Monday, January 14, 2008
Travel Woes or Learning Some Hard Lessons
Lost Luggage. There are few phrases more terrifying. (Yeah, okay, I know most medical phrases are worse. But work with me.)
Try adding lost luggage WITHOUT a baggage claim number.
That's been my past 48 hours.
No, not my own luggage. I learned long ago to double-check and then check again that the baggage claim number was in place and, more importantly, that the destination tag was firmly attached to the piece in question. (I also learned not to travel by Greyhound Bus, but I'm getting ahead of myself.)
In a nutshell, here's what happened:
My 20 year-old son was heading to Breckenridge with two of his buddies for a non-refundable ski trip that included everything except getting there from St. Louis. The boys, as boys are wont to do, had assumed that one of them would be able to take a car. Yeah, right. So, two days before the trip, they realized they had no transportation. They got busy and figured out they could go by bus. When I delivered them to the bus depot (which, I hate to say, was grungier than even they'd expected), two of the boys had luggage exceeding the 50 pound weight limit, so we had to pay extra. They got on the bus. 24+ hours, one missed connection, one transfer that failed to materialize, one suitcase misdelivered to Vail, and one $150 taxi ride later they arrived for four days of skiing and hi-jinks (I'm assuming the hi-jinks considering they were with 10 other college friends). Now, it was time for the return trip. They got to the little station for the bus to Denver. It never showed. They waited 5 hours, knowing they'd already missed their original connection in Denver to St. Louis. Several phone calls later, they were in Denver. Waiting in line for the 10:30 p.m. bus. They had their luggage. The driver said he'd take it from there. On the bus they got. 20 hours later they arrived in St. Louis, tired, hungry, and with less than 12 hours before they had to head back to college (barely enough time for laundry and a home-cooked meal!).
But, here was a time-saver--since their luggage had disappeared somewhere between Denver and home, we had much less laundry to attend to! It turned out that in the rush to get on the bus in Denver, no one, not the boys, not the ticket agent, not the driver, had thought to retag the luggage for the return trip.
I still believe it will turn up someday, somewhere. Perhaps even in my lifetime.
And, I guarantee you that not one of these boys will ever again let his luggage go anywhere without being sure it has been properly tagged. I'm also thinking they won't be traveling by bus anytime soon.
And if any of you happen to see a brownish-green duffle bag, a small black suitcase, and a black duffle with blue stripes sitting in a lonely pile somewhere along Interstate 70, give me a holler, okay?