My caution that the marmot would be silent until Monday "at the earliest," was appropriate. We didn't get home until just after 9:00 last night.

The weekend was wonderful, though. The trip up went smoothly, with everything departing and arriving on time. We stepped off the Peter Pan bus at Wood's Hole and walked right aboard the ferry just minutes before they pulled the gangway. We didn't wait long for a Lyft driver in Vineyard Haven to take us to Oak Bluffs, where we stayed at the Madison Inn.

We had the day on Friday to wander around and explore, so we rented bikes and pedaled over to Edgartown. It was warm, mid-80s, and very humid so that was a sweaty affair. There's a topographical difference, I've found, between various regions' interpretations of "flat." Nearly all of Florida is "flat," as in "as a pancake." The route was described as "flat." As an expert in "flat," I can assure you, the route is not "flat." Fortunately, the bikes we rented were both geared; and apart from the amount of effort required, and accompanying perspiration, it posed no insurmountable difficulties. The roughly nine-mile round trip did kind of wear me out though.

As an aside, there are too many cars on Martha's Vineyard. Seems like the kind of place that would do well to make a serious effort to significantly reduce their numbers. I doubt that will happen, too many vested interests, to include the ferry business. The bike path we took is separated from the road, which was nice, and important. But once you get into town, it's bumper to bumper cars. For the most part, drivers will yield to pedestrians with little complaint, but they seem to resent bikes. The number of cars does make the island much less pleasant.

We had dinner with my navy friends Thursday night, and we were able to take a bus to the restaurant, dropping us off right across the street. We had to walk a bit to get to a crosswalk, but it was otherwise perfect. Two dollars, versus a $28 Lyft fare to go 3.8 miles. I'm guessing it was the "dynamic pricing" model, that aligns demand with available drivers.

The one glitch during our time on the island occurred on the way home from dinner. I wanted to go left leaving the restaurant, and walk about a quarter mile down to the Vineyard Haven dock, where I knew there was a bus stop. Mitzi was certain there would be one "on the way" back to Oak Bluffs. So we went Mitzi's way, right. There wasn't, and at some point the "sunk cost fallacy" had us pressing on over the causeway at night, walking about a mile or more to the hospital, where the next bus stop was located. I was tired, my back was hurting, my feet were sore and it was still warm and humid, so I was a bit of a bear about the whole thing. Mitzi would probably say I was rather more than "a bit."

We ended up getting a Lyft, having watched the bus roar by us in the dark, the bus stop shelter being unilluminated and us being seated inside. After waiting about 20 minutes, for $15 we got a driver to take us the couple of remaining miles to the post-rehearsal get together for the wedding party and guests. The good news was Mitzi, being charming and resourceful where I am definitely not, got the driver's card and asked about picking us up when we were ready to leave and head back to our inn. He told her to call his dispatcher and see what he said. So she did, and we did have a ride home. There were apparently 14 weddings on the island that weekend and taxis and ride-shares were in high demand. It was $20 to get back to the room, but I overheard my late friend's brother-in-law asking about how to get a ride. He'd tried to arrange for the taxi who brought him to pick him up again and that was out of the question. I asked him where he was staying, and he was in Oak Bluffs as well, so when Mitzi confirmed our driver would return to take us home, I told him he could share our ride. Perhaps a bit unfair to the driver, as he checked with his dispatcher and the price went up to $25. Still, it was better than walking!

On Saturday, our goals were much more modest. I wanted to make sure Mitzi saw the Camp Meeting Association houses, which were just a short walk from where we were staying. To me, that's the most remarkable thing about the island. We went down to the beach and Mitzi enjoyed some time in the ocean while I kept a sharp eye out for sharks.

We had the same driver pick us up to take us to the ceremony on Saturday evening. It was a lovely affair, simple and brief. The reception was likewise quite elegant, but not elaborate or ostentatious. Food was excellent, band was outstanding, and we navy "olds" were seated at "Table 1," which was located outside the main event room. Which also had the salutary virtue of being much cooler than the un-air conditioned event room. Winning!

We were ready to go home by 9:30 and there were taxis already arranged to shuttle guests back to their accommodations, so we had no challenges getting back to the inn.

There was a Sunday morning brunch planned, but our itinerary had us getting on the 10:30 ferry back to Woods Hole to meet our 12:00 PM bus. All that went according to plan, notwithstanding a dense fog covering the island. Bus departed on time, and though we encountered rain and traffic delays, it seemed we would be at Logan in plenty of time to catch our flight.


Mitzi looked at the Delta app to check for our gate and discovered our flight had been canceled. No notification from Delta. Apparently it had happened shortly after the bus, which had wifi onboard, left Woods Hole. Mitzi immediately began looking for other flights. The one option Delta had was a two-stop, three plane affair that had us getting in around midnight, and even that disappeared as she was searching.

