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  • Writer's pictureSandra

Mission Adventure (finally) goes USA

Unbelievable but true, with an unbelievable 2 year delay we finally made it to the USA. On Thursday, April 26th, 2022 we went from Frankfurt to Washington Dulles - with a lot of excitement in our luggage, of course. The fear that some (missing) papers could still prevent us from taking off has, thank God, not come true. On the contrary, nobody actually asked for all the documents that were required for us because of COVID and for Lennox (as an assistance dog). Instead, Lennox conquered all hearts at Frankfurt Airport in no time. To be honest, I didn't expect him to stroll through the airport with such self-confidence and seemingly routine. The don't care pills obviously did their job very well. He even mastered the security check, where both I and Lennox were strip searched. Arriving at the gate, we were the first to board the plane. It was all new to me, since I had completed my last flights as a pedestrian and now, as a wheelchair user, I was practically a virgin. I was on my way with my wheelchair as far as the aircraft door, then I had to transfer to a special transport chair (or should I say "sack truck"!?); with this I was pushed through the narrow aisles of the plane to our row of seats. My wheelchair, which was previously marked with a special luggage rack, was shipped somewhere else. Arriving at our seats, two young women kindly heaved me onto my seat on the window. Luckily we got a 3-seater row for us, so that Sebastian could sit in the aisle, I could sit by the window and Lennox had enough space between us in the footwell.

The flight itself was relaxed and you didn't hear a peep from Lennox. He was only a bit tense during take-off and landing. Although the flight took about 8 hours and he had to "endure" a total of almost 12 hours, that wasn't a problem either. At least since this flight I know that I have the best dog in the world!

When we landed in Washington, everything got a little more stressful and you quickly noticed that we Germans are simply 1,000 times better organized in comparison. After all the passengers had got out, two gentlemen came to help me onto the hand truck again. Everything was very hectic, unprofessional and didn't really inspire confidence. Nevertheless, I made it to the door of the plane where my wheelchair was waiting for me again.

From there we went to a shuttle bus to get to the airport terminal and thus to passport control. The queue at passport control was endless, loud and restless. That stressed Lennox and me quite a bit, since we had hoped to have the worst behind us. After about 2 hours in line, after answering 2-3 questions and showing Lennox's ID, we were easily through. The luggage was already waiting for us and so we could finally march through quickly... through the ugliest and most neglected airport I've ever seen. I would really advise anyone not to ever fly to this airport.

When we left the airport, we realized that we had to take another shuttle to get to the rental cars. With a wheelchair, dog and a lot of luggage, it was all a bit time-consuming, especially for Sebastian, who had to help me onto the bus and still have to take care of the luggage. Arriving at the rental car company, we were hit again... an eternally long queue with people waiting, all of whom had a rental car... arghhhh!

Another 2 hours later, which I spent waiting with Lennox and the luggage for Sebastian, he finally came around the corner with a rental car. In the meantime I was dead tired and pretty cold, although it wasn't really cold. But I was happy to finally sit in the rental car and drive towards our hotel in Baltimore. After another hour and a half we had reached it, but decided to run a few errands before checking in, including something to munch on for Lennox, since we weren’t allowed to take dog food with us. Then we went to the hotel. However, we couldn't really be happy about this run down Best Western Plus Hotel.

Note to myself: I have to tell Seabridge they really need to revise their hotel recommendations! Well, that should be enough for this night, we were too tired to get too worked up about it anyway!

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