Friday, March 28, 2008

Bicycling in the Rio Grande Valley

Along many sections of the Santa Ana bike route, trees create a shady arch as the branches from the right side grow to touch branches on the left. This canopy of leafy branches, some draped with tendrils of Spanish moss reminded Ed of a tender, loving tradition passed on from his Mom and Dad. “Whenever Mom and Dad passed under trees over a road like this, they’d touch each other’s hands as a sign of their love and commitment.” Ed told me this as he touched my hand under the arching branches.

We had paused to absorb the natural beauty of the bicycle route we selected for our outing. We were at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, south of Alamo, Texas. According to the Birding & Butterfly Map of the Rio Grande Valley, the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is 2,088 acres of undisturbed riparian forest. In the brush and subtropical trees similar to those found in Northern Mexico, over 400 species of birds and 300 species of butterflies have been recorded. The Refuge map shows 12 walking trails none longer that 7 miles and most a mile or less. The Bicycle Loop follows Tour Loop Road for 6.8 level miles.

This leisurely route offered plenty of opportunities to park our bikes and hike some trails. We only followed two. Jaguarundi Trail led us to the Rio Grande River for a view of Mexico. And, a second one opened to views of Cattail Lake – full of cattails and dotted with ducks floating or diving for a snack. The scenery was serene and just what we had hope for on this relaxing bike ride.

March 20, 2008

Directions to Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge:

US 83 to Alamo, turn South on FM 907, at Highway 281 turn east and look for the park sign

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Uncle Sam, Thank You for Shopping

There’s only seating for eight at the Red Panty Bar. Most people walk-up to the sidewalk counter and order a beer or Margarita to go. These tourists wander in and out of shops with napkin wrapped drinks in Nuevo Progreso, a Mexican border town. Ed and I claimed two of the high bar stools preferring to sit and drink rather than shop and drink.

In his typical engaging way, Ed asked the bartender for his recommendation for a good Mexican beer. As an answer, he simply shrugged but a fellow seated at the end of the bar suggested Tecate. “It is very good,” he said in halting English. Louis was right and when we cracked the can of our third beer, Ed bought one for Louis in appreciation for his good advice.

Children from the street interrupted our beer drinking with pleas to buy bobbing head turtles, bracelets with images of the Virgin Mary, and Chicklet chewing gum. “One dollar, for school please,” pleaded one grade school girl with imploring brown eyes. She was scratching Ed’s back with one of the wooden back scratchers she carried in her hand. Across the bar, I gave Louis a look that asked: “What should we do?” He shook his head “No.” In Spanish, he told this persuasive child “go away.”

When we grew hungry, we asked our unofficial guide Louis for a recommended restaurant. He said he would walk with us. He escorted us to Castillo’s on Av. Benito Juarz. The two man-band in the restaurant played Mexican love songs that to me sounded like Pennsylvania polka music. Louis stayed with us to help us decide on our dinner choices then drank another beer before he left to return to the Red Panty Bar. We noticed he was seated at the end of the bar after our dinner. We gave a thankful wave when we passed the cantina to cross the International Bridge back to the USA.

Our entire evening of entertainment cost less than $20 and I noticed on my dinner receipt a message: Uncle Sam, Thank you for Shopping. You’re welcome!

Special thanks to Chris Anderson for snapping the photo of Ed & I.

March 20, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

Windy...Wobbly...It's Spring!

When I woke up this morning, I could still feel the wind gusts rocking the coach. My hair tickled my face as the wave of air flowed from the open window across the cotton bed sheet and grazed my cheek. For the past two days in Pharr, Texas, afternoon temperatures broke 100° F and winds moved as 15 mph or more. We had kept the coach air conditioning on during the day but shut it off at night after 8 PM to enjoy the moving tropical 76° air.

Spring arrived. The March wind and heat aren’t the only indicators, there is new life. White blossoms decorate each tree branch on lot #33 at Albertson Gardens RV Park. The outside air is scented with a honeysuckle-like sweetness from blossoming fruit trees, a sign there’ll be oranges and grapefruits late in the growing season. In the farmer’s pen adjourning the Park, a sheep gave birth yesterday. Though I missed the miracle, I discovered the little one on my late afternoon walk. He wobbled testing his legs and plopped on the ground into the Texas dust and straw bedding. Today, his black coat is licked clean and he is on steady legs following close to his mother, nursing when she stands still. The new family posed for me – momma and baby together and poppa in a separate pen next door.

