2009 Wichita Trip (Last updated on 2009/04/08)

2009/4/3 Going to Wichita, Topeka

Going to the airport

Woke up at 6:00am, I could relax a bit since I am taking a day off. For the morning, I stretched my body, had breakfast then left home around 8:15am to workout at LTF. It was raining a little outside. Worked out for 45 minutes then drove back home. I finished packing and ate my early lunch after arriving home. Took out trash, finished two loads of laundry, then left home at 11:15am. It's still raining and expect to be windy in the afternoon so I hope my flights won't get delayed.

Arrive to the parking around 11:50am, and got a ride to the airport. I was at the terminal by 12:15pm. Since we are hosting NCAA championship games, I was expecting the place to be packed but not crowded at all. So I was talking with a person next to me, and found out another terminal, McNamara (a major hub for Northwest) were packed so bad. Oh man. I am lucky to be using this terminal...

North terminal with very few people

Heading to Chicago: AA4506 DTW(1:05pm) - ORD(1:25pm)

When I get to the gate, the plane has not arrived yet so I had to wait for a while before the plane came to the gate. The boarding started around 1:00pm and I get on board. The plane departed, taxied to the south and took off to north at 1:20pm. Soon it broke off from the cloud line, heading to west while flying above the sea of cloud until reaching to the Lake of Michigan. I get to see the shadows of clouds making a complex pattern on the lake as we approach to the Illinois side shore. The plane arrived to O'Hare airport at 1:05pm in CDT, taxied for a while and I was off the plane at 1:15pm.

AA4506 at DTW Old Smith Terminal
Cloud cover broke at Michigan Lake Shadows of Clouds on the lake

Heading to Wichita: AA3981 2:10pm - 4:10pm ORD-ICT

I walked toward the connecting gate as I check the gate information on display. The concourse of the airport had a sign indicating that Chicago is a candidate city for 2016 Olympic game. The boarding to the plane started from 1:55pm under mostly sunny sky, and the departed in 20 minutes. The plane took off to west, then headed to Wichita, KS. On the way, I saw Burlington, IA, Kansas City, KS and Emporia, KS before reaching to Wichita. The plane approached from northeast, flying north of Jabara airport and turned south to 16L. It landed at 4:00pm, and taxied to the gate. There was some snow left over on the ground, I figured they had a snow sometimes near past. I got off the plane and walked toward the baggage claims.

AA3981 at Chicago O'Hare airport

Burlington, IA (2:50pm) Kansas City  (3:25pm) Emporia, KS (3:40pm) @
Benton, KS (3:50pm) Wichita State University Wichita Downtown Wichita

Welcome back to Wichita... Just like the first time I arrived here.

Going to Topeka, KS for dinner

While I was waiting for the bags to come out, I stopped by at Enterprise Rent-a-car counter to get my car. They gave me a choice of a Mazda 3 with no powered accessories, or a VW Jetta for $5 more a day. I did not want to pay anything extra, so I get the first one. My friend called me to check if I got to Wichita okay while I am still trying to find my bags. We arranged a plan to meet up then I walked out to the parking to get the car. It was not too cool because anything except for automatic transmission, I had to do by myself; mirrors, windows, door locks, they are all manuals! (At least the car runs good)

2009 Mazda 3

Called my host family on the way to pick up my friend to let them know that I am in Wichita. Arrived to his apartment at 5:00pm. After greeting his girlfriend for a moment, we headed to Kansas Turnpike via K-96. The weather was sunny but a bit breezy so I had to drive with a little care, and I know police officers in Kansas likely to catch me with only 5mph over so I just kept the reasonable speed, without help of cruise control. The sunny condition and the climate pushed the temperature to 60s and I was sweating because I had a fleece on me... Since we have not seen each other for more than a year, there are so many things to talk about but finally remember to call my another friend at Topeka. Exited the turnpike at 6:30pm, and arrived my friend's place at 7:15pm. Soon another friend of ours joined from Lawrence.

Driving in Kansas Driving in Kansas

We went to a Thai restaurant (Tup Tim?) for dinner. We had a good time. After finishing the dinner, we headed to Barns and Noble Bookstore. There was a guy in a black BMW driving off the parking with the trunk rib fully open. I hope he realize what is going on soon. Stayed there for only 10 minutes since they closed at 10:00pm and went back to my friend's apartment. Chat continued until 2:00am then we all decided to go sleep.

Sunset nears

Pad Thai Fried Rice


Heading back to Wichita

I did not get to sleep comfortably since I was sleeping on floor with only a thin sleeping bag. I woke up at 6:00am once but stayed until 8:00am. Finally got up, took shower and headed to an IHOP with my friends around 10:00am for a brunch. After the meal, we visited a mall nearby, they had Khaki pants on sale so I bought two pairs since mine were torn pretty good. After going back to my friend's apartment, we packed and left Topeka before noon, and arrived to Wichita around 2:30pm. Today is much breezier than yesterday so I had to pay more attention. It was just another fun ride chatting with my friend.

