Rolling down the highway, the shuttle took us farther and farther from DD and closer to San Francisco. I was resigned to my fate of not being able to take pictures any time soon. My sister/seat-mate was an excellent conversationalist and we whiled away the time in visiting as if we hadn’t already been living together for the past week, more or less.
A couple of tourists, we were craning our necks to see the countryside and we were both thrilled to see the Golden Gate Bridge from the opposite end we had before.
The shuttle pulled up to the terminal and the driver unloaded our bags at the curbside check-in. It couldn’t get much handier than that. We had a little while before our flight boarded but it wasn’t enough time for me to unlock my enormous suitcase (locking was permitted then) and rummage around for batteries. We thought.
We headed for the gate where we were to get on the plane and sat down to wait the boarding call. We had flown into San Francisco separately but we were flying out together. I would be spending the next week at my sister’s home. I hadn’t been there since Christmas of 1980 and I was looking forward to our time together and being able to explore the Great Northwest.
Chattering like a couple of magpies, we were startled to hear our names called. We were being paged by the airline desk clerk. Answering the call, we went over to the counter. The airline had overbooked the plane and we were being bumped. WHAT?!! My brother-in-law would be going to the airport to meet us after the two hour flight and there was no way to get in touch with him. Voicing our disapproval didn’t get us anywhere. There were a good half dozen of us who were so inconvenienced.
The clerk informed both of us that we would get lunch vouchers and we’d each receive a $100 voucher good for any flight for a limited amount of time. There was nothing for us to do but accept them. Now, I might have handled it differently but this is now and that was then. My sister gave my my $100 voucher since she didn’t plan to go anywhere any time soon. Just so you know, all the flights I would have wanted to take were much more than $200 and I never got around to using them.
Along with the others, we collected our lunch vouchers and headed for a relatively nice restaurant where we all sat down at tables close to each other. Misery loves company.
I scanned the menu for something vegetarian and comforting. Comfort food almost always translates to fattening—full of empty calories. So what if I was trying to eat vegan. I needed something cheesy and rich. I don’t remember exactly what I got but it was up in the stratosphere as far as fat and down in the depths, nutrition-wise. We sat at a table for two across from each other and glumly ate our free meal.
To add insult to injury, we had to fly standby on the next flight. Fortunately, it wasn’t as fully booked and there were a couple of people who didn’t show. After waiting around for a couple of hours, we were finally able to board. We didn’t know where my brother-in-law was. He could be waiting at our destination, frantic because we hadn’t shown up. Not having cell phones, we couldn’t remedy the situation.
If I’d had access to my suitcase, I could have gotten my spare batteries. I wasn’t about to spend my precious funds on overpriced batteries in the airport shops so I’d just have to go without proof of what I’d seen. It really was kind of a relief not to be squinting at an image on a camera, anyway.
Boarding the plane, we found our seats were bulkhead seats and we could see the first class passengers. My sister let me sit next to the window. She’d seen the sights on the way down. She’d let me see them on the way back.
The plane’s engines were started and we taxied out to the runway. Putting on the brakes, the engines revved until the plane shook like a leaf in the wind. My sister, the one who was scared of ferris wheels, didn’t look too uncomfortable but I was sure she was a tad nervous. I was nonchalant as the Seasoned Flyer.
There were landmarks the pilot pointed out, most notably Mount St. Helens. I was kind of put out with myself for being so stingy with my funds not to buy more batteries but there was nothing I could do about it. I was awed to see that powerful volcano that had brought such destruction to the area in a matter of minutes.
Other landmarks paled in comparison but the countryside was gorgeous from our vantage point. I’d look out my window and then I’d try to make myself taller so I could see out the window on the other side. I didn’t want to miss anything. I’m amazed at people who can settle in and sleep with so much going on beneath them.
Just about two hours had past when the pilot turned on the seatbelt light and the flight attendant instructed us to get ready to land. Now, the big question was, would our ride be there or would he have given up and gone home?