Blizzard or Not, The Show Must Go On… Hello, New York!

Note: Go here for photos of the New York Spokanites Show, or here for all of the Hitched 2010 World Tour Photos.

Spokanites NY - Blizzard Map

The tragedy and the triumph – The Spokanites in New York 

(It’s a long one – apologies in advance)

That’s right, things were a bit too easy on the Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour up until this point.  This is a feat, btw – the total trip took us about 83,000 air miles total (41,500 each) so to have that go smoothly is a near miracle.  New York was the last “away game” so-to-speak so we were almost done and feeling great about the whole thing.  Mother nature had other ideas – she decided that we should have to earn the last leg of the tour…

2010-03-14 New York, NY - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 051 We were leaving Seattle a day early for a few reasons.  Most notably, trying to do NY from the west coast for two nights just plain sucks, we wanted to spend more time with friends, and some SF-based friends had bought us tickets to “Rock of Ages” on Broadway for the Friday night (thanks Matt & Beth!).  On our way to the airport Thursday morning we get the first notice from Robert’s phone – United has called to say our flight has been cancelled due to East Coast weather.  Strike one.

Robert gets on the phone and in no time we are confirmed on a red-eye later that night.  Now we are getting way too old for red-eyes but its only a small setback, and we get another day at home which is great for Sonya given how busy she is at work at the moment.

2010-02-27 New York, NY - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 025Skip to Thursday night.  No problems, we not only get on the plane on time but they even got us seats together at the last minute.  We have to go through DC because we are burning air miles, but everything goes smoothly except zero sleep for Robert on the way.  We arrive at Dulles at 6am where the fun really begins.

Our first flight to JFK gets cancelled around 8am.  Luckily Robert still has status with United and he gets on the phone to get us on the next flight, this one to LaGuardia around 10am.  The weather map looks amazing (the whole NE covered in a massive blizzard).  They say the 10am looks good though.  Fingers crossed.  Around 9:30 we get another message – the 10am is cancelled now.  Back on the phones, Robert get’s us on a 12:50 to Newark, but confidence is low at this point.  It’s already late morning on Friday and we need to be on Broadway by 7pm at the latest.

2010-02-27 New York, NY - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 015 Sonya calls friends, asks for help, etc. while Robert continues to manage the airlines.  The feared call comes around 11am – the Newark flight is cancelled as well.  Even worse, the next available flight is Saturday morning!  Ugh.  Time to raise the Spokanites threat level to “Help!”

Help arrives in the form of Amtrak, which is much harder than it sounds.  Thanks to Sonya’s friend Chris (thanks!) we were able to avoid the on-hold wait time of 46 MINUTES (What?!?!!) and got Chris to book us some remaining tickets from Union Station in DC to Penn Station in Manhattan.  We were out $300+ but the show must go on.  Think we are done yet?  Wrong…

You would think that the four cancelled flights would be the toughest part.  All we had left was the following: a) get our luggage off the plane (we had checked a bag because of all the t-shirts), b) get a taxi to Union Station (which is nowhere near Dulles Airport), and C) get on the train.  We had two solid hours to do this so no big worries, right.

The best part came immediately – getting our luggage.  After waiting 15 minutes in line at United Customer Service Robert to got to the desk.  Here’s the conversation.

