Robyne, Elaine and I decided to pit our bodies and minds against the rugged trails of the Olympic Peninsula, located just hours away from Seattle, Washington. Our ten-day trip was to include backpacking and hiking in rain forests, alpine areas and beaches. With such a plethora of environments and the forecast of mid-sixties and rain for every single day, packing became the first part of the adventure.
After the last minute additions of the dreaded "I might need this" items, we each ended up with two checked bags and one carryon. The day of our flight, Robyne had to work, so Elaine and I took a cab to the airport, carting, not only our own bags, but also Robyne's. Robyne did deign to bring her own carryon bag, but it was easier (for her) if Elaine and I handled her other two bags.
Cell phones are a wonderful creation and we planned to utilize them fully in order to rendezvous at the airport. If an unlikely event occurred, such as Verizon's "Can you here me now" guy not having ever visited Dulles' vaulted terminal, which seems to be hermetically sealed against all phone signals, our contingency plan was to meet at the TGIF's Restaurant.
When we arrived at the airport, Elaine called Robyne's cell phone to let her know to meet us at the bag check area instead of TGIF because we couldn't check her luggage. On the crowded, noisy bus, Robyne heard Elaine's message clearly as, "Robyne... Wvrrvd here... and mphllnd plnfld bags... okay?" "Okay," she responded back, deciding that she could get the details when we all had our first drink at TGIF.
At the airport, Elaine and I waited patiently, knowing that through the brilliance of modern technology, our message had been delivered. We waited... and waited... and waited. Finally, Elaine stepped outside to see if her phone reception improved and voula, not one, but two messages from Robyne letting us know she was in the security line under the gold star that read, "Line Starts Here" and would meet us at TGIF's.
Elaine scurried back into the terminal, briefly imparted the message to me, before racing off to stop Robyne, before she passed the security barrier. Finding the gold star proved easy, but locating Robyne among the throng of happy travelers proved to be beyond the capabilities of any mere mortal.
Once again, she whipped out the cell phone and began a battery of calls. This time, luck smiled upon us. Through divine intervention or a well-timed solar flare, the signals connected and directed Robyne to the check-in area.
At that point, our check-in proceeded flawlessly except for the quick spike in tempers during the debate over the location of the gold star. As we joined the herd of travelers, being ushered through the security stations like bleating cattle, we noticed a smattering of gold stars through out the terminal, which allowed the lines to form in at least three separate hallways and multiple locations within each. After a recovery drink at TGIF, we reached our terminal and congratulated ourselves for conquering the most taxing part of the trip.