The Arizona Trip from Hell – Part Three

This is Part Three of “The Arizona Trip from Hell”; the finale occurs on Sunday, June 18, 2023. This trip was the first time I was in constant communication with my family. You would have thought I traveled to a war-torn, third-world country! That’s how concerned they were for my safety. But I digress. Let’s wrap up “The Arizona Trip from Hell.”

A Quick Shower and Packing a Carry-On in Record-Breaking Time

I’ve taken fast showers before, but the one I had on Sunday, June 18, 2023, probably broke a record. And if there were an Olympic Sport (who watches the Olympics?) for packing a carry-on suitcase, I’d win the gold medal.

With me and my bag ready, the only thing left to do was hang out by the pool for some time, straighten up, wash, put the dishes away, and walk through the Avondale home to ensure I didn’t forget to pack something in my haste to leave.

I even cleaned and vacuumed because I wanted all evidence of my staying at the Airbnb gone. I know. I’ve watched too many CSI movies and TV shows. Thank you, entertainment industry!

Do You Know What It’s Like to Be a Rat in a Maze?

Since the GPS gave me the wrong directions throughout my trip, I performed an online maps query from Avondale to the car rental company in Goodyear. But I didn’t print it out or take a picture because I was sure I’d remember the simple and easy route. I was wrong.

With the SUV packed and the Avondale home locked, I was ready to return the vehicle. The drive to the car rental company should have taken me about 11 minutes, but it took me 45 minutes. Why? Because the GPS kept giving me the wrong directions and kept me driving in circles. It was as if I was a rat in a maze.

I pulled into a healthcare facility’s parking lot, called the car rental company, and spoke with a very nice woman, and she talked me through how to get to Goodyear. The GPS started working once I got on the 101 South and drove to the I-10 West. I found the car rental branch quickly.

The Pains of Renting a Vehicle

When I pulled into the Goodyear car rental branch, I couldn’t get out of the subcompact SUV fast enough. I ordered a rideshare and went inside, thinking I’d be in and out quickly. I was wrong. The rep who waited on me asked me multiple questions, and I finally snapped and said, “I have a rideshare coming and need to get to the airport.” Thankfully, I wasn’t charged for returning the vehicle late.

“The Arizona Trip from Hell” is the last time I rent a vehicle from this car rental company. I’ll take road trips in the U.S. or rent a car from another company. I’m leaning more toward the former because I would have my vehicle.

Anyway, the rideshare driver arrived – a woman. As we drove to Phoenix Sky Harbor, I texted my sister and then became highly observant. At one point, I got nervous because I didn’t recognize the route, but then I did. A weird smell in the vehicle made me nauseous, so I put on my essential oils. The woman opened her window, and I knew my plan to get air into the car worked.

The woman rideshare driver dropped me off at Phoenix Sky Harbor, and it was time for me to finish my “Arizona Trip from Hell.” I hoped my leaving would go smoother, but it didn’t. Shocker!

Phoenix Sky Harbor TSA and the Bogus United Airlines Plane Tickets

Once inside Phoenix Sky Harbor, I walked fast to TSA because I knew it would be busy. Fortunately, the lines moved quickly, and when it was my turn to present my boarding tickets, I didn’t expect any issues. I was wrong again.

The young TSA agent took my driver’s license and plane tickets, and something appeared on her screen. She asked a big, burly, annoyed TSA agent for assistance. He barked an order to me, “Stand over there.” He scanned and took my picture (I hate having my photo taken), handed me my driver’s license and tickets, and said, “These tickets are no good. When you get to the gate, ask for new ones.” Great.

I grabbed my driver’s license and boarding passes and got into a TSA line, which moved fast. I made it through without any hiccups.

When I got to the gate (it wasn’t changed – shocker), I had time to semi-relax. I waited for my new boarding tickets because the flight before mine was leaving for Chicago. What are the odds of that?

What is it with NASA?

