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Welcome to my story blog. I will post one new story here every day. You are welcome to comment on any or all of them. Enjoy!
                   --Lee Pound

Day 63 - Trapped in Austin, Texas

It was supposed to be a routine flight from Puebla, Mexico to Dallas, Texas.

My wife and I and our newly adopted dog, Manchitas, were heading home from our Spring vacation to Puebla. The airline allowed us to carry the dog in the cabin since the flight was almost empty. The flight was smooth and uneventful. It looked like we would arrive in Dallas in plenty of time for our connecting flight to Orange County, California, just three miles from home.

As we approached Dallas, the sky started filling up with clouds, huge vertical black towers studded all around us. The flight got shakier and the pilot dodged around the clouds. We lined up for landing but halfway down the pilot aborted the descent.

“We are not going to land in Dallas at this time,” he radioed to the passengers. “The Dallas Airport is experiencing severe wind shears at this time. We have been redirected to Austin to wait for the storm to pass.”

We left the menacing clouds and flew to Austin, due south (back where we’d come from) and landed at the old Robert Mueller Municipal Airport. Since we were flying in from Mexico, the Immigration Service considered us to still be in Mexico and, although they let us land, they did not let anyone off the plane, including one poor little white and orange dog who just wanted outside to use the grass.

We waited in Austin, hot sun beating down, passengers fuming, the dog whining. The stewardesses finally laid some old newspaper on the floor so the pup could relieve herself.

After an hour and a half, they let us proceed back to Dallas. By now the sun was setting. The storms near Dallas had abated enough for us to make a bumpy landing. We pulled up to the terminal just five minutes before our flight to Orange County was to depart. Of course it ended up leaving without us.

There was one more flight, scheduled to arrive in Orange County just a half and hour before that airport closed for the evening. We got two seats on the flight. We knew we were in trouble when we sat on the tarmac for half an hour waiting in a huge line to take off.

Once we were in the air, the pilot said he would try to get us there in time. As it turned out, we had started too late and halfway to California he announced that we would land at Los Angeles International Airport about midnight and that the airline would bus us to Orange County Airport, about 50 miles away and that we would get there somewhere around 2 a.m.

So there we were, with a new dog, unprepared for what to do with her, no food for her, exhausted from flying all day, and we would be dumped at Orange County Airport, which was closed, three miles from home. And of course no way to call anyone for help.

The good news? We made it. A few taxis waited at the airport to take us home. The dog was dead tired so we didn’t have to deal with her until morning. We collapsed into bed without unpacking. All this because a short thunderstorm picked an inconvenient moment to stall over the Dallas Airport.

It all worked out. That dog is still with us twelve years later. And guess what? She’s one of the best traveling dogs I’ve ever seen. Maybe that first wild and woolly flight was so bad that nothing ever fazed her again.

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