Friday morning we didn a little more geocaching, then loaded up the car and headed out for ice cream before doing a couple more caches. We called it quits about 1:30, as the wind was really picking up and we felt like we were getting sandblasted every time we stepped out of the car.
We arrived at the airport about 2 1/2 hours before our scheduled departure time, only to discover our flight had been CANCELLED!! WestJet was not flying into Palm Springs on account of the high winds (gusts up to 69 mph were recorded at the airport). The airline kindly gave us a hotel voucher for the night and also a 1-800 number to call after 5 o’clock to get our flight number and flight time for the extra run they’d be putting on the Saturday schedule to get their stranded travelers home.
Arriving at the Holiday Inn, we learned the power was out, which meant all computer systems were down, which meant we couldn’t check in! Fortunately, we had all the makings of a picnic lunch in our carry-on bags, so we passed the time in the dim lobby quite comfortably, loaning out our geocaching flashlight as other stranded travelers needed to visit the facilities.
The palm trees in the parking lot of the shopping center across the street were bending in the strong winds. We watched power company employees come by trying to isolate the location of the power loss.
A short while later, after we were settled in our room, we heard strange banging sounds. When Mr. and Mrs. GeoK headed downstairs to go across to the grocery store for supplies for a picnic supper in our room, we were cautioned by a hotel employee, who told us that sections of the hotel roof were blowing off in the strong winds. The flew into the central courtyard, landing in the pool and damaging several of the top floor hotel rooms.
We scurried across the street to pick up our groceries and then returned to the relative safety of our room. It was time to call the 1-800 number provided by WestJet. After waiting on hold for a few minutes, Mr. GeoK was informed that the best they could do was fly us home on Monday! Say what?!? Since the weather is out of their control, the only thing they’re obliged to do is get us into the next available seats!!
We dejectedly ate our supper and then watched a movie. Just before we went to bed, Mrs. GeoK tried the 1-800 number again and pent about an hour on the phone with the most helpful Jodi. She managed to find a way to get us home Saturday: Palm Springs to Vancouver to Calgary. We needed to be at the airport by 10 o’clock Saturday morning and would be landing in Calgary at 10:47 pm on account of a long layover in Vancouver. But it sounded better than hanging around until Monday, missing a day of school, etc., so we took her up on her offer!
Here’s our bags, waiting to go onto the shuttle bus to head back to the airport…
We had time to walk around, eat a little lunch and toss the nerf football at the playground after we checked in. Several military helicopters landed and then took off again. Our flight departed right on schedule and arrived in Vancouver on time. Clearing Canadian customs was a breeze and all our luggage showed up.
Just after we cleared security in Vancouver, C noticed that the Departures screen was showing a “Delayed” status on our flight to Calgary. The French word for delayed is “retarde” and we really felt like we were having that kind of day.
In the end, our flight left about an hour late, but our bags made it on the same flight and we walked in the back door to our house at 11:50 pm. It was a lousy ending, but the rest of this year’s Spring Break was terrific.