Headed Home: Planes, Trains, and Buses

My trip home from Folsom was, shall we say, “eventful.”

Leaving the Folsom site shortly after 5 pm, traffic through downtown Sacramento was light, dropping off the rental car was easy, and TSA was quick and professional. I boarded the plane and settled in to read my new book, The Cosmic Landscape. Then, somehow, something changed…

The plane’s chimes wouldn’t work. They kept ringing while we pretended to ignore them. Rather than have us wait in the chime-challenged plane, Horizon Air “de-planed” us so we could wait in the terminal. Two hours later,1 we were back on the plane and headed for Portland.

Upon landing at PDX, now 11:30, I texted Ashley. Unfortunately, she was unable to pick me up as planned. The driveway was too steep and the snow too slick. “Not a problem,” thought I. I’ll just take light rail from the airport to Hillsboro.

So I bought an “all zones” ticket and boarded MAX. What luck! I was on a train that would take me all the way to Beaverton before having to transfer.

A frozen switch at the Rose Quarter delayed MAX for a few minutes until someone came to free it.

As we approached the Beaverton transit center, now nearly 1 am, the driver said the train was stopping at 170th. Not only that, this was the last train of the night. Anyone who wanted to continue to Hillsboro needed to get off now and transfer to the 57 bus.

Now I’m not an experienced TriMet rider, but I was able to find the 57 bus stop, check the schedule, and see the next bus was scheduled for 1:03 AM — less than five minutes away! Oops! I had forgotten it was snowing and the buses were using chains. The bus was going to be more than five minutes away.2

Finally, the bus arrived, and the driver said my all zones pass was good to go. We all3 boarded and headed west to Hillsboro. I found a TriMet map on the seat across the aisle and discovered the bus was headed right by the hospital where Suzi was working the night. Hallelujah!

After what seemed like hours, cruising along TV Highway at 20-25 mph with the vibrations from the chained tires lulling me to sleep, we arrived in Hillsboro. I asked the driver if the next stop was the closest to the hospital’s ER entrance. Having exposed my public transit cluelessness, two passengers were eager to help. No, it was the stop after the next stop that I wanted. They pointed out the windows into the falling snow, prompted me when to pull the cable, and wished me a pleasant morning. I think they would have held my hand and helped me down the stairs, had I asked. I thanked them all.

Crossing the street at the intersection4 and entering under the Emergency sign, I texted Suzi and sat down to wait. I was too tired to read.5

Suzi came around the corner, gave me a hug and the car keys. I again crossed the street to the parking garage and found the car.

Pulling out into the snow, I slickly discovered why the buses wore chains. I slipped and slided the whole way home and pulled into the driveway around 2:30.

I arrived home 9.5 hours after leaving Folsom.6

1And with 2,000 bonus miles in our frequent flyer accounts.
2At least it wasn’t the bus I saw pulling away as I crossed MAX’s tracks. That would have me waiting another hour in the falling snow for the next 57 bus.
3 It’s amazing how many people ride the bus at 1:30 in the morning.
4Though not waiting for the walk sign. There’s not a lot of traffic at 2 am.
5Besides, my new book is *not* the easiest read when tired. Photons, quarks, and W-bosons … oh my! ;-)
6In good weather with clear roads, I can drive from Folsom to Hillsboro in 9.5 hours.

A View From 19A

After checking in for my flight, I was disappointed to discover two things: (1) I’m not an MVP this year so I won’t get to sit in the better seats, and (2) I was assigned an aisle seat. As I was feeling sorry for myself, I remembered I could go to the counter and see if a window seat was still available. Why, yes there was. In fact, there were three. Score!

Photos From November 2

Another trip, another excuse to take some more pictures.

Going out to my car this morning, I glanced up. Orion hung in the sky, directly south. I love this time of year!

Traffic was light. I parked in PDX’s blue lot and waited for the shuttle bus. The weather was freezing1 and the shuttle shelter was all covered in dew.2

My point and shoot was in my shirt pocket, so I pulled it out, pointed, and shot.

An engine shot completes the triptych, the sun and camera conniving to make the engine’s black strip appear red.

  1. Literally — 32°F 
  2. Dewed! 

Another View From 4A

The Intel Developer Forum was over; it was time to head home. […]

The Intel Developer Forum was over; it was time to head home.

San Francisco was covered in clouds, but the Golden Gate was clearly visible. For a brief distance, an ice crystal halo with sun dogs made its appearance. Because of turbulence, we flew much of the way at 20,000 feet, lower than normal for the Dash-8.

We descended into Portland at dusk, landing on runway 3.

It’s nice to be home.

Trip to SF

Another trip, this time to San Francisco for the Intel Developer Forum. […]

Another trip, this time to San Francisco for the Intel Developer Forum.

A quick flight from PDX to SFO1, a ride on the air tram2, another ride on BART3, and then a short walk to the hotel4.

This should be a fun week. :-)

1Another time in seat 4E, but the weather was way hazy, too hazy for any pictures other than an engine shot.
2Airports are interesting places. SFO is nice in that it’s easy to find your way around. Much better than the time I went through SEA.
3Thanks to helpful people in high-vis vests, I got my ticket and on the train … no problem.
4Two blocks. Towing a duffel. Then I picked it up. A picture from the window and time to post.

A View From 6A

I printed my boarding pass this evening and confirmed my seat: 6B. Drat! An aisle seat. I boarded, sat down, and waited for Mr. 6A to appear. […]

I printed my boarding pass this evening and confirmed my seat: 6B. Drat! An aisle seat. I boarded, sat down, and waited for Mr. 6A to appear. He came down the aisle and stopped. “I’m sorry,” gesturing across my knees. I asked if he cared which seat was his. “No.” I scooted left and gazed out my window. Win!

Mr. 6A (now Mr. 6B) was an affable man. We chatted from boarding to deplaning,1 being “those guys.” You know who I mean. You’re tired, at the end of a long day, getting on a plane hoping to rest. Then a couple of guys near you babble the whole flight. Tonight, that was me. Sorry…

We rode on the left side going north in the evening. Thus the sun beamed in our windows. Although the plane looked new and the windows quite scratch free and clean, the air was hazy and my light shirt reflected in the windows.2 Not a recipe for good pictures. At least, until we got to Oregon and some clouds.

We landed on PDX’s North-South runway, a first for me. Our approach took us directly over downtown Portland, and then diving down to the right to land. Interesting, to say the least.

Of course, I took too many pictures of clouds. Here are just a few of them. :-)

1Boss. Deplane. Deplane.
2One of these days I’ll remember to wear a dark shirt when traveling. It should cut down the reflections in the window. Either that, or make a black velvet shroud that drapes over the camera and below to block the reflections.