  • ROBERT: “Hi, we’ve had a few cancelled flight and will now be taking the train to New York, so we need to get our checked luggage off the plane.” [hands the bar-coded claim tickets to the agent]
  • AGENT: “No problem.”  Starts typing endlessly into the computer.  “What flight”
  • 2010-02-27 New York, NY - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 017 ROBERT: “It’s on the claim form gave you – there were several cancelled, but the original flight was blah blah blah…”
  • AGENT: “OK, how many pieces of luggage?”
  • ROBERT: “Two.” [Trying not to be sarcastic – he had the claim tickets which numbered two.]
  • AGENT:  “Could you describe the luggage?”
  • ROBERT: “Uh, I gave you the claim tickets (which he hadn’t even looked at once).  Shouldn’t that tell you what you need to know?”
  • AGENT: “Can you describe the luggage?”
  • ROBERT: [Starting to get frustrated] “Yes, two standard black rollaboards – tagged with our names.”
  • AGENT: “Black?  Both of them?  Do they have wheels?”
  • ROBERT: “A Rollaboard?  Of course it has wheels”
  • AGENT: [with a completely straight face, btw]  “How many wheels?”
  • ROBERT:  “Uh, two.  What?  Why aren’t you using the bar-coded luggage claim tickets that are right in front of you.  This is how luggage is tracked.  Our luggage is not lost, nor are the claim forms.  I’m confused.”
  • AGENT: “OK, it shouldn’t be a problem.  You can claim your bags on carousel #1”
  • ROBERT: [still confused] “Thanks.  When should we expect them?  We are in a bit of a hurry.”
  • AGENT: “Oh, they should be out within one and a half hours.”
  • ROBERT: “What?!?  Did you just say AN HOUR AND A HALF to get our bags off of a parked plane in an airport that is mostly standing still [at this point realizing he should give up on this person]…  Uh, can you point me to baggage claim.  Thanks.”

2010-03-14 New York, NY - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 036 The Spokanites make there way to baggage claim where they are pointed to a special door for people who need their bags off cancelled flights.  A few people were milling about in front of the door, but no airline personnel.  A staff member eventually comes through the door and Sonya gives him the ticket.  He gives her an odd look and then disappears back through the door without saying anything.  Now what?  We have no guidance from anyone except the brain trust back in the terminal and now we no longer have our claim tags.  We have less than two hours to get to Union Station, which is almost an hour away by taxi.  Ugh.

I know this story is taking forever, but we felt you should enjoy some of our pain.  To summarize, our bags showed up in about 10 minutes, we got in a taxi, and about 50 minutes and $85 later we were passing the nation’s capital and inside of Union Station with train tickets.  We had some lunch and were soon on the train.  26 hours of no sleep for Robert at this point.

2010-03-14 New York, NY - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 024 The train ride was great, except for the annoying woman behind us who talked at screaming volume on her phone the entire 2+ hours to NY.  Frankly I was impressed that her voice could hold out that long, her battery could last, or that anyone would listen to her for that long.  Mad skills, I guess. 

After four cancelled flights and seeing the weather map, we expected to see some major blizzard action as we approached New York.  Manhattan had gotten 10” of snow overnight and was still getting it, according to the news.  What did we see?  Mostly sunny skies all the way until the tunnel into Manhattan.  This included seeing many planes landing at Newark above us, where our flight had been cancelled.  Oh well, Murphy’s Law I guess.

Now, this is getting way too long.  Back to summary mode:

  • Made it to Penn Station and to our friends Rob & Melanie’s apartment in time to shower and leave for the show on Broadway.
  • “Rock of Ages” was awesome for several reasons.  a) it was loud an energetic (we still hadn’t slept), b) it was about 80’s hair metal like Quiet Riot, Night Ranger, etc. which was really fun and a perfect fit with the Spokanites Tour, and c) it was a great play.
  • We followed this up with 12 hours of sleep and a day in the city prior to the “gig,” which was at Bread in the city.
  • All of our best friends in NY were there minus a couple of weather or baby-related cancellations.  The tattoos were once again the hit of the night.  We rocked that place and even went out into the city for more after the show.  Back by about 2:30am I think. 

2010-03-14 New York, NY - Spokanites Hitched 2010 World Tour 011 Last up came the return trip.  All was well to San Francisco where we had a short layover until we had our next delay.  We were supposed to get in at 10pm, but we eventually rolled into bed around 2am.  Like we said, Mother nature wanted us to work for this one.

Thanks New York!  We survived it!  Back and getting rested now.  The biggest tour stop is this weekend in Seattle.  Not sure how we will fit 90 people in the Home Dome.  Wish us luck.

The Spokanites

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March 2010

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