On June 29th. 2012 I took a trip to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. My parents went with me on this trip to experience some of places and meet some of the people I met on previous trips. We arrived at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) and checked our bags curbside, which was quick because nobody was in line ahead of us. Once inside we saw that that was a good choice because the line for baggage drop was much longer, but not anything like I have seen it in the past.
We headed over to security and we went through the process without any trouble. Once past the TSA checkpoint we headed down to our gate.
Dad stopped at Brooks Brothers to check out some clothes.
We arrived at the gate with almost3 hours to spare before our flight to Amsterdam (AMS). We were all packed and ready to go so we decided to go to the airport and sit around rather than sitting around at my house. My parents live in St. Louis, Missouri and mom had flown in on Southwest Airlines (WN) the previous day dad was doing business in Chicago and he drove in the previous day as well.
About an hour and a half before departure our Delta Airbus A330 came to the gate. I think the plane may have come from Japan because a number of Japanese magazines were in the seatback pockets. Shortly after arrival I wondered if we would get off on time because two mechanics drove up and opened up the starboard engine. The two mechanics worked on the engine for over an hour, first with a piece of electronic test equipment then what looked like a regular socket set. Whatever they replaced it was small because I saw them take something out of a box and install it. Once they installed the item one of the mechanics went to the cockpit, I assume to check to see if what they did worked. The mechanics gave each other thumbs up signs and they began to pack up their equipment, load it on their truck and drive away. I was glad they got things squared away because I had another flight to catch and a train after that.
The boarding process went smooth and everyone one was on the plane 20 minutes early. The captain came on the PA and informed us that he would be recalculating our flight for a slightly longer flight to avoid some bad weather over the North Atlantic. We pushed back from the gate 5 minutes early and the captain told us the new routing would take about 15 minutes longer than the original.
Once airborne most people started watching movies and playing games on the AVOD and I was no exception. My mom, dad and I occupied row 25 A-B-C, with dad and I having the aisles and mom the window. Mom is only 5 feet tall so having the AVOD box under the seat in front of her is no big deal.
I have not flown on DL since they upgraded the AVOD and I found the updated version to have a lot more movies than before. I was never at a loss for something to watch, but now I had even more choices. During the flight I watched a couple of classics; “Scarface” and “Casablanca”.
Dinner was a choice of a pasta dish and chicken. My dad had the pasta and mom and I had the chicken. The food was typical DL Y (coach) class food, which isn’t too bad.
Beer and wine are complimentary in DL Y class on transoceanic service. It was mom’s birthday and the flight attendant (FA) gave mom two big glasses of wine and I had a can of Miller Lite. The Choices for beer were Heineken, Corona, or Miller Lite. The Heineken was not exactly cold so I chose the lesser of the two terrible beers. Anytime I have to drink Miller Lite I imagine to be in 1968 and pretend it is still Meister Brau Lite, which is what Miller Lite is, but that is a history lesson for another day.
My dad is a sleeper and can fall asleep quickly just about anywhere, which is probably something he picked up during combat in the Vietnam War, so he slept a lot of way. I can’t sleep sitting so mom and I just watched movies.
About an hour before landing we were served a light breakfast of an egg sandwich, I am not a huge fan of eggs so I am never that excited about the morning snack on DL or NW before that.
We arrived at AMS about 10 minutes behind schedule, which still put us in the captain’s updated schedule. We landed on that runway that is WAY far away from the terminal and the taxi took a long time, but we finally made it to AMS and got off the plane.
AMS was a lot busier than the other time I had been there in the morning, but this likely because I was there a couple of hours later than usual.
Once inside AMS it was a long walk to from the end of E to get over to D. We stopped at the food court and got some breakfast before heading off to catch our plane to Manchester (MAN). The gate area under the main gate area and that was a place I had not been to before. The line wasn’t too bad to get through security and before long we were on our bus to our plane. The scheduled plane was supposed to be an Fokker F100, but a KLM City Hopper E190 was there instead. I was disappointed because I have never flown on a Fokker before and was looking forward to adding it to my list
There wasn’t a big crowded heading to MAN so the E190 wasn’t very full and boarding was completed in no time. We were in the air in no time and the ride was smooth and somewhat scenic. We were served a snack and I had another cup of coffee.
After about an hour we landed in MAN and taxied up to terminal three. I had not been to that terminal before, as KLM used to use T2. We walked down the hall to immigration and waited in a short line to gain entrance to the UK. The only people in the line were people from our flight so it didn’t take long. We had to help a couple of Ukrainian merchant sailors fill out their immigration cards because they didn’t know English very well. For example; they didn’t know what the word “occupation” meant, so they could not answer it, but I explained that meant “your job” they were able to fill out that section. DL had warned us that entry to the UK could take a long time because a shortage of agents, but it took a lot less time than the two other times I have been there.
They asked us if we had been to the UK before and I said yes, twice; mom said no and so did dad. It is a good thing they don’t have old records because my dad had been to the UK in 1969 and forgot about it when the immigration officer asked.
We headed down to the baggage claim area and picked up our bags, which came rather quickly, compared to the last two times at MAN
We headed out the door down to the railway station and never having been at T3 before it took me a bit to figure out where I was going.
