24 Great Hours

I ran into my friend, Mark, at the Boise airport. He is a captain with Southwest Airlines and was en route to work in Oakland. I was heading to Petaluma to meet Justine Toms for a radio interview.
I’ve known Mark for years and see him regularly at the gym. I know his wife Karla and their new golden retriever. I learned more about him on the hour long flight than in our previous 7 year friendship. It was a pleasure to get past the small talk that dominates our gym chat time.

I left a few copies of A Million Steps at random locations in the airport. My inscription said, “This book found you for a reason. Enjoy the Journey.” I hope the recipients contact me!

The yellow arrows that directed me across the Camino were replaced with my talking Samsung phone. It barked turn by turn directions and guided me 52 miles through the dark night on unfamiliar roads to my hotel. The restaurant was closed so my only option for a late dinner was the bar. Fortunately, their menu was extensive and I was soon munching on a club sandwich. Two other patrons entered the pub and were upset to learn the kitchen was closed. I felt compelled to give them half of my triple decker.

I woke up and drove to a local gym to work on biceps, chest, and spent time on the elliptical. This was my first business trip in over 13 years. I was not used to occupational travel with time for myself in the morning. I could really get used to this form of life on the road! After the sweatfest, I asked four strangers for the best breakfast nook in Petaluma. Three affirmative votes sent me to the Tea Room. I saw a mountain of French toast slabs on a plate at a neighbor’s table. When I asked about the quality, she told me to order something else and to get an extra plate. She off loaded about 600 exquisite calories to me. It went well with my chicken-sausage and artichoke scramble. As you would imagine, the Bay Area sourdough was above and beyond.

Most of my radio interviews are done over the phone. This was an in-studio interview and I assumed it would be in a fancy high tech studio. At 1:00, I found myself at Peggy’s back boor in a residential neighborhood. I presented my gift box of 12 Idaho Spud candy bars and spent about 15 minutes admiring Peggy’s art. Lou ran the high tech audio, Peggy and Coleen were the cheering section, and Justine conducted court. I shared the hour with Lydia Smith (Camino Documentary Director/Producer). It flew by in a nanosecond. Peggy gave me a nice piece of art as a parting gift.

The talking phone directed me back to the Oakland Airport. When I dropped off the car, the attendant asked if the CD in the player was mine. When I said no, his question was, “Who the hell is Rod Stewart?” He did not look that young.

The Camino is alive and well in my heart. Prior to the trip, I would have missed 90% of the small moments that were the meat of the trip. With my new perspective, I savored every ounce of this 24 hour journey.