton, the 1984 Gold Medal winner for men’s figure skating at the Winter Olympics and currently a TV commentator for figure skating. I actually recognized him by his voice from TV and he was quite personable, talking with me and the two others on the bus about figure skating, air travel and where he now lives.

Anyway, back to my tale. My flight left LAX on time bound for Dallas-Fort Worth. That’s when the trouble began. I had to change planes in Dallas, but bad weather there closed the airport and forced us to land in Oklahoma City to refuel. We sat there for three hours on the tarmac (see first photo) without A/C on a hot day, and when we finally did get to Dallas, my flight to New York had already left. So, I had to go and stand on the line to rebook at the ticket counter - for one hour and 55 minutes! (Yes, that’s right – for 115 minutes.) I was then booked on a flight to LaGuardia airport that night (even though my bags were going to JFK airport), but I had waited on line for so long that when I got to the gate I found out that I had missed that flight, too – even though the agent at the ticket counter said I had plenty of time!

At this point I was really starting to boil, but I tried to keep cool as much as I could with no alternative but to stay in Dallas overnight. The question was: where??? It was a choice of sleeping on a cot in the airport or springing for a hotel room on my own dime. (The airlines say that they’re not responsible for weather related delays.) So, with all of my camera and film stuff to look after, I chose a hotel. What a way to spend my first night in the state of Texas!

The hotel was actually very nice and the room rather luxurious (second photo), and as a stranded passenger I got a discount rate. (Too bad I didn’t have a model with me to photograph.) One of the staff at the desk even allowed me to make a free long distance call to my mom as my cell phone battery was totally depleted, and I got a further $20 reduction for not receiving my requested wake-up call. The folks in Texas were being pretty nice to me.

The next morning (yesterday) I made it back to the airport. Breakfast was a couple of Egg McMuffins (minus the meat) at the McDonald’s, which seems to have it’s own Tex-Mex cuisine as the photo shows. (Of course, there was a Texas shop, too.) Things actually took a turn for the better before eating breakfast. I had been booked on another LaGuardia flight but when I got to the airport I saw that a flight for JFK would be leaving just ten minutes earlier. Amazingly, I went over to that flight’s gate and was able to switch from the LaGuardia flight to the JFK flight - so I did get my luggage, after all!

The flight to New York was thankfully uneventful and home I returned after what I have to say was probably the worst day of air travel that I have ever experienced.

So, having said all that, I’m finishing off with a photo that’s a preview of things to come. Stay tuned.

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