Wichita, KS End of Year & New Year's Trip (last updated on 2014/01/29)

2013/12/31 New Year's Eve

Going to the airport

Woke up at 5:00am. I had to use heater because the room was pretty chilly. The outside is barely reaching to 40F. Stretched my body, took shower and left home around 6:30am. The traffic was not too bad, no accident on the way and kept going under dark night sky. I arrived at the outside parking at 7:00am, got myself board on a van with no one else in, and had to wait for a while to have two more passengers on the van. While I wait I had a nice chat with the driver telling me that her son's birthday is today and her daughter just got kidney transplant after waiting for three years. It was good news to hear before the New Year. The van took all of us to the terminal B straight in about 10 minutes, and I walked into the terminal to get the ticket printed out. Passed the security and walked to the gate, which was for the smaller jets. Bought water on the way at 7:35pm and decided to relax at a chair at waiting lounge, looking outside which is getting brighter.

Flight to Wichita: UA4296 IAH(8:44am CST) - ICT(10:27am CST)

There seems to be not many people travelling today, the lounge was pretty much empty, and I was able to read a book under quiet ambient.

Not many people travelling

The boarding process started at 8:20am, scanned my ticket and headed to the gate B-84H. The plane was waiting for people to board, and it departed at 8:44am after all the preparation was completed. After taxing to the runway 15, it took off at 8:50am, making right turn and began flight to north toward Wichita. The plane was flying under cloud, but soon it cleared. Passing east side of Dallas, TX at 9:25am, and Oklahoma City, OK at 9:50am. The plane then began to lower the altitude and began approach toward Wichita. I saw the airport to the left at 10:08am, then the plane flew east of the downtown as usual and make a left turn for the landing. The plane landed at 10:15am and taxied to the gate.

UA4296 at IAH Departing from IAH

 Dallas, TX at 9:25am Oklahoma City, OK at 9:50am

Blackwell, OK Wellington, KS

Big Ditch Mid Continent Airport Wichita Downtown Towne West Mall
Crossing Kellogg (I-54) Landed at ICT

Going to Topeka and coming back to Wichita

After getting out from the cabin, I waited at the jet way to gather my bag. It was cold so I had to get my jacket on. As I was walking toward the exit, something caught my eyes and which was a big building under construction. I did not know that they were building a new terminal building which is opening at 2015. I guess when I come here next time, the terminal building welcomed me to Wichita would be gone. Anyways, I walked to Enterprise booth to grab a rental car at 10:50am. I got a Hyundai Elantra for the ride this time. Left the airport in 5 minutes, drove to the Keeper of the Plain around 11:00am to take pictures. The river had some ice on the surface which ducks walking on it, and some ice left on the grasses and stairway so I had to pay attention. Walked around for 20 minutes and left the place to head to Topeka for capital visit. I wanted to swing by Spangles near WSU for lunch, so I get on I-54 from Main and headed to I-135, getting off at the exit lamp for 21st St, heading east, passing by Cessna Stadium at 11:30am.

Rental Car - Hyundai Elantra Driving off from the airport

Driving by WSU at Hillside and 21st Spangles I used to go a lot

Ordered a 1/3lb Gourmet Supreme for lunch, ate the burger inside where all the decorations of WSU are replaced by 50s materials. The manager told me that they changed it about 3 years ago but they still do the student discount on Mondays. I used to come to this place many, many times when I was a student. Left the place and continue head to east on 21st St., but I did not get out from Wichita city limit until I arrive to Andover, meaning that I kept going at 40mph speed limit. The place by K-96 on 21st now have some hotels, which was a surprise. Getting on the turnpike at 12:15pm and drove at 75mph speed limit toward Topeka.

The restaurant now looks like other ones

1/3lb Gourmet Supreme burger

Passing El Dorado lake at 12:35pm, making a stop at Matfield Green Service area at 12:50pm to take a picture of the plain where I can see the horizon to the west. Continue driving and passed by Emporia at 1:20pm, which the road now is I-335. Finally arrived at Topeka South at 2:00pm, getting off from the toll road and drove toward the center of the city via SW Topeka Blvd.  I was at the state house at 2:20pm, and I walked around and take a few pictures. The place was getting windy and cold so I just decided not to stay too long. Left the property and I made a stop at Expocentre since there was a locomotive. I also grabbed a shake at Spangles around 2:50pm before start heading back to Wichita, KS.

