We are certainly NOT in Kansas anymore, Toto!
I really wasn’t talking with that Wizard of Oz character recently, but rather my bride, Debbie, while we were stopped in bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-15, northbound in our rental car. We were once again visiting huge San Diego County, near Escondido, California, a city we have regularly enjoyed since we permanently relocated from San Diego to Our Town in the fall, 1981.
Wow, what a cultural shock we experience each time we travel to the west coast city of San Diego, long ago nicknamed “America’s Finest City”.
The impact begins as soon as our commercial jet aircraft touches down on SD’s historic Lindbergh Field Airport runway. On our recent trip, it took 45 minutes to taxi from the runway to our unloading gate. Once we deplaned our aircraft, it took another 45 minutes for our checked luggage to arrive in the baggage claim area. Neither of those types of long delays have ever been part of our local experience, flying in and out of our Stillwater Regional Airport (SWO). We have used SWO a dozen times since scheduled service began here with American Airlines, August, 2016. It certainly has been great for Our Town to have secured this major air carrier.
Next in SD, we are off to get our rental car, and more time was consumed, riding in the large shuttle bus to the central car rental structure. This was followed by waiting in a long line before the rental agency’s clerk rented us their vehicle. Now, we’re off to our traditional airport arrival eating venue, iconic (1940’s origin) “El Indio”, a small Mexican food restaurant, located just northeast of the airport. Once again, the food was simply delicious, and the patrons were lined up about a dozen deep to taste their favorite menu items.
You see, dear folks, the Golden State of California, currently has an estimated 38 million people, or to put in another way, approximately 1 out of every 8 Americans live in California. Also, current business estimates are if California were a separate country on Earth, it would have the fifth-largest world economy! By comparison, our spacious Oklahoma has one tenth the population of the Golden State. Wow.........
Yes, California seems to have it all, the Pacific Ocean, mountains, deserts, national parks, rivers, lakes, and a zillion things to do. All that diversity is appealing, including coastal San Diego’s eternal spring like weather. It is appealing as long as you are willing to share your living experiences with the masses of fellow humans. My lady, Ms. Debbie, lived her San Diego life from birth to age 30, and I lived there, 1978-81. In order to see her sisters’ family, brother’s family, and our longtime friends, at least once per year, my bride and I are reacquainted with the San Diego County lifestyle of hustle and bustle 24x7.
It would be nice to hire Uber, Lyft, or commercial taxis to get us from Point A to Point B when visiting the San Diego area, but doing it that way isn’t practical at all. For us, the driving distances are just too far apart in this very large county. In their North County area, Escondido is about 40 miles from the airport, and the Pacific coastal communities are about 20 miles west of the inland cities. We also have relatives in the East County area (Ramona), and this small city is about an hour’s drive inland, involving mostly winding highways. Therefore, it is imperative for us to rent a vehicle, and, thus, be prepared to drive always crowded I-5, I-15, I-8, I-805, or any of the numerous other multilane freeways that crisscross the metropolis like spider webs. Also, be ready to drive your vehicle around 80 miles-per-hour, even though most speed limits are 65 mph, because if you only drive the normal speed limit, you will cause further traffic backup problems. Because there are so many vehicles on the roadways, it is almost impossible for law enforcement officials to stop anyone due to causing possible interrupted traffic issues, and, thus, additional highway problems.
All being considered, however, once we get to our various destinations each time we travel to SD, the conversations, laughs and human bonding we always experience with our loved ones, make our travel efforts all worthwhile.
Now, when we are ready to return home, if we could just click our heals together, and be immediately whisked back to Our Town! Wouldn’t that be the absolute BEST travel solution of all?