Our Journey from Olympia, WA to Margate in the UK began around noon last Saturday. Due to the amount of stuff we had, including our two bikes, Bill and my mother in law drove in her truck with the bikes in the back, my mom and I drove our van with the girls and the rest of our stuff, and my dad drove his SUV. We arrived at the airport uneventfully with the exception that my dad, with our roof box on the top of his SUV, couldn’t fit the height restrictions getting into the parking lot at SeaTac. He turned around to find the oversize parking area, but ended up on I5 rather than looping around the airport. He ended up continuing on to wait for my mom at Southcenter Mall.
It took three carts and three adults to haul the six bags we had to be checked, a carryon for each of us, four bike helmets, a bike fender which hadn’t made it into one of the bike boxes, two bikes, and two car seats. I had previously joked that to save room we could have the girls wear their life jackets and helmets onto the plane, but I thought the other passengers would either be worried and think maybe we knew something they didn’t, or they’d think we were crazy. However, I did tell Bill he could put my bike fender on his head like a hat if needed when entering the plane.
Surprisingly, checking in at the airport went very smoothly. The ladies who helped us at Icelandair were awesome. After some tears and waving goodbye to my mom and mother in law, and goodbye over the phone to my dad, we went through security and to our gate.
The plane we were supposed to be on ended up having mechanical issues, and the flight was delayed for three hours while we waited for a flight coming from Iceland to arrive, be cleaned quickly, and then we all loaded onto that plane. The girls did great on the flight, and I saw the most amazing sunset at 35,000 feet.
The flight landed uneventfully in Iceland, but we had missed our connecting flight to London, so we hung around the airport in Reykjavik for 6 hours until we could catch the next flight to London.
It was 9PM London time when we finally landed in the UK. We made it through immigration in record time and collected our bags. Bill and I somehow managed to push three carts ourselves, with the help of Sparrow, and our van and driver were waiting for us. We were loaded up with only and inch or so to spare with the bikes, and made our way towards Margate, around a 2 hour drive. Arriving so late in London,mother drive was in the dark, so we were not able to do any sightseeing. The positive to this was that the freeway we drove on was almost empty, we had missed all the rush hour traffic.
Our adventure was not over yet. I had received an email from the housing people several hours prior. I had emailed them from Seattle to let them know that our arrival time of early afternoon into Margate was going to be delayed due to our flight delays. The email I received reassured me that the main reception area of the hospital was open 24/7, and so it did not matter what time we arrived. After getting lost in Margate trying to find the temporary medical staff housing, our driver dropped us off, along with all of our things, at the front entrance of our apartment building. At this point it was midnight. I stayed with our stuff and the girls, and the driver drive Bill up the hill to the hospital. The person in the reception area had no information indicating we were arriving that night, and suggested that we stay at a nearby Travelodge for the night. Bill explained that this was not possible with the amount of stuff we had, the fact that it was already midnight and we had travelled for over 24 hours with only a few hours of sleep, and our lack of a car. We ended up being given keys to two single rooms across the parking lot for the night. We dragged our things across the parking lot to our temporary housing. The rooms were dorm like and consisted of a twin bed and small bathroom with shower. The kitchen and living room areas were shared. After getting changed, we passed out, TT and I in one bed, Sparrow on the floor next to us, and Bill in the second room.