On My Way To NYC (Via the Mt. Sac Relays!)

by Debra Chappell

View from Reno Tahoe International Airport:

(6:00 AM this morning – AAARRRGGGHHHH!!!)

Mood Reading: ZZ’s (4 am alarm came awfully early)

So I hustled myself out of bed this morning at an ungodly hour – went through an abbreviated morning routine (no leisurely French pressed coffee for me, no-sir-eee), and hopped back into the car in which I seemed to have spent the better part of this weekend, for the 45 minute ride to the airport (special thank-you to my hubby who obliged driving duty!)  I’m writing this from the plane heading to New York City for meetings with my agent, my editor, and as many extra curricular activities as I can cram in.  (Perhaps even an encore performance at Bergdorf-Goodman!)

Knowing that I had this trip ahead of me, I don’t know what in god’s name I was thinking when I agreed to accompany the hubby on a quickie business trip to So. California this weekend – “just there and back, in and out, be home by lunchtime on Sunday – promise” —  but I thought it would be fun to have some bonding time in the car (read that: actually having a two-way discussion instead of texting and e-mail between dashing here and there as is the norm during track season) and I always love a good track meet anyway, especially the Mt. Sac Relays which I’ve been going to for over 48 years now.

We left home Friday at 4 pm and arrived in Pasadena at ll:30pm and spent the night.  After sitting in the beautiful but blistering sun at the Relays for close to 10 hours, we jumped back in the car for the return trip home.  Made it as far as Big Pine (approx. half way) and checked into what must have been the original Bates Motel – complete with the weird guy in next room with “mother” issues talking loud enough for us to prefer the noisy rumbling of the 1960’s air conditioner instead. Let’s just say it was slightly less than the Ritz-Carlton and lacked much of that ambiance and all of the amenities. (After a long hot day in the sun and a four-hour drive, we were looking forward at least to the little bottles of shampoo, conditioner and freshly scented skin moisturizer usually provided in even the most modest of lodgings.  We were sorely disappointed to find only one little brick of soap from I swear, 1973 – that wouldn’t even lather.)

Wasn’t all bad though, after the town fire alarm went off twice about 2am and the Psycho guy from next door finally hung up on ‘mother’ or ‘mutha’ I’m still not sure, we actually got about 4 hours of sleep before jumping back in the car for the rest of the ride home.  We stopped at Schat’s bakery in Bishop for coffee only, since we’re both watching our carbs and trying to lose a few — an exercise in stupidity if there ever was one — like wild coyotes strolling past the hen house and about as effective.  Steve bought a croissant to be polite, but I’m proud to say I held out for oatmeal 45 minutes up the road at Tom’s Place.

Tom’s Place is one of those mountain cafes where you feel like you’ve stepped back in time – old black and white pictures on the wall, some period record albums (yes, I mean the vinyl variety) and a no-nonsense waitress who looked like she wasn’t about to take crap from anybody that early in the morning.  Steve usually exercises his British charm and dry wit in these circumstances, but since she seemed pretty used to putting old farts in their place, wisely practiced some restraint.

He delivered on his promise though, home by noon (including a stop to pick up the mutt) and plenty of time to unpack, do the wash, iron same, and start all over again!

So, this morning we straggled into the car again before sun-up (sans 26 pole vaulting poles on the roof rack) and headed to the Reno International Airport.  (I’m not sure where they get that  “International” bit  –  I guess if you live in Hooterville, even Boise seems exotic!)

After rushing like hell, my flight was 45 minutes delayed getting out (man, could’ve had a French pressed cup after all) and I’m just hoping like heck I make my connection out of Dallas.

One hour later…

Made my flight connection (exactly 2 minutes to spare) and this flight has Wi-Fi – Whoo Hoo!!  I’m posting this from somewhere over east Texas!

In any case, I’ll try and keep you updated throughout my New York adventure– should be a hoot so stay tuned…