Driving over El Dorado lake

Panoramic view of Kansas

Keep driving on the turnpike

Kansas Capital building in Topeka, KS

ATSF locomotive #3463 (Baldwin 4-6-4)

Spangles at Topeka

Leaving Topeka at 3:00pm, heading straight back to Wichita this time. The sun was still up and I appreciate good weather. Getting off from the turnpike at 4:40pm by Kellogg road, filled up my car at 5:00pm which I can see the evening is approaching.

Driving back toward Wichita

Evening in Wichita

I arrived the house and had dinner with my host family. Used to be a family time with total of 6 people but now all three daughters are living outside, the number is down to 3. The family members, relatives and friends started to gather and we watched NYC welcoming the New Year, and also waited us for our time zone. Went to bed around 2:00am in the bed I used to sleep during my student days.

2014/1/1 New Year's Day

Going to meet friends

Woke up around 7:00am, the outside is getting brighter. The temperature indication shows 30F, which is not so bad but I know today we maybe getting snow in the afternoon or evening. Came down to chat with the family members at 9:30am and left home at 10:30am. The first place I wanted to go was to check on WSU which I heard they are making a new dorm in the middle of the properly. I saw the big complex, as well as the RSC being renovated for new look.

Drove to Webb Rd. and 21st St. for lunch with my friends. Stuck at the intersection due to runners on new year’s day running event for a bit. The friends, they have been farming for many years, and this year they graduating because they feel 80 years are good enough. The lunch at Granite City was very nice, I get to know what’s up with them, and also what’s going on around their life. The outside was getting cloudy and wind is catching up. I left the restaurant at 1:15pm and headed south until I can get on Kellogg to use turnpike to Mulvane, I saw the new casino they built. Getting off from the turnpike at 1:40pm and took a local road to Belle Plain. Said hello to my good friend who was put to rest back in 2000. The wind becomes picking up so I left in a hurry, used the same turnpike back and getting off from it at 2:25pm. Arrived at the house at 2:30pm.


Koch Arena New dorm being build RSC under renovation Corvin Hall, designed by Flank Lloyd Wright

Taco Tico now closed.

Burger at Granite City Grill

Flight to Houston: UA4337 ICT(6:39pm CST) - IAH(8:26on CST)

I spent some time catching up with the family members until 4:30pm and they had to go. I stayed until 5:00pm and left to the airport. I fuel the car under cold and windy condition. I began to see snow flake coming down. I arrived at the airport, now the temperature is at 19F. Returned the rental car at 5:28pm and get myself a ticket for the returning flight.

Approaching the new terminal under construction, and the current terminal.

Entrance Emerald City Check in lobby Toward the gate
Walking on the hallway The American Gate where I arrived Baggage Claim

Passing the security at 5:50pm and because this maybe the last time I use this terminal, I walked up to the American Airline gate and snapped the picture. This was the gate I came in to Wichita back in 1996. Walked around a little more, and took a seat by the gate. The boarding began on time, and I was in the plane at 6:25pm. Looking at the outside with gusty wind and snow flake coming down hard from the sky. The snow did not melt so it was running on the ground like they are alive. I am glad I am leaving now than any time later. The plane was pushed back at 6:35pm, moved to deicing station. The plane taxied to the runway 19L, and took off. The deicing liquid on the window shifted and covered the entire window as the plane was taking off, made the outside view blurred. It was like I was crying as the plane leaving Wichita. The flight to Houston was a little turbulent, and was in the cloud for a while. However, the visibility was improved after 7:30pm. I was able to see the lights of Dallas. The initial descent at 8:05pm, and landed at 8:30pm.

Snow falling hard at Wichita Mid-continent Airport

Flying over Dallas

UA4337 at IAH

Coming Home

Getting out from the plane, and walked to the shuttle pickup location arrived at 8:45pm. The van came in about 10 minutes and quick ride back with another guy back from Alabama. Got myself dropped off and I went through the casher. Leaving the parking at 9:10pm and began my drive home. I was hoping to do some workout if it is possible but I was a bit too tired for that. Come home at 10:00pm, going to bed at 11:00pm after eating rice for dinner.


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