After our outstanding travel experience on Amtrak and getting our rental car through RelayRides.com, we spent a week in Michigan. My best friend got married and I got to meet almost all of the TMD writers at Xza’s Cabinista Shortada and also had the pleasure of meeting some sweet readers at our babywearing class and beachside baby wrangling.
We had a great time, ate pie, wore each other’s babies, and created bonds that I feel will last a lifetime. Pie helped with the bonding too.
Jed and Clara and Cormac and I hugged everyone goodbye and then packed ourselves into our rental and hit the road. We only stopped for fried cheese curds and frozen custard (OMG).
In Chicago, we navigated our way into downtown like we knew what we were doing (false) and met the owner of our rental, Maha, who had agreed to be the most awesome guy ever and drove us to Midway for our departing flight. Clara was sick of her car seat, but barring some grouchy yelling, the drive was nice. We got to hear about Maha’s sweetheart and what growing up in Bombay was like.
We got to the airport in plenty of time and checked in. Security let us through without removing babies from carriers, then stopped us to check our hands for gunpowder (grumble grumble TSA crap grumble grumble). When we boarded the plane (third, not first, not second.), we sat next to each other in the back of the plane and babies were sound asleep and happily being worn.
Unfortunately, we had to be separated because of the number of oxygen masks per row. Then the flight attendants told us that we had to take the babies out of the carriers in case of an emergency. I responded that I didn’t understand why and the attendant said that, if there was an emergency, the babies needed to be easily accessible to other people so they could be removed from the plane–didn’t that make sense?
No, that does not make sense, and I said so. If they were in car seats, they would be strapped in. If they were any other person on the plane, they would be strapped in. But because they are lap infants, they do not get to be strapped in.
So, rant over, I unbuckled my carrier and of course Clara woke up and proceeded to try to climb on the ceiling and my neighbors and the windows and my head. Cormac woke up too. I couldn’t get Clara to nurse during takeoff and Cormac was three seats away, and they were tired, so screaming ensued shortly after. We paced, snuggled, nursed, stood up, tried to stay calm, and had a pretty crappy first hour. Eventually everyone went to sleep, but the beginning really sucked.
We landed (without unbuckling our carriers–rebels) and got to our car. We drove another two-and-a-half hours home, and finally slept at 1:30 a.m. before waking up at… groan… 6:00 a.m.
After experiencing several different travel methods, I’d rank plane travel at the bottom. I might prefer a road trip over flying with both babies. It was way too stressful. Relay rides was awesome and I would definitely suggest that everyone look into it as a rental option if you need a rental (even for a day or an hour locally). Our rental was $237.50 for a week and 60% goes to the owner of the vehicle.
Amtrak was seriously awesome. Everyone was super baby friendly and it was actually fun. With a sleeper car, it was pricey, but we looked at it as part of our vacation, not just travel on the way to our vacation.
I wish Amtrak went to Alaska. I have a cousin moving there in September and I’m brainstorming travel options already.