transportation

End of the magic

I booked my return flight from Anaheim for 12:15pm because I didn’t feel like getting up and rushing to the airport super early in the morning. So, of course, I woke up at 6:45am. There was no use in going back to bed as the kids next door were already up.

So I used the time to pack my pajamas and try to cram a cute slightly oversized hat I bought yesterday at the park into my carry-on without damaging either of them.

Then I plugged in my phone and tried making the instant coffee they left in the room for me to use. First it was too strong (and small), so I decided to make a second cup of just to water, which brought me up to half of the cardboard cup they provide, so… screw it, I’ll buy something at the lounge downstairs.

But first, I needed to make myself presentable. And then for the second day in a row, just I was nearly ready for a shower when I heard a knocking on the door. This time I was still dressed, so I opened the door and the 35yo Hispanic woman looked at me like she was shocked – SHOCKED – that someone would still be in their room at 8:30 in the morning before hastily going onto the next room before I could even get a word in edgewise. I’m not sure if that made the situation worse or just more confusing.

I get dressed again and go downstairs to the lobby, pour over their menu for a few seconds and approach the counter. After unsuccessfully trying to explain to the cashier that I wanted a decaf flavored coffee, I was ready to leave empty-handed, but a lucky break in communication meant I got my decaf iced mocha. Unfortunately, it tasted like chocolate flavored water, so I ended up throwing half of it out.

Interestingly enough, the boy cleaning the tables was… the same hot blonde haired boy from PCH last night (whose his badge says his name is “Luke”).

I got the nerve to speak to him and before I could finish the question (which disappointed me since I thought I was doing a decent job keeping my composure), he shrugged and said “yeah, they cross-trained me here as well” (I was GOING to say “I thought you worked evenings”).

I wanted to wish him goodbye, but I didn’t see a point to it as he’s working here and I’m leaving today. Thus, we will never meet again… which makes me sad, but that’s how these things work. Besides, my Lyft driver was outside.

I arrived at Orange County Airport (SNA), and saw a few nice hats and sweatshirts in the CNN Store next to the empty security line…but then I remembered how much trouble I had fitting that silly character hat into my bag this morning so I decided to forgo BOTH of them (the blue/grey “California” beanie for $21.95 would have fit in my regular bag).

Anyway, I passed through the metal detectors and checked the monitors and this old man came up beside me, asked what flight number I was on was and told me what I had already seen “gate 7.”

“So, how far is this ‘gate 7?'”

He pointed to a large rectangular sign directly behind me (which I honestly hadn’t seen yet as I was literally still holding my shoes in my left hand) with a black “7” on it, shrugged and said “you’re standing in it.”

I take a seat, put my shoes and rucksack back on and head to the McDonald’s across from the sign. It wasn’t a great breakfast, but it was better than starving myself all day.

I throw my bag out and return to the gate area. There are no open seats left, and there are no outlets that I could see along the floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

There appears to be a charging station at the next gate, but with my phone at 58% power and my flight boarding in 20 minutes. This appears to be a good time to end this post and power down for the day…

Categories: adventures, California, Disneyland Resort, Disneys Resort Hotels, flying, Orange County Airport (SNA), transportation

Travel denied

I got off the plane in LAX at 5:30pm, and made my way to ground transportation so I can find the Disneyland Express check-in area (as I was expecting large kiosk area)…but I couldn’t find one, so I did the unthinkable – I asked someone. They didn’t know, but the next person was able to look it up in her binder…but couldn’t tell me anything about prices or check-in procedures, just to “wait under the orange signs. They run hourly, so the 6pm one should be by shortly.”

I go outside, find one of the orange signs, and while I was looking for the huge blue/yellow Magical Express buses, a white mini-van (not to be confused with a “Minnie Van” in Orlando) with a pink “Disneyland” logo (that I barely saw amidst all the other logos) appears, and before I could process this, they were gone.

Was I under the right platform? Did I not move fast enough? Am I supposed to flag them down like a cab? I don’t know, but I had two more vans pull up to a rolling stop and then shoot off as I approached them. That’s when I remembered, that Disney’s contract with Super Shuttle expires tonight, so the drivers have exactly zero incentive to pick-up or drop-off passengers.

That’s how I ended up on a LAXit bus to the Ride Share at 9:00 at night, going through the narrow rope maze past somewhat bored looking employees (like everyone else in LA are hawt af) before arriving at my Lyft vehicle. Why spend $35 for a shuttle when I can spend $53 on an over-glorified taxi?

