Planes, Shuttles and Automobiles: Raleigh to Dallas/Rapid City

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I started my great western adventure on June 1st with a 1 pm. ET flight from RDU bound for Dallas.

In theory, I would land in Dallas in roughly 3 hours (around 3:22 p.m. CT) and then have a three hour layover before boarding a flight bound for Rapid City and The Black Hills. I hoped to be enjoyed a relaxing meal in Custer State Park, SD around eight p.m. and getting a good nights rest before the next day’s adventures.

Unfortunately when you travel sometimes the best laid plans go astray. I’ve had delays and canceled flights before but unfortunately my flight to Dallas was the longest flight I’ve ever been on (including flying to Amsterdam from Nashville).

The flight to Dallas actually went smoothly. I enjoyed a good book and bit of conversation with my ‘neighbors’ on the plane. the pilot announced we’d be landing in Dallas early.

All that changed minutes before we were preparing for landing. Lightning, thunder and potential tornadoes forced us to hover above the storm for almost an hour in hopes we could then land.

But confirmed tornadoes in the greater Dallas area led to an airport shutdown.

Our flight went to San Antonio to refuel. We were not allowed to leave the plane unless we wanted to stay in San Antonio. We sat in the plane for around two hours – waiting for fuel and Dallas to reopen

When Dallas did reopen we ended up in a long taxi line – my flight to Rapid City flew off without me…

Nine hours after sitting on the plane with no food (my celiac disease cannot deal with pretzels sadly) – we de-boarded.

I tried to be positive as the crew was exceptional and my co-passengers all patient, but after waiting in line another two hours to find out I could get to Rapid City til 2 p.m. the next day (flight would leave DWF at 2:12 p.m. CT) – I was stuck.

I had hoped American Airlines would comp a hotel, but they would not as it was weather related.

I didn’t want to spend my vacation money on a hotel, but was able to get a great deal at the Marriott Westlake – Hotwire has been a lifesaver more than once.

Uber app also helped me immensely. A friendly driver picked me up promptly and by 1 a.m. I was asleep in Dallas in a comfortable bed.

The next morning I enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the Marriott before catching their airport shuttle. The driver was polite and luckily sleep and breakfast took away my ‘hangry’ frustrations 🙂

The big issue was my rental car in Rapid City – I couldn’t get ahold of the counter and the 1-800 number couldn’t confirm that they’d hold my car. So I prayed with St. Anthony – God help me get that car and luckily it worked out (although more on that later).

I enjoyed a great conversation with a fellow traveler on the flight to South Dakota.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw my luggage and got the keys to my rental car – a Chevy Malibu (I was willing to take what I could get at that point)

I have a sense of humor (even if I get emotionally hangry like a snickers commercial) so I see my Dallas jetlag as just a scene in the character of John Candy…

Rental car keys in hand – time for adventure.

It starts in Rapid City…we are going to travel the Black Hills – through WY and Yellowstone/Montana. Get ready!

What is interesting about Rapid City, SD is that people from all over the country and the world fly into a small tranquil airport (very welcoming and laid back) to celebrate America.

As we explore in my upcoming posts – The Black Hills is an icon of America – it is a crossroads of cultures, marked by conflict and hope – struggles and perseverance. In the Black Hills you’ll discover beautiful river canyons – chiseled by the hands of time. Stone sapphires shaped like cathedrals that pause one to pray and meditate on the beauty of this world (no matter how fractured).

Mt. Rushmore is arguably as much of an emblem of America as the flag – it is a feat of engineering meant to bring our nation together – like the rocks chiseled, broken to perfection – the faces – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln – are a reflection of the trials and triumphs of the idea of American democracy.

Lakota monument in stone – Crazy Horse tells the amazing story of the natives of the Black Hills and their rich cultural heritage.

Follow my blogs as we take an All-American Journey:

  • Black Hills
  • Wyoming Canyons, Badlands and Bighorns
  • Cody
  • Yellowstone
  • Montana and Idaho adventures.

I’m a bit delayed with internet trying to post photos on my facebook page along the way.

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