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Race To The Airport-An Epic Quest

It’s twenty-five minutes past 11. I’m sitting on the 10:15 ferry from Vancouver Island. We’re still docked. It was over an hour late putting in to Duke Point, here on the Island. Turns out, some crewman didn’t show up for work this morning. But now as I write this, we’re finally pulling away from the dock. And without meaning to, I’m in a race to the airport…

Race to the airport-leaving Duke Point Terminal
Just leaving Duke Point Ferry Terminal, finally

I’m on my way to pick up my daughter Beth-Rose from the Vancouver airport. Today is the day she returns from her epic Germany trip.

Her flight was also late leaving Frankfurt. It departed about an hour and a half behind schedule.

I had been a little concerned because she would be arriving a little before I could get to the airport. It wouldn’t have been too bad. She still needs to get through customs. Who knows how long that’ll take!

But it doesn’t matter now. Even though my ferry is running 74 minutes behind schedule (according to the just-made announcement from the First Officer), I’ll still be waiting in the airport for Beth-Rose. Thank goodness I brought a book to read. Oh wait, I think it’s still sitting on the bedside table…

At least I have a book on my phone to read. Hmmm…

It would seem that it’s not actually downloaded… Thank goodness BC Ferries has wifi. Wait, they got rid of wifi on their boats last year. Great!

And I don’t have enough data to download my book. Crap!

Guess I’ll just sit here and look out at the pretty, grey, sombre ocean…

Race to the airport-the grey Salish Sea
so pretty…

Yam Fries!

One of the few things I enjoy about BC Ferries is the yam fries. Yes, they serve yam fries through their White Spot-operated cafeteria. Not so much the fries themselves. They’re usually pretty limp and mushy. The best part of yam fries? Their chipotle mayo dip! It’s delicious! I am constantly trying to find a reasonable facsimile of their chipotle dip, but I’m always disappointed. It’s a bit like my obsession with finding good pub calamari, but that’s for another post…

White Spot Lunch on the ferry
Welcome to a BC Ferries lunch…

It Really Is A Race To The Airport

I just checked my Flight Radar app to see where Beth-Rose’s airplane is. Looks like she’s currently over Great Slave Lake, flying at 530 knots. Apparently she’s due to land in Vancouver in about 2 hours. What!?

Meanwhile, I’m currently in the middle of the Salish Sea, 23 kilometers from the ferry terminal, running at 23 knots, due to arrive in 43 minutes. Then a 35 minute bus ride, followed by a 7 minute Skytrain ride, finishing with probably a five minute dash on foot to the arrivals gate. I wonder who will get there first?

It looks like the pilot of Lufthansa Flight #492 has found another gear, and doesn’t seem too concerned about how much fuel he uses. He has made up almost all the time lost sitting in Frankfurt! Crap!!

It really depends on the bus. Will there be a bus there waiting? Or will I have to sit in the ferry terminal for 45 minutes with nothing to read but my old emails? Stay tuned!

Race to the airport
Just crossing into BC from Northwest Territories

And now it’s 12:56 PM, and her airplane just crossed into BC airspace. Meanwhile, I can see the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, still some 10 kilometers away. Are you on the edge of your seat? Isn’t this exciting? Don’t you just love living vicariously through my amazing experiences!?

Okay, we’re finally coming into the dock at the ferry terminal. Nearing the end of possibly the longest two hours in history! A bit dramatic?

Race to the airport-coming into Tssawassen terminal

Hurry Up And Wait

Now I’m sitting in the arrivals area of the Tsawwassen terminal. Unfortunately there won’t be a bus for 25 more minutes. Meanwhile, Beth-Rose’s flight is over Prince George, only 55 minutes out from Vancouver International. It’s a 35 minute bus ride from here…

Waiting for the bus
Nope, no bus here!
race to the airport-a little closer
Check out his speed!

It’s gonna be a toss up who gets there first. Currently my money is on Beth-Rose.

The bus has arrived and, believe it or not, we have left on time! Thank you Translink!

