A Hop, Skip, and Jump…

A Hop, Skip, and Jump…

After only 12 hours of travel, I fell – or more like crashed – asleep this morning around 2 am, California time.

I left Chattanooga Friday at 3:30 pm EST on the Express Shuttle to Atlanta. I had a nice chat with the Express van driver (whose name I’ve now forgotten) – I discovered that he’d retired from the Post Office where he’d worked with my friend Sydney (a fellow worker from NightFall ) and that he’d seen my mom at the recent 75th anniversary festivities of Brainerd Baptist Church (where she was a secretary in the 1950s) and of course he knew
Bryan Fuqua, the Chief Engineer at WTCI-TV45 (where I worked for 8 years).

Anyway, as you can tell, the 2-hour ride to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (I know, The Airport Too Busy To Have A Short Name) went quickly – that’s what’s nice about Chattanooga: finding multiple connections to a complete stranger.

I checked in at the America West counter – so far as I know, my first experience on this airline. It was a good sign when the ticket agent cheerfully placed me in an exit row for both portions of my flight. I left Atlanta (ok, ok, the HJAIA) at 7:20 pm EST, flying on an Airbus A320 , seated in the spacious Exit Row 11 – the flight wasn’t very crowded, maybe 70% full. Four hours (and one disappointing movie, i.e. Runaway Jury ) later we landed in Phoenix, and then after an hour’s wait in the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (I
reckon the Arizonans were eager to be some kind of harbor – any kind of harbor!) I boarded another A320 for the flight to the Land of the Friskies. Again, on Exit Row 11. And again, with the same seat-neighbor from the earlier flight (a young computer programmer with Scientific Atlanta, returning home to SF).

It only took 45 minutes of waiting on the plane for the crew to determine there was a Problem With The Plane. So, we deplaned back to the terminal, and walked from Gate A12 to A23 in the now-empty PSHIA (oddly enough, also the noise some passengers were making) to board – surprise! – an Airbus A320. Turns out that a smoke detector on the other plane had a “broken shroud” – yet our spirits were unbroken as we took to the skies with a vengeance, leaving Phoenix only 75 minutes later than planned. One highlight was my discovery of a Russian couple seated behind me, giving me an opportunity to trot out what little Russian I’ve retained in my little rushed brain.

I’d notified King of our delay (giving him time to shave) and dozed fitfully on the 2-hour trip to San Francisco International Airport , arriving at 12:44 am PST – which is 3:44 am
EST, naturally – to be greeted by King just in time for us to wait for the appearance of my checked bag in the otherwise-closed-down SFO. And now, here I am in San Francisco. Just like that!


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