Saturday, December 28, 2013

St Louis in 2.5 hours

Flight to STL was delayed 30 minutes--which meant 30 minutes less of 60 degree weather!

Took the Metrolink light rail downtown and across the river to the first station in Illinois. Then walked back to Missouri and the Gateway Arch.  Took pics but battery ran out. I am getting one of those external batteries---a smartphone used all day just doesn't last, and to travel light I had no additional camera.

I decided to cut it closer by arriving to the airport 1 hr before my flight (instead of 1 hr 20 min). I was walking from the Arch to Union Station but I wasn't going to make it so go on at 8th and Pine.

Used the priority security line and all was well. A bonus: my Detroit gates were th same for arriving and departing!

Minneapolis in 2 hrs

I achieved my goal:took the light rail into town and saw the Mary Tyler Moore statue! I even explored a bit of the downtown Skyway system. Definitely a way to not freeze in the winter!

Returning to airport was efficient; my next flight was delayed a half-hour but I stuck to my schedule to avoid surprises. A Metro Transit police officer checked everyone's tickets south of downtown.  Everyone appeared to have one!

The Skyway Security check point is great if you only have carry on luggage. It is closer than the main entrance to the underground light rail station, and is reached by a series of escalators or elevators. I forgot a small water bottle saved from my first flight so had the embarrassment of TSA removing that.

Flight is still delayed until 1:34 but heading to gate soon.

Photos: light rail station and train, Mary Tyler Moore statue next to Macy's on Nicollet Mall.

Cheap trip for miles...

I travel enough that I earn enough for a flyer miles that I reach the lowest status that allows me to get free upgrades and certain mileage bonuses. The problem is it becomes a never ending cycle of needing to purchase more and more tickets to achieve the status every year. I ended the year with your miles an expected but really close to what I needed. So I searched for a inexpensive flights that would give me the miles I needed without serious inconvenience. I found such a flight in a round trip from our home airport in Madison to St Louis Missouri.
The layovers are such that I will be able to leave the secure area in both Minneapolis and in St Louis, and be able to ride each city's light rail system to a downtown landmark.
My trip got off to an inauspicious start when I forgot to pack my city bus pass, and also forgot to bring small bills, so my trip by city bus to the airport cost $10 instead of being included in my bus pass.
Because of the early hour on a Saturday, I had to transfer buses at a location at a large shopping mall. Even though it is freezing out, still before sunrise, the moon is out, and the mall parking lot is almost empty the mall open for another, a Jehovah's witness appeared out of thin air to offer me Watchtower. I think she was giving another bus passenger a ride.
The second small mishap was that I forgot to eat my yogurt before clearing security, however they didn't seem to notice it on the X ray.
Photos: my first bus, the unfortunate bus ticket, moon over the mall