Meanwhile, Beth-Rose’s flight is only 29 minutes from the airport, and already descending…

Race to the airport-waiting on the lights

Fifteen minutes later, I’m sitting at yet another red light and confidence is not high. She’s 15 minutes out, I’m 15 minutes from the Skytrain station. Of course she has to go through customs, while I just need to sprint through the airport like that actor playing that character from that movie.

Run Away GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
yeah, that’s the one…

My Bus Driver, The Race Car Driver

I think the bus driver just ran through a red light! (Is she reading my mind?!) And she’s passing cars on the right! She’s on fire! As a result, just maybe we’ll beat that crazy speed demon German test pilot…

Okay, maybe not. Damn, he’s fast!

So how the hell does an airplane flying from Germany, across Greenland and the High Arctic, manage to get almost to the damn airport while I’m sitting on a 2 hour ferry, followed by a 35 minute bus ride? And I haven’t even gotten to the damn Skytrain yet! When I left my house, that airplane was still over Greenland. Moreover, that airplane was supposed to be 90 minutes late, and now it’s arriving about 10 minutes early! Maybe that’ll teach me for being so cocky…

So the crazy test pilot is in final approach, and I haven’t even reached Richmond yet. Maybe the airport is so busy, the pilot will have to circle around a few times before he can land? Certainly something’s gonna delay him?

Maybe that big pile of planes will block him…

And so my bus passes through the tunnel under the Fraser River, arriving in the city of Richmond. As well, my intrepid race bus driver, completely unaware of this epic sprint to the airport, has pulled out all the stops. That’s right, there are no more stops until we reach the Skytrain station. And she’s driving like a bat out of hell. Some of my confidence is returning. Maybe I will make it?

but that is a pretty big pile of planes…

Not Bloody Likely

Yeah, it’s not going to happen. This race is over. Even though we’re just pulling into Bridgeport Station, even though I don’t have any luggage and can run to the Skytrain, the reckless German test pilot, Leadfoot Ludwig has won. At least I can count on the incredibly inefficient Customs process to slow Beth-Rose down long enough for me to get to the Arrivals lounge. Surely that’s some consolation.

But look! While I’m standing on the platform, (im)patiently waiting for the next Skytrain, what do I see? Beth-Rose’s plane is meandering back along the taxiway, headed to the airport terminal. Cruising along at around 11 knots, the plane has to go around one of the spurs of the airport gates to get to it’s end destination.

I’m on the Skytrain, and her plane is still driving along at 11 or so knots. Ha! Take that, you crazy German test pilot! Not so easy when you have to drive on the ground, is it? I am seven minutes from the airport, but I have a chance to get there before he can park!

Oh so close!

Call It A Tie

Well, close, but no cigar. I get off the Skytrain at the YVR terminal just about 5 minutes behind. I mean, you could almost call it a tie…

But at least I don’t have to pull a Forrest Gump through the airport. I can walk calmly over to the International Arrivals without fear of Beth-Rose having to wait for me. And so that’s just what I do. Walk calmly, that is.

I texted Beth-Rose as soon as I got to the Arrivals lounge. She was already off the plane. And she was through Customs in no time at all! What!? Come on!! Her only wait was for her suitcase. Turns out, the baggage carousel broke and they were having to put bags out one at a time. But then it started working again, and Beth-Rose retrieved her bag. She was texting me the whole time.

I kept an eye on the video screen, watching the passengers walking toward the Arrivals lounge. Suddenly I felt a tap on my arm. I looked around. Beth-Rose! How the hell did she sneak by the camera!?

My girl and the wallet she thought she lost.

It matters not, because my little girl is home, safe and sound. She’s tired but happy. She had a terrific trip and made some great memories.

Now, time to get back to the Island. Just another quick Skytrain ride, bus trip and ferry sail away…

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9 months ago

Could have called the episode Planes Trains and Automobiles. Except there’s no automobiles. Planes Trains and Ferries doesn’t roll off the tongue well.

Heather Trawick
Heather Trawick
9 months ago

Leadfoot Ludwig
I keep thinking Ludwig Von Leadfoot though.
Thanks for doing the race so I could work on my report cards. Best dad ever!!’

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