But, at least now – 10:35 at night – I’m back in the resort (finally). Tomorrow is when the magic starts…

Categories: adventures, California, Disneyland express, flying, transportation | Leave a comment

Travel delayed

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Got here at 10am just to have a 35-minute weather delay from NY and over an hour delay due to maintenance issue. So, this is the third time I’ve been “15-20 minutes” from boarding my 11:45am flight.
The good news is, I forgot to make a dinner reservation last night, so there’s that…

Categories: adventures, florida, flying, photography, snow storms, transportation, weather | Leave a comment

Donut be a menace to South Vineland…

I left my apartment this afternoon to try the new a signature cinnamon spice pumpkin coffee at Dunkin.

Unfortunately, they didn’t have any frozen pumpkin coffee (it’s a 106° in Orlando today, “hot or iced” isn’t going to cut it) or apple cider donuts so I opened my Lyft app and put in Starbucks on Vineland Ave (which isn’t in the app yet, so I put in the anchor Publix).

The driver arrived quickly enough and was quite friendly and everything was going smoothly… until he decided to take a “shortcut” by using the side entrance for delivery and then pulling around to the Publix.

Unfortunately, it was blocked off by construction equipment (why didn’t he see it from the road?), so he had to drive all the way to the end of the plaza just to be blocked by construction fencing and then backtrack to the main road so he could take the next entrance leading towards Walgreens and tried to cover it by pulling up in front of the store and saying, “yep, here we are at Walgreens. This is your destination, have a good one.”

He seemed stunned that I didn’t fall for that and I told him to drop me where I told him to…so he pulls up to the Publix around the corner (which was technically correct, but I only put it in because my ACTUAL destination isn’t in their app yet), and when I remind him for the third time that it was not where I told him to go he drives around the parking lot aimlessly until I told him “it’s the Starbucks next to Freddie’s.”

“Oh, oh, oh, of course I know EXACTLY where that is” and proceeds to ignore my directions and drive right past it, until he accidentally finds the drive-thru entrance to the Starbucks explaining that:

“I know the area perfectly… b-but the construction (on his shortcut) threw me off because I don’t know the area.”

Ironically enough, if he just followed his GPS instructions and turned right at the light, he wouldn’t have had this problem to begin with… and something tells me he did this on purpose.

Categories: adventures, florida, Orlando, Rideshare, transportation | Leave a comment

Hurricane with a side of fries

I just got home from a VERY crowded McDonald’s (I was trying to find coffee and possibly a late lunch). It was the only place on I-Drive that was open, so of course it was PACKED – even at 2pm! I guess that’s what happens when all the responsible restaurants on I-Drive are closed.
I was coming out of the store just in time to miss the last trolley back to the apt as trolley service was suspended at 3pm without notice – which wouldn’t have been a problem if I had gotten my food in less than 20 minutes.
I was forced to take Lyft back, and just as we approached the complex a southbound trolley pulled up on the opposite side of the light. The good news is I made it back before the storm hit…

Categories: adventures, florida, hurricanes, I-Ride Trolley, Orlando, transportation, weather | Leave a comment

Hurricane Dorian approaches

The National Hurricane Center’s 5pm update shows the storm veering slightly further east than earlier reports indicated, but still shows Orlando within the “Cone of Uncertainty.” Thankfully, the chances of Dorian making landfall in Florida are getting smaller with each update.

However, a “Hurricane Watch” has been issued for Northern and Southern Brevard as well as Volusia Counties while a “Tropical Storm Watch” is in effect for Inland Volusia, Northern Lake, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Southern Lake Counties. Mandatory evacuations orders are in place in Northern/Southern Brevard starting at 8am tomorrow.

Flights in/out of MCO have not been cancelled for tonight into Monday after all, but all Amtrak service south of Jacksonville remains closed until Tuesday (yes, I’m “still mad” about that – do you know how much cab fare is from Orlando to Jacksonville?). However, Disney World, Universal and SeaWorld will remain open as scheduled.

Categories: Amtrak, florida, flying, hurricanes, news, Orlando, transportation, weather, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

Preparing for Hurricane Dorian

I wasn’t expecting to have to create a post like this this far out from landfall, but here we are:

Wednesday – Gov. DeSantis declares State of Emergency for all 67 counties in Florida. As of 8pm, NHC shows the storm making a direct path across the state, the eye crossing Kissimmee on Tuesday night as a Cat 1 storm.

