Last week I flew to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for the CLE Board's annual provider conference. It was very informative and great to see a board and staff that are committed to staying at the forefront of technological advances, adjusting accreditation to account for changes in topics available, and which provides the responsiveness required to support a current MCLE program.
Getting to and from Harrisburg, however, was more than a little complicated this go-round. Weather in Chicago (on both Thursday and Friday), further challenged the trip.
On Thursday, I booked myself on an early (very early - what was I thinking?) flight from Minneapolis to Chicago, connecting to Harrisburg later that morning. We boarded the plane almost on time - then sat on the plane on the runway for about a half an hour due to a ground-stop in Chicago for thunderstorms. Once in the air, the normally 50 minute flight was extended by a tour of Madison - we circled for about 30 minutes there before getting the go-ahead to land at O'Hare.
The approach to Chicago was a bit nerve-wracking. I consider myself a pretty good flier. But when the heavy turbulence brings out screams from fellow passengers and conjures images of scenes from "Lost".
I really just wanted to be on the ground, and soon. Once landed, we waited on the tarmack for another 30 minutes as lightening at the airport had all personnel safely inside the airport. Hopefully we were safe in the big metal plane...
The plane to Harrisburg was small, thus no bridge way. Instead, we got to run about 100 feet in the pouring rain and leave our luggage to soak plane side. Luckily, the rest of the flight was uneventful. Our rental car agent was lovely and upgraded our car at no charge.
Returning to Minnesota also became an ordeal due to weather delays in Chicago. After sitting on the plane in Harrisburg waiting for a "wheels up" time from Chicago, we de-boarded at 8:02pm. Note to anyone flying through Harrisburg: the airport closes up shop - completely - at 8:00pm.
We were rerouted through Charlotte, ran across the airport going from Gate E33 to B7 just in time to catch the connection (I'm pretty sure they held it for us - there is no way we would have made it otherwise). We were forced to gate check our luggage as the plane was full by that point, so that meant waiting for luggage at the carousel upon landing - at 12:30am. I'd really expected to avoid that by not checking luggage! I fell into bed somewhere near 1:30am - happily home.
Despite the woes detailed above - I traveled 2,277 miles in about 17 hours (including time spent waiting in the airport). In the old west, a covered wagon could travel about 1 to 2 miles per hour. This means that it would have taken me 47 1/2 days traveling 24 hours a day to complete my trip. At the pace then accepted (daylight hours, no travel on Sundays) it would have more likely taken about 4 months for the journey.
I don't think I'll be complaining about a hour or two delay anymore. I'll just appreciate what 150 years of technological advancement has brought.
I'll write another post later this week about the conference itself.