I don't think it's appropriate for me to share my Kid Rock Cruise story on a Kansas City Chiefs website, but this part of my story does relate to OUR beloved Chiefs, the reputation of Chiefs fans...and want to share it with y'all. :)

I actually began my cruise story with my return trip home, rather than have my return home as a conclusion to the story.

Also, we didn't go to the Cayman Islands as scheduled. Not long after we left Tampa on Thursday, Kid Rock & his band were on stage performing & hosting our Sail Away Deck Party. Kid Rock announced the weather prevented our going to Cayman, so he told the Captain to take us all to the Bahama's instead, and the Bahama's is indeed where we ported on Saturday. :)

Kid Rock's Chillin The Most Cruise - Chapter 1 - Scary Return Trip Home Monday

The Carnival Inspiration I'm told holds 2,800 people. Of those 2800...800 are ships crew & staff...the remaining 2,000 were a combination in number of fans, artists, bands, crews, and Sixthman staff & security crews. I'm speculating about 1,500 were fans, the remaining 500 making up the artists, their bands, families/friends, crews, and then event organizer Sixthmans people & security staff.

Monday morning May 3rd the cruise sadly came to an end...approximately 2,000 people began departing the ship. Some were no doubt ready for the cruise to end, weary from 4 day's of ship partying, a 5th day partying in Tampa the day before. I was weary, and also in some pain, having thrombosis develop in both my legs while on the cruise, but more severely in my right knee & leg. Even weary and in pain...I wasn't ready for the cruise to end, nor return home.

Kid Rock announced that he wants to make his Chillin The Most Cruise an annual event, considering the magical success of this inaugural cruise. I think next years cruise should be at least 5 days, possibly even 7, with an overnight stay on a Caribbean Island, or at least enough time for a full day and evening spent on an island.

I arrived at Tampa's Airport toting my two suitcases, heavy over-packed carryon tote and duffel bag, which contained among other items, 20 pounds of bulky white beach sand I had gathered from the Bahama Island on Saturday, to bring back as souvenir's for friends. I had also lugged that 20 lbs of sand with me about a mile back from the beach, through a few shops here & there my cabinmate Arlene wanted to visit, on our way back to the ship. I wasn't sure they would let me bring the sand on the ship, but they did.

With sore neck and arm muscles from lugging around everything...I arrived at Tampa's Airport Security not knowing if they would allow me to bring the beach sand on board in my duffel bag. I couldn't put it in either of my suitcases, as it would've made it over the allowed weight. They did allow the beach sand onto the plane, but only after it went through special screening and chemical testing for explosives and drugs. I was able to rest my arms and shoulders for the half hour it took special agents to test my beach sand, hahaha.

My flight from Tampa back home had a layover in Newark, NJ/New York City. About a half hour prior to landing we began to hit a few rough turbulents, from thunderstorms it appeared. The clouds began to break up some as we began to circle the Newark/NYC Airport, and I was thrilled to be able to see Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty from the air...the first time I had seen either in my life. I then noticed the plane increased speed and began climbing, realizing we weren't going to land for some reason. The pilot then announced we would have to circle for about 20 minutes.

My layover was for an hour & a half, but the flight out of Tampa had been delayed a half hour already, bringing my layover time down to an hour at Newark/NYC...the 20 minute circling delay wasn't of much concern, allowing me 40 minutes to catch my connecting flight to Kansas City.

While circling we hit more turbulents, and some aboard the plane began to panic, including the woman from Brussels sitting next to me, and another young girl from Jersey in her 20's, she was crying and trembling with fear. I surprised myself, as at no time was I scared. I had only flown prior to the cruise twice in life, the last time being 20 yrs ago, of which at that time I was scared to fly, so just assumed I still would be, that is until I boarded the plane headed for Tampa. I realized I wasn't afraid to fly any longer, rather I actually enjoyed it...as the plane took off in Kansas City for Tampa...I blurted out, YEEHAW! It was fun taking off! haha

I'm not sure if I've mellowed with time and don't fear as much, or if I've just been through so many physical and emotionally painful experiences in life over the last 20 yrs...I'm numb to most forms of fear. I also have a strong faith, so know whatever happens God is with me, his will...will prevail, regardless.

The 20 minutes turned into 30, then 45. The pilot announced that there were problems at the airport, and they were not clearing any planes to land. I later learned there was a bomb scare at an airport in New York, so not sure if that bomb scare had anything to do with their delaying planes landing at Newark/NYC or not. After an hour of circling the airport, the pilot announced that we were low on fuel, and he was requesting they allow us to land, and that he would keep us informed.

