The journey begins


I hate flying.

I haven't flown in 10 years and I hated it then. Just from the second-hand stories I knew I was going to hate it more now. Already I've had to give up a perfectly good Zippo lighter. I had forgotten that such a thing might be verboten.

I'm in the airport in Allentown, PA. Edgar is with me. He said he'd never seen California and wanted to see what it was like. I'm taking a turboprop down to Philadelphia and changing planes. Edgar loves the word "turboprop". He keeps saying it over and over, emphasizing the R and the P's. "TurrrrrrboprrrrOP" he says. He rolls the R's and spits out the P's. There's something seriously wrong with Edgar.

I'm going to update this entry as I move from airport to airport. Maybe some pictures if security doesn't forbid. And all airports look the same anyway.


I've arrived in Philadelphia more or less intact, no thanks to the turrrboprrrOP cum roller coaster. I think Edgar chundered in my carry-on. Note to self: Don't read in choppy air. Also, don't eat breakfast croissants that smell like vinyl.

A fellow rattled off his entire itinerary to his seatmate as we "de-planed" (ridiculous word, surely a corporate word) in Philadelphia. "This is the smallest plane I've ever flown in. Yep, the smallest plane I've ever flown in. The smallest plane I ever flew in before was a 727 to Orlando. The biggest plane was a 767 from Miami to The Bahamas. I've got a three hour layover in Philadelphia. Then I fly into Phoenix."

"Mmmm" said the person beside him, not knowing the man from Adam.

A very tall man, with his ball cap planted precariously on the right front quarter of his dome, the bill pointing southeast over his right ear, stood up and nearly dislodged both his cap and his head. I couldn't help but reflect on how cramped the quarters were. If the seats weren't so worn by age I would suspect they had been replaced by smaller models. I think it's just Western Man getting too damn big from hormone fed beef.

Philadelphia Airport charges for their WiFi, the pirates. And I didn't even get a chance to finish writing and post this before having to board. I'll post this when I get to Raleigh-Durham.


I took a slightly larger plane, a jet, although what model I couldn't tell you, out of Philadelphia, arriving an hour later here in Raleigh-Durham. From what I can tell, looking out the window onto the tarmac, I might just as well still be in Allentown. Next comes the long trudge to Phoenix. I would just as soon trudge it as fly it.

As we were getting ready to depart Philadelphia the flight attendant made small talk with the passengers. "I get all the medical cases, seizures, heart attacks, you name it. I don't know why, but I do. I'd rather have a medical than a plane emergency, though."

I asked the apparently cursed flight attendant to please go away before she hexed me into apoplexy. I also looked around to make sure William Shatner wasn't on the plane.

Raleigh-Durham on approach to the airport was almost completely unremarkable. I did notice one housing development in which only one house in the neighborhood had a pool. All the houses were tiny from the air and, about that house, I thought, "The Mayor of Munchkinland."

After the flight was over, as we taxied to the terminal, the cursed flight attendant made some announcements on the intercom. "If you need a wheelchair when you de-plane we can provide one for you. If you didn't have a wheelchair when you boarded the plane you probably won't need one when you de-plane, but we can provide you a wheelchair if you need it."

I rolled my eyes dramatically.

Here, in the Raleigh-Durham Airport, there is a CNBC News store for anyone who requires CNBC News merchandise and simply can't wait to get to CNBC HQ. Have a look.

CNBC News store

The women are wondering what I'm up to. Cameras are suspicious in these days of the War on Terr'r. For all they know I may have a grudge against CNBC.

Also, look at this:

Me and T

My friend, T, brought me to the airport. Look at me, head held high, trying to look optimistic, but secretly worried about my large primary cat and small backup cat.


Phoenix at last but not a Saguaro cactus in sight to lend it's expression of permanent surprise.

The flight from Raleigh-Durham to Phoenix was interminable, with two children crying at every change of cabin pressure.

This was all that was to be seen between Raleigh-Durham and Phoenix so eithnepdb and jackiejj didn't see me waving as I passed over:

Up, up and away

One more leg on the same plane into Oakland and its over.

I'm getting tired.


After a short flight Edgar and I arrived at Oakland Airport. We were exhausted. I perked up a bit when my checked bags were the first to tumble into baggage claim only a little the worse for wear. Edgar didn't care one way or the other since he had been nesting in the carryon the whole trip. I picked up the bags and took them on two long hauls while Edgar watched, once to the shuttle bus and once to where my rental car was parked. Since they didn't have the compact car I had requested I ended up with a PT Cruiser. After driving it, my initial impression was not favorable.

To make matters worse, the hotel at which I had made reservations was a horror. Although I had been given to understand that the hotel was only about a year old that year had apparently been spent traveling in time through the Crimean War or something.

It had seemed to me that staying at an extended stay type of hotel, with its efficiency kitchen and a little laundromat on site, at a somewhat more inexpensive price, might be logical since I was supposed to work in Oakland for two weeks before moving on to Sac o' Tomatoes. What hadn't occurred to me was that unsavory types might find such a setup useful as well. At 12:30 at night there was still a high volume of traffic through the lobby. There was a screaming argument in the parking lot and an ambulance pulled through, lights flashing. After 11pm the front desk had a security screen across it like it was Fort Apache. Someone had urinated in one elevator and dumped food and a liquor bottle in the other. Every carpet was stained with heaven knows what and I fully expected to find a dead hooker under my bed. Edgar commented that I was spoiled, what with my indoor toilets and whatnot. I bit my lip, knowing trouble when I saw it.

I checked out a half hour after I had checked in and went down the street. Edgar and I are in a Sheraton right now and it's very close to where I'll be working but we can't stay here for very long at these prices. A solution will have to be found as quickly as possible. Since the company will pay for any commuting I do between my home base of Sacramento and here in Oakland it may behoove me to suck it up as far as commute time and see if I can find an apartment up there this week, if possible.

Tomorrow I think we'll look at likely apartments on Craigslist and then go into San Francisco for some sight seeing. Also maybe a search for quirkiness in Berkeley since it's right up the street.
  • Current Mood: annoyed
Thanks. I made my final update, edited, and added a picture of what it looked like over the middle of the country as I flew by.
One quickly gets used to flying again but that turboprop flight was interesting, to say the least. I made my final update to the entry.
I meant to tell you that if you pull up hard on the plane's chair-arms, you will help the airplane go up! (Be sure to let go when it's coming back down.)
Yeah, I was trying to save money. And at least it made the trip a bit more interesting. I made my final update to the entry.
Dear God, what an itinerary!

Five years ago I moved across the country with a cat, a laptop, and a suitcase. It has been so worth it. Welcome to California!
Have I mentioned before how much I enjoy reading EVERYTHING you write?
Well, I do! Can't wait to hear how the rest of your cross-country adventure unfolds.
Well, I waved at you anyway! :)

I'm glad you arrived safely. And today is Friday! I hope to hear about your apartment search soon.

Oh, I just realized I will never know any more details about your next-door-wildcat neighbor.

Don't get an apartment with glued-on numbers from Ace Hardware on the door, please!
Oh, I just realized I will never know any more details about your next-door-wildcat neighbor.
I'll miss the Wildebeest as well but I'm sure I'll have quirky new neighbors soon enough.

I've been so busy this past week I haven't had time for a proper post but I'm up early this morning so I'll whip one out. This weekend is do or die on the apartment search. I can't afford these hotels for another week.
Oh, good! I'm waiting to hear.

If you hear screams, sirens in the parking lot, or gunshots, keep looking!

Wishing you well.
God, re-reading this, I'm praying hard for you!
Keep your doors locked, and if you find a dead body in the hallway, please tell us about it!