Yummy, Brunch!

You might notice that on my travel blog, I rarely comment on food or restaurants. This is contrary to what you find in most travel writings or travel magazines. Today, I am making an exception. Today, I want to tell you about my late morning brunch…fried green tomatoes with an open faced pulled beef sandwich. Gourmet!

Grocery stores do not regularly stock green tomatoes. I use to snag them from my Dad’s garden causing him to loudly complain that if I didn’t keep my hands off his tomatoes, I’d wear out my welcome. Now, when we travel, if I spy tomato plants, I check the crop. I’ve been known to ask neighbors of friends who we visit for a few succulent green ones. I’ve never been refused. In fact, many folks are happy to have me pick the green ones especially when a frost is due. Here in McAllen, Texas, I have actually found a place where you can buy green tomatoes.

Bell’s Farm to Market is located on South Ware Road, one block north of the McAllen Convention Center. On my first visit, I found half-dozen lots in cardboard produce boxes for sale. I have been there several times and the tomatoes are eaten before they ever start to get a pink tinge of color.

Knowing how much I like green tomatoes, Ed wanted to have a bag as a surprise when I returned from Pennsylvania. He found none on the Market tables. He asked the proprietor for some. “I’ll give you a bag and you can go pick what you want,” the man said pointing to the 3-acre field next to the market. And, so he picked me a bag.

I am enjoying those green tomatoes today. I sliced them to quarter –inch thickness getting about five slices per tomato. I dusted them with whole wheat flour. And, I laid them in a single layer of hot olive oil in the frying pan. When the seeds bubbled and the flour turned golden brown on the frying side, I flipped them to crisp fry the other side.

The pulled beef was a left-over from a crock pot meal earlier in the week. This recipe for Italian Beef Sandwiches is on p. 168 of Simple Slow Cooker Recipes. I microwaved the beef and topped it with grated Parmesan cheese. I spooned the beef onto a toasted Kaiser bun.

To me, this is a good meal. I think restaurant food is over-rated and the experience of dining out is often disappointing. In my RV, the kitchen is always open and the service is with a smile.

In all my years of traveling and eating 2 – 3 meals on the road

entertaining clients, I have found one restaurant

that served fried green tomatoes –

Ritter’s Diner on Baum Boulevard in Pittsburgh, PA.

March 15, 2008

In All Fairness to the Airlines: Shopping, Cart Rides, Great Movie & My Luggage

The connections on the return flight to McAllen, Texas left me little time to spare. I knew this when I booked the roundtrip flight for my February trip to Pittsburgh but the frequent flyer options limited my choices…30 minutes to connect in Cleveland, 1 hour in Chicago, or longer in Detroit. I decided to take my chance with Cleveland.

I arrived at the Pittsburgh International Airport early in hope of switching my ticket to a direct flight from the ‘burgh to Houston. No luck. That flight was already overbooked. I called Ed, “I’ll be in McAllen by 7:30 PM if I make my Cleveland and Houston connections. No problem with Pittsburgh, I am already at the airport.”

Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) is a shopping mall for travelers. Knowing this, I think ahead and leave room in my carry-on bag for a few indulgences. I’ve been told that the Clinique store at PIT is the only free-standing make-up outlet in the US. Usually, Clinique is part of a department store. The make-up is available to order on line, but who wants to pay for shipping? New eyeliner was on my shopping list.

An eager sales associate at Brookstone demonstrated the merits of a pillow guaranteed to prevent snoring by lying with one on a demonstration mattress. “Too big for the carryon…free shipping,” he offered. In Victoria’s Secret I tried on several styles of bras and bought none. I bought the silver and gold linked earring and necklace set at the $9.99 Store. I had resisted buying it on my last walk through this store in August; I gave in this time through.

At the gate, I read USA Today and Wall St. Journal. And, I boarded the plane with the One Pass passengers taking my seat in the last row of the seats. There’d be no quick exit in Cleveland and only 30 minutes to connect.

