Flying through COVID

What a trip this was!

Recently Dear Husband and I took a trip that we are calling “Autumn Back East 2021”. Our goal was to visit friends and family, and I wanted to show DH what autumn leaves really look like in a region that isn’t primarily covered in evergreen trees, and introduce him to our nation’s capital.

We flew to Atlanta, picked up a rental car, then drove to Alabama, North Florida, Georgia, Eastern Tennessee, Western North Carolina, and then drove to Washington DC by way of Virginia. Then we flew back home.

It was an amazing trip which lasted 15 days, and since I’m now only blogging every other day, if I gave you a day to day account like I have on trips past, it would take a month, and you’d be heartily sick of the subject before we even left peach country. So I’ve decided to focus on highlights, which I’ll do my best to keep in order. This is the first post in the series, and a there is link to the next post in the series below.

We’ve all read so many horror stories about anti-vaxxers (or at least anti-maskers) acting up on plane flights lately that I must say I was looking at our next trip with a certain level of trepidation. Fortunately, we were able to get nonstop flights both ways, but I was braced to have to make unexpected stops to eject unruly passengers into the flyover states where they belong, after having first been forced to wrestle them to the ground and duct tape them into a seat. I’m not a violent person as a general rule, but I was prepared to kick some anti-vaxxer butt if need be, even if it meant interrupting my in-flight movie.

I had been sizing up my fellow passengers in the waiting area, and one guy had me a little concerned. He wasn’t wearing a mask, and when his wife and kids asked him to do so, he got really angry at them. Eventually he complied, and then sulked and glared at his wife like the big baby that he was, as we all pretended not to stare. I was really happy to see he was sitting nowhere near me once we all boarded the plane.

But before I get to the plane, here are some photos of the airport art that I saw in Seattle and Atlanta. Airports are great places for art. You never know what you’ll see.

The only pandemic drama we experienced on the flight out was a guy, built like a linebacker, sitting just in front of me. He kept his mask on, but his nose was exposed. The flight attendants kept having to stop and ask him to cover up. He would do so, but the minute they walked off, he’d expose his snout yet again. They talked to him four different times, to no avail. Given his size, I really don’t blame the staff for not turning it into a major confrontation. But yeah, he was breathing right in front of me. I was glad I was wearing an N95 mask, even though after a few hours my ears and the bridge of my nose were in agony. Wearing a mask is what a responsible person does.

Because we would be visiting friends and family, we planned to take several rapid COVID tests during and after the trip. Fortunately, they all came back negative, but of course we had no way of knowing that during the flights. I generally enjoy flying, but this pandemic added a layer of stress that I could have done without. I did make a point of thanking one of the flight attendants, because I know that their jobs are about a million times more difficult these days, so I wanted them to know they were appreciated.

Aside from linebacker, everything went smoothly. I settled back and enjoyed the view. My long-legged DH prefers the aisle seat, so I got to point out an amazing circular rainbow. I haven’t seen one of those in years. It’s great to be above the horizon to actually see these things intact. I wish this picture did it justice. We flew along that cloud bank for quite some time, with the circular rainbow keeping us company.

As this was an evening flight, I got to enjoy seeing the towns and cities lit up below, and later, when the clouds came in, we were treated to this lightning show in the distance. (Check out my brief video on my Youtube channel here or if your electronics are compatible, see it below.) If we had been closer, I’d have kept watch for monsters on the plane wings, a la Twilight Zone. But I actually felt quite safe.

We landed in Atlanta and checked in to the closest hotel to the airport, as it was midnight. We were woken up at 6 am by a jet engine starting up right outside our window. Not my favorite alarm clock.

On the flight home 15 days later, we flew from Washington DC to Seattle. I’ll start off with some more art from that day’s airports.

This flight was much better and also much worse than the first one. We had enough points to fly first class. I’ve only done that once before in my life. Alaska Airlines treated us to a decent meal, like all passengers used to get in the 80’s. (I had miso marinated cod.) I now understand why they close a curtain between first class and all the poor schmucks behind us. They only got beverage service. Not even peanuts. We also had ample leg room and comfortable seats. I could get used to this. I glanced around to see if we were sharing the cabin with anyone famous, but of course, we still wore our uncomfortable N95 masks, so who knows?

What I couldn’t get used to was the turbulence. Several days before, the west coast had been treated to a “bomb cyclone”, and now the remnants of that weather system was headed east, right toward our plane. I’ve had smoother rides on roller coasters. I guess this was karma for me making a snarky remark on Facebook that every time we leave town, all hell seems to break loose.

As we sank below the clouds on our approach to Seattle, I got to snap these photos of our city, which include a few of my drawbridges, the space needle, and the sports stadiums. What a pretty city we have.

Anyway, we survived and made it home to see our dogs, who were very excited to greet us. The things I missed most about home were my dogs, my bidet, and exercising at the local YMCA pool. There’s no place like home.

More about what happened on the east coast in days to come!

The best way to travel vicariously is through books. Try mine!


Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

17 thoughts on “Flying through COVID”

  1. I recognize some of the sculptures from Seatac airport. The one with the pink transparent cube–I once saw it at sunset and the rainbows were stunning. Speaking of–I saw a circular one like yours once, in front of a boat with the sun astern.
    Haven’t been on a plane in 43 years and don’t mean to change that.

    1. Nature is miraculous. 🙂 And I don’t blame you about avoiding plane flights. Back in the 80’s when there was more leg room and you generally had a row of seats all to yourself, I loved it. Now it’s just a torture to be endured if you can’t get to your destination any other way. :/

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