Soaring - Unchained Melody - CycleBlaze

November 20, 2023

Soaring

Soaring

But wait, before we were in the security line at the Portland International Airport when I found the loose change and a stranger made everything all good again for me simply by saying four words, Scott picked us up in the RAVEN (his VW wagon) and our journey to Saigon and beyond began.  

As he drove he told us that vultures make up for their looks by possibly being the smartest of all birds.  They can also climb to 10,000 feet and spot rotting meat on the ground.  I told of my one final coughing fit I had at 1AM three days earlier and how much phlegm was released and that I'm sure the strange virus is on the run now.  It was an interesting ride to the airport.  There is always, at times, a silence in the car before a big trip.  We had made so many preparations that exhaustion is part of that silence.  A gazillion things run through the mind at the same time and that's the other part of the silence.  But it was a lovely ride, enlightening about those vultures for sure - always fun with Scott, but he too was just beginning to recover from a cold.  Masking inside the RAVEN was in order.

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So, our journey began on the 19th but only 5 minutes into the 20th we left our continent from San Francisco.  We didn't get to experience much of the 20th and somewhere in the darkness over the Pacific the 21st began.  They say time flies when you are having fun but we weren't really having much fun.  Flying isn't the fun it used to be and to be in the air for more than 13 hours it's all about endurance.

Gone are the little slippers and toothbrushes in the bathrooms and I remember cute little free kits full of toiletries.  The food isn't as good anymore and apparently in-flight magazines are a thing of the past.  I can't look for very long at the card detailing the configuration of the plane and what to do to save yourself in a crash.  It's just not good reading material.

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John Solemwowowowowow
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3 months ago
Bruce LellmanTo John SolemI know.... right?!
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3 months ago
Brent HirakBring back inflight mags for god sakes
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2 months ago

I guess I'm remembering a long bygone era when there were always empty seats and everyone, even we who had paid a pittance for our tickets, could stretch out across many seats and actually have a luxurious sleep.  For me, sleep on planes is now impossible.  There isn't one empty seat on our plane and the seats feel way more cramped than they used to be. Sardines come to mind.

I remember one time on a flight, in the middle of the night I wanted to celebrate my embarking on a long trip in Asia. I had worked hard all summer at crappy jobs almost right up to the time I was leaving for the airport. I was the only person awake on that plane besides the flight attendants and hopefully the pilots.  I wanted to have my own quiet little celebration so I asked a flight attendant for a glass of brandy.   She came back with a glass and the entire bottle for me.  Apparently she recognized my need to celebrate.  That would never happen today.

One time I was returning home from a nearly year-long trip in Asia.  It was 1979 and there were six of us on that huge 747!  Those days are long gone and for good reason, same as when smoking was allowed.  I remember what a farce it was to have a smoking section on a plane!  But no in-flight magazine anymore?  Too high a cost for paper and printing?  I suppose that's good or is it that the share holders are demanding more profits?  I mean, we couldn't even pick our seats ahead of time unless we paid something!  That isn't a friendly thing.

It just seems to not be as fun anymore to fly unless you can pay lots of money.  It's a sad way to start trips that used to be the most thrilling thing in the world for someone like me.  I buoy my spirits by thinking of vultures soaring and spying a meal way down there.  Maybe breakfast will be better than dinner was.  

lovebruce

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Steve Miller/GrampiesWe have just gone through the wringer, finding flights to Cancun and then coping with the nickel and dime machine run by the airline to make sure we arrive as broke as possible. Our magnanimous airline allows a "personal item" of 15x33x43 centimeters, and beyond that the next step is to pay another $105 for luggage (each, coming and going) plus $82 for the bikes (each, coming and going). There is no food and no entertainment and the internet is undecided about whether they charge for water. So in short, your entry here resonates with me (Steve).
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3 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesOh gosh-I am so glad you posted this litany of complaints about air travel (all of which we share, by the way). Earlier today Steve was moaning to me about how no one else but him seems to put in a long, detailed rant about airline malfeasance. He feels better now, having your rant to back him up.
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3 months ago
Bruce LellmanTo Steve Miller/GrampiesSteve, this sounds more awful than anything we have ever experienced. We wouldn't be able to afford it. Maybe it would pay to drive down to Seattle or even Portland next time and fly from there. You can always leave a car in my driveway. I'm sorry this has been so awful for you. The airlines need to change.
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3 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesThanks Bruce. One thing about any adversity while cycle touring, we always say "Well, it's bloggable!"
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3 months ago
Bruce LellmanTo Steve Miller/GrampiesHi Dodie,
Always happy to be partners in rant with Steve. It really is sad how air travel went from being so fun and exciting to being something I do not look forward to at all.
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3 months ago
Bruce LellmanTo Steve Miller/GrampiesYes, content is valuable!
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3 months ago
Jen RahnEven thinking about being on an airplane makes me feel tense.

So I will think, instead, about your pre-departure phlegm release. That *has* to be another sign of good luck, ┬┐No?

And vultures! To be able to spot a meal from 10,000 feet up.

And they never have to fly all packed together like humans in a metal tube.
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2 months ago
Ron SuchanekYou summed up the misery that is air travel very well. The airlines, like most other corps, are devoid of creativity and run by short-sighted snotty-nosed MBAs who are driven to are driven to squeeze every last cent of value for themselves and the shareholders, at the expense of their customers. And we customers are complicit. We tolerate this cattle car treatment, and sort of deserve it by collectively looking for the bottom dollar price. I certainly do. But, it's a means to an end.
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2 months ago