It took as long to get from downtown to the airport as it did to fly to Vegas (1 hr. 45 minutes). With some overhead power issues, they shut down the MAX half-way there, loaded us on a shuttle bus to the Blue Gresham bound train, and finally transferred us back to the Red. With our start on the streetcar, it was a 5-step Tri-Met sampler, utilizing all their public transportation options. It took all this plus two elevators, an escalator, handicap ramps, rough sidewalk maneuvering and good old-fashioned muscle to ultimately get our luggage to an Alaska Airline baggage handler. At least, they gave us a break on the extra pounds we packed. Despite all this hassle, we still had time for a Pot Belly sandwich as we waited to board.

The trip had started so smoothly, catching the streetcar and Airport train without any waiting. We were comfortably seated for about ten minutes before they abruptly dumped us off at a busy stop just over the bridge. It was shoulder-to-shoulder from that point on as we were herded like cattle from bus and train-to-train. The big wide smile on my wife’s face began to fade with each detour. Fortunately, the plane took-off even a few minutes early. Our last trip to Vegas was badly delayed, so thoughts of “here we go again” weighed heavily before we got through security unscathed. We were finally on our way.

Travel hassles are all part of the adventure, especially in unhurried retirement. There’s been some doozies through the years, including missed flights or connections, unexpected airport stops, car rental mishaps, rough seas, illness, overnights in airports, lost baggage, miss-booked hotel rooms, bad weather, accidents, and arguments. Flexibility is the best precaution – a luxury we now have without work schedules. Also, our dog Tally is about the only responsibility we can’t always take with us. There’s little reason why we can’t stay a few extra days. It’s only money!

Actually, I still pout and moan if things don’t go as planned. There’s no patience in these old bones, although I am contemplating a meditation course that a friend teaches. Perhaps, I can adopt some of Buddha’s philosophies in the process? In our recent travels to Thailand, we joked about the constant presence of gold statues celebrating Buddha and his often exposed rear end – “Buddha Butt.” When I brought this up at the recent breakfast meeting, the guy next to me claimed to have invented that religion. “I’m a plumber,” he quipped. I hope my Buddhist friends can overlook these crass butt-crack jokes, and I can learn the patient, forgiving ways of Buddhism. Maybe it can even fix my bladder problems?