I must have had a panic look on my face when I asked the cart driver in terminal D how to get to C because he immediately offered to give me a ride usually reserved for the elderly and non-ambulatory travelers. “Thank you, I have a tight connection,” I said sincerely. If a guardian angel was watching me, it was today. The driver radioed ahead and had a cart waiting for me at the bottom of the escalator. This driver took me as far as she could go and radioed for a cart to wait for me at the next escalator. I had a personal relay in Cleveland and boarded the Houston flight as they called for One Pass travelers. I could hardly believe I made the connection. Text message to Ed: On plane in Cleveland, see you tonight. XO

I normally get lost in a book on these three-hour flights. Not today. The in-flight movie starred Robin Williams, one of my favorite actors and comedians. I settled in to watch August Rush.

On the ground in Houston, a cart was parked at the gate. The man seated next to the driver noticed me looking left then right to get my bearings and directions to my gate. “Hey driver,” I heard him say waving a $5 bill. “Let’s give this pretty lady a ride to her gate.” The driver gave a “Yes, sir” to the tipsy fellow and I climbed in the second row of seats. Text to Ed: On cart to gate in Houston. I will make this connection. Bag may not make it. XO

I added another $2 tip to the driver when he dropped me at the blue One Pass carpet and I boarded the plane to McAllen. My head felt dazed…two tight connections, carts at my service. This never happened in all my seven years as a road warrior.

One last hurdle would be the luggage. When the baggage carrousel in McAllen, Texas began its rotation, I only gave a passing glance to the red bags. Surely, mine would arrive 24 – 48 hours later. But, there it was…damp from the Cleveland snow and Houston rain, PLONSBARY. Text to Ed: Meet me outside baggage claim. I’m here w/bag too!

March 6, 2006

Not Much Cost, But Great Value: Destination...Home

I stayed in a house setting on what I believe is the highest hill in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The house was my home growing up and is still the place I call home. When my family moved into this yellow brick ranch style three-bedroom house in 1963, there were no trees to obstruct the view. Over 40 years later, the view of the city is telescoped between the tall pines and oaks that tower over the suburban homes in Eastern Estates. Looking from this high point, the dome of the Westmoreland County Court House is prominent – a place where I had my first real job working in the mail room in the summer of 1973 running envelops through the Pitney Bowes postage machine. The steeples of the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Church stand out too – this was our family’s place of worship, attending the 8:30 AM Mass every Sunday. There’s an “H” on the roof of Westmoreland Hospital – my children Suzie and Chris were born there, Daddy died there. The view from Hemlock Drive hadn’t changed, just the lives there changed.

I had come to Greensburg because I missed a sense of belonging. Ed and I had been traveling and living in our motor home as fulltime RVers since September, 2007. In those five months, we’d traveled to New York, Quebec City, the Gaspé, Erie, St. Louis, the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, and border towns of Mexico. Our experiences will fill a book. The people we have met enrich us in their own way, but what is missing is a connection that is more than superficial. There are roots and meaningful relationships at home. At home, people never ask, “When are you leaving?” – a question repeated to the point of nausea in RV parks. I came home to be more than the person with the 60-second “introduce yourself” speech, the frozen smile, and “queen’s wave” shared with my RV neighbors.

Mom was glad to have me visit. She gave me her and Daddy’s old bedroom. The mahogany furniture is the original bedroom suite they bought in 1955 – one double bed, a mirrored dresser, vanity and solid, cushioned vanity seat. The bed still bellows one mournful creek when climbing in it. The slide of the dresser drawer wood on wood still reminds me of Dad’s search for a matching dark Gold Toe sock for work each morning. I’d be staying for nearly three weeks among the family and friends I love.

When I arrived, Mom had dinner waiting. “I made something that could stay warm in case you arrived late.” Truth was, I was truly late. I landed at Pittsburgh International Airport mid-day Sunday after a weather delay and missed connection between McAllen and Houston, TX on Saturday evening. I was 14 hours late.

Mom chattered about family news only to be interrupted by phone calls from her sisters. Each was surprised when I answered the phone. “Yes, I got tired of the sun, palm trees and 80° weather. I decided to come play in the snow and visit Mom,” I explained. Gertie and Betty embellished on the news Mom already shared and added more tantalizing details. By the end of my first evening in Greensburg, I had all the family news from several different perspectives.

