It was still quite dark when the alarm went off at 5 a.m. No time for morning exercises today. Just enough time to get up, showered, dressed, and out the door. Since I don't like to be rushed at the airport, I insisted that we plan for the notorious L.A. area traffic. My assistant, Stephanie, knocked on the door at 5:45. Once the luggage was loaded into the car, we drove over to the little hotel down the road to pick up my producer Geoff and his wife Nancy. They were kind enough to bring coffee in thermal cups and a selection of muffins for the 88-mile ride to the L.A. airport.
As the sun rose, the sky had an eerie feeling to it. Usually, we travel this route midmorning, and it is wonderful to see the ocean to the right and the mountains to the left. But, at this hour, large, dark clouds hovered over us making them barely visible. We made good time as we drove along Route 101; there were several cars out on the road, but everyone moved along at a good clip. The sun finally lit up the sky to a beautiful shade of blue, and the clouds were puffy and white with pink highlights—much friendlier than just moments before.
By 7:30, we were just passing the sign for Route 405 (about 15 miles south of the L.A. airport). Unfortunately, we came to a complete standstill in five lanes of non-moving traffic. Across the concrete divider were five more lanes not moving in the opposite direction! One cannot help but wonder why all of these people were out on the road! Why anyone would do this as a daily commute is well beyond me—I guess the only way to get through it would be to have a goodly supply of books-on-tape!
Fortunately, we arrived at the airport by 9 a.m. with plenty of time to get to the gate before our 10 a.m. flight. Stephanie went off to another gate on her way home to Boston, where she will keep the office running in good order. Geoff, Nancy, and I boarded the plane for the short flight to Dallas. It has been a long time since I have been in that area, and I was delighted to be meeting up with our good friend Dean Fearing. We had a lovely dinner with him, and look forward to staying at the Mansion at Turtle Creek for the next few days while we do some PR events for our Julia's Kitchen Wisdom.
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