Thursday – FSU’s home opener moved from Jacksonville to their home stadium in Tallahasse. Various weekend concerts are cancelled across Central/South Florida. Meanwhile, TWC’s Jim Cantore is seen having dinner in Vero Beach.

Friday – The NHC’s 8am update shows the storm making a “J” shape across Central Florida with the eye crossing directly over Orlando on Wednesday evening.

Many grocery stores run out of water/other food supplies, while many gas stations along the Space Coast report shortages. Schools across Florida are pre-emptively closed on Tuesday (as many will be used as emergency shelters).

Also, while most of Disney World is currently expected to remain open (except the water parks, Copper Creek Cabins at Wilderness Lodge, the cabins at Fort Wilderness, the overwater bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village, the Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs, and any events at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports), all flights in/out of MCO have been cancelled until further notice, ditto all Amtrak trains south of Jacksonville (I was thinking they would run MORE trains to ensure the maximum number of people can evacuate – especially since landfall isn’t expected until TUESDAY).

Which effectively means I’m stuck here until the storm passes whether I want to be or not (spoiler alert: I don’t. I was planning on taking Amtrak up north on Saturday) as all residential amenities (pool, gym, leasing office, etc.) here at Sea Isle Resort Apartments will close as of 5pm Saturday with mandatory “balcony safety inspections” on Sunday.

Thankfully, as of their 5pm update, the NHC shows the storm hugging the coast all the way from Vero Beach up to Savanna. Orlando is safe… or is it?

 

Categories: Amtrak, florida, flying, hurricanes, news, Orlando, transportation, weather, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

A difficult month…

This weekend (Saturday – tomorrow as you read this) marks one year since I was hit by a car trying to cross International Drive in Orlando. I got off the I-Ride trolley, made sure there was no traffic coming (which isn’t easy given the slight turn in the road) and then watched from the opposite side of the street as a black SUV comes out of nowhere knocking the human beach ball to the ground in slow motion before… you can read the rest here, here and here.

A lot has changed in that time, I still have moderate (but persistent) pain in my arm (and despite having no meaningful physical therapy, I can move my arm about almost normally – almost) and occasional tingling in my left leg. Plus, I have mysterious headaches and minor short-term memory issues (as the left side of my head hit the hood rather hard). On the plus side, at least the bills have stopped.

Did I mention that I get anxious crossing streets in Orlando? I do, and it makes getting around without a car a lot more nerve racking – if I never saw that car coming, how am I going to see the next one? It’s a question I don’t want to think about – especially since I lost my ID about 10 days ago, so they’d never identify me (note: I would want someone to continue editing my novel, and possibly collect some or all of these posts into a nonfiction book… which I haven’t come up with a proper title for yet). If you want to why I didn’t replace it, see above. Short-term memory loss is a bitch at times… but it’s weird because only some things like paying bills, collecting mail, taking out the trash, etc. are effected and not others.

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As if I didn’t have enough to occupy my enfeebled mind, this past Monday marked three months since my mom’s death and NEXT weekend marks the third (probably closer to 19 or 20th) Father’s Day without the supposed celebrant… which is an odd occasion to mark given how he usually “celebrated” things like this. Yes, I’m expecting angry comments on that last sentence, but sharing feelings is what blogs like this are for, right?

Two days later is Autistic Pride Day (June 18th), a day I’m honestly conflicted about given the content of this blog. Yes, I think people have a right to celebrate their differences and how far we’ve come in the last 70 years, but it feels almost hypocritical given how much hurt, stress and turmoil it has caused my life… or lack thereof as I type sitting alone in my bedroom on a Thursday night wondering how to celebrate Pride Month (especially without a proper ID).

The fact that I can even type that last shows how far we’ve come in 50 years – especially since we not only have Presidential candidates twisting themselves into knots trying to pander to us whereas their nonexistent platforms on Disability Rights is rather appalling, but, at least, NYPD has apologized for their 1969 raid on the Stonewall Inn.

So, yeah, there’s a lot on my mind this month, but, on the plus side, today (Thursday) is my nephew’s sixth birthday. Happy birthday, Greyson, and thanks for reading this. Servus.

 

Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, editorials, Gay rights, I-Ride Trolley, news, transportation | Leave a comment

The opposite of nostalgia…

Major accident directly in front of my building. Brought back lots of bad memories. All these people in passing cars slowing down and glaring at ME as if I somehow caused it, doesn’t help matters. Neither does the fact that TODAY – April 26 – marks ten years since the accident that very nearly took my life.

