FAIRFIELD, CALIF — We’re currently in the Bay Area…David’s getting activated. He flies to Texas tomorrow. I don’t know when I’ll get to see him again. Currently blogging from a Holiday Inn – just off the 80.
David told us about this activation ceremony at Travis Air Base. We took off from LA at 6:00 AM. The night before, I took Mark and his dad to Pasadena for Mark’s b-day dinner….Happy B-Day Mark!!!! OK – back to this morning – we zoomed down the 210. We avoided breakfast food and Starbucks in order to escape LA highway gridlock. We succeeded. We made it to Coalinga….passed the smelly cow pasture. I promised myself I’d avoid eating meat tonight. Something about the smell of those who were about to die…just off the freeway. It killed my appetite for cow meat.
We passed a sign for Sacramento – only 166 miles away. It was 10 AM. Mark and I agreed we’d be at Dad’s hotel by Noon.
Then all traffic came to a halt. We found ourselves trapped on the highway 5 parking lot. And it was enough to make us late for David’s ceremony….and it felt like the Air Force punished us for being stuck in traffic.
Some accident. Couldn’t see what. People got out of their cars. Truck drivers turned off their engines. Dogs got out to do their business on the side of the higway. I have pictures…Just haven’t gotten around to posting them, yet. Even my Mom got out and stepped on to the 5 – first time ever. I had Mark take our pictures…I found a traffic report.
The anchor said a truck turned over on the 5 North, near Coalinga – blocking both lanes. The truck had a mess load of carrots. Mark found out from another truck driver that the accident was seven miles down the road and the truck flipped onto another car. Possible injuries. The tow truck just arrived on the scene. ETA for traffic flow – unknown.
Mark said they should release some bunnies by the accident scene.
I swore I was staying off carrots tonight…in protest.
Shit. I was pissed. We woke up early. Mark cut his time with his dad, short. We did everything right just so we could see my bro at his ceremony. Somehow, the highway demi-gods got their panties in a twist….and left us stuck on highway 5 for nearly an hour. Then a semi made a left – drove across the overgrown median and drove down 5 South. The UPS truck driver said there was a bridge behind us. He said we could drive across and parallel to the five. We decided to follow the line of cars, following the truck. We ended up taking the next exit and CA highway patrol pointed us down highway 33 North.
We drove between the farmlands….stuff you don’t see from the five. Another CHP officer pointed us to a freeway entrance for the 5. My mom told them thanks. It’s nice that our CHP want to help drivers….and not stalk them for keeping up with the speed of traffic…like Colorado.
The traffic jam and detour added another hour and half to our trip. We sped up the five – to the 580 – to the 680 – to the bridge – to the 80. We picked up my dad at 1:45. We took the 80 N to the air base. It was 2:01. David told my dad to come into the ceremony in the back and to be quiet. He told my dad that our names were on the guest list.
We got to the gate. We parked the car in the visitor’s area. Another family was trying to go to the same ceremony. The officer asked if they could trying calling their son/brother out of the ceremony.
“I can’t let you go on base without an escort,” he snapped.
Then our turn.
“Fashionably late,” the office proclaimed.
I stared at him with eyes that have been open since 4 AM. “We just drove up from LA,” I quietly told him.
After hemming and hawing and tossing the guest list into my dad’s hands….a member of my bro’s brigade came around to vouch for one of the family’s. We asked her if she knew my bro…”
“Uh…a Captain Vera,” the officer at the gate interjected.
“Lieutenant,” I corrected him. This guy was in the military? I’ve told him my brother’s name and rank, a dozen times….
Thankfully, the officer from my bro’s brigade knew who were talking about. She said she’d vouch for my family.
“Thank you,” my mom said. “We’re so grateful.”
My dad’s phone goes off. David told him the ceremony was over. He said it was too crowded. I squeezed my eyes shut. I teared up. I muttered a thank you to the officer. He apologized curtly.
“He’s just doing his job,” my dad said. He was pissed.
“His job sucks,” I replied.
Only a few more hours left….anybody else want to keep me from spending time with my bro?