We were fortunate. Because of the rather complicated logistical elements, we had purchased travel insurance for this trip, mainly concerned about a Covid cancellation. We stood in line over an hour to get to a Delta service agent, and she confirmed they had nothing for us until Tuesday. While we were standing in line, Mitzi booked a one-stop American flight from Boston to Miami, changing planes to Jacksonville, that would have gotten us into Jax by about 6:30PM. Then she found a non-stop Jet Blue about 7:00PM that would have gotten us into Jax about 10:15PM. I told her to book that too, in case the American flight was cancelled. We paid extra for flights without cancellation fees, expect that at least she flies enough that she would be able to use any credit if we couldn't get our money back. Delta refunded the unused portion of our ticket which was $500 alone.

Apparently it was weather-related, though we never got a specific explanation for why the fight was cancelled. Because of that, no voucher for lodging was offered. But... we did have trip insurance! So we found a room at an airport Hilton Garden Inn with shuttle service to Logan. The Hilton attached to the airport was full.

So we got the hotel shortly before 5:00 and got checked in. I looked at the little amenities booklet and saw that they had a washer-dryer available for guests, which was quite welcome as we'd only packed for the weekend and it was a very sweaty one. Down to the lobby with laundry in hand, we stopped by the desk to buy soap. Someone had to go back and find some, because there was nothing in the little "sundries" store. Apparently we got the last one. More luck!

We put our laundry in and came back and looked at the menu for the restaurant, there being nothing "walkable" nearby. They didn't start serving until 5, but the guy in the kitchen said, "We're ready, if you are." So we sat down and had dinner while our clothes were being washed. After dinner, we stuck them in the dryer and repaired to our room.

After the clothes were done, we surfed around and found Psycho on Turner Classic Movies, not long after Marion had absconded with the cash. Mitzi watched another movie after, while I faded off.

Monday morning. Plan A is American. Plan B is Jet Blue. If we get seated on the American flight, we cancel Jet Blue. All is going according to plan until we get to TSA pre-check. We're booked on two flights. I'd given the agent my retired navy ID, which I suspect may have made him somewhat more accommodating. Explained the A/B thing and which flight we were going through security for (A) and he let us through.

We board the American flight and Mitzi cancelled Jet Blue. On to Miami! Our flight actually arrived early, which was welcome because we'd only had a 45-min layover and we were a little concerned about how much time we had to make it to our next gate. Of course, arriving early usually means you wind up waiting for a gate, and we did. In any event, we got to the gate for the Jacksonville flight in plenty of time.

Which is when I started looking at Flight Aware to see where our next plane was. The lady across from us had been in the terminal since 11:00 am, her flight being delayed and subsequently canceled. I saw that our plane was in Nassau, at the terminal. It's a short 52 minute hop, so I wasn't especially concerned, and genuinely relieved when I saw it had begun taxiing. Where it stayed for the next 20 minutes. Uh-oh. Equipment problems?

Eventually the gate agents announced the delay. The plane finally took off and we were able to board. I was at the point in line where they decided all the overhead bins were full, and my bag and those of everyone after me would have to be checked. Oh well.

I think we arrived about 90 minutes after our scheduled arrival, but I didn't care. Got to baggage claim and there was my bag just coming around the carousel. Grabbed it and went to find the shuttle to the parking facility. Looked at the slip they gave us and it said to meet the shuttle at Pillar 1. Well, there's a sea of people around Pillar 2, but Mitzi and I went to Pillar 1 as directed. They're separated by about 20 feet, so I didn't know what all those folks were doing at Pillar 2.

Shuttle shows up and stops at Pillar 1 and we're like the second people to board, another couple at Pillar 1 apparently not waiting for that shuttle. After we're seated, another guy comes on board and complains to Mitzi that we jumped the line. The sea of people around Pillar 2 didn't resemble anything I recognized as a "line." We were able to cruise through them with little difficulty even pulling our luggage, and no one uttered the words, "Back of the line!" She said, "You made it," and he said, "Yeah, but there are people who won't." Thought it might have gotten ugly, but he shut up. Bus filled, and there was another one, literally, right behind it. Nobody was seriously inconvenienced by us following directions.

Traffic was light at that hour. Got home with no problems. Happy to be back in our own house after 36 hours in hotels, boats, buses, terminals and planes. I was pretty chill about the whole thing. Happy we'd had the foresight to purchase insurance, and the vagaries of weather being something you have no control over, unlike going right instead of left.

There's a claim to be filed, but Mitzi seems to actually enjoy that sort of thing. The Delta agent also mentioned appealing to Delta for some reimbursement. She'll sort all that out.

I've got to do this all again in a week, heading up to New York for Mom's birthday. I don't have trip insurance. But it'll be what it'll be. While we were in Massachusetts, my daughter Caitie was flying to New York from LA. That flight ended up on a weather hold over NY, eventually diverting to Philly to refuel and finally going on to NY. She spent over 10 hours in that plane.

I think with our "new normal" of abnormal extreme weather, there's a good deal more uncertainty in air travel. Probably good news for the travel insurance business.

Until it's not.

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 05:56 Tuesday, 12 September 2023