Friday, May 2, 2014

Vancouver 2014 – Day 8. The long way home

I honestly thought that I would end my blog with yesterday’s entry, for there is little of interest on recounting the boring way home. Ah, but that is when things work out. When they don’t then the homecoming might actually be challenging.

I learned I was in trouble when I woke up at 4 am and looked at my cell phone. There was a message there from Alaska Airlines, advising me that my 7 am flight to Portland had been cancelled (I was doing the Milk Run Bellingham to Portland to Boise to San Jose), and that instead I had been booked in the 5 pm flight to Las Vegas, followed by the 9 pm flight to Seattle, where I could expect to arrive at midnight. I can tell you, that was not going to happen!

At 5:50 am my taxi came to the hotel, and by 5:45 am I was at the airport, 10th in line waiting to be helped. “Hmmm”, I said to myself “so they didn’t cancel the flight for lack of passengers, since there are at least 10 of us here and that is just the early-riser portion of the clientele. Two attendants were working hard with two couples, but it was pretty apparent they were not having much luck fitting them in one of the three remaining flights of Bellingham that day. Finally one of the attendants lifted her face and made the announcement: “If you are planning on taking the shuttle to Seattle airport you better call know because it is going to take a while to make the arrangements.” “That does it”, I said to myself, and immediately pulled out my cell phone and dialed the shuttle company. As it turns out there was a shuttle ready to leave from the front of the airport, and if I hurried I could catch it. Run I did, and by 6:05 am I was in my seat, dozing comfortably for the 2 and a half ride to SeaTac.

When I got to SeaTac I confronted a sea of automated machines, with very little human flesh in between. That was not going to do, so I boldly stepped to the VIP counter, and asked the distinguished gentleman there to help me find a flight, any flight, that would take me to San Jose, Oakland, or San Francisco. It took him a while to bend the computer to his will, but 20 minutes later I was holding a boarding pass for the 10 am flight to Oakland.

Now, how was I going to get from Oakland to San Jose? Enter Sandi and Dave Ashby to the rescue! I texted them with the change in plans, and Dave kindly offered to go pick me up at the BART Fremont station around 1:30 pm. The air trip, and the connection to BART worked seamlessly (there is no train link from the Oakland airport to BART, but there is a bus that for all of $1 will take a Senior citizen there; I still have a few years to go to become a Senior citizen, but the gray hair gave me a reprieve).

I stepped off BART at precisely 1:30 pm and started looking for Dave. Nada! I was getting ready to wait when a text message pinged my phone. It was Dave, letting me know that he had . . . missed his way slightly … and was now in the Union City station of BART.  What is a small delay at 1:30 pm, when I was supposed to still be sitting at the Bellingham airport waiting for the 5 pm flight to Las Vegas?

All is well that ends well. By 2 pm we were at the Ashby home in Sunnyvale, where I picked up my car and equipment, and by 5 pm I was comfortably home, feeling sorry for the poor schmucks on their way to Vegas.


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