As I prepared for my trip to northern California it seems like I went over my checklist about a dozen times. Each time I found something that I needed to pack or change. Somehow I ended up feeling confident that everything was good to go. I packed my bike and gear into a bike box I got from a local dealer (thanks, “Buy My Bikes” of San Juan Capistrano!). I shipped it using bikeflights.com, which always ends up saving me a chunk of cash when I ship my bikes. I sent it to the Travelodge in Eureka on Monday who said they would hold it for me. Even though the tracking confirmed it, I called the hotel and they confirmed that it arrived.
I work about 3 blocks from the airport I was departing from (Orange County / John Wayne / Santa Ana International Airport), and my flight left at about 4:30 PM that Friday. So I worked a half day and walked to the airport. Everything was going according to plan, amazingly. The flight departed on time and I was off.
The flight laid over in San Francisco International (SFO) for a while giving me time to eat dinner at the airport and have a look around. SFO was actually a pretty interesting place, at least the part if it that I was in.
The second small leg of the flight was delayed a few minutes but they made up for it, and the small jet was very comfy. One nice thing about smaller planes is that there are no middle seats. I had the window seat. When I was not talking to the golfer sitting next to me I was in awe of the view as the clouds swirled around the mountains below and sun set the rim of the sky ablaze in a fading orange band.
If there was any snag in the trip, it was surface transportation from the airport to Eureka. Lyft/Uber showed there was service at Arcata airport on their websites. But the app told a different story. When I got on the ground and tried to get a pickup, neither app showed any service available to the airport. Lyft showed that I had to be picked up a half mile away in the middle of nowhere. Something was not right. There were cabs waiting outside the tiny, quaint, cold, dark terminal. I think if I had hacked at if for a while I might have gotten Lyft service within an hour. Instead I decided to use the warm cab sitting curbside. It cost me a few bucks more than the fare than the Lyft app showed, but I did not trust the quoted fare at that point. I was happy to get a ride to my destination.
I checked into the hotel, carried my my bike box to my room and did a quick assessment of my gear. All was well. The box had taken a few hits but it did what it was supposed to do and protected my gear inside. I waited until the morning to fully assemble the bike. I unpacked only what I needed to get comfortable for the evening and slept well.