So, I found myself telling a story today that I hadn’t thought about in a very long time. And as often happens nowadays I thought “Now there’s a blog post worth sharing!” So, after a quick 25 mile ride, with time out for dinner, its time to sit and tell a story. Gather round everyone, grab a morning (or evening, depending on when you see this) beverage of your choice, and let’s go!
This happened back in late September 2001. 9/11 was only a few weeks past, and the world was trying to get back to normal, when I got an email from my buddy Rob.It turned out that prior to that infamous day, a coworker of his won a prize. It was two tickets, as far as Horizon Airlines would fly. (Now for you non-Northwest people, Horizon Air is a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines. They fly a lot of Bombardier Q400, propeller driven planes, between smaller cities in the Northwest and into California.
Currently, whenever I fly locally, I try to use these guys exclusively. They are almost always on time. They allow you to drop your bigger carry on luggage on a cart (Ala Carte service) outside the plane, they then deliver these bags immediately after landing, AND you get free wine, beer and Starbucks on the flight. I have RARELY bad a problem with this airline….
But I digress. Back in 2001, Rob had the opportunity to use these tickets and he had a wild idea. Lets fiy to LA, get a rental car, and drive to Tucson Arizona to watch our Cougs play the Arizona Wildcats!. Now my ex wasn’t all that partial to me flying at that time, but I was all over it! “I’m IN!” was my response!
We took off and, if I remember correctly, had to land in Eugene Or, and then caught the flight to LA. Once there, we ended up with a Yellow (not my favorite color) Mustang Convertible. And to quote Jerry Reed, we were Eastbound and down!
I don’t remember a lot about the trip to Tucson. I do remember that I had never been to the desert, and it amazed me that every bridge over a river crossed a dry bed of sand. You could see for MILES! It was also so hot we actually left the top up so we could use the air conditioner. (Remember, we are Northwest rain lovers, the desert was a bit much for us!)
We also saw a jetliner grave yard. Seems airlines all park their surplus planes here. It took half an hour to pass this lot, doing 85 MPH. That is a butt load of planes!
We made it to Tucson, checked into the hotel, and since the game wasn’t till 7 PM (had to wait for the sun to go down) we were footloose and fancy free! Turns out the town had not one, but TWO Hooters restaurants. Well. being two, still relatively young bucks, we had to check them BOTH out! I am sad to say, that was the highlight of the town as far as I can remember. (We are both big fans of the Movie Tombstone with Kurt Russell,
our one regret was that we didn’t have time to make a beeline to Tombstone (the city) just to say we were there!)
I won’t bore you with details, but I will say it was one of the best games I have ever been to! The Cougs dismantled the Sundevils!
Well, we crashed soon after the game. We had to be up by 3, and on the road, to make our flight back. I volunteered to drive, while Rob slept. Folks, this was fun. The stars were out, there wasn’t another car on the road, there were no turns for miles, so I stood on the gas! While Rob was sleeping, I was doing 120! (I had never, nor have never since gone that fast!) Just remembering it gets the heart pumping.
Come daylight, when Rob woke up and saw how far we had come, he looked at me a bit strangely, but I just kept smiling and driving! We were on the outskirts of LA, and needed a restroom. Well in Seattle, when this happens, you pull over and hit a fast food joint. Easy. Well, here we were, two bumpkins, in what appeared to be a BAD neck of a the woods. We pulled into Taco Time, to find out they had bullet proof glass protecting the cashiers! We decided we didn’t need to go THAT bad.
We made it to the airport, hopped our plane, (VIA Boise this time, if memory serves) and got home safe and sound.
It was an amazing adventure. Spur of the moment, two friends saying “What the hell!” and going for it. It was a strange time in the world, and I am very grateful to Rob for helping me, without knowing it, get back to normal. I was NOT going to be afraid to fly, and I was going to continue to enjoy life!
Wasn’t too may years after later that I started climbing mountains, running races and eventually riding 13000+ miles. Could be Rob jump started my adventure genes! If so thanks pal! I owe you!
(Sorry there are no pics! I know some were taken, but no idea where they went.)
I leave you with this one thought. If you ever get a chance to do something out of the ordinary, something that is NOT you, but damn it sound like fun, don’t think, just yell “I’M IN!” and go for it! You won’t be sorry!