Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to make a day trip to California on Tuesday. I was scheduled to give a presentation that afternoon in Monterey and had to get back for an important event on Wednesday afternoon. SO, my day started bright and early to get to the airport for my 8:25 flight. Only when I got to the airport at 7:30, I realized my flight was actually leaving at 8:05. I have the drive to the airport, parking, security and getting to the gate down like a science, so making the flight with 20 fewer minutes was definitely going to be a challenge.
Determined not to miss my flight, I took off running through the airport in my high heels with my briefcase and purse weighing down my left side. Thank goodness TSA and Delta are testing a new security procedure at the Atlanta airport – it allows frequent fliers to go through a special lane where you don’t have to take off your shoes or your jacket and don’t have to take your computer or toiletries out of your bag. So I pretty much breezed through security and then double-checked the monitors to confirm my departure gate. I couldn’t believe that it had been changed to E1 – for those not familiar with the Atlanta airport, this is about as far away as you can get – the last gate at the last terminal. The train ride to the E terminal lasted nearly 5 minutes, so I had to run up the escalator and all the way to my gate. They were making the final boarding call when I got there, sweating profusely, and made my way onto the flight and settled in for the 5 hour trip to San Francisco.
Once in San Francisco, I rented a car and started the 2 hour drive to Monterey. Having been rear-ended on the I-5 in Los Angeles by a movie trailer, I am fairly wary of CA highways, but I made it safely to the hotel where the conference was being held in Monterey. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and the entire drive I kept thinking I would find somewhere to pull off and get some lunch, but I never found anything suitable. So I made a beeline for the restaurant, where I met my co-presenter and had a wonderful meal – arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette, perfectly grilled halibut over couscous, and three pieces of warm bread with olive oil. I was stuffed.
We gave our presentation, I did all the networking I needed to do and then got back in my car for the drive to the airport. The drive back to the airport seemed much longer than the drive earlier in the day and I struggled to find a good radio station with songs I could sing along with to help me stay awake. I was booked on the 11:30 pm flight, but got to the airport in time to change to the 10:00 – and I even had an aisle seat. I was able to sleep a little on the flight back and landed at 5:30 am, drove home and arrived just in time to wake the kids up and get them off to school. I did get a couple of hours sleep before heading to work to ensure I wouldn’t commit malpractice. So there you have it, a lot of traveling and less than 12 hours in California. And I sure hope I don’t have to day trip to the west coast again anytime soon!