Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Thanks

It's my first-ever trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. Or at least it's supposed to be. The IRB international rugby sevens tournament tour's US stop has moved from San Diego to Sin City, and the merry band of W&M rugger alum idiots is moving with it. Eight of us were slated to descend on the desert destination last night and today. Snowtastrophe '10 is picking us off like a gutless sniper.

It was obvious the DC / Midwest guys might be in trouble. What was less apparent was how Phase II (the reacharound) of this multi-fronted blizzle would take out the two dudes in the relatively snowless area of SEVA/NENC.

Outer Banks Bruce and I arrived at the Norfolk airport yesterday afternoon already knowing that our Norfolk to Cincy flight was dangerously delayed. We soon learned that there would be no way it would get to Ohio before the connection lifted off toward Vegas. Thank you, Delta. Thank you, snowstorm.

After 80-some minutes at the ticket counter trying to do the ticket agent's job for her, it was clear that this trip was in serious jeopardy. In addition to the northeast being a dead zone without options, Delta's hub in Atlanta was cancelling flight after flight to Vegas because of the debilitating 2 to 4 inches of snow expected today. Just when we thought Snowdgment Day in DC was our biggest concern . . .

She started talking to us like Saturday flights were our only option, which would have made us seriously consider abandoning the mission. At the last second, two seats opened up on the ATL-Vegas flight at 8:25 this AM. We grabbed them. Now, about getting to Hot-lanta . . .

After an exhaustive search, our agent (the anti-Scott Boras) could do no more. I, however, had an ace in the hole. AirTran flies out of Newport News, just 25-30 miles up I-64. I used my handy-dandy iPhone to book us 2 tickets on the 7:27 flight to ATL (for an additional $230 apiece). Well worth it to preserve the trip. We raced to the car.

. . . and got on 64 and hit a brick wall of traffic. 9-mile back-up and a disabled vehicle in the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. Brass knuckles punch in the groin. We had an hour and forty-five minutes to go those twenty-some miles. When we ran into the NN airport, they'd just shut the doors to the plane and on our $460. [insert vile expletive here]

With this many chips stacked against us, it was time to succumb, bow our heads and do what any sane, rational pair or people would do. Rent a car and drive through the night to Atlanta.

Yep.

And so we drove back to the Norfolk airport and rented a Chevy Impala. (Nice legroom for two large dudes.) Bruce drove the first 5+ hours to get us into South Carolina, and after a brief pitstop there for gas, caffeine, beef jerky, and a glance at the south's finest urinals, I took the wheel.

I'd driven almost an hour when the blue rollers flashed and we moved to the side of I-85. [insert vile expletive here]

By the grace of God, and perhaps because I quickly explained our ordeal with tears in my eyes (at that point, I wasn't above a good sob), the young officer explained the $165 fine he was waiving in favor of a warning and sent us on our way with a "Be safe and have fun in Vegas.". Thank you, Officer Lee.

Bruce took back over the driving in Georgia and got us here to the Atlanta airport. Eight hours, forty-five minutes. Not bad. Now here we are. Miraculously, the not-quite-tickets we were issued yesterday afternoon 450 miles away translated into actual seats. We're boarding now.

And the only threat that remains is the snowstorm just about to envelop this airport. Please, people, cross your fingers for us. At this point, we need Las Vegas.

16 comments:

TJ said...

That. is. fantastic.

TR said...

Whitney in Vegas. Wow.

rob said...

i expect the companion piece to this post to pass instantly into the g:tb hall of fame - we'll waive the customary waiting period.

Jerry said...

Outstanding. Although I was surprised to see the phrase "first-ever" in the opening paragraph.

zoltan said...

I'm not sure which sentence is more frightening: "Brady in Vegas" circa 1995 or "Whitney in Vegas" circa 2010.

I hope the transportation gods smile upon you on the rest of your trip.

Mark said...

I too was shocked to learn Whitney had never been to Vegas. After the ordeal he just described, it seems apparent that some type of God was bent on keeping it that way. Way to stick it to God, Whit. You've earned the crippling hangover you're sure to have tomorrow morning.

Shlara said...

This sounds like the beginning of a movie script...

TR said...

But what movie script will his tale morph into? The Bangover? Leaving Las Vegas? Deliverance? Undercover Brother?

TR said...

Bangover was an honest-to-goodness typo. But a fantastic porn movie name. Good for me.

TJ said...

TR, I was hoping you were going with "Stand and Deliverance".

Mark said...

Bangover...awl.

rob said...

jesus, another metro derailment in dc. making me feel pretty superior about my always drive everywhere philosophy.

Geoff said...

I've had a few nasty bangovers in my past. They involve equal parts chubby women and remorse.

zoltan said...

Midnight Express. Somehow Bruce ends up in a Turkish prison and Whit presses his bare chest against the bulletproof glass.

Snakes on a Plane. Whit plays the Keenan Thompson role and lands the plane. Bruce plays the Sam Jackson role and shoots the windows out of the plane.

Rain Man. Bruce discovers that a) Whit is an autistic savant and b) they're related. Then they make hay at the blackjack tables.

Swingers. Both Bruce and Whit are Mikey.

Whitney said...

Boys and girls, we are in Sin City. Let the debauchery commence.

Whitney said...

And excellent graphics by Rob. Somewhere in the middle of the drive I turned to Bruce and said, "So I guess I have to be John Candy, eh?"