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The Day Someone Unplugged the LA Airport

March 26, 2014

I’m sorry sir, all flights to LAX have been cancelled.

All of them? What happened?

Apparently they experienced a power outage.

So, someone unplugged the entire airport?

It would appear so. Is there anything else I can help you with?

Can you put me into a nearby airport? I really have to be at my meeting tomorrow.

I’m sorry, the LAX problems have put a strain on the other airports. All flights are full and have waiting lists. . .You won’t make it.

How about a rental car? Can I rent a car? How far is it from Oakland to LA?

It’s about 400 miles. But, we are completely sold out. The only rentals we have are locals.

I wasn’t actually headed to LA, I needed to go to the Kern River. Actually, I needed to get to a rafting company in Kernville. The directions seemed to be turn East at Bakersfield and drive until the road ends.

I was the president of RESMARK systems and I was spending the summer visiting customers and prospective customers. Ironically, I visited dozens of rafting companies and never went rafting that summer. I’d seen several companies in and around Oakland. The next leg of my trip was Oakland -> LA/Kernville and then home from LA.

I’ve never really been one to accept that I couldn’t change my circumstances. I’ve written before about being stuck in the middle of nowhere with a dead car and a deadline to be somewhere else in less than 24 hours. (What Would You Do? Stuck on a Lonely Road With a Young Child And A Dead Car?) I refused to believe that something as simple as a shuttered airport was going to stop me. But, what were my options? I couldn’t fly. No matter how I looked at it, there was no way to fly into the LA area in time to get to where I needed to be. Kernville was a three hour drive from LA.

And I couldn’t drive. I was stuck at the Oakland/SF airport. They were not going to rent me a car to take to LA. Actually, I was going to have rent a car once I got to LA anyway, and drive out to Kernville.

My flight out of LA was in two days. If I couldn’t get to LA, I was going to have to reschedule that flight to leave out of Oakland. . .and then it hit me. (You’ve probably already figured out the solution.) I couldn’t drive to LA and leave the car at the LA airport. But, I COULD rent a “local” in Oakland with unlimited miles and drive to Bakersfield, turn left, drive another hundred miles to Kernville and then reverse course after my meeting. A quick calculation told me that I was probably looking at 500 miles each way. Eight hours there and eight hours back.

They had the new Dodge Chargers for rent. . .okay, call it six hours there and six back.

A quick call to my office manager to get him started on changing the tickets a silver Charger and long stretches of pretty boring scenery, and I made it to my meeting in Kernville on time.

Ironically, by the time we got the Oakland to LA flight refunded and the Oak to Salt Lake City flight booked, the cost was less than my previous trip, even with the rental car.

Sometimes you just can’t find a way around an obstacle. But, if you are going to strike out, go out swinging. You might just connect and get to drive around the bases in a really cool car.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

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