Log Entry – Sol Nine

I was awakened by my alarm at 4:30 am, took a quick shower and loaded up the Queen Anne’s Revenge. Unfortunately, despite being completely exhausted, I slept poorly and was awake most of the night, getting only about 4 fitful hours of sleep. I left the house around 5:00 am, topped off the gas tank, and made it to the airport in good time. The car rental agency was onsite and I had no trouble whatsoever in returning the vehicle. After checking my bag, I proceeded to security and stood in an agonizingly long line. Up to this point, I had not had any coffee which I desperately needed. Just before passing through the whole body scanner, I reached into my backpack to stuff my cellphone, wallet and other personal items from my pockets inside. As I reached into the backpack, I sliced open a deep gash on my index finger from the cutting edge of the packing tape dispenser that I had brought along to seal up the boxes of gear. Within seconds, blood began squirting out of my finger and there was nothing available to ebb the flow. Instinctively, I put my finger in my mouth and placed the backpack on the conveyer belt. Unable to stand the taste of blood any longer, I began squeezing the wound shut as I passed through the body scanner and waited for my backpack to emerge from the other side. Suddenly, I saw a stern looking TSA agent holding up my backpack and approaching me in a very serious manner. He asked me a few questions, one of which was “Do you have a lantern in here?” I did in fact have the body of the lantern inside with its glass globe bubble wrapped. Thankfully, I had left the propane fuel tank behind with Will, but I didn’t ship the lantern with the other camping gear due to its fragility. I don’t know what the big deal was but, when I answered affirmatively, he said “OK, that’s fine”. The whole time I was being interrogated, I was bleeding like a stuck pig with blood dripping down onto the floor at my feet. Once I was free to go, I raced to the men’s room and washed the cut with soap and water and wrapped my finger with a paper towel compress to staunch the flow of blood. I probably should have gone back to mop up the mess at the security gate but I was now focused on just getting some coffee and finding my gate. Not a good start to the trip home. The first leg of my trip from Portland to Atlanta had an on time departure and the flight was mostly smooth except for the last 30 min outside of Atlanta where we ran into some unsteady air with heavy turbulence. I was supposed to have a short layover in Atlanta, but the second plane was stuck at its previous location in Chattanooga, TN with mechanical issues. The airline kept delaying the flight from ATL to CHO by 30 minute increments until we were now more than 2 hours behind schedule. I was really at my lowest at this point, mainly because of the lack of sleep, but also with the stresses of negotiating the vehicle return and various airport hassles, and of course because of the injury to my finger which, although no longer bleeding, was beginning to throb. I tried to keep my spirits aloft by thinking about being home again with Cathy and our dogs, Lucy and Zoey. I missed Cathy so much throughout the trip. I kept thinking about how much she would enjoyed this or that and thought about what kind of road trip she might like if we were to go on one in the future. It probably would be very different than this one. The frontal system that caused the turbulence on landing in ATL was also in play in the Charlottesville area, maybe even more so. The person sitting next to me on the plane was, like me, uncomfortable with the situation. Every time the plane would lurch up and down, we would both raise up grabbing our armrests. When the wheels were finally on the ground, I heaved a huge sigh of relief and bounded for the baggage claim area where I was met almost immediately by my beaming wife. It felt so wonderful to be back home in her arms again.

Author: The Captain

I am a scientist and entrepreneur who enjoys music, cooking and craft beers.

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