Bill & Margo's Big Adventure

El Cajon Travel Blog

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Margo and I had gotten married back in April, but due to circumstances beyond our control, we didn't get to take a honeymoon trip until August.  Even though my Dad had been in the Air Force, and we had lived in several locales before he retired, I had never flown before. Margo's travels had consisted of road trips as well. We have a daughter, Jolene, that would nearly be 3 years old the end of August. So she had never flown before either. Yes, a combination of poverty and a sheltered existance had conspired to confine us to the state of Colorado, for most of our lives. But that would all change. This year, 1987, we would be going to San Diego. Here we would visit my best friend, and best man, Dennis. He and his girlfriend, Carrie, lived in an apartment complex in a San Diego suburb, El Cajon.

Up early, showered, dressed, and finished with the packing. Then we loaded up and were off to Stapleton International Airport in Denver. We were all very excited about both the trip, and the flight before it. We arrived way too early, but we didn't care. Having never had a reason to be in an airport before, we did a little exploring once we got through security and to our terminal. We looked in shops and got something to eat, and then finally got to board the plane.

We sat together and gave Jolene the window seat (even though we all wanted to see!), got strapped in and waited. It seemed like it took forever, but I'm sure it was only about 20 minutes before everyone was seated and their carryons stowed. Soon we started to move. We kept moving. We rolled along and just kept rolling. We thought this was a little unusual and soon a few of the more seasoned travellers were commenting on it. About that time the Captain came on and told us not to worry. We weren't going to taxi to San Diego. We had just been sent to the other end to take advantage of the wind. As we taxied we crossed over I-70. Stapleton had what were known as the runway tunnels. These were runways (well, taxiways) that crossed busy I-70 on the east side of Denver. I worked in this area, and at first it was a little weird to see a jumbo jet cross the highway in front of you, but after awhile you don't hardly notice. But, this was the first time I had seen the cars from a plane. But finally we got into position and started down the runway. The acceleration was moderate at first, but then rapidly the pace quickened and you felt yourself pushed back into your seat a bit. Margo and I were alternating between watching out the window and watchin Jolene. She loved it. Then you felt the plane rise, and the ground appear to fall away. We were flying! I wouldn't call the feeling a letdown, but it was not the hug adrealine rush I had pictured. It was smooth, and just felt like forward momentum, like a car. Well, except for that whole up angle part. But even that wasn't new. We did live near the mountains after all, and driving up felt something like this.

The flight settled into something approaching boredom. Which on a craft moving hundreds of miles an hour, tens of thousands of feet in the air, is a good thing. None of us are afraid of flying, but the occasional bump reminded, me at least, that this was still an unnatural act. We had an inflight meal and our complimentary snack and drink. By the time that was over, we were about ready to start the descent. About half and hour later we were there. We got out of the plane and followed the signs to baggage claim. Dennis and Carrie were going to meet us, but we didn't exactly know where. But, as they weren't at our gate when we got off, we figured our bags might come in handy regardless of what happened, so we headed there. As soon as we got to the Main Terminal they were there waiting. We gathered up the luggage and loaded up into Dennis' car.

Dennis had offered to let us stay with him on the trip and we took him up on the offer.  I had not made any plans, and in actuality, on this vacation we left it up to Dennis as what we would be doing.  The plan for the day was just to visit, catch up on happenings, a little dinner, and then off to bed. So that is what we did.

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El Cajon
photo by: cneoridium