We left snowy Lincoln Monday around lunchtime, all 3 of us girls were a bit tired and a bit cranky, not what you want at the start of a long journey home, but hey what can you do! Mr & Mrs C drove us to Omaha airport where we promptly went through security and waited to board our plane, the first of many!
Thankfully this plane had no mechanical issues or poor weather issues so we left on time and made it to Phoenix, AZ where we had to get off the plane while they quickly cleaned it before boarding the same plane to head to Oakland, CA. Once we arrived in Oakland we called our ride, Duke, and he picked us up right outside the terminal. I am not going to lie, I was really nervous about this as I wasn’t exactly sure if he was a business or just a random person, whether he had even understood me when I made the booking or if we were going to have to find some last minute accommodation in Oakland. Thankfully, he did understand me and he wasn’t just a random person but rather owns his own business. Duke, a military brat himself, prides himself with his knowledge of space-a travel and as such convinced me during the hour ride from Oakland to Travis AFB to sign up for the flight going to Yokota Air Base via Hawaii, the very next morning. He even said he would pick the girls & I up at 3am to make the early roll call time. True to his word, he was there waiting for us only 5 hours after dropping us off at the lodging.
I was secretly hoping we wouldn’t get selected for the flight so that we would have the day to just hang out before another long flying adventure but also because I knew that there was no on-base lodging available or the surrounding area. This is where I met the first of many amazing people. Daniel, who was with his wife and young child were traveling back from California to Hawaii where they are currently stationed, he heard that I had no accommodation lined up in Hawaii and with a 20+ hour layover he, without my knowledge, rang around to find me somewhere to stay. He then came up to me, let me use his phone so I could make a booking and even offered to not only drive us to the hotel, which was located on a marine base a good 30 min drive from Hickam AFB, but also to pick us up at 3am the following day to take us back to the terminal. This all happened moments before we boarded the plane.
Once we arrived in Hawaii Daniel dropped his family and belongings off and came back for us girls. Not only that, but he also helped out another family (husband, wife and young child) also having to endure the long layover before making tracks to Yokota. The drive over to Kaneohe Bay was breathtakingly gorgeous. Once we arrived at our lodging we had lunch, came back to the hotel to take baths etc before heading across the road to the enlisted club for some food. As soon as we entered I realized that we most definitely needed to get our food to-go, despite it being Tuesday at 6pm it appeared it was the place to be and not a place I wanted my kids to hang around at! Daniel was there to pick us up early the next morning and we headed back to the terminal to make the roll call time.
After hours of waiting; I guess it doesn’t matter if you are flying space-a or commercial, there is no way of getting around the waiting that takes place at airports, we boarded our flight and we all crashed out. Only 6 hours into our 9 hour flight we were informed that we were coming into land….back in Hawaii. I guess 3 hours into our journey we encountered mechanical issues so they had to turn around. I couldn’t quite believe it…