In the evening, I started calls of my own…lunch on Monday, rides to Rotary, breakfast Friday at Eat n’ Park, come visit me at Mom’s, pack an overnight bag so Brianna can spend the weekend, Lake Erie on Sunday, meet you at Panera’s, pizza & beer, watch Brianna…okay! I filled my calendar.

Visiting with Friends

Sam and I have been friends for over 30-years. During our studies at the University of Pittsburgh, we’d close the Benedum Engineering School Library at 10 PM and head to Haddon Hall’s bar or The Luna for cold drafts. Now, we ordered water with our lunch at Red Lobster and talked about college for our kids and their future.

On our way back from lunch, Sam hit the brakes hard when I yelled, “STOP!” Then, I rolled down the window to say “Hi” to my friend Pam. As kids, she and I took swimming lessons together at the Y, made many fictitious trips to the post office just to drive past boys’ houses, and can still laugh about Pedro and Pat our teenage boyfriends. I am god-mother to her son Larry who now has a child of his own. After promises to get together, Sam drove me up the hill to Mom’s house. “Do we look like Grandmas?” I asked Sam. His complimentary reply: “No way!”

Cheryl (another fabulous looking Grandma) and I found two armchairs to sink into near the fireplace for a lunch of soup and sandwiches at Panera’s. We had been neighbors in Ligonier, PA in 1983, the year my son Chris transitioned from adorable baby to the “terrible twos.” Her daughter Audra became my #1 babysitter. Now, Cheryl is the #1 babysitter for her other daughter Suzie’s two pre-school children. We don’t talk about husbands anymore, it’s grandkids.

Laughter echoed in Eat n’ Park when Ann and I met for breakfast. We’d met while working for the women’s shelter. She stayed on and I moved on some twenty years ago. As novice fund raisers back then, we suffered disappointing results and terrible sunburn selling raffle tickets to giveaway a prized hot air balloon ride during the Hannastown Festival. We waddled together pregnant with each of our kids. And, still marvel at our escape from the Rockin’ R bar in Jennerstown after too many beers, hustling on the pool table, and insulting the locals. Could we really have pulled off such shenanigans? We patted ourselves for successful careers, raising fabulous kids, and meeting at Eat n’ Park, not the Rockin’ R!

I did go to the Sunset, one of the few places that has outside dining in Greensburg. In February, the patio deck is closed so I met Becky and Harvey in the bar for pizza and beers. Becky and I are cousins on my Dad’s side of the family. Growing up, we had little in common. Now we share a curiosity about family history, a love for motorcycles, and a taste for cold beer. Cheers!

My Rotary friends asked me why out of all the 96 members of the Club I called Mark for a ride. I was quick to respond, “Because I wanted to know what it feels like to ride with Mark in an upright position.” Mark is a funeral director. He is also a good friend, reliable and a committed Rotarian who could bring me up to date on the Club’s activities. He frequently complains that it is my fault that he is Treasurer – a lifetime appointment that I made during my Presidential term in 1995-96.

In my three visits to my home Rotary Club, I garnered some attention. I presented six hospitality flags from other Rotary Clubs I visited while on the road. When the Rotary Club camera ran out of memory during the check presentations, I saved the day by pulling my digital camera from my purse. I broke President Carl’s streak of stumping our Rotarians with a word-of-the-week by correctly defining weal (a sound, healthy or prosperous state of well-being) with a quick entry in Merriman-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary on my PDA. And, I helped the Club make a connection with Sony for a $500 gift and big screen TV for a service project in Greensburg, Kansas – a town struggling to rebuild after being leveled by a tornado on May 4, 2007.

A trip to the supermarket is never quick back home. On this occasion, I ran into my friend Ray who runs his family business. We laughed about growing up as grocers’ kids in Greensburg – chasing buggies, doing price checks and helping with inventory. In the 60s, we used ink stampers to mark prices on every item in the store, and noted our relief over how UPC codes make retail so much easier. Ray noticed my motorhome parked in his lot from time to time last July. He now threatened to begin charging me rent on my next trip home with the Prevost. I committed to shopping only at his store in exchange for free parking. A deal!