I'm not exactly sure why he told us that, I think to comfort us with knowing he requested an emergency low fuel landing and therefore we'd be landing soon... but I think many aboard the plane miscomprehended his announcement. At that point many on the plane were panicking. I told the woman and younger gal sitting with me, that we would be okay, because they were not going to let us crash as a result of no fuel, that was not even a realistic possiblity. Although I tried, I don't know that I did much good trying to reassure them we would not crash, haha.

Finally...the pilot announced that we were cleared to land, and all on the plane applauded and cheered with sighs of relief. I never doubted they would let us land due to low fuel, but I began giggling, because I literally felt like I was in one of those airplane drama movies when the passengers cheered and applauded learning we were going to land safely.

Once landed I went to the service desk of Continental, knowing I had now missed my connecting flight to Kansas City. They issued me a boarding pass for the next flight to KC, which was 4 1/2 hours later. Not wanting to sit in the airport for 4 1/2 hours, I lugged my heavy tote and duffel bag for what felt like a mile, outside to see what I could see, people watch, whatever. Well, this meant I would have to go through security again with the beach sand, but I thought if Tampa's airport allowed it, so would Newark/NYC's airport.

I returned to my gate to go through security about 2 hours before my flight...the security officer lady at the luggage x-ray wouldn't allow my sand, she said I couldn't bring it onto the plane. I didn't know what to do, as I didn't want to throw my precious souvenir sand away. I had lugged this sand painfully from the beach back to the ship, from the ship to Tampa's airport, then again around Newark/NYC's airport, & outside while waiting for another flight to KC. It was still a couple hrs. before my flight, so I went back outside...still hauling my precious 20 lbs of souvenir beach sand.

I sat down outside the airport on the concrete walk, upset and sad by this point, and weary, as it had been a long day. I left the ship around 8 AM, sat in Tampa's airport with my flight delayed, then boarded my plane in Tampa around 11 AM. Next to come was the delayed landing and turbulents at Newark/NYC, and it was now 8 PM...12 hours had past since leaving the ship.

A nice FAA security officer sat down beside me to smoke his cigarette. He said he saw my KC Chiefs tatt on my ankle, and said anyone who was a Chiefs fan had to be good people & nice to talk to, haha. He remembered how the Chiefs Organization & fans had welcomed & paid tribute to the NY Giants when they played at Arrowhead the first NFL game after 9-11. I was at that game, and told him how emotional it was, and an honor to have witnessed and participate in, how proud I was of our Chiefs & fans that day in particular.

I then told him although I understood why the security needed to be so restrictive after 9-11...that I was heartbroke because I had beach sand for my friends as a souvenir, which I had painfully hauled around since gathering it, but the woman inside at the luggage x-ray security check wasn't going to let my beach sand on to the plane. I told him in Tampa they chemically tested it for explosives and drugs, but had let it pass security, so I didn't understand why they couldn't do the same at Newark/NY's airport. He told me they could, and to tell the lady when I returned to the terminal gate prior to my flight, that the only FAA restriction & requirement for my sand to pass security was a chemical test for explosives and drugs like they performed in Tampa.

I returned to the security xray area about an hour before my flight time, & I told the lady officer what the FAA officer outside had told me, but she kept shaking her head & saying no. HA! About that time out of a little glass enclosed office near the x-ray area comes the FAA officer I'd met outside! He said, "well lookie here, it's the nice cowhide wearing Chiefs lady from Kansas!" I had on my red leather & cowhide jacket, & carrying my cowhide tote also, haha.

He then tells the x-ray security officer gal he'll take over, and he takes my bag of sand into his office. I could see him do the same liquid drop chemical testing on the sand they did in Tampa, haha. He walked back out carrying my sand & said, "No hidden BOOMIE'S in your sand, you're good to go with your beach sand for your friends, and good luck to your Chiefs this year!" YEEHAW! I was so very grateful, hahaha. No doubt my being a Chiefs fan and my ankle tatt recognized as such...saved my precious souvenir beach sand!

I finally arrived at Kansas City's International Airport around midnight, so very weary physically and emotionally. My son in law was waiting for me, and he drove me the hour's drive back to our hometown from the airport. From town I drove myself another 45 minutes home. My son had drove my truck into town earlier on Monday, so I wouldn't have to bother any one to drive me from town another 45 minutes home. I arrived home at almost 2 AM...with my beach sand...to share with Dillon, and other friends I'd promised to bring back a souvenir for.