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Moon River Festival Pt 1 The Joys of Travel

Back in March I saw a post for the lineup of this year’s Moon River Festival. It included some of my favorite bands such as Judah and the Lion, Joseph, The Avett Brothers, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, I’m With Her, Penny and Sparrow, and so many more. I knew if I could get a ticket that I would have to go. The day arrived, and I frantically tried to get a ticket in the first tier, but it sold out. So I was ready when the second tier went on sale; but before I could finish entering my info, it sold out. I was sweating as the third and final tier went on sale, but luckily I was able to get one before it sold out.

When I began planning the travel part of this trip, I tried to spend as little money as possible outside of the festival ticket. I had gained enough miles on Southwest Airlines to book a mileage ticket from Dallas to Atlanta and then got a really good rate on a rental car there for the drive up. The problem with that scenario is a 3 hour drive to and from Dallas before and after the trip. It’s always exhausting having to drive that far after a full trip and then flying. So I started looking for tickets from OKC that lined up with the trip in Dallas. Sure enough I found one that was cheap enough to justify with not having to drive or use the extra gas. So I booked and waited with eager anticipation for the trip.

The day finally arrived, and I went to work and tried to focus on finishing up last minute tasks and projects, but I was so excited that it made that difficult to do. I arranged that I could leave early to get to the airport. I was afraid with the rain we’d been having that the traffic would be awful; it wasn’t. I also thought parking in the garage would take a while to find an open spot, but I was able to find one right as I pulled into the garage. That would be the last of my good travel luck.

Since I booked the two segments of my flight separately, I had to ask the gate agent to check my bag all the way to Atlanta instead of Dallas. When she attempted, it wasn’t allowing her to because of “a close connection.” I told her that I had over an hour of a layover and asked if that wasn’t enough. That’s when she told me the flight had been delayed. She called someone else over and asked them to help and they were able to get it checked through. At that point, I wasn’t very confident that my bag was going to make it. I checked the radar, and there was a massive storm system between Oklahoma City and Dallas and the plane I was supposed to take hadn’t even left Dallas yet. The flight was delayed an hour and then two and then three. I asked the gate agent when I first arrived if I would make my connection and she said I should have no trouble. After the last delay I went back up and she said I wouldn’t make it, so I asked her to reschedule my flight from Dallas to Atlanta for the first flight out Saturday morning. They had one that would arrive at 10:30. I also asked her to cancel my flight to and from Dallas and ask them to retrieve my bag. So I grabbed my bag and drove 3 hours to Dallas and stayed the night there. So my plan to be smart and try not to be so tired by driving on either side of the flights had been for not. Sure enough when I was an hour down the road, I got notification that the flight had been canceled.

I was also sad for the delay because I had arranged to stay with some great friends who live between Atlanta and Chattanooga Friday night. We were then planning to eat breakfast Saturday before I headed the rest of the way to the festival. I completely missed getting to see them. I reached out and gave them a play by play of what was going on. They were understanding and wished me better luck on the journey.

I woke up at 5:30 after arriving in Dallas at 10 to catch my early flight. I was more rested than I expected all things considered. Luckily the flight left on time and arrived in Atlanta without issues. I grabbed my bag and booked it to the rental car counter. The lady told me there was a thirty minute wait for my car. I told her I was trying to get to Chattanooga and was already late. She worked some magic, although I’m thinking she just cut me to the front of the line, to get me my car immediately. (If I found out she did cut me to front of line, I would feel really bad.) So at 11, I was making the 2 hour drive up to Chattanooga. Luckily, there was minimal traffic in Atlanta on Saturday and I only had a couple of slowdowns on the way out of town. I encountered some construction on the way, but it never slowed me down. I arrived in Chattanooga just after 1 which was only 30 minutes late; however, I drove to the actual festival location where there was no parking so I had to fight through traffic to double back. By the time I found a spot and walked over it was close to 2.

It didn’t matter, I was finally there and ready to enjoy some great music! I didn’t anticipate the amount of people who would also be arriving late. So I stood in the huge line for about 30 minutes and my travel luck continued. I got all the way up to the front of the line and and then suddenly a huge flash of lightening and crack of thunder happened and over the PA system I heard, “the festival has temporarily been suspended please take shelter away from the stages and structures.” At that time they stopped letting people in……. too be continued

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