Ken Beaton: In the path of Superstorm Sandy
November 2, 2012
Don’t mess with Mother Nature! – On Monday, Oct. 22, I flew Southwest Airlines to Manchester Airport in Manchester, N.H., to move my mother’s youngest sister, Phyllis, my only remaining aunt. My cousin, Diane, and I decided to move Aunt Phil to a facility that accepts Medicaid before winter and before her money was spent down.My other reason for the trip was to celebrate the 50th birthday of my first born, Kathy, Oct. 25. She had selected Joseph’s Trattoria, for her birthday dinner. Our palates were in lust with every bite.On Saturday, Matt, her husband, surprised Kathy with a birthday party at their favorite pizzeria in Amesbury, Mass. Their pizzas are baked in a wood-burning oven. Fantastic! Everyone enjoyed the meal and the evening.On Sunday, I had been closely monitoring the weather before I went to visit my son, John, in Plaistow, N.H., at 11 a.m. Before I left, I had packed most of my clothing in my carry-on bag.Upon returning to my daughter and son-in-law’s home, I checked the latest weather conditions for BWI Airport in Baltimore, my connecting flight to Reno. I did not want to be trapped in Massachusetts for a week or longer waiting for a return flight. Forget category 1, Sandy was a massive hurricane poised to hit land with a full-moon high tide. I called Southwest Airlines and booked a Monday flight at 8 a.m. from Buffalo to Las Vegas and from Las Vegas to Reno and reserved a car from Enterprise to drive one-way to Buffalo, NY.I shared my new plans with Kathy and Matt, finished packing and told Kathy I would keep her informed with a kiss goodbye. I drove a white Chrysler 300 with a satellite radio from the Enterprise car rental lot at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.I knew I had about 500 miles to drive, 478 according to Google maps. I thought I would arrive in Buffalo by 1 a.m. on Monday. I “put the hammer down.” All anyone saw as they drove in either direction on routes 93, 495, and Interstate 90 was a white blur kicking up a rooster tail of water as I listened to the last quarter of New England Patriots game in London and the next two football games on ESPN satellite radio.I stopped to pay the tolls for Massachusetts and New York. At the Pattersonville, N.Y., rest area I filled the gas tank, bought a Starbuck’s Venti coffee and called my wife, Lin, to ask her to research motels near the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. I topped off the gas tank before Buffalo.As I exited to the Buffalo airport, Lin called with her motel research. She directed me to the Days Motel. I checked in, placed my bags in my room, returned the Chrysler to Enterprise, and showered before slipping into bed at 12:30 a.m. I answered my 6 a.m. wakeup call, ate breakfast, caught the shuttle to the airport, printed my two boarding passes, and cleared TSA’s security. I felt so relieved and happy to see Lin when she picked me up at Reno Tahoe International Airport. “Home means Nevada.” • Ken Beaton of Carson City contributes periodically to the Nevada Appeal.