Posted by: Karen | February 11, 2005

Tampa Travels – Part I

We flew down Wednesday and came back Monday. I only raced for a little over an hour and a half, so that left lots of time for other experiences! Here’s installment #1.

Our flight left at somewhere around 7 am, so we had to get up pretty early in the morning to get to the airport on time.

Even before we left the country we had some adventure. Our flight plan took us to Toronto, with a 90 minute connection including going through customs in Toronto. Dianne needed to pick up a new birth certificate from her brother at the airport, as she’d misplaced her original and ended up having to have another one produced. Her brother met us at Terminal 2, gave Dianne a big hug and her birth certificate, and drove us to Terminal 1 to see us off. Dawn played it safe and took the shuttle instead.

Dianne and I retrieved our suitcases and before I could even make it through U.S. customs I had managed to lose my Toronto-Tampa boarding pass. I had it at one end of the room, didn’t have it at the other. How did I DO that! Who let me out of the house, anyway!

A kind U.S. customs person quickly printed out another boarding pass for me (thank goodness for electronic tickets), and I carried on to have my luggage searched. We made the connection with just enough time for a potty break, and Dawn was happy to see us again.

Just as I settled in to wait for our boarding call, I heard my name being paged. “Mrs. Cooksley, Mrs. Cooksley, could you please report to the boarding desk?”

I was flying on my husband’s Aeroplan points, banked almost a decade ago when he used to travel for a living. Since it was “just points”, he booked me in First Class for most of the flights. Dawn and Dianne travelled back in Business and I was to join them there for the Toronto-Tampa leg of our journey. What do you know, I was upgraded to Executive again! Shucks darn, I’d just have to sit up in the big seats and eat with the mucky mucks again.

We had arranged to have local Penguins Shawn and John pick us up at the airport. We had never met them, but we still hadn’t discussed how we would know each other. John had asked Shawn before we arrived, and Shawn had replied “Oh, I think we’ll figure it out.” Shawn and John are big hockey fans, having just moved down to Florida from a northern state, so all three of us wore our Calgary Flames hockey jerseys off the plane. They knew us, alright!

It had taken us all day to travel to Tampa, but we were THERE, and very excited. We all went out for dinner at Chili’s, had a great time getting to know our hosts, and hit the sack early.


  1. […] You might have read about how much fun we had in Tampa, at the Penguin Winter Carnival and Gasparilla Classic last February. This is your chance to find out for yourself how much fun a Penguin Encounter can be. It does not matter if you have never considered yourself a Penguin, the Running Blog Family is very welcome to join us and experience what a BLAST it can be to spend time together like this. […]

  2. […] Wednesday – Feb 2nd Well this went pretty much as Karen said in her Tampa Travels – Part 1. Karen neglected to mention my luggage helper. As we boarded almost last the space in the overheads had somewhat disappeared. I tried to reach up and adjust some coats to make room for my bag, but sighed loudly “I’m just too short”. Lucky for me this rather tall gentleman built like a football player stood up and not only made room but lifted my bag for me. When the flight ended, he also got it down for me and we walked off the plane together. Turns out he was off to Tampa to meet up with a friend for the weekend. We chatted between flights and later in Tampa he wished us luck at our races. About the only other thing I can add is the boring inflight move was “Sideways”. Unless you like people rambling about wine tasting, like me you will likely sleep through half of it. Of course the fact that I only had about 3 hours sleep might have had something to do with it as well. […]


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