When we planned our January trip to California, one of the reasons for going was the California sunshine as opposed to the Ohio winter.
To avoid freezing on the way to the airport, I wore my old black raincoat with the winter zip-in liner, planning to leave the liner in the hotel and using the raincoat just in case it rained while we were there.
Surprise! I used the winter liner in the raincoat the whole time we were there. They had a most unusual cold spell, and if you remember Jan. 7 to 12 was unusually warm in Ohio. We were comfortable while we were there, but I was grateful for the coat liner.
My main reason for going was to see the Pacific Ocean in all of its white capped blue glory. Somehow I missed seeing it as the plane landed, but our escorts assured me that we’d see it during the time we were there.
Finally, Wednesday evening we went to Santa Monica Pier. I could hardly wait. There was a beautiful sunset as we arrived in the area. By the time we got to the water it was dusk. I could hear the ocean lapping on the beach, but I missed seeing its white capped blue glory. In fact, it looked a lot like the green Atlantic. We did find a bench to sit on to listen to the Pacific. It sounded a lot like the Atlantic too.
But, not to worry, Thursday we went to see the Queen Mary, which was a very large ocean-going vessel. It had to be in the ocean, right?
Wrong. It was docked at Long Beach, which was really close to the Pacific, but was on what Ohioans might call an inlet. But no white capped blue glory as far as I could see.
When we boarded the plane the next day, I got a window seat. I knew I’d enjoy looking out as we flew to Texas to board another plane.
As we took off, I finally told myself it didn’t really matter that I didn’t get a good look at the Pacific because we had a great vacation, and I could just go to California again sometime to see the Pacific.
Just then the plane turned to go inland and I had an absolutely glorious, long view of the Pacific Ocean in all of its white capped blue glory on a nice warm winter day.
By the time we got to Dallas, the weather had changed. Before we landed in pouring rain that was verging on sleet, we knew our flight to Dayton had been cancelled along with over 100 other flights.
I think our tour director was the first one off the plane, but she was in touch with the rest of us by cell phone. By the time we were off the plane she was working to find us hotel accommodations in the immediate area and to arrange a flight out for us as soon as possible. I was about to have a whole new experience — stranded in a weather pounded airport. I sure was glad I was on the Freedom Years Tour instead of by myself.
We found an empty waiting area, so we waited in relative comfort. There were restaurants, shops, and restrooms easily available.
I considered calling my brother Dave, who lives in Dallas, but I knew he couldn’t get to where we were, and I’d probably get lost trying to get to him, so I decided to tell him about it later.
We were booked into a really nice hotel, and since we had trip insurance, the company paid for our expenses, which included a trip to a nearby pharmacy for needed supplies.
By breakfast time the next morning we were scheduled on another flight out of Dallas to Dayton. So we took the shuttle bus back to the airport and braved the security check one more time. It wasn’t really too terrible. And then we waited with a group from Russia, Ohio, until it was time to board the plane.
It was late and dark by the time we landed in Dayton because of the different time zones we passed through, but the Freedom Tours folks were there to meet us and bring us back home.
For those of you who have written to ask if I’d do it again, you bet I would. I would still like to sit on the beach and watch and listen to the Pacific Ocean for a few hours.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate March 21, 2007
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.