David - Oregon February 2012
  • I seem to have been travelling a lot in the last several days.

    It started Monday around noon, as I shushed down Kangaroo through light fluffy snow, about 6 inches or so. My destination was the bottom of the Outback Chair on Mt Bachelor, near Bend in Oregon. It was great, zooming through the trees and over bumps and landing in deep powder.

    The chairlift wasn’t busy, but I didn’t get an upgrade anyway. As we got closer to the top the weather turned fierce, with 40-50mph gusts of 25F air laden with freezing rain that hit your face and stripped off the outer layers of skin.

    I went to the lodge and met Kathy and Grant (Kathy’s son) and Robert. Grant and Robert had wanted to ski together, but all they wanted to do was this one particular run through trees. It was great to see Robert enjoying skiing, he really enjoyed it and he enjoyed playing with Grant.

    It was time for us to leave. We jumped into the rental car and started the slow drive down along icy roads with enough grit to stop most of the sliding around. Down in bend the road was clear, so we zoomed towards the airport. Oregon’s a funny place – it’s against the law to pump your own gas. (No, I’m not kidding.) So you have to wait while some chump making minimum wage decides when to come out and fill up your car. Then you give him your credit card.

    Then on to the airport. Redmond/Bend Municipal Airport has a very convenient place to change from wet cold snow clothes into warm dry ones – right next to your car. Literally. Fortunately the airport is so quiet I could even convince Robert not to be shy.

    Flight to Phoenix was uneventful. US airways managed to get us there. (Unlike on the way up to Redmond when I had to abandon the plan and switch to Alaska Airlines because US/United was wholly incapable. Actually it was really just US Airways – they couldn’t get a landing slot in San Francisco.)

    Spent a whole 7 hours at home before heading back to the airport for an 08:45 to San Francisco on US Airways. What was I thinking? Same exact thing happened – they couldn’t get a landing slot in San Francisco and I ended up missing my flight from SFO to Taipei. Fortunately United really came though – they sent me to Hong Kong (even got to keep my upgrade) and it was much nicer flight because it was non stop. Then a quick hour to Taipei on China Airlines (remember how we dreaded flying them to Kaohsiung?) I landed in Taipei 10 minutes before the United flight from San Francisco/Narita.

    While I was waiting in Phoenix I was talking to a Motivational Speaker (George Burk). He had survived a military plane crash during the Vietnam war. One hand had no fingers and the other one was damaged, and he walked with a limp. He was flying to Redmond, on US Airways/United. They switched him to Alaska too.

    So, avoid flying US airways if you need to make a connection in San Francisco. If you have to fly them, give yourself more than a 2 hour connection time.

    And, Mt Bachelor represents excellent value for your ski dollar, but the weather can be really nasty.

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