I received new plane tickets and waited to board the plane to Denver. The ticket agent kept repeating, “Please allow the person in front of you to scan their boarding pass, wait, and then scan yours.” He must have repeated it a dozen times. Why can’t ‘people’ follow directions?

I scanned my boarding pass and couldn’t wait to get onto the plane. Once I was settled, I only thought about getting to Denver and returning to my home state. I hoped it would be a ‘quiet’ flight, but it wasn’t.

The three “beings” sitting before me were a husband and wife (senior citizens) and a younger guy. From the older male and the young guy’s conversation, I learned that the couple was traveling to Croatia and other European cities.

The young guy chatting with the older guy mentioned that he and someone else were making a documentary about fossils. It had a ‘science-fiction’ twist to it. When I heard the young guy say NASA, I was thankful I had my seatbelt on because I would have fallen out of my seat.

Throughout my trip, I heard “NASA” mentioned several times. Hopefully, you know the organization isn’t what the “powers that be” claim it is.

For example, you may be disappointed if you’re an American and believe we went to the moon in the 1960s. Even former astronauts have whistle blown that it wasn’t so. We eventually got to the moon, but not in the way you may think we did or in the time you were taught in school or shown on TV if you were around in the ’60s.

But I digress.

The plane taxied down the runway, and we were in the sky (or were we?). The two males chatted the entire way to Denver.

The Denver Airport: Is There an Underground Facility Underneath it?

The plane from Phoenix Sky Harbor landed smoothly at the Denver airport and de-boarded at Gate A. I hoped my connecting flight left from there, but it was departing from Gate B.

As I powered walked through the airport, I passed the chatty young guy and his friend, partner, colleague – whatever. Again, their goal is to sell their documentary to NASA.

I took an elevator (unsure if there was another way) to the basement to take a train to Gates B and C. When I got on the train, I chose a spot closer to the doors. A tall guy stood in front of me. When we stepped off the train, he stopped, looked at the escalators, and said,” Are gates 37-43 this way?” At that moment, I could have checked my email because, throughout my trip, United Airlines often changed gates like I used to change clothes as a teenager. But I didn’t. I stepped onto the escalator and power walked to the gate number on my boarding pass.

When I arrived at the gate on the other end of “B,” I noticed the screen above the ticket agent station listed another city and state. I finally looked at my email, and United Airlines had sent a message that my connecting flight’s gate changed.

I ran to the opposite end of the airport and arrived at the gate. But the screen above the boarding area listed another city/state. Instead of asking the ticket agent for clarification or looking at the screen above the desk, I returned to the gate I was at. My intuition finally kicked in, and I knew I had to return to where I was. At least I had a great workout at the Denver airport.

Who was the Guy in the Khaki Buttoned-Down T-Shirt?

Once I arrived at the correct gate number, I checked the sign above the ticket agent counter, which listed the accurate flight information. I sighed in relief, not only because I was at the right gate but because the women’s bathroom was only a few feet away.

While waiting in the boarding seating area, I noticed a guy wearing a khaki-colored buttoned-down shirt with patches. The patch on the left side was black and white, resembling the Eye of Horus (Ra). The right side had three red squiggly lined patches. They may have been Sanskrit or something else. The guy noticed me noticing him and quickly covered the red patches. At that moment, I realized he was on my 2018 flight from Arizona to my home state. What are the odds of that?

It’s Time to Say Goodbye to Denver

As the boarding process began, I noticed travelers walking up to the area with perplexed faces.

The screen above the boarding station showed a different city and state than the one at the ticket counter. United Airlines changed the city/state’s gate from B to A. Travelers had to haul ass to catch their flight and were unhappy.

Not only did the boarding agent have to check in passengers, but they had to call over to gate A and let that agent know a few more passengers were on their way and to hold the plane.

Sitting in my aisle seat, I couldn’t wait until the plane took off. The two seats next to me were empty, and I hoped I’d have the entire row to myself, but a father and his pre-teen daughter showed up. He blew his nose many times and had to use the bathroom. My intuition must have known this because I didn’t buckle my seatbelt straightaway.

