Washington DC trip, part 2

I was seated on the bus directly behind the driver, Jesus.

The teacher that coordinated the trip sat on the floor next to the driver because he needed directions; yes, the professional bus driver needed directions to CHICAGO, the largest city in our entire state.

Despite running seriously late our driver drove at a very, let’s say, methodical pace.  Until we reached a nearby downtown area and he decided to pass a semi by driving in the oncoming lane;  I think this was the first time I screamed.

The next hour or so was uneventful.  We drove with the increasing traffic on the interstate between central IL and Chicago.  Approaching the suburbs the traffice became much more congested and eventually traffic was at a standstill.  Curiously there were several traffic type helicopters hovering.  The clock was ticking and the adults on the bus were increasingly worrying that we were going to miss our flight. Calls were made to the tour company; the kids were clueless; the adults anxious.  Jesus must have picked up on the buzz and decided to leave the highway and drive on the shoulder of the road, where the click-click-click indentions are.  It was incredibibly terrifying; especially when the shoulder would turn into part of an on/off ramp (for the interstate) and we would almost collide with cars attempting to merge onto the actual road. Oh, and at one point a semi driver apparently pissed off by our bus “cutting in line” attempted to force us off the shoulder of the road. Another semi wouldn’t let us back on the freeway when we came to the end of the shoulder.  All the while time was ticking; we had less than a 1/2 an hour until our plane was due to take off. 

Eventually we saw the cause of the back-up. Imagine a big-cabbed truck trying to use a large, perpendicular overpass support as a ramp (like a skateboarder); the truck was in such a position and condition that the driver couldn’t have survived.  It was awful, sobering.  We were all on our cozy bus (with our crazy driver) going on a trip, worrying about missing a flight, when some poor schlub had lost his life. 

A mile or so later we saw a car on fire; probably overheated from the wait.  Finally off the interstate and  another visible traffic accident.

We arrived at Midway a few minutes past the time our flight was to depart.  The tour group had convinced the airline to wait for 20 minutes but we still had to unload the kids, check our luggage, wait in line, go through security and make it to our gate. 

The line was huge. 

Security was tight; we had to take off our shoes; belts set off metal detectors; kids had to get wanded. 

Our gate was far away (B-14?).  We ran to it carrying our shoes; not sure who was where (we split up into several security lines); many of the kids had never flown and didn’t even know what a gate number was.  Tay and I got split up. 

Getting to the plane was a victory; everyone made it; the passengers cheered.  (I think more for the fact that the plane could leave then they were overjoyed at travelling with a large group of tardy middle schoolers and their obviously insane chaperones).




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