February 14, 2019 | Last weekend was Super Bowl LIII, and the roaming party moved to Charleston SC for the event. Also, all the hard-core members of the party were present this year.
"So why in the world did you go to Charleston?" you may ask. Bob and Carolyn made us do it. At the time arrangements were being made, they said they were planning a road trip about the time of the Super Bowl and that they intended to visit Charleston. So, Jim, Angela, and I said, "Sure, why not Charleston?"
Bob scoured the internet to find a suitable house to rent. The deciding factor in the selection was location, location, location — and the fact that it had an attractive roof-top patio where we imagined convivial happy hours could take place.
It turned out to be a perfect choice. Like most Charleston houses, it was narrow and tall with a balcony on each of the three floors, the third floor being that roof-top patio that was such a strong selling point.
In contrast to many of our previous parties, we decided to skip the cooking and eat out. Good choice.
A block away from our house was a restaurant called Five Loaves where we found the food so delicious we ended up having three dinners there.
Two blocks away in the opposite direction was the Hominy Grill where we had two breakfasts.
For another breakfast we went to Toast that prominently noted in all its advertising that it was recommended by the New York Times. Who's going to argue with that? It, too, was mighty fine.
For another dinner we ended up at McGrady's as a fall-back choice. The place we had intended to go was absolutely jam packed with people, and faced with a very long wait we decided to try our luck elsewhere. The second place we went to was also crowded and we weren't dressed on par with the other clientele. McGrady's was able to accommodate us, and we had marvelous meals. My seared scallops on a bed of pureed sunchoke were to die for, and the after dinner coffee was robust, delicious, and guaranteed to, as my mama used to say, "put hair on your chest."
Well, the less said about that game, the better. Not very exciting to watch. On the other hand, we did get ribs and assorted sides from Smoke BBQ, a "hip spot for elevated BBQ & craft drinks." Also mighty fine.
When the others were not out sightseeing, we generally lazed about, talking story.
A bottle of Maker's Mark loosened tongues.
I flew American Airlines for this trip, and I have to say that Charleston is not an easy place to get to from Palm Springs, unless you want to arrive there in the dead of night. Going to Charleston required three flights with very tight connections in Phoenix, AZ, and Charlotte, NC. Coming back required only two flights with a long, long layover in Dallas. And therein lies the tale.
I had downloaded the American app to my phone, which was a useful thing: My boarding passes were displayed by the app and the phone only had to be held over the scanner at the gate; all good. The app is also the key to getting inflight entertainment, because the video screens that used to be in seat backs are no longer there; you are expected to use your own "devices" to view TV shows or movies.
Here's the problem: when I got off the plane in Dallas in terminal C, the app said that my next flight would be from terminal A, so I rode the tram around to terminal A and found a place to eat. I checked the app in case there had been any changes. None. So, I went to gate A8 as shown on my boarding pass. A flight had just left so there were lots of empty seats, and there were outlets under the seats so you could charge up your "devices." But eventually it became clear that gate A8 was not going to be where my flight would leave — no other passengers had arrived at the gate and the gate was unstaffed. I went in search of a Departure Board. Damn! The flight would leave from terminal D, gate 18! With less than 30 minutes before departure, I got back on the tram and circled the airport to terminal D and made my way to gate D18, only to find that almost all the other passengers were already on board. (Well, that's not really true — they had been checked through and were all lined up in the jetway.) To make bad matters worse, I was told that all the overhead bins were full and I would have to check my carry-on bag. (This turned out not to be true when I finally got on the plane and made my way to my seat.)
I settled in and watched Casablanca on my tablet after connecting to the plane's wi-fi (which can only connect to the American Airlines website). In Palm Springs, I collected my bag, only to discover that one wheel had been completely ripped off the bag.
To make matters still worse, my Uber had to take a detour to get to my house because the most direct route was still closed after the weekend rains.
There is a happy ending to this tale of woe: American Airlines is repairing my bag and will deliver it back to me. Somehow I think it would be less expensive for them to replace the bag, but whatever.
The traveling SuperBowl party
Last updated on Feb 15, 2019