The father blew his nose throughout the flight and ordered something to eat. The flight attendant (in her ’60s?) kept looking at me and pointing to a catalog. She called me “Mrs. So and So,” I shook my head, indicating that I was not with the guy. Maybe she should retire.

It was a Bumpy Landing

The plane arrived bumpily in my “home” state after 10:30 p.m., but it didn’t take long to de-board. As I power walked, I noticed that certain areas were under renovation, including the shorter way to the transportation.

When I got to the lower level, I was surprised by how busy the airport was with people being picked up or dropped off. It makes sense because it’s summer. Maybe.

I ordered a rideshare and intended a nice driver to pick me up and drop me off at my apartment/townhome. It didn’t happen. The driver called me, but it registered as Spam, and I ignored it. I finally answered on the third or fourth ring. When he spoke, I didn’t get a good feeling. I found his vehicle, and helped me and my carry-on bag into it.

When we arrived in the city about ten minutes from where I live, I told the driver that he might want to get into the left lane because the right lane becomes a turning lane. He didn’t like that I gave him directions and mumbled about having time before getting into the left lane. I remained silent as he stayed in the right lane but had to switch to the left lane. He returned to the right lane and discovered that it had ended and needed to return to the left lane.

When I arrived at the apartment/townhome, I couldn’t get out of the vehicle fast enough. I did not want to give a tip, but I did. Next time, I’m not tipping. As my former law professor used to say when she was discussing why the prosecution or defense lost a case, “Too bad, so sad.”

Unpacking and Taking a Long Shower

As I entered the apartment/townhome, I removed my shoes and jacket and went into the main bedroom to unpack.

Once I finished unpacking, I stripped down, hopped into the shower, and scrubbed off “The Arizona Trip from Hell.” Washing my hair after the water in the Avondale, AZ, home turned my hair gummy, felt divine. I scrubbed every inch of my body, trying to rid myself of “The Arizona Trip from Hell.” But I had to get out of the shower eventually.

I tried sleeping, but it wasn’t easy, and I still don’t know how I managed to get some rest, which I would need for the next week. Why? Because I developed a nasty sinus infection as a parting gift from “The Arizona Trip from Hell” and the hacking, coughing, and sneezing travelers. My mind and body were drained, especially my CNS (central nervous system). I healed fast but have been getting a sore throat and have had a cough here and there. I’m trying to figure out why. But that’s another article.

Wrapping Up the Arizona Trip from Hell, Part Three

Writing about my “Arizona Trip from Hell” has been cathartic. However, I’m ready to put it behind me, even though I still want answers to my questions. Hopefully, I will get them. If not, I’ll “remember” this trip and ensure I notice and acknowledge red flags when I see them.

Because of “The Arizona Trip from Hell,” I’m no longer enamored with travel, especially since we still travel via airplanes. Why can’t we use a jump room? I’ve heard that “elites” use them all the time. And if you don’t know what a jump room is, here’s a synopsis:

If an “elite” lives in New York, they can enter an “elevator” inside a hotel, an ivy league or top university, a big-named museum, etc. The “elevator” wraps around them and transports them to Rome, Italy, within 10-15 minutes. Allegedly, it takes 30 minutes to travel to Mars. Doesn’t that sound better than going through TSA, waiting to board an airplane with hacking, coughing, and sneezing travelers, and sitting on a plane anywhere from an hour to 4 hours or more, depending on where you’re traveling?

Even though my June travel didn’t happen as I expected, it doesn’t mean I’m packing away my carry-on bag and suitcase. It means when I’m “bit by the travel bug,” I’ll think carefully about it. I must travel because I want to, not because I’m influenced. I refuse to experience another travel sh** show and hope you never do.

To learn how “The Arizona Trip from Hell” began and what unfolded after my arrival in the Grand Canyon state, read Part One and Part Two.