We picked up our tickets from the automatic machine and saw that boarded our train to York. We were in a first class coach, which is always nice and quiet.
My friend, David, asked me to call him when I was on the train so he could know where we were and be ready to pick us up from the station, in York. I kept trying to dial him and my phone kept hanging up. After calling Verizon’s international help line we figured out I had one too many digits in the phone number. When I programed David’s number in my phone I added one too many numbers and that was what throwing off the phone.
We arrived in York and David was waiting for us and took us back to Thorton Le Dale. Thorton Le Dale is a nice village (population 1800) near the bigger towns of Pickering and Malton.
The last time I there I stayed with David, but this time my parents and I stayed in a cottage behind the New Inn pub. The cottage was directly behind the pub, which was built in the early 1700s.
The Cottage was nicely appointed and had a kitchen and living room on the ground floor and two bedrooms upstairs. The kitchen was fully outfitted with all of the items you would need to cook just about anything. Mom was cooking bacon baps on the first morning we were there.
We had dinner and ale at the pub and even on low ABV% English ale I was inebriated fairly quickly because how tired I was. I was in bed at 7:30pm and slept like a rock.
The next morning we headed down to Keighley and checked out the model railway club. My buddy, David’s, railway club was meeting there and going on an outing on the nearby Keighley & Worth Valley railway. The model railroads were neat and the club had a lunch of pork pie, which was good.
We all walked over to the railway which was the railroad used in the 1974 film “The Railway Children” and boarded our train. The consist today was rather special. We had an 1887 built locomotive and three coaches; built in 1912, 1880 and 1910 respectively. The 1912 coach was special coach reserved for railway club members and was built as a private car for the owners of several railways, who were members of a traveling club.
After a day of railroading, both large and small, we he headed back to the New Inn for some beers and food.
I like traditional English hand pulled ales and didn’t have any other kind of beer while I was there. The food at the New Inn is plentiful and delicious and I ate something different every night I was there. The staff made sure that we had a table reserved for us every night; it helps that David is a daily regular at the pub.
The next day we headed over to Pickering and walked around the town before heading back to Thorton Le Dale in the afternoon.
On Tuesday we took the bus into York and walked around town.
My parents had not been to York before so the Minster was on the to do list. I have been to the Minster before, but it is always inspiring. A plus for us is that the Minster belongs to our denomination of Christianity
A visit to York isn’t complete without a visit to the National Railway Museum, which is a must for anyone with an interest in transportation.
I have been to the museum twice before, but still love to visit.
After all sightseeing we were thirsty and headed over to the Blue Bell pub, which still has its 1903 interior.
Of course I drank ale
After the ale it was time to walk back over to the York station and catch the Coastliner bus back to Thorton Le Dale.
Wednesday was supposed to be a peaceful day of driving around the countryside and visiting some villages, but there was a big of a problem.
A guy was pulling onto the road, at the top of a blind summit, from an area that wasn’t a road or a driveway and David “t-boned” him. The velocity of the crash wasn’t too serious and nobody had any notable injuries. The problem came that neither party knew exactly where we were and there was no cell phone signals. We marched back to the to of the summit to call the police. Both cars were off in the weeds and needed to me towed out.
Two North Yorkshire policemen arrived on the scene and took a report. They assigned responsibility to the driver who was turning from area where he should not have been, which looked like an area the highway department was piling up stones and supplies for construction projects.
We waited a couple of hours for the tow trucks to arrive and we rode back to Thorton Le Dale in a six passenger (seven if you included the driver) Renault rollback wrecker. I have traveled a lot an never have been in a traffic accident in another country so that was a new experience for me. Fortunately nobody got hurt and the rest of the trip didn’t have that kind of excitement.
Of course we headed to the New Inn for some well deserved beer!
Thursday morning so us again take the bus to Pickering, this time to ride on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, to Whitby. We took the first train of the day and were disappointed it was powered by a diesel, but that didn’t bother me too much because it was a 1960s era diesel I had not seen before so that was ok.
There was a shortage of steam on the NYMR that day so when we changed locomotives at Grosmont we had had a 1960 English Electric Deltec diesel. I had never been behind one of those either so I wasn’t too bummed out.
It was a perfect day in Whitby and we walked up to the North Sea.
We had a fish lunch at the Duke of York.
[Edited 2012-07-13 17:12:55]
Before long it was time to head back to Grosmont behind the Deltec again. We left the train at Grosmont and watched some steam locomotive action and walked around the NYMR shops. I met one of their friendly railway cats, her name is Erica, and I remember seeing her in 2010
We finally got a steam locomotive for our trip back to Pickering, which was fantastic. The day went off without a hitch except that dad realized he left his jacket (with his phone and hearing aid remote in it) on the train. By that time the NYMR was closed for the day and we couldn’t call them. David was without a car until rental came for him later in the day, so dad mad arrangements with one of David’s friends, Mike, to take him to Pickering in the morning, on his way to work. The staff at the NYMR had dad’s items in there lost and found basket and dad retrieved them and took the bus back to Thorton Le Dale.
[Edited 2012-07-13 17:38:07]