Weekend Flight

Good Monday Morning Road Crew! We will roll on through Texas today and get ourselves into position for our Tuesday afternoon delivery in Los Lunas, New Mexico.

One of the biggest memories of the last 50 years for me happened when I had a weekend off from working at the car dealership in Texas. I had just gotten a credit card and have always admired airplanes and wanted so bad to “fly somewhere”….. While at work on Friday, I heard a Southwest commercial that they were running a special of $99 flights to Los Angeles, California one way. So I hatched a plan – well a plan that only a 21 year old would hatch. LOL

During lunch, I walked home (lived across the street!) and made reservations for the first flight from San Antonio to Los Angeles that I could. If I remember right, I was in the air at 7pm! I was on my way to see the Price is Right! Nevermind that I did not plan anything out, I was on my first flight ever and was going to make this all work out – somehow. I was amazed at the flight and how smooth it was. The flight attendant walked by handing out peanuts and coke. Free coke! Wow! As we got near LAX, the pilot told us we were going to fly through a thunderstorm and we all had to fasten our belts and get ready for a rough ride. I thought woohoo, roller coaster time! I looked out the window and saw all the lightning. Knowing we were in the clouds alongside all that electricity, I got a little concerned. The turbulence was pretty bad and I remember my butt coming up off the seat at times! I looked and we were flying over the ocean to turn around and come in for final approach. As we were coming in I looked at the wet runway and how fast it seemed we were coming in. Man, I think we are going to skid right off the runway!!! We touched down, I heard the reverse thrusters kick in and we made our way safely to the gate. While everyone made their way to the baggage claim, I ran to the car rental so I could get in a car before they were all gone. I didn’t bring any luggage. Nothing. No jacket, no camera, nothing! Nobody knew I was in California at all!

The big plan was to see the Price is Right and fly back to San Antonio and be back at work on Monday morning…..obviously, that was not going to work as planned. LOL

Not having any idea about how the show worked, or even about needing tickets, I first found the studios of CBS Television. Then I found the sign that said be here Monday morning (like 5am or something). That meant I had all day Saturday and Sunday to roam around and check things out! I remember walking to Hollywood and Vine and saw a few of the actors stars on the sidewalk. I remember walking around the streets and all the homeless folks concerned me. I never saw any of that “on television”…. I went to Universal Studios theme park and saw where Gilligan’s Island was filmed, and the JAWS shark in the same pond. On Sunday afternoon, I drove by NBC-TV and saw a big line outside and decided to park and see what it was for. I stood in line and learned it was for 6 tapings of Super Password hosted by Bert Convy, so we saw the show. I had a very good (and busy time exploring) until Monday.

So, Monday morning came along and it was wet and soggy. I stood in line in the same clothes I had arrived in. Yes, I did rent a room and showered, but I didn’t even bring extra shirts. I found out that the people in line already had tickets. I had nothing. I got bummed out right away! I wasn’t gonna be able to get into the studio without a ticket. Then the lady in front of me overheard me mentioning I didn’t know how to go about tickets…..and she handed me an extra ticket she had!!! Now, she told me, the next step was to be one of the first 250 people in another line by 7am. Not sure who did what, but I shuffled about here and there just going where everyone else was headed… BOOM! I was in the real line. I got accepted and was just a few people from the cutoff line! I was interviewed by the studio folks, and then everyone went to lunch and had to be back seated outside by 1pm. Taping started at 215 on the nose. The first thought I had when I sat down in my fourth row, center seat, how small the studio was!! On television, the set looked huge! Now it looked like the entire show was squashed down to closet size! That hour long show seemed to last just 5 minutes. I never got called, but it didn’t matter. I reached a dream and goal!

Oh, that work thing? I was supposed to be at work on Monday, and here, I was in a television studio many miles away instead. After the show, I ran to the airport, turned the car back in, and tried to book a flight back to San Antonio. They had no direct flights! I told the ticket folks a short version of what I did and what can I do to fly back home. LOL. Would you believe for the same price of $99, they flew me on multiple airlines and connections to get me to San Antonio by morning!? I was in the air about 12 hours total. I started out on Pacific Southwest Airlines, and flew to someplace, I think Chicago, changed planes again a few more times, but finally back arriving in San Antonio at 7am. I got to fly around most of the country just to get flights that could get me back asap to Texas!

While it may not have been planned out at all, it worked out perfectly in the end and is one of the most memorable times in my life. I explained the whole thing to my boss and he told me I was crazy but to get my butt to work now.

The tape date of that episode of the Price is Right was March 17th, 1986 and it aired on April 4th, 1986. I know at one time I had it on VHS….but I am sure it was lost or recorded over at some point in time. If anybody ever knows how to find a copy of that show, I’d like to know. There was a kid in the audience that day that was about as silly and crazy as they come!

Coming up later….more memories of my first 50 years including the time a friend flew me in a little rental plane to the Williston, North Dakota rodeo arena where I got on a bareback bronc and tried to hold on for 8 seconds!