As visiting Brits we were not sure of the reception we would get, although Dolly and Jim French had assured us that it would be OK, following on their own hugely successful trips over the pond. Thus reassured we booked flights and Motel, and as we had some ebay items to collect, arranged for those to be sent to Jim Dunmyer and Arnie Fero for us to collect at the show. Thanks to both of you, it was a nice gesture and really appreciated.
Came the morning of the 20th August and we set off from home to get to Gatwick Airport for the flight to Detroit. Our booking was with Northwest Airlines, first time we had flown with them. After the usual formalities we eventually boarded the plane and waited for take-off, and waited, and waited until we were told that a technical fault had caused problems which required one of the flight computers to be changed, and that it would not be at the airport until midnight. That meant that we had wasted a full day out of our schedule, and would be touch and go for the Thursday evening dinner and charity auction.
By now we were really out of time, as we had arranged for everything to slot into a tight timetable, and a lot of phone activity went on between us and the travel agents who arranged the flight. Happily they were really good and sorted out the car hire at Fort Wayne while we were able to get hold of the Super8 Motel to advise our late arrival for the second time in 24 hours.
The second take off and flight went OK, and we arrived at Detroit Metro for our connecting flight with no further dramas. I was able to get hold of Arnie at the Back40 Restuarant and advise of our lateness, but we still hoped to get down to Decatur, in time for the Charity Auction if not the meal. It was not to be, the departure of the connecting flight was delayed by about 40 minutes while air traffic control routed all flights around a big storm front that was near to the airport, so we arrived in Fort Wayne late again. The car was ready, Hertz did a good job and had us on our way pretty quickly, in fact less than 10 minutes. We took directions to Decatur and headed off into the night.
We found Decatur and the Back40 OK, but it was 8.50pm and everyone had left. The kitchen staff told us that there had been an air conditioning failure so it was pretty uncomfortable in there. It was 80+ outside, so it really must have been bad!
We headed down the road to Portland and took Route 67 to Muncie. An hour or so later we were in the Super8 Motel with aircon going full blast to cool us and the room down. It has taken 40+ hours of interrupted travel to get here, we hoped the show would live up to our expectations