Going home (maybe?)

June 2, 2022

Midnight saw the warm glow that made us feel good turn to a red haze of frustration when our first flight was canceled.  Dave happened to notice his phone blinking from the text from the airline – at midnight! Our first expected flight going from Portland to Newark was canceled. Due to this flight being canceled, they changed all of our flights.  We were now expected to leave at the following midnight instead of at noon and we were not going to get home until June 3rd.  Unfortunately, our rental car needed to be returned at 10 AM on the 2nd, our pet sitter was leaving on the 2nd, and our ride from the Buffalo airport was going to pick us up on the 2nd.

Dave spent the next 2.5 hours on the phone and soon (soon?) we had a new plan: Eugene to San Francisco, then SF to Newark, then Newark to Buffalo (on our original last flight). Heading off and getting to the airport early, we chilled at the airport while waiting for our first flight. Soon enough, the plane took off to San Francisco. Yay!! A disaster was averted……uh, oh, talk about speaking too soon. As we were landing in San Francisco we received notification that our last leg of the journey was canceled, which then meant all our flight arrangements were cancelled.  Heading quickly to customer service we soon became resigned to the fact we would be flying overnight. They rebooked us going from San Francisco to Chicago and then Chicago to Buffalo, arriving the next day.

In order to avoid having to try and sleep on a plane during the red-eye flight, we asked if there was a way to get to Chicago earlier.  The representative graciously gave us standby seats on an earlier flight going from SF to Chicago. This new flight, which was expected to leave at 1 pm, was delayed by three hours and the standby list had grown to 11 people.  Fortunately, Dave’s status as a frequent flier and credit card holder with the airline placed us first on the list. We were told, though, that “only one seat” was available. The flight delay created another opening and we were able to get on board. The plane was filled with a group of medical professionals who were headed to Chicago for a medical conference.

Due to the delayed takeoff, the plane landed late into Chicago and many passengers had a lot of tight connections.  The flight attendants began making announcements of gates for those passengers had tight connections.  First on the list was a flight going from Chicago to Buffalo which was much earlier than our scheduled flight! Dave and Kathy both had the same idea and started texting each other. The passengers on the plane were gracious enough to wait until those who had tight connections got off first.  We rushed to the gate for the flight leaving for Buffalo, but were told, “Sorry, only one seat left.”  As we debated who would go, the guy fiddled with his computer, fiddled some more, and got bugged by the ramp agent who pressed him to get the plane moving. Finally a supervisor came by and asked what was going on.  The representative explained the issue. The supervisor told us to get on the plane while he worked his magic.  We ran – not walked – to get aboard where we found the “one seat available” was actually around 7 or 8 empty seats due to several people missing their connections. We were home only one hour after our originally scheduled arrival time.

So the frustrated 24 hours of red haze previously experienced gave way to the gnawing hunger in our stomachs as we realized we had not eaten for 12 hours.  We were relieved that our biggest problem now was finding a place to grab some food as we headed home.

We want to give a big thank you to all of the staff at United Airlines who worked to help us get home.  We muddled through multiple (six!) iterations of our flight plans, but in the end it all worked out. We got home to our kitties and our bed!!



May 27-29, 2022

You would think logically that the next thing would be all about happenings in a series of threes, but the title is just in reference to the third posting on our journey to three states:  SLC>Idaho>Oregon but this is the extent of our threes.  We continued our exploration of NPS sites by visiting Craters of the Moon National Monument Craters Of The Moon National Monument & Preserve (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov) and explored the miles of lava that provides a eerie moon-like quality to our earth bound hiking. We walked up a trail where we had a 365 view of the area and, except for some sporadic oases that were bright green spots of living plants, was just miles and miles of lava flow. Next, we headed to Hagerman Fossil Beds and, after a bit of back and forth, we finally found the recently moved visitor center. While it was interesting to go to the site, we were underwhelmed by some of the displays. Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)  It was still fun to visit and learn about some of the findings in the area, including fossils of ancient zebra-like horses that originated in North America.


After a restful night in Boise, Idaho, we headed to Nez Perce National Historic Site where we learned about the local indigenous tribes who brought so much history to the local area. The visit deepened our appreciation for the area and the local history.  Learn About the Park – Nez Perce National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)  We then spent the night near Walla Walla, Washington, where we took time to go to church. The sermon was a little more energetic than we normally expect and the priest “yelled” a lot.   Kathy was grateful that we happened upon a mass that was exclusively in Spanish, so she had not a clue about anything he said. The mass lasted a very long hour and 45 minutes and we felt at the end that we needed some peace and quiet, so after walking the mile back to our motel in the now darkness, off to bed we went. Morning saw us get up bright and early and head to Whitman Mission, which was about a couple of missionaries who came to the area to teach about Christianity and met an untimely end when the local tribes took issue with the mission. The relationship between the Whitmans and the two local tribes started out as an amicable relationship and at some point the relationship soured.  An outbreak of malaria and ever increasing homesteaders certainly did not help relations. The relevance for this mission is how cultural perspective and the interactions can cause miscommunication and “bad blood.” The visit was an interesting viewpoint after visiting the Nez Perce Historical Site. Whitman Mission National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)  The last NPS site we visited was John Day Fossil Beds which was a treat to visit.  The visitor center had so many displays and the science behind the evolution of the dinosaurs was fascinating. We spent quite a bit of time going through each room and learning about the fossils found in the area.  Fossils of ancient rhino-like creatures, saber-toothed cats, and 3-toed horses were Dave’s favorites.  John Day Fossil Beds is one of the largest areas where fossils can be found and it is reflected in the amount of displays. Well worth the visit. John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)


After a nice evening’s rest, we headed off to Eugene, Oregon, to visit our daughter Jill and her husband, Shea. We got into the area towards evening and checked into the hotel and immediately went over for a visit. We had a wonderful Thai dinner from a food truck that could compete with 5 star          restaurants in how fresh and delicious the meal was. The next day, bright and early (after Kathy had finished working), we headed to Jill and Shea’s again where Kathy made some homemade food. We then took off to visit the Sea Lion Cave where we were able to get up close and personal viewing some Sea Lions.  We didn’t get as close as we were in the Galapagos, but it was still pretty fun. The coastline of Oregon is amazing and we enjoyed the views. It is one of the most beautiful states we have ever visited. Soon we were back to Jill and Shea’s where Kathy resumed cooking some homemade meals. Kathy, ever the critic, found fault with everything except the Key Lime Pie. Soon we headed “home” to rest at the hotel. The next day saw us go over again where we chilled and cooked some more.  Again Kathy was disappointed.  We then headed to visit a national wildlife refuge. Along the drive we did see several bald eagles, but the preserve was missing birds and endothermic animals.  We did get to see a good-sized snake hanging out in the middle of the trail.  Back at Jill and Shea’s we changed things up.  Dave made his famous mac and cheese which Kathy felt was perfect.  Chilling and talking for a while was on the agenda. The time with them was fun, but seemed short and we look forward to going back and seeing all of our family.  The visit ended on a warm glow basking in the love of our family.