A day in the life of routine travel - Part One
Trip Start Sep 09, 2005
151Trip End Ongoing
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South on Rt. 5 out of Sacramento, then east on French Camp Road to Rt. 120 you find Oakdale. It is known unofficially as the Cowboy capital of the world. So says the curator of the local Cowboy museum. She states that more members of the Cowboy Hall of Fame come from Oakdale than any other town in the United States. A always thought Texas was the land of BIG TRUCKS and HATS but Oakdale gives it a run for the money. Either the trucks are bigger in Oakdale, or the streets are smaller, because only about 3 or 4 of them can fit on a town block at a time.
This is also the Almond Capital of the World. Hershey's Chocolate has a big factory just outside town. Now, I seem to have noticed someplace that Hershey's makes a candy bar with almonds in it. A logical conclusion might be that they build this big factory here to put the chocolate and almonds together. Answer? No! They ship the almonds to Pennsylvania. Who are the mental geniuses running that company? Probably people with the last name of Hershey and way too much inbreeding.
So along with being the Cowboy Capital of the World and Almond Capital of the world, Oakdale California is also the gateway to Yosemite National Park. To prove it they have a street named Yosemite. It starts downtown and travels all the way through picturesque hills and valleys, cattle country and farmland 90 or so miles to a Yosemite National Park entrance.
The Stanlislaus River is nearby and the county is conveniently named Stanislaus also. I guess it is easier to have to remember only one name as unique as Stanislaus once and cover two locations. It worked for me, so it will for anyone. The river is a recreation area with rapids and tours and fishing. Unfortunately not during the summer vacation and recreation time because it dries up. So I guess there is really no proof. The picture on the brochure might be from another river, or one day they had the entire town of Oakdale and County of Stanislaus throw buckets of water into the dry riverbed at the same time to make the boat float and take the picture.
Apparently Oakdale has not yet gotten around to adding the title of Fishing Capital of the World to its list of claims to fame. However, this is surely an oversight. There are more fishing, bait and tackle shops in the area than restaurants or grocery stores or even gas stations. In addition to specialty fishing stores such as "Fred's Big Worm Shop" every grocery store, gas station and a few restaurants also sell bait and tackle for fishing. Right there in the drug store is an entire aisle devoted to fishing lines, hooks and lures and everything in between. In each grocery store this similarly stocked aisle was located across from the beer. Was this just a coincidence or strategic marketing? I think I know the answer!
My quest to find Oakland California was not at all dissimilar to my other travels. Early (middle of the night) flight out of Orlando. Long security lines. Still half asleep. Wrong tram. Wrong terminal. I only realized these two important details when I got off the tram and looked down to avoid the steamroller stroller heading my way. I noticed interesting decorative tile on the floor. I wondered when this was done or if I just hadn't noticed it before. Thinking I was just tired - or most likely not thinking - I continued on within the crowd. Then I looked up and read the gate numbers - 100 to 140. I thought I usually departed from gate numbers 60 to 90. I checked my boarding pass and sure enough, it said gate 82. I looked around and didn't see my familiar Delta colors - blue, maroon (in my case moron this day) and gray. I only saw orange and khaki. I was in the Southwest terminal. The sleep deprived haze lifted and I realized I needed to re-board the tram and go back to the main terminal so I could board the correct tram and head to the correct terminal and the correct gate to board the correct airplane. I arrived at my correct gate just in time to walk onto the plane. There was nothing exciting or unusual abut the flight to Salt Lake Utah, and this is always a good thing!
I spent some time in the Crown Room waiting for the next flight taking me to Sacramento. Sitting in a chair while recharging my laptop batteries I observed a man sit down, get his laptop out, turn it on, connect a phone cord between his laptop and a phone on a table and start it up. He tried once, he tried twice, and he tried 3 times. He tried a fourth time and got his cell phone out. While he as waiting on hold, apparently with his company helpdesk, he started telling me about his trip. In his case, TRIP was a good word to describe his last 24 hours. Every time he thought he was making progress something would trip him up. He started this trip in Boston Sunday morning and was heading to a customer for a 9:00 a.m. Monday morning meeting in Las Vegas. It was now Monday afternoon and he was only in Salt Lake. He was late and things still didn't look good for him. His Boston flight cancelled. We went to New York instead of Cincinnati. He got to spend the night in the Newark airport. He made an early morning flight to Atlanta and then on to Salt Lake. The next flight to Las Vegas is overbooked, but he might make the 3:00 and arrive in Las Vegas 36 hours late. The northeast was in the midst of some catastrophic weather. There were tornados in Illinois and Indiana, floods in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He was lucky to only be 36 hours late!
Now he finally has Tech Services support on the phone and I observe him carefully following instructions. Click this, type this, and press enter. No luck. Ok, type this, click that and then press enter. Still nothing. Click the other thing, then this and press enter, only HARDER! NOTHING! Type this, click that, pound the enter key,
NOTHING! Well, I was now paying attention more closely. I saw his laptop connected to the phone. I followed the phone line with my eyes to the wall beside me. I picked up the unplugged end of the line and held it up for him see. In his exhausted face I saw a moment of relief as I plugged in the cord and he had success - without having to jump on the enter key with both feet - and his problem was solved. Now he only had to get to Las Vegas. My job was done here!
My day continued without interruption or incident and onto Sacramento. I get my suitcase and head to the holding pen with the other cattle to wait for the bus to take us to the rental car lot.