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Wandering the World

Stories and tips from around the world.

Utah Day 1

Birmingham to San Francisco

Due to a combination of not having much time, and also a bit of poor planning on my part. It meant that at 02:15, just fourteen hours after finishing the Greater Manchester Marathon, I needed to get a taxi to the airport. Sleep that night had been the broken sleep that you’re rewarded with following some effort in a long run. My legs didn’t ache, I’d been lucky for that to not last long, but I was tired.

The taxi ride there was quick, and it felt like the driver thought he was a reincarnation of Ayrton Senna. He was taking the roads and corners as quickly as he could. No mercy. No surrender. When I got to the airport I found that the check-in desk wasn’t opening until two hours before the flight so I had some time to sit around.

I hoped that for once I’d be able to sleep on the flight – though the first one would be too short to as I was flying to Frankfurt first. Getting through Frankfurt Airport was stressful. In addition to having to rush from one terminal to another I then had to go through security again. This time though they swabbed my camera gear and camera – and this tested positive for explosives. They called over some armed security guards, and noted down my flight number and my passport number, then got me to prove my laptop was working. They then retested my backpack and laptop – this time, thankfully, it was testing negative. That was a stressful few minutes though.

I got to the gate with time to spare and was soon boarding the flight to San Francisco. On this flight they served a snack fairly early on, and then served a warm meal. During this time I watched “Arrival”, and then after closing my eyes for a while I watched “Passengers”.

Before we landed in San Francisco they served another snack, and then eventually another warm meal. Even though we’d left Frankfurt thirty minutes late we’d been told that we would still get into San Francisco on time. We did however get stuck in a holding pattern for fifteen minutes which meant we landed late.

Immigration was relatively quick, and the baggage collection was even quicker. From there I took the AirTrain to the rental desk and met up with my friend. We upgraded the car to a Kia Sorento – something that might be more comfortable, and began our journey.

We left the car rental place a little after 15:00, but found that the traffic was awful. It wasn’t just getting across San Francisco that was the problem, but most of the way to Oakhurst. It was really hard to stay awake during this time, but I managed to until we reached a Burger King in Merced. After I’d eaten I felt more awake until we arrived at the Yosemite Sierra Inn.

Check-in took a while as my friend decided to talk to the owner about India before getting the room keys. Finally though, at around 21:15, 27 hours after I’d gotten up in Leicester, I was in the hotel room and able to go to sleep in California.