Four Planes, Five Airports, and 2,600 Miles

How far would you go for a friend? I’m racing to post this from Washington-Dulles, the fourth of five airports I will visit today. Thursday night after entertaining my grandmother I picked up a cryptic voicemail from a friend. I called him back, and he asked me for an unusual favor. He knew I was in the eastern part of the US, and had time on my hands. One of my objectives in being unemployed and traveling has always been to take advantage of spontaneous opportunities, and this seemed right up my alley. My friend had been looking for a Sprinter van to take on climbing trips, and found his dreamride in West Virginia, 2,600 miles from Portland by highway. He asked me to fly to West Virginia, pick up the van, and drive it to Portland- all expenses paid, plus a little extra. I’ll see most of the US in the process, and probably see a few more friends along the way. I’ve got the time for this because of another phone call I got on Thursday…

Despite the good vibe that my touring bike has given me, I got also got a call on Thursday from the mechanic looking at my bike prior to leaving for South America. He was replacing the bottom bracket that was wiggling into oblivion when he noticed a sizable crack in the frame. They figured it was a fatal flaw in an already tired bike. I sent it over to the impeccably built TiCycles to get it welded up, only to have them insist that I not leave the country on the bike. Buyer beware- while I support a re-use economy, I should have just bucked up and bought a new Surly Long Haul Trucker instead of going for the bargin on a used bike. I’ve got a lot of decisions to make about how this bike tour is going to unfold, but the plan is the plan, and sometimes you gotta stick to the plan.

The funny part was the difficulty of getting from Montgomery, AL to Charleston, WV. I was scheduled to fly from Montgomery to Portland via Dallas, but the cheapest ticket we could get on short notice was from Dallas, via Austin and Washington D.C., to Charleston. Probably more of a curse than a blessing, my layover in Dallas was scheduled at 40 min, and 37 min in Austin. My flight from Montgomery ended up being late and suddenly the CrossFit WOD was making it across two terminals in Dallas for a flight (on a different airline that I wasn’t checked in for) that left 19 minutes after I crossed the transom.

I made the flight, made it to Austin, grabbed a sandwich at The Salt Lick kiosk, and jumped on my flight to Washington. I’ve got one more leg to go, and now that I’ve finally finished my addiction to “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” I might actually get some of the trip planning done that’s I’ve been putting off so far this week.

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2 thoughts on “Four Planes, Five Airports, and 2,600 Miles

  1. Lois Carlson

    Loving your freedom to help a friend, Skander…I forgot to tell you that I think you should go to Guatemala to see what kind of service project your buddy is doing there. Also do you remember Kurt and Armin Shillinger? They live in Patagonia now with their two boys, and I’m sure would
    love to see you when you get further down south. For what it’s worth, Mom

    Reply
  2. lura

    Hey Skander. Enjoy your cross-country trip! I am having a 5 airport ‘day’ as well on my way back fro Tanzania. Currently on flight from Frankfort to Seattle. Halfway home. Back to work on Monday. Crazy.

    Reply

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