My vacation was finally under way, and I'd made it all the way across the country, to the City of Brotherly Love, in one piece.
Meanwhile...Nikita was settling in to life without me for 12 days. ;-D
It takes me 10 minutes to get off the plane, another 10 to locate the shuttle, and about 10 more for it to get me to Terminal F through a decent rain.
It was 815pm...
After I get a fellow traveler, who was bound for Florida, to take a picture of me in front of the newsstand, I get distracted by an Information Booth.
I asked the attendants if they had any free info books, or maps, of interest to a bicyclist, and came away with a few choice items.
Next on my agenda was the famouse Philly Cheesesteak I'd often heard about.
I spotted one on the menu of Jet Rock Bar Bar and Grill, and headed straight for it. ;-D
A guy in line told me it wouldn't be "like downtown", but hey, this was as close as I was gonna get, so I ordered one with fries, and bottled water.
It was then that I made a discovery.
Philadelphians, at least the African-American ones anyway, talk funny. ;-D
The 2 guys doing the cooking, and the lady who was cashier, had this accent that I was sure was Jamaican, or something, and was quite delightful to the ears.
When I asked where the accent was from one of the guys piped up, with a big grin, "West, Philly, born and bred!"
It was then that I noticed the same accent coming over the PA System, too...fascinating!
Before eating I learned that my flight to Roanoke was going to be a half hour late, so I didn't have to scarf down dinner in 20 minutes after all.
By 950pm there was still no word on whether my connector flight has even left Elmyra, New York.
I briefly entertained the notion of walking to Roanoke, then came to my senses.
Must have been the tasty cheesesteak sandwich. ;-D
I had tried calling my Uncle, but he was not at home.
Around 1015pm we get word that the plane is...still in Elmyra, a 45 minute flight to Philly.
An attendant I talked to said traffic "has been heavy all evening due to the rain."
A check of the Departure TV says the flight was due to leave Philly at 1040Pm, then 1130pm.
The plane finally arrived...at 1130pm, just as the rain has finally stopped.
We board the plane, and the attendant said we "have a really good head wind that means a 90 min. flight, as opposed to 2 hours."
We head on out at midnight.
Our plane is a shuttle with real, honest to God, propellers!
As we fly above the clouds I see large patches of fuzzy bright areas where cities are, and later, as we approach Roanoke, and clouds appear to have cleared a bit, I can see bright city lights dotting the landscape.
It turned out to be a 2 hour flight afterall. ;-D
Seeing my Uncle Paul and Aunt Eileen, for the first time in 3 years, I give them huge hugs.
I meet Bowen, the husband of my Cousin Elizabeth, who is 2r years older than her, and is our driver.
As we drive the 30 miles to the home of my Uncle, in Wirtz, in Franklin County, VA., the "Moonshine Capitol of the World!"(At least the rednecks call it that!), the highway went from the familiar freeway, to the familiar streets, then 2-lane highway, to gravel, to private dirt road.
At first, we travel through the city of Roanoke, then through several tiny towns, some with familiar businesses, such as Walmart, El Torito, Subway, Quiznos, McDonalds, IHOP, Lowes, Burger King, CVS, and more then, when we head deeper into the countryside, the road dips, and winds its way through thick forests, patches of fog hanging low to the ground like little clouds, which they actually are.
I couldn't wait to see it all in the light of day, but in the meantime it was 4am, and I needed a nap. ;-D
It was a looong nap...but I eventually awoke for Chapter 3. ;-D