It was 1987. AirCal had just been merged into American Airlines. American offered AAdvantage members the chance to fly anywhere along the west coast - AirCal's old stomping grounds - for only 10,000 miles. I decided to take them up on the offer.
Even though I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I decided to start my trip in Modesto. That way I could fly on an aircraft I had never flown on - the Metro.
Modest to San Francisco
American Eagle 5130, Fairfchild Metro, registration N2683B
I left about 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning for my flight departing Modesto at about 6:00.
San Francisco to Seattle
American 2759, B737-159, registration N472GB
The flight to Seattle was on a former AirCal aircraft. Not too many 100 series 737's were produced. I was glad to be able to get a flight on one.
I took the bus from Seattle/Tacoma Airport to downtown Seattle. On the way I passed Boeing Field. Downtown Seattle surprised me. I hadn't realized Seattle was so hilly. I stayed in Seattle a couple of hours before returning to the airport
Seattle to Los Angles via San Francisco
American 2718, B737-293, registration N463GB
Another former AirCal aircraft. It was kind of strange to know that when the flight stopped in San Francisco I was only a few miles from where lived yet I had another 650+ miles to go to get home.
Los Angeles to Modestto via Fresno
American Eagle 5082, Fairchild Metro, registration N352AE
My final flight of the day was great. After leaving Los Angeles, there was spectacular sunset. The pilot mentioned that the sunset was compliments of American Eagle.
When we departed Fresno we had to hold for a couple of minutes while a couple of fighter aircraft from the Air National Guard base in Fresno took off.
After arriving in Modesto, I got back into my car for the drive back home. I got there about 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. It had been a long day but well worth it.
Would I take this trip again? Probably not. Air travel is now longer as fun as it use to be. It's such a hassle today to fly. The flying portion itself is not too bad, at least on Southwest. It's all of the hassles of going through the so-called security screening that I hate.