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Getting Out of Orlando

Posted on October 25, 2016 by under Travel.    

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I was really hoping that I would be able to fly out of Orlando in time. No such luck. I’m glad that my friend Tammie talked me into changing my flights so that I would be flying out Tampa instead. Had I not taken her advice, I probably would have gotten stranded in Orlando after Southwest canceled my flight.

Tammie flew with Delta so she had a noon flight out of Tampa. I ended up tagging along with her, which I am super grateful for because I’m not sure how I would have managed the two hour drive to Tampa by myself.

We were initially concerned about the weather on Friday so we talked about spending the night in Tampa. There’s a Marriott attached to the airport, which would have been really convenient. However, we had to nix that idea after we couldn’t find any available rooms. Not just at the Tampa Airport Marriott but throughout the area. Brian tried to find a hotel for us. The closest hotel that had availability was 51 miles from the airport.

He was like, “I’m on the phone with the hotel. You need to tell me now if you want me to reserve these rooms for you guys.”

“Just hang up,” I told him. “I need to talk to Tammie first because that hotel is too far from the airport.”

After I told Tammie she was like, “My mom lives 50 miles from the Tampa airport! We will just stay with her.” Tammie’s mom and stepdad live in Winter Haven, which is between Orlando and Tampa.

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Tammie’s mom and stepdad were kind enough to put me up for the night. I event got my own cozy room (above photo), which Brian was curious about. He wondered if Tammie and I were bunking together because we always chat on video before bed each night. It would be weird to do that with someone in the room with you so he was super relieved that I had my own room for the night.

Interestingly, since we used Tammie’s mom’s SUV to drive from Orlando to Tampa, her stepdad was going to fill up the tank for the drive the next morning. Well, after driving to half a dozen gas stations that were all completely out of gas, he just gave up. It was wild. I’d never been in this kind of situation before.

Lucky for us, Tammie’s stepdad’s truck had a full tank of gas and both of us just had carry-on sized luggage that could easily fit in the covered truck bed so they were able to drive me and Tammie to the Tampa airport in the truck the next day. We left first thing in the morning on Friday.

Tammie was worried about her extremely short layover in Atlanta but we got to the airport early enough that she was able to get on the earlier Delta flight. She left Tampa around 10 AM instead of noon. As for me, I was flying with Southwest and my flight wasn’t until the evening. I had a lot of time to kill at the airport.

I was going to use the time to see my friend Dawn who now lives in the Tampa area but they were expecting some bad weather (just tropical storms, not hurricane weather like in the Atlantic coast). The weather actually wasn’t too bad but it scared both of us enough not to chance it and we canceled our plans ahead of time.

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Since I had so much time to kill, I decided to eat some breakfast. The Qdoba inside the Tampa airport serves the most delicious breakfast burritos. That was a plus.

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I found a good spot (conveniently located next to a power outlet) at the Tampa Airport Marriott to setup a mobile office and used the opportunity to catch up on email. It worked out great.

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I grew tired of sitting around after a while and so I decided to walk around. The Tampa Airport Marriott is actually pretty neat. They have a nice outdoor area complete with a ping pong table. It’s such a shame that it was wet outside and I had no one to play with. Ping pong would have been a great way to kill some time.

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There’s a cute little gazebo in the outdoor terrace/patio.

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The outdoor area is actually quite spacious and nice.

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There’s even a pool and a hot tub.

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They also have a branded bag-toss/cornhole game. I wish the weather would have been better and I had someone to play with.

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Thankfully, I found a nice, comfy reading couch.

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There were several of these sitting areas throughout the hotel.

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I nabbed one for myself and decided to do some reading. Many times I’ll bring a book with me for inflight reading but I end up visiting with my seatmates that entire flight and so I don’t actually end up getting much reading done, if at all. It worked out well because I was able to finish my book.

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I also got to video chat with Brian on his way home from work.

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The rest of the trip home was pretty uneventful, which was fine by me. I really couldn’t handle any more excitement.

My flight from Tampa to St. Louis had a late departure but I wasn’t too concerned because I had a long layover in St. Louis. The flight from St. Louis left on time and arrived in Wichita a couple of minutes early. It was still really late, though. And, since we live all the way on the East side of town, it was almost midnight by the time we got home.

I was so tired that I actually subbed out my Zumba class the next morning so I could do laundry and catch up on rest before driving to Kansas City on Monday. All in all, it was quite an exciting week.

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