Back in the U.S. of A.

Well, we made it.  I am writing to you from our hotel room in Chicago, Illinois, USA.  It has been a long day of travel for us, and our last flights and train journey.  All we have now (aside from our weekend in the Windy City) is the ten hour drive home with Nikki and Brad.

Our day started in the wee hours in London as we said goodbye to Matthew.  He really was a splendid host and we were extremely fortunate to have his assistance; we would’ve burned through SO much more money had it not been for his generosity.  We dragged out of the house at 7 AM (I couldn’t sleep the night before, it was just like Christmas Eve!)  We bussed to Heathrow, checked in (bumped to an earlier flight, go us!) and flew to Dublin without much fanfare or to-do.  London to Dublin is a short flight similar to the Tulsa/Dallas flight.  Once in Dublin, we had to go through security again.  No big deal.  I even stopped off to have one final Guinness in native lands.  But when we got to the special ‘Departures to America’ gate, things got more complicated.

Most of the airport is just like all the others we’ve seen in our travel:  Check in, get your boarding pass, go through security (x-ray, scan, take off belt, etc), travel through the duty-free shops, arrive at gate.  Well, if you’re flying into America, there’s some extra steps.  We had to fill out additional arrival cards (haven’t had to do that since S.E. Asia), a customs form, go through two Passport control kiosks, and an additional search/scan in the airbridge to the plane.  I appreciate the extra attention, but after traveling so long it gets tedious.

So, after all that, we settled into our plane for the eight hour flight to Chicago.  Aer Lingus (Ireland’s National Airline) had a robust offering of in-flight entertainment, which helped time pass much faster than expected.  We landed, went through another checkpoint, customs, etc etc…and finally made it out of the airport.  I sat on the train heading downtown with my packs and grinned.  I’m in my home country again.  And it feels great.

Our internet is not free here, so I’m going to cut the blog a little short.  I have so much to write about already (my first time in Chicago, after all) but it’ll have to wait till Monday.  Rest assured we are safe, sound, and plan to have a fantastic weekend on the home turf.  Oh, and our hotel is right next door to Gino’s East Pizzeria.  I am quite excited about this.

About rhysfunk

Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world. Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. In 2018 he published his first book, Lost Restaurants of Tulsa. Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.
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