So thanks, Chicago. Thank you, New York. Delays at your airports apparently led Jet Blue to delay both
of our group's flights, pushing each of them back to around 1:30 am (from 11:30 pm and 12:50 am, respectively). And we needed every minute. After returning our car and handing off boxes of supplies to Dan's girlfriend Helena (who, in another stroke of luck, happens to be from Denver)
we had to rush through the check-in and security processes just to walk our last state mile in the airport terminal. We finished our walk not two minutes before boarding our plane--remember, our two-hour-late plane.
Talk about taking things down to the wire. Luggage in hand, we walked past magazine stands and fast-food restaurants long shuttered for the evening, along with a smattering of people sleeping on or under the seats in empty gates. As we paced off our last few thousand feet a number of us commented on how lucky we had been--not just that evening but
throughout the trip. While it is easy to point to our planes' fortuitous delays, we undoubtedly were lucky in many of the things that didn't happen throughout the rest of the trip. We didn't have a breakdown (although we did lose a hubcap...sorry, Hertz!). While it snowed a few times, it only affected us on the last day. Traffic was never a problem, again excluding only the last day. The walks we picked were almost universally as we expected them to be or better. With just a couple of exceptions, even the "busts" turned out to be good for one reason or another.
Througout the week I couldn't help but notice two extraordinarily bright stars in the early night sky. I'm not really into astronomy, but something seemed unusual about them. It turns out that they're planets...and I'm not really into astrology, but I took to looking superstitiously upon our celestial guides, even taking pictures of them on a number of occasions. Here were objects in the dark sky that I had never noticed before but now dominated our night walks all over the country, from a town park in Indiana to the ghost town of Uvada, Utah. I'm not saying that they brought us luck, but I don't mind pointing to them as a symbol of our good fortune.