The latest adventure has started for Two Who Trek! Yesterday was filled with packing and bill paying; doing all those things that need to get done before leaving for a month.
The 3:30 AM alarm made for a short night following a midnight bedtime. In the blowing snow, we made a pre-dawn drive to the Detroit Metro Airport (DTW). Sherri had rousted one of her relatives to drop us off at the airport. Lucky guy, he managed to sleep most of the way to Detroit. This left Sherri to very competently handle the big rear-wheel-drive wildebeest through beginning rush hour traffic and slippery roads.
Following the airline’s departure recommendations, we pulled into the drop-off area a full three hours before our 10 am flight. Joe quickly unloaded the truck, and Sherri’s relative departed, taking along the book Joe was reading about Ecuadorian customs. Ticketing and check-in areas at DTW’s McNamara Terminal were packed at 7 AM. Between the 200 plus flights canceled the day before due to ten inches of new snow and all the holiday travelers, the lines formed rather close to the terminal entrance doors.
Two Who Trek are good at finding bathrooms and there aren’t any in the ticketing concourse. The lines for the security checkpoint filled every available path so going through the line with a full bladder wasn’t a viable option. A pleasant airport employee shared a secret for navigating McNamara – head for the Westin Hotel! The hotel has an entrance at the south end of the ticketing concourse. If you go through the door, turn right, go across the catwalk, and hop on the down escalator, you end up at the Shangri-La of DTW restrooms! Upscale in appointments, these bathrooms even have facial tissue available!
Having made this discovery, we continued our Westin exploration. Surprise! The Westin has its own security checkpoint! Sure, it only has one scanner, but the lines are shorter and the atmosphere is much more relaxed. We accomplished checked bags, restroom stops, made it through security and were seated at breakfast in less than an hour.
Another pleasant surprise was that the flight was on time! Given that the weather in Michigan is unpredictable, we were concerned that a late Detroit departure would result in our missing the Atlanta, Georgia connection to Quito, Ecuador. When booking the flight, we arranged for the earliest DTW departure so we would have plenty of time in case we had to take a later flight.
As we write this, we are enjoying a five hour layover in sunny Atlanta, before traveling to today’s final destination of Quito. We land in Ecuador about midnight, missing an unofficial group meeting in the bar. Another short night is in store. Tomorrow’s 10 AM hotel lobby meeting will begin the next leg of our journey to our (albeit temporary) home in Cuenca.
When it comes to travel, sleep is highly overrated!