Monday, November 05, 2007

Stockton shortlines, cutting it close

Stockton shortlines

By mid-afternoon on Monday the 22nd, I felt like I had covered the M&ET fairly well. So I headed up to Stockton to see if I could track down the Stockton Terminal & Eastern. I found one of their switch jobs shoving cars around with MP15DC # 777.

Stockton Terminal & Eastern 777 at Stockton, CA

You'd think this would be common sense, but I guess not...
Later, I worked my way up to Lodi and happened upon a Central California Traction job heading south. I spent the last 30 minutes of daylight chasing them back to Stockton.

Central California Traction shop building in Stockton

Central California Traction GP18 1790 heads south between Lodi and Stockton.
My day wasn't over yet... I had a motel reservation for the night down in Monterey, so now I had about 2 hours of driving ahead of me. Tuesday's plans... sightseeing in Monterey, visiting the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, and driving south along the coast on Highway 1. Stay tuned for the reports...
How I almost missed my flight to California
So, I scheduled my California flights way back in August or September. After checking the Cowboys' football schedule, I saw that they were lined up to play a noon game on Sunday the 21st against the Vikings. So I picked a flight with a 6:40 pm departure, which I figured would allow me to watch the game at home and still have plenty of time to get to the airport without missing anything. On the Friday before my trip, I learned that the game's start time had been pushed back to 3:15. Dammit! The whole reason I was taking an evening flight was so I could watch the game. Now I wouldn't even be able to see the end of the game at the airport before I had to board my plane!

Well, Sunday finally rolled around, and I'll admit that I found the noon to 3:15 time frame quite useful to pack for the trip. And I managed to watch the first half of the game (it was kind of ugly and not really worth watching anyway) at home before I left for the airport. I listened to most of the 3rd quarter on the radio, and once I got checked in, I found an airport bar that had the game on and I settled in to watch part of the 4th. I was about halfway through my second beer when I began nervously checking the clock on my cell phone. 6:05... 6:10... 6:15... where had my waitress gone? Oh, there she is... taking a large order of food to another table. Now she's talking with the customers... now she's taking someone else's order... She passed back and forth several times without looking my way. I finally flagged her down, got my check, threw down a few bills down on the table, and headed off to my gate, now with insufficient time to purchase a bottle of water at the newsstand or even take a leak before boarding. (Incidentally, the game was down to about the 2 minute warning, so I did get to watch most of the 4th... and it only cost me eleven bucks for those two beers....)

I checked the departure boards. "Flight 1535 to San Jose -- FINAL BOARDING" Didn't they know I was trying to watch the game? So I high-tailed it to the gate (D-20) that showed on the board. People were coming UP the jet-way, exiting a plane that had just arrived. What the hell? My flight hadn't already left, had it? I asked the gate agent. "Oh, that's been moved to gate D-15". I had visions of the plane backing away from the gate as I hurried up to the counter. Pretty much moving at a full sprint by now, I made it there in time... barely. It wasn't too hard to find my seat -- it was the only empty one! Almost everybody else was already settled in for the flight. Wheeeewwww. There's nothing like the "rush" of cutting something a little too close.

Oh, and how 'bout them Cowboys?

np: R.E.M. "There she goes again" / Monday Night Football - Steelers vs. Ravens
nr: John Steinbeck - East of Eden

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