I didn’t get a window seat flying from Sacramento to Portland this evening,1 but as the sun was setting, I had to pull out my camera.2 The spring breaking3 college student sitting next to me lowered her book and leaned back so I had a clear view out the window.4
2Actually, Suzi’s camera, but I was borrowing it to see how I like it.
3Must be nice… :-)
4Though not until looking out the window and exclaiming, “Oh, beautiful!” Absolutely.
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.
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 slid the whole way home and pulled into the driveway around 2:30.
I arrived home 9.5 hours after leaving Folsom.6
- And with 2,000 bonus miles in our frequent flyer accounts. ↩
- At 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. ↩
- It’s amazing how many people ride the bus at 1:30 in the morning. ↩
- Though not waiting for the walk sign. There’s not a lot of traffic at 2 am. ↩
- Besides, my new book is not the easiest read when tired. Photons, quarks, and W-bosons … oh my! ;-) ↩
- In good weather with clear roads, I can drive from Folsom to Hillsboro in 9.5 hours. ↩
Sitting in the SMF terminal, waiting for Horizon to fix the chimes on their plane. #delay
Walking out to the car, I saw this. Now, you do too.
Today, Melissa and I flew from Portland to Sacramento. She was returning to college after Thanksgiving break; I was headed to Folsom for work.
Because we didn’t make our reservations together, our seats weren’t either. The counter agent wasn’t able to locate adjacent seats, only near each other. Upon boarding, I sat by Melissa and watched for a confused look from another passenger. The person whose seat I occupied sat across the aisle from me minus the telltale befuddlement; it was the next displaced passenger who arrived with perplexity. Ha! She offered to sit in my assigned seat and all was well. Well, almost. Melissa and I then swapped seats so I could snap pictures while she drowsed against my shoulder.
I trust your return to “normal life” after Thanksgiving break also included the requisite discombobulation.
Update. On a later flight, I was able to identify the “unknown peak” as the eastern flank of Mt. Thielsen.
Only one flight today but I sat in 3A twice. My first plane made it as far as the end of the runway before turning around for another check by maintenance. My second plane flew just fine — and that’s what matters.
Sitting in 3A, waiting for a rerun of the safety announcements, I shot into the rain.
On the way to work, I stopped at my favorite photo spot and took pictures in the standard two directions. Both pictures include objects not normally included.
The temperature was a cool 50°, perfect for biking.