Inauguration: American Tourister

The Washington Monument

Things were going so well. The house was all squared away, Kitty was fed and watered, and we had plenty of time to get to the airport. Got through security, no problem. Arrived at the gate a good 15 minutes before boarding was scheduled to commence. It was at this point that I recall the Resident Expert saying, “everything’s going our way”. Jinx. First thing: no plane. It’s coming from LA, and isn’t yet at the gate. Kind of hard to board the plane given these conditions. But it shows up not too much later, so we’re still OK for departure. Or maybe not OK. The announcer is back and says there’s a maintenance problem with the plane. Apparently the First Officer’s seat is broken, and they might need to replace it. But they don’t have a replacement seat, so they’re trying to repair it. Maintenance will update us in 20 minutes. OK, here’s my question. What the hell is going on in the cockpit that would result in the First Officer’s seat breaking? It must be broken pretty bad if they can’t fly the plane. Sounds fishy. Repairs continue, and after a good long while they say it’s fixed and we can board. We’re behind schedule by about an hour now. Settling in to our seats, a perfect day for flying – clear skies. Boarding the plane, I see The Letter, Mrs. The Letter, and The Letter – Next Generation in row 8 reading the SkyMall catalog. It’s going to be a good trip.

Uh oh, the flight attendant is on the PA and regrets to inform us that there will be a delay. They’re having trouble getting the Jetway disconnected from the plane. Again: not sure I get how this is possible, but I do accept that we can’t take off with the Jetway attached. Time marches on, and the pilot comes on the PA. Not good news: there’s a power failure in the terminal. This keeps us from taking off, I’m guessing because we’re using the terminal’s electricity as part of the Jetway detachment project. We’ve been strapped in to our chairs for an hour now. Nightmare. But then, dark night yields to bright day and we’re cleared for takeoff. Great! Would be even better if we didn’t taxi slowly around SFO for fifteen minutes like some totally lost motorist.

Good flying though. Our side of the plane had a great view of the southern Sierra Nevada. It was like looking at a relief map. Yosemite Valley, Banner, Ritter, Whitney. We flew right over Sonora Pass, and so had a great view of a very wintery looking Bridgeport and Mono Lake. Mono was shrouded in a dense fog, although everything else was clear.

Our travel adventure was not quite done. They sent our checked luggage to a different carousel than first stated. I probably spent a good 30 minutes of my life watching other peoples luggage go round and round for no reason. You’re right – not on par with the clinging Jetway, but at the end of a long day of travel it seemed like the worst possible thing that could happen.

Was able to log a “good deed for the day” on the way out of the airport lot. A car exiting near us had left a box of carry-out food on the roof. No doubt there were some excellent half eaten french fries in there, so I told them they had a box on their roof. The driver seemed unwilling to accept this, but one of the passengers must have put two and two together (kudos!) and they retrieved their food box. We heard a muffled “thank you!” as we drove towards the city.

Oh, one other thing. There was a big ol’ truck with Virginia plates in the airport parking lot next to us. The license plate read, “Merikin”. Aren’t we all.

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