A travel story

We all have one.

If you live on the Redwood Coast long enough, you’ll have a major travel adventure.  Flying or driving, trying to get out of town or back home, you’ll have a story.

Every month, all the campus presidents in the California State University system are required to attend meetings in Long Beach.  These meetings are not optional – attendance is a job requirement.  Since I became president at Humboldt State, I have made more than 40 round trips between Arcata and Long Beach – and I had always made it home on the day I had planned.

Until recently.

The flight delays were caused by the recent fires in Northern California.  Smoke affected all of the region.  Flight after flight from San Francisco to Arcata was cancelled.  I couldn’t even get on the standby list until the next day.

So I broke my record of never having been stranded in San Francisco overnight.  I got a few hours of sleep before I had to be ready for the first flight the next morning back to Humboldt County.

Which was cancelled.   So was the one after that.  And the one after that.

Thus, like many other people have done, I rented a car and drove back to Arcata.  Although 101 had been closed by the fires, I was lucky that the road had reopened, thanks to the good work of CalTrans.  The drive through areas that were still burning was eerie – and sad, to think of all the lives affected by these fires. 

Ultimately, this trip back to Arcata from the CSU Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach took me more than 30 hours.  But no matter how long the traveling takes, attending these monthly meetings is critical to represent and advocate for Humboldt State.