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Another Hare-Brained Travel Scheme

March 26th, 2009 · 6 Comments · College football, NFL, soccer, Sports Journalism, World Cup

Just because it is logistically possible to make a road trip … doesn’t mean you ought to.

A couple of weeks ahead of that theoretically possible trip, I never remember that idea, above. A couple hours before I leave … then I remember, but the money has been spent and I’m committed and, well, here goes nothing. Something.

In an hour I leave for the airport and an overnight flight to San Salvador, a city I’ve never seen, in El Salvador, a country I’ve never visited, where I will arrive at 5:30 a.m. (at least, according to the schedule), then do about 12 hours of scurrying around the capital before settling in to write, and spend a night, cover the U.S. national team in a World Cup qualifying match Saturday night, then get up at 6 a.m. or so Sunday morning to catch a 9 a.m. flight back to LAX.

Rather a hare-brained scheme. You bet. Turns out, the press box at the main stadium in San Salvador does not have Internet access. Or so we’ve heard. Which substantially amps up the “degree of difficulty” of covering this match.

But … we’ll see.

Some of the other hare-brained sports travel schemes I’ve had — or those that spring to mind:USC-Alabama football on a Saturday night in Birmingham, Ala., all night in the Birmingham airport to catch a flight a dawn flight to Atlanta and a change to Houston to see a Rams-Oilers game. Do-able, and I did it. Not a great idea.

USC-Arizona state football game on a Saturday night in Tempe, a plane to Dallas in the morning and a flight to Minneapolis to see the Rams-Vikings on a Sunday afternoon. Made kickoff by, oh, five minutes. Do-able. Not a great idea.

UCLA at Arizona football, a Saturday night. Drove from San Bernardino to Tucson before the game (430 miles) …  covered the game, then drove 430 miles back to San Bernardino, arriving home about 5 a.m. Do-able. Not a great idea. Especially that last 100 miles when I was glugging Coke and slapping myself to stay awake.

I could add a couple of dozen up-and-backs to Las Vegas with a championship title fight in the middle … a UCLA game on a Saturday night and an all-night drive up Interstate 5 to Oakland for a Raiders home game. Do-able, but it almost killed me.

And the worst idea ever: A late Friday afternoon departure from San Bernardino to Grand Junction, Colo., and then up and over the Rockies on I-70 to Denver to see the Broncos and somedamnbody (Jacksonville, maybe?) in the NFL playoffs. Yeah. Over the Rockies in January. With two teenagers in the backseat of a rental car. I began encountering snow in central Utah but drove on in the dark and gathering snow, arriving in Grand Junction at maybe 1 a.m., completely wiped. Considered trying to cross the Rockies the next morning, with kickoff five hours away, decided against it because the snowstorm had moved on ahead of us … and turned around and drove back to San Bernardino instead. That is, a trip that was not really do-able … and a particularly bad idea.

I hope and trust this trip won’t be as bad an idea. Can’t be. Can it?

I’ll keep you up to date, here.

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6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Damian // Mar 26, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    This sounds cool. Who are you covering the match for? You’ll have to let me know if you are the only traveling American media member in the press box, given the parched budgets newspapers have to send reporters anywhere these days.

    I would like to submit a candidate for your craziest travel itineraries, and I can’t believe you didn’t think of this one considering traveling to a soccer match prompted you to think of this blog topic — our 6-day driving tour from Highland to Mexico City to watch U.S. v. Mexico on Easter Sunday in 2003.

    In particular, that first day of the trip, where we left Highland, were dropped off at the Tijuana Airport (with cases of bottled water in tow) so we could get our rental car, got lost for the first hour in TJ, then proceeded to drive about 9 hours to Hermosillo, the last 5 hours or so of which I drove in complete darkness on a curvy, 2-lane highway with no lights, railings or curbs, a faint center-dividing line and plenty of make-shift, roadside memorials for those drivers less fortunate than us. I think we rolled up on Hermosillo about 1 a.m. after leaving Highland about 11 a.m.

    That was an adventure unlike anything else. That’s why I chose to tag along. That and the free match in Azteca.

    What are you going to do this time in El Salvador , though, without me as your Spanish-English translator?

  • 2 Chuck Hickey // Mar 27, 2009 at 5:02 am

    I remember you trying to do that trip to Denver. It was for the Jacksonville game, which turned out to be one of the biggest upsets in NFL playoff history.

    This trip doesn’t sound as crazy as all the other ones you did.

    I remember Mike Davis talking at the reunion (or maybe you mentioned it) of how he did a USC game at noon in Seattle, then got on a plane and made it to Tempe for a UCLA game at night.

    And, yes, who are you covering the match for?

  • 3 Ian // Mar 27, 2009 at 5:41 am

    The punchline of the Denver trip was that you said you finally got a sports radio station to come in as you came down the Cajon Pass and heard the finale of the game, which was something amazing.

  • 4 Luis // Mar 27, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Sweet! Andrea Canales is there too, although you probably had the same flight as she did.

    I remember the UCLA game. I went to Phoenix that Sunday to watch a Bears game. I guess that would be on my list, since I covered a Galaxy game Saturday night, drove through the night with two friends to Phoenix, wasted time during the morning at a park, watched the game, drove home afterward. Got back at around 1 am and I honestly don’t remember the last 40 minutes of the drive. I was driving in a vivarin-induced haze.

    I think we drove past each other somewhere around Blythe, at least that’s what I had figured out.

  • 5 Joseph D'hippolito // Mar 27, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Paul, is your client going to reimburse your travel expenses?

  • 6 A UAE Hare-Brained Sports Scheme // Oct 16, 2014 at 6:12 am

    […] And I know a hare-brained sports scheme when I see one, having inflicted several dozen on myself over the past 30-some years. […]

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