The Long Way Home

Coming from Oshkosh, Wisconsin to Palo Alto, you wouldn’t think northern Kentucky would figure in the picture, but then, there are a lot of things about American transportation you wouldn’t figure. Like the fact that to get by rail from the San Francisco airport to Palo Alto (25 miles south along the peninsula’s narrow transportation corridor), I’d have to take four, count ’em four different trains. But that’s the only way, and sitting on my duffle in a vaguely familiar pose here against the Caltrain platform, I’m waiting on number four.

Almost, but not quite home. Guess I’ll take a cab from the Palo Alto train station, making for a day of transport on buses, planes, trains and automobiles that’ll have taken me the whole day in efficiencies.

Of course, there’s precious little airline traffic out of OSH, so I’d booked a flight home out of Milwaukee, an hour’s drive to the south (did I mention that I wasn’t flying the T-6 home? Pete, one of the other partners, had signed up for that ride). Managed to reserve a rental car for the drive doenin Oshkosh – one of few remaining, from all signs. Caught the city bus from the OSH dorms to the rental counter, drove south and dropped the car off just over an hour later. I’ve flown to Seattle for less than the daily one-way weekday rate on that car, but it was the cheapest route out of town.

Speaking of cheap routes, the Delta flight I’d booked out of Milwaukee changed planes in Cincinnati, which makes perfect sense if you live in California. If you live in the midwest, however, it’s kind of goofy, since Cincinnati is in Ohio, substantially east of Wisconsin (where I started) and California (where I was trying to go). It’s a little more goofy when you note that the “Cincinnati” airport isn’t actually in Cincinnati. To the point, it’s not even in the state of Ohio (which I can confirm is the generally accepted location of the city in question). The airport is across the river to the south in what most people (other than those who name airports and air traffic routes) consider to be Kentucky. Which is a different state, not happening to contain any cities named “Cincinnati” and even further south and east of my departure point and intended destination.

But recall the part about “cheap routes”? After burning through six months worth of flying expenses in one week, I was trying to make amends by being penny-wise on the return. And of course, the proverbial “long way home” has its charms for a traveler.

That being said, I think the charm’s gotten close to threadbare at this point. The sun’s just going down here in the cozy embrace of Caltrain, but it’s close to midnight where I started my journey, and I’ve been on the move since I watched the sun break ground this morning.

So, it’ll be good to be home. Probably not much blogging for a while, though. I’ve got a wicked backlog of work to catch up on, not to mention getting back into the groove of the dad thing. I’ll sign off here, and promise to write when the next adventure’s afoot.

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