We purchased a three-day Grand Canyon trip: We would arrive in Williams at 10:30 Saturday night, check into the Grand Canyon Railroad Hotel, stay there until Sunday morning, then board the Grand Canyon train. We would arrive at the Grand Canyon, join a Rim Tour bus group, eat lunch, and get on the bus to see fantastic views of the canyon from various spots. Then we would check in at Thunderbird Lodge, right on the rim of the canyon, spend that night and most of the next day, and return to the Grand Hotel in Williams.
Before we left the hotel in Williams, we were given tags to put on the handles of our two suitcases after writing our names on them. Then we were to carry them to the lobby and load them onto a luggage carrier. We were told that when we checked into the Thunderbird Lodge that evening, our luggage would be in our room, waiting. When we checked out of Thunderbird Lodge the next day, we were to leave the luggage in the room with the tags still on them; when we returned to Williams, our luggage, again, would be already in the room ahead of us (a different room than before).
We had paperwork telling us that we would do our check-in for Thunderbird Lodge down the street at the Bright Angel Lodge, so that's what we did, and they gave us our keys. Back down the street we found our room and, sure enough, our bags were waiting. Next day when we checked out, we left our bags in the room as we had done at Williams, took our key-cards down the street to Bright Angel Lodge to check out, and had a conversation with a guy about our bags to make sure we did things right. "Yes," he said, "you did the right thing. I'll be down there to pick them up now."
We spent the rest of the day until almost 3 P.M. looking at all the places of interest in Grand Canyon Village. We had a wonderful lunch, strolled around from one place of interest to another, and then went to the depot to board the train back to Williams. We talked about how wonderful it was not to have to worry about our luggage: It was all taken care of.
We checked in at the Grand Hotel in Williams again and went to our room. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when we found our luggage had not arrived. The girl at the front desk told us they probably just hadn't had time to get it put up and suggested we eat dinner. By the time we finished, she assured us, the luggage would be in our room.
But it wasn't. The girl started calling the guys who took care of bringing in the luggage. She called Thunderbird Lodge. When she mentioned Thunderbird Lodge, we told her perhaps she should check with Bright Angel Lodge, since that's where we had to check in, and the people there were the ones who were going to pick up our luggage.
No luck. So here we were with no chargers for our cell phones and the iPad, no clean clothes (no dirty clothes, for that matter, except for what we were wearing), no toothbrushes and toothpaste or deodorant. I was almost in panic mode. At one point I found myself being hateful with the girl at the front desk, but then I did apologize to her, telling her I realized none of this was her fault.
Later on she brought me a bag with a few essentials in it. After that, a man came up and had me fill out a claim, giving a full description of our luggage. At 3 A.M. next morning we were headed for our Amtrak trip home, feeling pretty much like stinky, dirty bums. By this time I was looking at things from a different perspective, though, telling myself it's all just stuff. There wasn't a thing in those bags that couldn't be replaced. The spare iPad, the one Cora thinks is hers when she's here, was among the lost items, but in the vast scheme of things, it wasn't that important. After a night's sleep on the train, this morning I woke up positively cheerful, although I still had a feeling we'd never see our "stuff" again.
We arrived at Kansas City Union Station around 8 A.M. this morning. When we got to our car, the first thing I did was plug in the poor, dead iPad (I have a car charger for it, thank goodness) and check my email, because I had been told the hotel would keep in touch with me by email and phone. Sure enough, there was an email, and here's what it said: "Hi, I’m glad to report that your missing luggage has been found. It unfortunately slid under the seats of the van and was out of sight. However today the two bags were discovered. I look forward to hearing from you so we can get the luggage back safe and sound to you. Have a great day.
Bright Angel Lodge
Front Desk Lead"
I felt like celebrating! However, when I called the lady, she had already sent the luggage back to the Grand Hotel in Williams. I've now talked to someone there, and they will be sending our luggage home.
Here's what I learned from this: Don't put your chargers and devices in luggage that could get lost. Keep them with you at all times. I did have both Kindles in the bag I carry with me, so Cliff and I had something to read on the train, at least. What I missed once my iPad's battery died was being able to ask it "Where are we?" or "What's the temperature here?". Also, the iPad serves as my watch. When I woke up in the night on my top bunk, the only way to find out the time was to take my Kindle to the bathroom with me, where there was a light. It's the basic Kindle, so it isn't backlit.
Looking on the bright side, by the time all this happened we were done with our Grand Canyon experience, so that wasn't ruined. If it had happened on the first luggage-move, the whole trip would have been a disaster because I would have been preoccupied with our missing stuff instead of enjoying the beauty of the Grand Canyon.
Indeed, all's well that ends well. Of course it really hasn't ended until I have the luggage in my possession, but the odds of that happening are looking pretty good at this point.