Doug Leaves His Homeland

Only one month shy of three years after I made the decision to travel the world, I finally left the United States, which I had called home for 44 years.  My final few days in the U.S. had me driving from my former home town of Austin, Texas first to Lumberton, Texas to spend a couple of days with my dad and step-mother; then on to Kokomo, Indiana to say goodbye to my sister.

For the entire time that I had been thinking about my future travels, I had not pictured myself starting such and adventurous undertaking from Kokomo, Indiana.  But tha's the way it turned out.

I spent my last night in Indianapolis so that I could catch an early flight the following morning.  First stop: Detroit – for a change of planes.  And, as the plane taxied out to the runway to depart Detroit bound for Osaka, Japan, this was my last view of the United States...

In case you can't tell, that's looking out the window of the plane as we taxi to the end of the runway – which is being snow-plowed by the heavy equipment you see in the photo.

It is interesting that, in all my years of flying, I have never witnessed the de-icing process.  Oh, I had heard about it plenty of times and felt a sort of blind-faith sense of security knowing that planes I was on in bad weather must have gone through this process...  Right?  Also, in all the flying I've done, I've not flown Northwest Airlines all that much – maybe once, if at all.  But this time I was flying Northwest from Indianapolis to Osaka with, as I said, a change of planes in Detroit.

During the flight to Detroit, I read an article in the NW Airlines magazine about their de-icing procedures.  It talked about how they lead the industry by employing state-of-the-art equipment and techniques, and have the most extensive training program of any airline.  In fact, they train employees of competing companies.  Needless to say, that article made me feel a lot better about flying in near blizzard conditions.

And with my newly acquired knowledge about de-icing procedures, I boarded my Osaka-bound airplane in Detroit – then sat on the ground for an extra hour watching those very same procedures in action.  The de-icer looked like something straight out of "War of the Worlds"...

Anyway, we took off safely and managed to make it to Osaka, Japan – twelve long hours later.