For three days, I spent some time enjoying some active rest along California’s Central Coast (aka, the 805) with some friends of mine. I had time off between Christmas and New Years to get out of town for some exploring. A friend of mine suggested that we fly out to San Luis Obispo for a few days to get in some hiking and sightseeing. Since he works for an airline, all of us (me, him, and his girlfriend) were able to get inexpensive tickets to fly out there. To make things even better, I have a friend from swimming who lives in Arroyo Grande that let us stay with him. All of this set the stage for a fun California adventure.
However, we had to deal with several unexpected challenges during our three day getaway. The good news is we were able to successfully deal with these by making adjustments to our plan. What this post is going to concentrate on is telling a story about how preparation combined with flexibility allows people to overcome adversity. While the circumstances were not life-threatening, the principles we applied can be used in many situations.
Friday – things start off well and end well. This was one of those days where you truly enjoy the ride and all the blessings that come with a satisfying day. The flight out to San Luis Obispo was smooth and trouble-free. After landing, we grabbed food and drink at the Creekside Brewery Company before we set out towards Morro Bay. We did a short hike to the top of a hill that overlooked the area, it was great exercise and a fantastic view. The weather was perfect too, it was just the right conditions for outdoor activities along the coast. After we got done, we met up with my friend Rob at his place to get settled in. We ate at a REALLY good Thai place in Arroyo Grande and ended the day swapping stories until bedtime. As it turned out, this was the easy day.
Saturday – things start off bad and get worse. The plan was to do a hike in the Montana del Oro State Park, which would take us both along the coast and on the highlands overlooking the beaches. However, my friend (hereafter referred to as Z to protect his identity) reported that he wasn’t feeling well that morning. He was coughing and feeling congested in his lungs. We decided not to hike and partake in more leisurely activities, like visiting the Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach. Z’s girlfriend (hereafter referred to as J to protect her identity) likes butterflies and we decided this would be a good, relaxing activity. After that, we checked-out Pismo Beach for a while, then headed up to Montana del Oro to drive along the coast road. However, that is when things got worse.
Z started to feel really bad, and J thought that he may need to visit an urgent care facility to determine what is wrong. We decided to find the nearest one and get him in before he got worse. Thankfully, there was one less than five miles away that could get him in immediately. After a short while we got the news, Z has bronchitis and needs medication to begin treating it. Thankfully, there is a drug store close by and within another half hour, Z gets his prescriptions filled. However, both Z and J decide that it would be best if they stayed at a hotel instead of Rob’s that night. Since Rob was hosting a party, Z did not wish to infect anybody else. After some searching, Z and J were able to find a hotel close to Rob’s place where they could stay the night. I dropped them off and had a chance to visit with some of Rob’s friends at the party.
Sunday – things start off better, then got bad, then end well. After waking up, I texted Z to find out how he was feeling. He said better and we decided to have a late breakfast then go to one of the local wineries. Even neither Z nor I could drink there, we thought J could enjoy some good wine while we learned more about Central Coast vineyards. It was a great day and spent some time outside talking politics before we decided to head to the airport for our afternoon flight back. We grabbed a bite to eat, fueled the car, returned it to the rental lot, and arrived at the terminal in plenty of time for the trip home. However, things were about to get strange.
First, the flight gets delayed by almost three hours. But before those three hours passed, the flight got cancelled and we had to make some decisions. Do we stay another night in SLO and take the 0620 flight on Monday morning? Do we drive to LAX and catch a late flight on Sunday night? Or do we drive to Santa Barbara and grab the last flight out on Sunday evening? Also, what will we do for transportation since I already turned in the rental car? If we have to stay another night, can we find a room? These questions had to be answered…quickly.
Z immediately checked his Blackberry for flight information, load factors, and other details. While he was doing that, I went back to the rental car desk to see if I could get the car back. I told the desk agent our dilemma and since I had already paid for three days, she let us have the car until noon on Monday. That meant we had wheels, which gave us options.
After discussing the situation, we decided to drive to Santa Barbara in the hopes of catching the last evening flight. It would be tight but we decided to risk it. Our alternative would be to continue on to LAX if we missed the Santa Barbara flight. Since time was of the essence, we left the airport and got on CA-101 heading south. The good news is that there were plenty of seats available on the flight, we just had to get to the airport…
Its about 100 miles between the two airports so there was a lot of ground to cover. We got caught in traffic for a few minutes just north of Pismo Beach but after that cleared, we didn’t have any more issues. Both Z and J are quiet people like me so we focused on the task at hand without any drama. Once we got to the airport, we saw our plane parked at Gate 2 in the main terminal. Thankfully, Santa Barbara is a small airport so it wouldn’t take us long to get to our flight.
The denouement to this adventure is that we were able to return the rental car, get through security, and get seats on the last flight out of Santa Barbara with about twenty minutes to spare. We arrived in Phoenix a few minutes early and were able to get back to our respective homes before it got too late. Overall, it was a good ending to a hectic afternoon and evening.
There are some principles from this adventure that can be applied elsewhere, they include:
- Things can change suddenly, know that reality can veto any plan
- Flexibility and adaptability are crucial attributes to have when the unexpected happens
- Initiative is important when circumstances change because decisions have time limits
- Division of labor is a catalyst for getting things done when time is short
- Having a positive outlook is an asset during potentially stressful times
- Use technology to find information and communicate it quickly
Thanks for reading this story, hopefully you learned something you can apply in the future.