Nearly every day, my four-year-old grand-daughter Brianna came to visit me. We compared my recent digital photos of armadillos and wild pigs to those in my childhood animal encyclopedia that survived her Dad and Uncle Chris’ rough treatment. We sang Sponge Bob’s song about Texas off-key. We pilfered through Aunt Suzie’s scrapbook stuff for stickers, foam, and paints to create masterpieces for our art gallery. We explored neighborhood shortcuts when our legs got tired or our bellies growled while on our walks outside. At Pet Smart, we agreed to buy a beta fish just like the one her Daddy had when he was little.

Brianna and I practiced throwing snowballs at the windowless part of the house, made angles in the snow, and sculpted a small snowman. I gave into her pleas to roll down the terraced slopes of the back yard and handed her Mom my eyeglasses for the dizzying roll. I watched Brianna pirouette in her Saturday ballet class and practice the Polka, a dance I never mastered until seeing it explained to the group of pre-school kids.

I experienced the sting of her tearful refusal to play Candyland with me again after I won and the joy of losing every game of the memory teaser Husker Dú thereafter. (Thank you, Alice for loaning me this game after hearing about my banishment from the Candyland circuit.)

Brianna made me tired but refreshed with our playful days together. She ticked me with her observations and conversations but one will always stand out. She said, “Grandma, I am going to be a big sister.” Did I hear right? Nods from Jason and Lisa confirmed that a new baby is coming in October! Good reason for planning another visit for sure.


At times when Brianna napped or attended morning pre-school, Mom and I took time to enjoy each other’s company. We baked her famous chocolate chip cookies to mail to Suzie at college in Missouri. We visited with our good neighbor Donna and former neighbor Alice. She challenged me to aggressive games of Canasta at night. And, she traveled with me to Erie to visit Chris.

At the Avona, where we met Chris for lunch, Mom had excused herself from the table. About the time she’d be returning, a loud ruckus erupted in the bar side. Chris was on his feet and through the room looking for his Grandma. “No one is gonna put Grandma in the cross hairs of a fight,” he said after protectively seating her in the booth again. Mom enjoyed the ruckus. When we got to Presque Isle, she waited patiently in the car with the heater running while Chris and I walked to the ice dunes. She was quick to step out of the car when we stopped briefly to shop at specialty sporting goods store and when Chris made a “U” turn into the Tim Horton’s for a donut treat.

Mom is 81 now and never really dwells on her past. She says it’s because she can’t remember most of it. And, in our quiet time together during this visit, I pushed her to answer the questions in the “Great-Grandma Journal” – a book that asks questions about your the stages of your life, favorites, life experiences and wisdom to share. I scribed while Mom answered the questions. The book would be for Brianna.

I learned a lot from this Q&A. Mom grew up in a household of 10 kids. Her own Mom, a housewife, died at the young age of 51. Her Dad worked as a coal miner. Mom had to help with the vegetable garden in the summer but still had time to enjoy baseball games and outings with her friends. She met my Dad at the soda shop on one of these outings. He canceled their first date because he had to work late. He sent his brother Bob to Mom’s front door with a box of chocolates as apology. She sent a message back; she’d see him the next day. Mom laughed about learning how to drive and abandoning Dad on a country road when he ordered her gruffly, “Turn that wheel.” She says she got scared driving alone and went back to get him.

I probed her each day with questions for the “Great-Grandma Journal.” She talked about the importance of family, how she liked being my Mom, and expressed her opinion that it’s fine to spoil the grandkids. I wrote a message from her to Brianna: “Study hard and follow your dreams.”

Later, I noticed Mom had written her own message in the journal. “I wish your Great-Grandfather – Pap – had lived to know you. He would have loved you just as much as I do.”

This was a short visit, a meaningful visit. It was a trip without attractions or fancy restaurants. It was without great cost but much, much value. Going Home…What a wonderful destination!

February 17 - March 6, 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Loving the Snow of Presque Isle

The crystal surface of Lake Erie glistened in the afternoon sunlight. I had traveled from Pharr, Texas – some seven miles from the Rio Grande River – one of our country’s southern most borders to the northern shoreline of Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Pennsylvania. I came to visit my son Christopher and see the ice dunes over the lake.

