Alberta 2008 Day 5 – Edmonton to Long Beach

It was early rise today as it was time to head home. Silly us, we flew in and out of Calgary instead of flying home from Edmonton. We headed downstairs to enjoy our complimentary buffet breakfast thanks to Mom’s Marriott connections. It was actually a nice buffet and it was nice that all of their eggs were made fresh and not sitting in a heated pan for hours on end.

We loaded up our rental car, and I got to drive back down to Calgary. It was a fairly quick journey – faster and more pleasant than the drive from Jasper down to Edmonton. We made one stop at a Wendy’s/Tom Horton for a coke and washroom break, but other than that it was smooth sailing. I do wish we had some extra time on the way. There was a few interesting sights that seemed like fun to stop at. There were several corn mazes, which probably were not operating this time of year, but a great photo op was missed at the information station just south of Edmonton that featured an oil derrick. I never knew they pumped over a million barrels of heavy crude out of this area of Alberta. There was an article in the paper that mentioned how people were investing a lot in this area to dry and get more efficient and environmentally friendly drilling established. Sounds like a good idea.

We arrived at the Discount Car Rental place after gassing it up and cleaning out the trash. I was glad Gary went for the extra insurance waiver, because after we got back on the freeway from our stop in Red Leaf, a rock hit the window and we had a nice chip in the window. Interestingly, the lady at the rental car place took us to the airport in our rental car as opposed to transferring us into a bus. “Its just much easier that way”, said our rental agent. We had a pleasant conversation with her back to the airport (rather than the awkward silence with a new person in the car). Turns out, she is a recent emigre to Calgary coming here from Toronto and North Africa.

It would have been fun to see the Calgary Stampede, but I am glad to be heading home. We checked in at the US Airways counter and discovered our flight is over an hour and a half late departing. Good thing I had a two and a half hour layover in Phoenix. If the plane pushes any later that a 1700 departure, I will be late! We ate at a local Harvey’s fast food. It reminds me of a combo of Fat Burger and Subway. And then we waited and waited and waited. A bit of anxiety because at 1430 they pushed our flight back from the already delayed 1600 departure to a 1630 departure.

After finally getting underway, the flight actually was way better than the flight coming to Calgary. Even though we had a compressed turnaround time, the plane was clean and we had new magazines to read. Also, as an added bonus, the seat next to me was empty. The only hiccup was a plane had some mechanical difficulties on the runway at Sky Harbor, causing us to circle an additional 15 minutes. There was also a bit of turbulence heading into the landing due to some 20mph winds at the airport. With all the delays, I only had an hour to kill at the airport before boarding my flight back to Long Beach.

When I boarded the plane to Long Beach, I thought I had stepped back in time. The entire flight crew was the same one from Calgary! I think that was the first time I had ever changed planes, but kept the flight crew. The flight back to Long Beach was packed, but blissfully short. People wanted to move around, but there was nowhere to go. The gate agent was doing a lousy job of screening the oversized carry on baggage as several people made it onto the plane with huge bags.

Before I knew it I was back in Long Beach. After a bit of waiting, Daniel finally showed up and he was a sight for sore eyes. We headed back to my apartment and it was time to call it a trip!