There is a well-known saying in Maine: “You can’t get they’ah from hey’ah”. I couldn’t agree more with that statement. Sometimes life is more about the journey than the destination, as I found out in a memorable childhood vacation.
Let me set the scene for you. It was the beginning of August in 2000. We were flying to Maine, with flights from Madison to Detroit to Boston to Bangor. After passing through security, a circus in itself, we waited patiently to board our plane. The plane had mechanical issues, and the flight was delayed (a word my family and I would certainly be getting used to). After a “short” three-hour delay, we were finally flying, enjoying our pretzels and reading outdated magazines. We soon arrived in Detroit only to find our connecting flight had already left. After a (brief) seven-hour delay, the flight was cancelled. The reason why? No pilot. What’s more, our luggage was stuck on the plane. We were shuttled to a local hotel for the night, surviving on what we carried and whatever the hotel could provide. It was a disastrous start to the trip.
The next flight’s tickets were upgraded to first class for our new flight to Boston. Sadly, all the more classy it got was extra pretzels. However, there was poor weather upon arriving in Boston, so the flight to Bangor was, big surprise, delayed. Eventually we boarded our flying pack of gum to Bangor. The plane arrived in Bangor late at night. In the morning my family picked up our luggage then drove to the quaint village of Dover-Foxcroft. We planned to stay with our grandmother at a cottage along a lake, but there was uneven flooring and no running water! We definitely weren’t staying there. The only available accommodation was a local hunting lodge with a game room (which I thought meant arcade, not dead animal heads). At least it had running water!
The vacation, though shortened, was finally underway. We dined at the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound (though I don’t like lobster) and attended a parade where my grandma was on a Class of 1950 float. The poor parts of the trip outnumbered the good parts, however. I went to a family reunion full of people I had never met. At Arcadia National Park, we were unable to see the beautiful scenery of Maine because it was foggy. When in Bar Harbor, we only swam in the Atlantic Ocean for ten minutes since the water was so cold. After eating rancid pizza with moldy cheese at a local pizzeria, we realized that the trip had hit rock bottom.
Finally it came time to head home. Because we had a flight changed (due to delays and cancellations) on the way to Bangor, all of our flights from Bangor to home were cancelled. Surprisingly we managed to get tickets and boarded the flight to Boston after, you guessed it, more delays. In Boston we had to sprint down the terminal, shoving over anything in our way, only to find out the next flight was delayed (noticing a theme here?). My brother and I were forced to sleep in the waiting area, trying to drown out the noise of people headed for Helsinki. After more delays we arrived in Detroit and eventually back to Madison.
The trip scars me to this day. After sending in an angry letter to Northwest Airlines, all we received were some bonus frequent flyer miles, like we would ever fly with them again. I have never flown since the trip. It’s sad how memorable terrible events can be.
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