Brunch at IHOP

Drove to home

Dropped off my friend at his apartment, filled up my car then headed to meet with my host family. I took K-96 then to I-54. I arrived around 3:00pm. I met them and greeted each other with hugs. It's been more than a year since we saw each other, and it was nice to see them again. It's like a home sweet home for me. They were preparing some PowerPoint presentation for their father, and they looked pretty cool. I need to worry if I will get embarrassed like that also...

Quick Trip gas station

Party night

Since it is supposed to be a surprise party, we had to avoid using cars well known. We took our rental cars and left home at 5:00pm, heading to a golf course at Andover, KS. It was just hot (77F) being outside today but the wind was nice. We set up a screen and a projector for the slides, and waited for my host mother's parents to come down to a ballroom. The party started from 7:00pm, many stories to share with more than 30 people who came and some dances to follow. I joined for some but I had to step outside for a moment to call my dad around 10:30pm. My dad told me that a news in Japan, covering North Korea just launched their missile (a rocket?). I get to see some people I know, as well as some new people. The party finished after midnight and we all drove back to home. We had some time to chat, but went to bed around 1:30am since we were all tired. It's nice that I can sleep in a bed, but a bit noisy since the outside is getting windy. (We might even get some snow tomorrow...)

2009/4/5 Coming back to Detroit

In the Morning...

Woke up at 6:00am due to the noise from wind. It was pretty gusty. I feel I don't want to get up. But at 8:00am, I get up took shower, and talked with my host mother and father, until I take one of their daughter to a church. Then I drove to a Wal-Mart to buy a newspaper, and flowers. I need to go say hi to a friend in Belle Plain.

Stop by at my friend's grave

I drove south on I-35 to Mulvane, took a local road, which was party dusting up the soil due to strong wind, to Belle Plain to stop by at my friend's grave. He died almost 10 years ago from an injury related to a skydiving accident. I placed flowers and thought about what he would think of me now, in terms of how I live. It was windy, cloudy, and bitter cold, so I stayed there for a moment then get back into my car. Left at 11:00am to head back to Wichita. I had lunch at a Spangles after checking out the new arena for the city under construction. After that, I drove to a house where my friend from school lives, around 1:20pm and stayed for 25 minutes. They look doing well, and it was a nice chat. Drove back home at 2:15pm, packed my stuffs but since I had some free time, I decided to read newspaper to catch up on what's going on in Wichita. As I was leaving at 3:30pm, my host family was coming home just in time, so we exchanged hugs for the one last time, and I drove off. Arrived to the airport and returned the car at 3:50pm. Checked my bags in, and past the security. I was at gate by 4:15pm and saw many folks in uniform. I guess they are going somewhere.

New arena under construction Spangles burgers

Leaving Wichita: AA3982 4:35pm - 6:25pm ICT-ORD

The boarding started from 4:30pm then the plane got pushed back at 4:40pm, took off in 5 minutes to north. Quick departure is something good about being in a small airport. Since today is cloudy, I did not get to see anything on the ground once it entered the cloud. At least I had a glance of Sedgwick county zoo and park as it ascends. The plane kept going quietly without much of turbulence. The descending to Chicago started at 5:55pm then landed at 6:15pm. I can see it is raining outside but I think it could turn to snow anytime.

AA3982 in Wichita

Sedgwick country park and zoo, where I used to train for marathon

Chicago under rain AA3982 arrived at ORD

Coming back to Detroit: AA510 7:00pm - 9:15pm ORD-DTW

The boarding began at 6:30pm under drizzling and windy weather outside. While waiting the rain, finally it turned to snow, even falling pretty heavily sometimes. The plane's main wings and control surfaces had to be deiced before heading out so it took another 15 extra minutes. Now we are behind of the schedule. After taxing out, we had to wait for a turn before departure, and took off at 7:30pm. We were expecting some turbulence over the period, so no dinner was served at the first class cabin and person like me in economy class don't get any drink, neither... The plane landed at 9:15pm. It did not go to the north end of the terminal but arrived at middle, just in front of the security entrance point.

Rain turning to drizzle Watching plane landing as wait for the turn

AA510 in DTW

Coming home

As the plane landed, I replied to my friend on text message to let them know that I am back in Detroit. Walked out from the plane, picked up my bags then proceeded to Ground Transportation to get a ride to the parking. A shuttle bus at the site was full so I had to wait a bit for the next one. Started my car and drove toward the exit. Once again, parking clerk did not like the printouts and had to talk with her for a while. Finally got out at 10:00pm and drove back in quite nasty weather since we were having moderate rain and gusty wind. It was just turning to snow as I arrived at home. Unpack a bit then turned on my PC to check emails and other stuffs. At 12:15am as I was writing an email to my dad, all the power went down. I had to dig up a glow stick since I did not have a flashlight handy... Went to bed without taking shower and now I have no heat...



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