The resemblance between the two crashes (or at least the damage done in them) was uncanny… or should I say unsettling. The fact that I came within seconds of causing my own death on a random Sunday evening on a road in Coal Township, Pa – a mere thousand yards from my home at the time… by obeying all traffic laws to the letter. The reward for my pain and suffering: loss of license, loss of insurance, loss of freedom and, worst of all, loss of the first thing I ever outright owned.

So, while at least one OPD officer was on hand interviewing participants in today’s incident. At no point did anyone bother to ask ME what happened at mine, in fact, the first thing the responding officer said to me was: “yeah, I figured it would be you. Every time there’s an accident in this city. YOU are the who caused it.”

I take that back, he DID ask what happened, and his partner cut him off: “‘Green?’ You mean ‘green’ like graaaaaassss or RED like an aaaaaappulllllll?”

“I’m a college graduate – that means I graduated from Kindergarten too.”

“DON’T YOU TALK TO ME LIKE THAT, YOU STUPID MOTHERF-”

At this point, the first cop pulled his hot-headed partner away before he could punch me, but just as he was about to get back to interviewing me, a woman cut him off shouting: “I saw it. I saw the whole thing. He did it. He caused the whole thing” and I didn’t see either officer again for another six hours (for six seconds at the hospital, he looked down at me, shrugged and said “well, you know you’re guilty” and left).

Yep, since I never talked to them (or the newspaper [link not found] which declared me guilty of “causing an accident on SR-61”) that left only one choice: Tell it to the judge… except my dad’s attorney stopped me from entering the courtroom and said: “face it, YOU caused the accident, so rather than go in there and lose – which you will – you will instead plead ‘no contest’ so I can work on more important cases.” Fuck you too.

Sorry, that concludes my story, which is convenient since the trolley I was waiting for has arrived. I have not looked up whether today’s story made the paper or not, but the first thing the driver said when she opened the door was: “damn, that’s the second accident at this exact spot this week. I swear this place is cursed…”

Categories: adventures, coal region, florida, I-Ride Trolley, Orlando, Pennsylvania, transportation, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

A broken heart and tattered jeans (part 1)

As you can probably guess, this wasn’t the best week for me. My mom died suddenly on Monday night and I was told I had to come in on Tues or Wed so I could attend a viewing on “Thurs” that was moved to Saturday to be “more convenient” to out of town visitors (um, hi) meaning I paid DOUBLE the airfare (out of my own pocket no less) to fly out a day earlier than I wanted for absolutely nothing. To make matters worse, nearly everything about the combined service was a “disaster” (not my word). Thankfully, it ended quickly, and we could get on to more important things… like dozens of people I haven’t seen in 20 years (or more) asking me “when are you flying back.”

The real answer was “not soon enough,” but such honesty is kind of frowned upon in these settings so I was forced to repeatedly pull an arbitrary date from thin air right on the spot. Improv was never my strong suit so forcing me to do it on command can only end well, right?

Thankfully, after the obligatory, overlong, over loud “celebratory dinner,” my brother finally got the internet in the house working again (which is another story entirely) so I managed to book a flight a day earlier than I told people at the service. #winning

That day was Monday.

It started out by my aunts and uncle coming over and informing me to “get breakfast here as we aren’t stopping anywhere” in fact they left me alone in a dead woman’s house for almost 20 minutes so I could do that (apparently, the funeral home needed the flowers we specifically asked people NOT to send be returned that morning so they could prepare for another service). This whole self-serve breakfast thing would have been cool, but my older brother cleaned out the fridge the night before so there was literally nothing in there but two coffee creamers and half a container of guacamole… which would have worked out great, if they hadn’t taken the chips with them.

They get back shortly before noon giving me barely any time to breathe, let alone bring said flowers inside, before my Uncle Tom impatiently declares “we’re leaving. NOW. Let’s move.” Okay, fine, he also decides to take my mom’s car so he can leave his in the driveway (his wife is paranoid of people robbing the place post funeral).

Anyway, said car, actually a burgundy colored minivan, was flanked with trash bags (so animals won’t get into it) with the passenger side being blocked completely by a stack of bags nearly as tall as I am (no really). So, instead of waiting for him to pull the car out like a “normal” person, I scramble to climb over them and as I try to work my way into the cramped back seat, I hear a loud ripping noise.

I can’t check this immediately, but this cannot POSSIBLY be good. Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do about it until I got to the airport…

Categories: adventures, Autism, coal region, family, flying, Pennsylvania, sensory processing disorder, transportation | Leave a comment

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