you can’t get there from here

sunset somewhere over the north atlanticSometimes the simple act of moving from point A to point B can take a really long time…

Taxi from Harrogate to the Leeds train station: 40 minutes.  Smooth ride, driver not too chatty, got to the train station with enough time to find an ATM after the driver told me he couldn’t take the credit card his dispatcher assured us would be perfectly acceptable.

Train from Leeds to Kings Cross: 2 hours and change.  The trains in England are great.  They are comfortable and they leave on time.  Exactly on time. This time I reserved a seat with a table so I had someplace to set my laptop while I typed.  I also had a window seat but it was dark nearly the whole way, so there wasn’t a lot to see.

Taxi from Kings Cross to Paddington: about half an hour.  This ride was half as long and a third less expensive than the ride from Paddington to Kings Cross I took two weeks ago.  Go figure.

Heathrow Express train from Paddington to Heathrow: 20 minutes.  This put me at the airport three hours early, which is exactly what I planned, since I figured that in light of recent events getting through security might take awhile.  I was wrong about that and breezed through both check-in with the airline and the security screening.  With a whole lot of time on my hands, I roamed around the terminal’s duty free shops, bought a couple of books, and found a cafe to have some tea in.  I sat there and wrote until my gate was posted.

Airport train to gate: 10 minutes.  I was killing time in the A wing of Terminal  at Heathrow and my gate was in B wing, which necessitated a brief train ride.  No big deal.  Terminal B is bright and spacious and not too very crowded.  I settled in to wait for boarding and in about 20 minutes I found out what all those news reports meant by “enhanced security procedures.”  Each and every passenger was patted down (most intimately too…) and all carry on bags were searched by hand.  This process delayed our departure by at least an hour and a half.   Then we needed to ride a bus out to the plane, because “enhanced security procedures” meant that the planes were not boarding at the terminals but safely away on the tarmac.

Bus to plane: 10 minutes.  Fortunately, I was among the second to last busload of people to be screened in the terminal so by the time I got to the plane there wasn’t a lot more waiting to do.  Also fortunately the plane wasn’t full and there was still room in the overhead bins for my carry-on.  Even better, I had a window seat and no neighbor for the whole flight.  The weather was clear, there was no wind, and I had a nonstop straight home.

Plane to Baltimore: 6 hours or so.  I’m not sure exactly what time we left Heathrow, but apparently we made up the time while flying, since we made it to Baltimore almost on time.  The flight crew apologized numerous times for the delays and the intrusive screening procedures.  They said that the procedures were imposed by the US and were required in order for planes from Europe to land in the US.   Once we were off the ground the flight was completely uneventful.  The best part was chasing the sun across the Atlantic.  Once we started seriously heading west we pretty much kept up with the sun and flew in a perpetual sunset nearly the whole way.  It wasn’t until we hit the US coast and turned south for the approach to the airport that night fell for real.   I spent about an hour and a half in the airport getting through customs and collecting my luggage and another half hour or so getting to my car.

Drive home:  slightly over an hour.  It was the tail end of rush hour and everyone was driving like they’d had a long day.  I was exhausted and probably shouldn’t have been driving myself but I made it home in one piece.

And here I am.  Door to door total travel time was just around 18 hours.  I left the flat in Harrogate at 6am local time and arrived at my door at 7:30 pm EST (12:30 am Harrogate time).  And in about an hour after that I was curled up with the cat asleep.

~ by gun street girl on January 6, 2010.

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