Fly United, Hubbing it in Denver

Working on the concept that sunrise is probably one of the best times to take landscape photographs we should have been touring Reno this morning when we woke up at 4.30am.  Alas, we had to finalise our packing, take our bags down to the lobby, check out and catch the transit van to the airport – no time for photo’s.

We arrived at the make shift Reno Airport check-in counters (a very far cry from Hong Kong Airport) two hours before departure and received excellent service from the United Airlines staff.  We didn’t get confirmed seats (flying staff travel) however we were informed that the flight was “wide-open” so we felt confident.

A light breakfast and coffee were the next priority so we found an acceptable dietary substance that claimed to be breakfast and took our time digesting this pre-packaged delight.  With time to spare we managed some early morning people watching before heading for the departure gate.

United’s service continued to impress when we were offered one First Class (read Business Class) seat and one Economy seat for the flight to Denver.  We declined the offer and for being gracious we were given two exit row seats instead.

The A320 Airbus departed on time for Denver (7.40am) – two happy passengers!  I updated our picture gallery with a more comprehensive number of photo’s from our trip and we listened to music on our iPods too.

The flight was smooth and uneventful and we arrived on time in Denver.

The scheduled time between our arrival and departure was short so we made our way through the very busy (no signs of a recession in the airport) Denver Airport.  This is one of America’s “hub” airports (a focal point for flights from all over America and other parts of the world) and the number of people coming and going made us feel like we were back in Hong Kong.  After being out in the mountains for the past ten days we felt the full impact of civilization.

The flight to Calgary left Denver around an hour late but with an upgrade to premium economy and two confirmed seats we were not too worried.  The flight was not particularly full so the service was prompt.

Some more gallery updates and music were the order of the flight for me while The Princess relaxed and had a catnap.

The Princess’ first return to Calgary for 18 months started with a very smooth landing, efficient processing at immigration and a very nice Calgary day.  With time to spare we decided to eat some lunch in the airport before picking up the rental car.  We shared a sub at Cha Chi’s.  The simple meal was fresh and wholesome and just what we needed after being on the go since 4.30am.

National Car Rental came in No 1 for our business today.  The staff were excellent and the rate was better than all the other contenders.  We don’t mind sharing our money between companies – particularly when we get great service and a smile to go with spending our hard earned dollars.

Unfortunately the trip from the airport to our hotel was very, very slow due to hitting peak hour and an earlier accident on the freeway.  Still, with time to spare we made the most of reacquainting ourselves with “Cow Town”.  With one of the local Country and Western stations blaring through the speakers we were able to tap our toes and slap our thighs whilst crawling along with the other hillbillies.  Ah, gotta love this place.

We arrived at the Delta Hotel around 5.00pm and received excellent service from the front counter staff before completing our “bag drag” for the day by depositing everything in our room.

A quick phone call to Jill (The Princess’ mom) to confirm supper arrangements then out to pick up some victuals (good ole Naval term) for our eight day stay in the Delta.

Jill arrived at the Delta around 7.15pm and after an emotional reunion we checked out the menu in one of the hotel’s restaurants and decided to “eat in”.

It was great to spend time with Jill tonight.  She is a very special lady and she has a very special place reserved in our hearts.  We enjoyed presenting her with some new presents (spoons from our travels) and catching up on her news.

The 4.30am start was starting to show by the end of supper so we walked Jill to her car, returned to our room and prepared for bed.  This blog is going to be posted around 10.30pm (Calgary time – we are still working on Reno time – 9.30pm) and then we are off to bed.  We plan to have a lazy morning tomorrow so a nice sleep-in is in order.

We hope this finds you all as it leaves us – with full bellies, happy reunions, great weather, love and gratitude and a nice bed to fall into!!

Until tomorrow – goodnight/G’day

Roey and The Princess

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