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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Positively INauspicious Beginning

by Mauverneen

Inadvertent selfie. Looking serene on the train.
I feel so relaxed. I just returned from a two week vacation in the sunny and beautiful state of Arizona.  I have lots to talk about.

I started on the train. I really do enjoy traveling by train. It is slower paced and less hectic than flying, and far less tiring than driving cross country - although I would never pass up a good road trip.

Dirty windows, but Love that first view of the mountains.
Coach seats are roomy and comfortable, recline without being in the lap of anyone behind you, and even have a footrest that raises to the height of your seat so you can really stretch out. I had a tasty Pasta dinner in the dining car, and a good breakfast the next morning, chatting with fellow passengers. In between I napped, texted family back home, snapped photos of the ever changing scenery, and even read a book on my Kindle app.

Fun to watch the train rounding the curves
As relaxing as my train trip was, it was the most inauspicious start to a trip I have ever had. I kept wondering if the fates were telling me I should have stayed home. A handle on my suitcase broke as I was loading it into the car. I wasn’t even on the train before I realized I had left my spare camera battery and charger plugged into the wall at home, causing me all sorts of stress and agitation trying to find out where I could get one once I got to Flagstaff! Here I was, heading to the Grand Canyon and I might not have a usable camera? Unacceptable to say the least!

For all the critics who complain about the trains being late, there was only one portion of this trip that was behind schedule, and we made that up pretty quickly, arriving in Flagstaff at the scheduled time of 10:00 pm.

There were no cabs at the station, even though I was NOT the only passenger deboarding and the train was on time. The two phones in the station were BOTH not working so I rolled my luggage across the street, hoping to flag a passing cab, but no such luck. I ended up calling for one, waiting about 30 minutes before I finally was able tosspot and hail a passing taxi. Of course as soon as I did so the cab company I had called earlier called me to see if I was still there. And guess what? Taking my monster suitcase out of the cab just a few minutes later at the hotel, the retractable handle was now jammed! So – two handles gone.

The motel I picked for my first night’s stay had the strangest set up I have ever seen, and I spent a good 20 minutes wandering up, down, back and forth, unable to find a door with the number I had in my hand. Oh yes, bent over, trying to wheel the unwieldy, handle-less suitcase behind me. Not to mention also juggling a camera bag and an overly heavy purse (lots of extras in there for the trip) at the same time.

My luck continued the next morning. I had apparently left my contact lenses in too long the day before and woke to searing pain in my eyeballs. My eyes watered constantly and if I tried to open them they watered even more. Any light hurt. I took a shower in the dark, and wore sunglasses in the room, even with the lights off. I dared not attempt to even open the curtains. Every time I tried to peek out, I was assaulted by pain and tears. The beautiful Arizona sunshine I had been longing for was not my friend this morning. Numerous attempts to reach the rental car company failed. The line was busy, busy, busy, busy! I needed them to deliver a car as promised. (Not that I would be able to drive it in my condition, but still…)

Attempts to locate a battery and charger for my camera were not promising. Finally, Radio Shack had a universal charger, and since I did have a battery, all I really needed was a charger. Later that afternoon when I finally got there, it turned out my battery did not fit. That figured! Directed to a Batteries Plus, I found a Nikon Universal Charger that worked! The next step would have been to buy a new camera. Let the vacation begin!

I cannot let this part of the story end without mentioning my angel of mercy/knight in shining armor. The wonderful man who drove two hours to pick me up, took me to get my rental car, and carted me around to find a battery and on to some sightseeing. My dear friend, Rick! Although we were planning on seeing one another once I got to Phoenix, when he heard of my eye problems he offered to come be my chauffeur. (My eyes did better as the day progressed, so it turned out to not be a lost day, and getting to spend an extra day with Rick was an added bonus.) Once again - Thank You!

Mauve and Rick - Flagstaff. My first official selfie!

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