Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In the Air

September 11, 2001: I know right were I was when the  Twin Towers fell - in the air having JUST left Montreal, Canada en route to my home in Chicago.

Two days before I completed a 375 mile bicycle ride from Montreal to Portland Maine on what was called
The Canada > US AIDS Vaccine ride.  Just like many other rides like this and the ALASKA AIDS Vaccine ride in 2000 (Fairbanks to Anchorage) my team mates from Team Canticle rode together.

We palled around Montreal together the few days before the ride, did the touristy things too.

Three long days later we pulled into Portland for a simple welcome & congratulations event then I jumped on a Greyhound bus back to Montreal since it was less expensive to fly in/out of one airport

On Sept 11, my ORD bound flight was in the air for 20 minutes when the captain told us "Some accident in New York closed off all USA air space & our flight was to return to Montreal."

We circled for what seems like three hours then rolled into one of the farthest gates.

An other wise bustling airport was void of noise & people save a few near the exit doors where a dozen airport employees were in a bar blankly staring at a TV: on it the coverage of  that "accident"

In the crowded lobby I wondered what to do. I planned & budgeted for the few days I had.

To my great joy and since I was wearing my  Canada >US AIDS Vaccine "Victory" shirt a woman rushed up to me and called me by name. We met on the ride when one of us had a flat tire & the other stopped to help.

She rode with me and her mom was on the support crew.  I SO WISH I could recall her name but we had some things in common.  We both worked at a zoo!! Me it was in Brookfield Illinois and she with the LA zoo.  Of course the next four days of calling our respective airlines, hanging out on the water front were filled with the stories only zoo employees can tell.

2001, that for me was ride number 10 ( from riding or crewing) and thousands of dollars raised

2012, as I have said before may just be my last ride for a while.

Help me end it with the joy of new friends, keeping sane in a weird time

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