Arrivedercci Italia (May 23, 2007)

We awoke extremely early, packed up and headed out to the airport. We navigated to the airport in the pre-dawn darkness, as much by feel as by map. The labor action had been planned to be of limted duration, ending at 6 PM the previous day, and sure enough, everything was running smoothly. Rick returned the van to the parking garage, while Rob moved bikes and Ken kept an eye on our pile of goods. The trip to London was uneventful and we searched for a meal in the airport, while Rick searched for a means of recharging his iPod. We found a very British sort of bar serving breakast, if you call every possible combination of potatoes and fried eggs breakfast. We ordered some food, despite the predominance of smokers in the room. Eventually our food arrived, yet Rick was still absent returning the converter plug he’d purchased for his iPod that didn’t allow the large iPod to physically fit. Ken and I ate, growing more concerned about Rick’s absence. Finally, we abandoned his food and headed for the gate, checking with British Airways agents to see if he had checked-in yet. Eventually Rick surfaced at the gate — he’d been charging his iPod at the Apple Store and then returned to eat his breakfast that was still there waiting for him.

In Dallas, we reclaimed our bikes and put them all onto one cart for the trip through Customs. The agent seemed a bit intrigued that they were all in identical cartons and made sure we had not just purchased them. Then they were back onto the conveyor belt for the trip to Seattle. Walking through the airport, Ken and Rob ran into Tom and Jane Rowland, Tom being Ken’s longtime colleague in the Chemistry Department. So we got caught up on their Caribbean vacation, and news about the Thompson Hall remodeling project, while grabbing a BBQ sandwich for a meal.

The flight to Seattle was also uneventful, and our bikes made the trip home unscathed.