It seems as though half the people who have seen my story of the lost-and-now-found luggage want to blame somebody for the whole mess. Many people were surprised the luggage was found. Although there was a time or two that I had my doubts if we would see it again, honestly it was just one of those things that happens. Something went wrong, but it turned out OK.
First of all, people who buy the Grand Railway package are normally all booked in one hotel at the Grand Canyon, the Maswik Lodge. So when employees gather up the luggage to take back to the Grand Railway Hotel in Williams, everything is under one roof. Because my travel agent had her heart set on us sleeping in a motel on the rim of the canyon with a view of the canyon from our room, we weren't at the Maswik. Somebody was going to have to make a special trip to pick up our suitcases when we checked out of our room.
Checkout time at the Thunderbird Lodge was 11 A.M., and we waited until after 10 to check out. We had to do our checking out at a different location, though, the Bright Angel Lodge. We went to the desk and when Cliff placed the key-card in front of a man, the guy said, "You must be the Woods. There's only you and one other family to be accounted for, and they have three suitcases. Since there are two of you, I assume you're the ones with two."
I'm pretty sure our dawdling had something to do with the whole mixup, too. At this point Cliff and I talked about how amazing it was that the Grand Railway folks could coordinate the suitcase transportation between hotels for so many people.
When we arrived back at the Grand Hotel that evening expecting to be united with our luggage, it wasn't there. We ate our evening meal, returned, and it was still missing. At this point the lady at the desk was showing a little panic and making calls to everyone who might have had contact with our luggage... most of whom, of course, had gone home for the night. After a couple of hours she called our room to let me know they were doing everything possible, but hadn't had any luck so far. This was when I went into panic mode, and caught myself raising my voice at her, at which point I apologized, telling her I realized she had nothing to do with our missing suitcases. We were about ready to go to bed (we were leaving, after all, at 2:30 the next morning to catch the Amtrak home). There was a knock on the door of our room, and it was a man who wanted to get a report of our loss, a description of our suitcases, and so forth. The lady at the desk sent up some toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs and brushes, deodorant, and other essentials.
Notice everyone was doing the best they could do, and they were touching bases with us often.
At 2:30 A.M. we went to the lobby to wait for the bus that would take us to Williams Junction to meet the train. Our luggage had not yet been found. I had my iPad with me, but the charging cord was in the lost luggage, along with our cell phone charger. The batteries were low on both devices, so I wouldn't have any access to the Internet when they died.
Once I was on the train I resolved to enjoy the trip home; every time I'd think about our luggage, I'd repeat to myself, "It's just stuff."
Because I ended up with no iPad (Internet) and no cell phone, nobody could contact me. The minute we got to our car back in Kansas City, I plugged in the iPad so it could start charging and checked my email. There was an email from someone at Bright Angel Lodge telling me to call, that they had found my luggage.
I got home and called her (this is about 48 hours after we checked out at Bright Angel). First of all she told me our luggage had been sent back to the Grand Hotel. Then she explained how the luggage was lost: She was in charge of going to everybody's rooms to pick up their luggage after checkout, and ours was added to the luggage from the Maswik after our rather tardy checkout from Thunderbird (special trip for her, not in her usual routine... she didn't say that, but I figured it out). At some point a car that should have stopped to let her pass sped in her path and she had to apply the brakes really hard. There was some sort of barrier normally in place so that no luggage could slide under a seat, but her screeching stop somehow knocked the barrier down. Under the seat went our suitcases. I told her we were now at home in Missouri, so the lady told me to call the Grand Railway Hotel and talk to them.
If Cliff and I had been staying another day in Williams, we would have have been reunited with our luggage in good time. I wish we had booked another day, because the town is on old Route 66, and I'd like to have checked out a few local places and taken some pictures. However, we booked what I felt we could afford and pay cash for. So now I knew how our luggage got misplaced and I knew it was found.
I called Grand Hotel. That woman referred me to the lost and found, and that person referred me to the shipping department. I had to leave a message for shipping, but I promptly got a return call. This pleasant-sounding fellow made sure he had the proper address, then asked just how our luggage came to be lost, so I told him the story. He chuckled and said, "OK, I'll get these in boxes and send them off. They should go out before 11 a.m. Give me your email address and I'll send you the routing number."
I never received the routing numbers. In hindsight, I wonder if perhaps he got one letter or number of my email address wrong. I could have, should have called him back, but I'd waited this long, so why bother? It's my own fault I didn't call back.
One reason I wasn't too worried at this point is that the hotel had turned this case in to their insurance, and on the day we returned home, we got a call from an insurance adjuster wanting us to let him know when the luggage showed up. He also wanted us to look through it and see if everything was there, if and when it showed.
Now, after reading this, can you see that nobody was at fault? The hotel staff did everything in their power to make this right. I wish they had an email address on their website so that I could send them a link to this entry. All the people I spoke with were great, even the lady at the desk that I yelled at briefly; and communication between hotel and myself was great except for the twenty-four hours when my devices died.
Don't hesitate to purchase one of the Grand Canyon packages. The restaurants included in the package aren't that great, but everything else is wonderful.