As we drove along Interstate 90, we noticed that unseasonably warm February sun melted most of the snow. Even the roads leading to the park showed little trace of winter but for the dusty white residue, the remains of a season’s worth of municipal road salting. In contrast, Presque Isle looked like a winter wonderland alive with activity and people who enjoy the season.

Across the bay, ice fishermen worked augers drilling through the ice. Hundreds more crouched in temporary tent-like huts and a few had erected more permanent structures, a mini cabin of sorts. This was a fishing village on the icy surface. Chris told me the scene would remain like this until the ice around the shoreline began to melt, and then there’d be a rush to remove the huts. He recalled an occasion one spring when the Coast Guard had been called to rescue a fisherman who stayed on the ice too long and became trapped in his hut floating on the slushy bay. “Some guys just don’t know when to quit,” commented Chris.

Beyond the ice fishing community, a new neighborhood claimed part of the icy smooth surface of the bay. We saw rainbow stripped parasails zipping tugging the daring and strong on skis across the ice.

Lake Erie itself had frozen over. How far beyond the shore? I can only say that the mounds of ice stretched to the horizon and probably beyond. Where Chris and I had walked in the sand last summer, we now stepped carefully so as not to slip on ice. Wind and snow built up cliffs of ice towering over Christopher’s head. It was a majestic scene for someone who loves the snow!

February 24, 2008

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Mythical Hope for On Time Arrival

"Ladies and gentlemen, we have heard from our pilot that if we board quickly and push off from the gate with an on-time departure, he can get you to Houston before storms in the region affect this evening’s air travel.”

Dutifully, First Class and Elite Access passengers stowed their carry-on bags and personal items, then the y took their seats. The occasional travelers trudged through the aisle with the bewildered gaze not knowing where to find seats A through F. They tried shoving bags in the overhead compartments or under the seat in front of them blocking the aisle with their large butts. And, several eventually realized they were in the wrong row or seat and attempted to move forward against the one-way flow of boarding passengers. Thus went our mythical hope for an on-time departure.

The gusting winds rocked the plane and the hum of the engines for take-off went silent. “Ladies and gentlemen, Houston is experiencing a ground stop. Just sit tight, we’ll keep you informed …” The pilot kept his promise, he kept us informed and we sat tight for 90 minutes. When we finally took off, we were mythically assured that we’d make our connections since the ground stoppage delayed all flights.

The lines at the Continental Service Center clued me differently, but I dashed to my Pittsburgh departure gate arriving at 7:05 for the 6:50 PM. “Pittsburgh?” quizzed the gate attendant. “That flight’s gone.”

I joined the line of people on the blue Elite Pass carpet. No one was queued for the infrequent flyer line. I wondered how all these people could be frequent fliers. They weren’t and the majority had also missed the Pittsburgh flight that didn’t’ wait. The attentive customer service representative dared to ask, “Are there any first class passengers or our One World Elite travelers in this line?” I sheepishly raised my hand. She waved me to the front of the line. “Sorry,” I softly said as I moved ahead of the angry mob of tired, travelers who also missed connections.

“We can get you to Pittsburgh tomorrow on the 6:50 flight.”

“AM,” I clarified.

“No, PM” she said in an apology.

“No, find another way. Route me through Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia or Newark. Don’t make me wait until tomorrow evening,” I pleaded. “I just want to get home to my Momma and grandbaby. Please do what you can.”

A litany of long layovers and more possible missed connections were my options. I rejected them one-b y-one. And, in final resignation, I said, “Give me the confirmed seat on tomorrow’s 6:50. I’ll just find a friend in Houston to have a fun lunch with me.”

“Oh,” she groaned. “This is a rewards booked flight, isn’t it?” I nodded. “I’ll need to call a supervisor.”

I expected the worst. Then after a few whispered words on the phone, she said in a hushed tone, “I can confirm you on the 1:10 PM direct to Pittsburgh tomorrow.”

I thanked her and blew her a kiss. She ticketed me on the spot and I slipped away past the Pittsburgh crowd who would be on the 6:50 flight tomorrow evening or running for connections on routes between Houston and Pittsburgh.

This was my first flight in the five months since leaving my road warrior career with Ketchum. My optimism thinking this trip would be on time, without missed connections, and same day arrival proved to be mythical.

February 17, 2006