On The Road
I'll be up before the sun. A very still time of morning with the only noise being the booming of the surf except when the wind is kicking up. Then the trees will be talking. Downtown Yachats is quiet this time a day except for Robin Kingsbury who has been baking her fresh daily supply of delicacies at her shop Robin and What's His Name since 5:00 AM. Quiet and deserted, that's Yachats at this time of day.
However, for me it's North to the tiny airport in Newport. It's a nice easy drive, no traffic out yet. After I find a parking space it's time to begin to gear up to start another chapter of "on the road". It's like stepping through a door into another world. The day started out calm, peaceful and quiet with nobody around, but that's about to change.
Entering the small terminal building I'll engage in my the first conversation of the day. The neon lights are bright, the coffee is on and the energy level picks up. The room quickly fills as the pilot and other passengers arrive. After we all weight in so they can gauge the fuel necessary for the trip because it's a small plane, we head out and climb abroad.
Once the engines cough into life I'll slip into full travel mode and taxiing out to the runway I'm ready for the short flight to Portland. When the pilot hits full power we lift off into the sunrise. Of course, being in a small aircraft means you feel everything and if it's rough weather it's quite a ride, but on calm days it's dreamlike with incredible views.
After a few minutes the city of Portland appears below and we begin to descend into Portland International Airport. We're a toy plane compared to the others so we'll scoot down the runway in a hurry to the passenger gate and out of the way. Super jets whiz by landing and others roar off into the sky. The pilot shuts down the engines, baggage is retrieved from the wing storage hold, and it's on to the next leg of the journey.
Inside this terminal I see more people than I've seen in some time. Goodbye rural, hello urban! The mix of races, ages, sizes and shapes, further heightens the sensation of entering into a different world. A few steps to another gate and I'm on board a large, fully staffed jet bound for California. No weight check necessary here, just find your assigned seat, strap in, and get ready to launch. The engines whine, safety instructions are given, and in a flash we're airborne with Mount Hood looming large in the east. A turn back Westward towards the Coast for a moment, over Portland again, then up and away due South. We'll settle at cursing altitude and in a short time begin to descend into Sacramento. It's barley 9:30 a.m. and I'm in a totally different space than I was a little earlier.
The airport in Sacramento is crowded and outside cars, cabs and shuttle buses are buzzing back and forth. I'll stop for a second watching in all the action and humanity on the move and take a deep breath. I can feel my small town mentality fading away. It's gone and here I go, running with the rest of them for the shuttle buses to the rental cars so I can get on with my agenda...
Next time I'll tell you what happens on the road.....