I had all day Saturday and most of the day Sunday to relax in Vancouver before my flight to Reno Sunday eve, and then the a series of busses to get me back to Chester, CA where I would begin hiking Southbound picking up the 500+ miles I had skipped over due to snow and dangerous water crossings back in June.
Dave dropped me off at the airport around 2:30 for my 4:00 flight. And this is where all the fun begins. When I went to check in and presented my travels docs I was informed that my Passport ID Card (good for travel to/from Canada and Mexico) was only acceptable for travel by land or sea and that I’d need my full passport to travel by air with United Airlines. I showed them a copy of my Passport I had saved on my phone…no good. I informed them I was cleared for expedited immigration processing with Global Entry and was electronically fingerprinted. This perked up the rep a bit… “if you have your global entry card we can use that”. I never travel with the card because it’s not needed…they just scan your hand print. She told me my only option would to be rebooked on a flight out of Seattle…earliest flight she can get me on is in two days (Tues). Surely, there is a better option than this. Since, the USA has you go through customs/immigration before you get on the plane at the Vancouver airport I paid them a quick visit. They had no problem with my docs but I’d need a boarding pass to get through. (I had already tried online check-in) I went back to the counter with the new info I had gotten but the rep told me it was United’s “policy” and “I could lose my job if I give you a boarding pass”. I politely explained that I was willing to take that risk… no go!
I was sure there was a flight earlier than two days from now to get me from Seattle to Reno but decided it would be better to fight that battle from the SeaTtle airport. Now I just needed to get there. Luckily, I had already looked into this briefly when I was figuring out travel options originally and new there were Amtrak, Greyhound, and private bus options. This is how the rest of my travel went:
1. Train from airport to downtown Vancouver (arrive at 4:00, walk 15mins to bus/train station)
2. Amtrak at 5:30 full. Greyhounds next bus is tomorrow, Bolt bus at 5:00 says booked but they might have space, 6:30 bus says same thing. 3. 5:00 bus shows up at 6:00 and only have room to Bellingham…I’ll take it !
4. While on bus look up all the different flight options on United from Seattle to Reno. My other constraint is that the shuttle that gets me from Reno to trail (3.5hr ride) only travels on m/w/f and leaves at 1:30. So I need an early flight! Only one flight from Seattle that would work and looks pretty much booked.
5. Look into one way rental cars. Available from both Bellingham and Seattle to Reno. Only ~$70 with taxes and fees, but 12hr drive. Look into flights from other cities (Portland, Eugene) to Reno. I could drive then fly…def possibilities. 6. I wind up being able to take bus all the way to Seattle (some no shows).
7. I find a Southwest flight leaving Seattle at 5:30am and getting to Reno at 9:30am via SFO. It’s only $150 and I even have points to pay for it 🙂 8. Arrive in Seattle at 9:30pm and walk to SkyTrain to get to airport.
9. Go to United counter and try to rebook flight. The best she can do is get me in at midnight tomorrow…I take the ticket as a backup.
10. Bed down for the night on a comfy couch near the Southwest gate. No issues at security carrying pack with collapsed trekking poles and tent stakes. 11. 5:30 Flight to San Francisco goes smoothly
12. 8:30 flight to Reno leaves 20mins late.
13. Arrive at 9:45. Figure I might as well stop at hotel I didn’t use last night and get a shower, plus I need to pick up my resupply box that was sent there. Take free hotel shuttle. 14. Hotel agrees to let me check-in for a couple hours. They have my box 📦 🙂 15. Shower, relax, then shuttle back to Reno airport at 1:00 16. 1:30 shuttle to Susanville, CA.
17. 3:45-5:00 hotter than blazes and hangout at Walmart while waiting for next shuttle. 18. 5:15 shuttle to Chester, CA
19. 6:30 get dropped off and meet Trail Angel Jeff who will give me a ride the last 6mi to the trailhead.
I’m tired just writing this all down!