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Because of the 2014 winter snowstorms, thousands of air flights were delayed or cancelled. People’s plans for important events were disrupted — like weddings, reunions or doctor appointments. For us, it was our spring getaway to Palm Desert, Calif.

The snowstorms almost made us cancel our flight for Feb. 9. The Lake Oswego Airporter shuttle cancelled our reservation because of bad road conditions. So a friend of ours who is a retired fire truck driver offered to drive us to the airport, and he safely got us there. However, it was a problem just to walk to his van, which was parked in our driveway. To prevent falling on our front porch, he and my daughter chipped away the ice and shoveled the snow.

The highway seemed safe enough, and with caution and safety in mind, we arrived on time for our flight.

We decided it was handy to use the new wheelchair service to transport me to Gate 10 — a very long walk.

Then came the delay. The copilot had cancelled. A failed search for a replacement in the Portland area turned to calls in Seattle where one was found. He boarded a flight for Portland, but due to engine trouble, never got off the tarmac. It was necessary to wait for the next scheduled flight to Portland. This all resulted in a two-hour delay. With all the uncertainty, the pilot eventually found it lonely sitting in the cockpit by himself, so he came out to the front desk saying he could answer questions regarding the delay. With no other seats available, I was still sitting in the wheelchair by the front desk, which made it easy to get acquainted with the pilot. He said he could fly the plane himself, but regulations required he have a copilot. After several hours, other wheelchair occupants looked questionably at my sudden ability to get up from the wheelchair and walk freely to the restroom.

The copilot arrived, and, finally, we were ready for takeoff. Our arrival time was moved from 4 to 6 p.m., so we arrived in total darkness.

The Nissan rental car was entirely new to us. Also, the 20-mile route to our temporary hotel reservation had to be figured out in the dark.

Due to northern states’ inclement weather, there were cancellations at our favorite hotel. The next day, we were able to rent a room for the next 11 nights.

The sunshine and the balmy 90-degree weather made it all seem worthwhile. Each morning after breakfast we sat in the sunshine out on our deck. We enjoyed long walks on level, dry ground, improving my ability to walk.

Because of the flight cancellation many people had driven their cars. The roads were crowded. I spotted a car from Saskatchewan, Canada — that would be a very long distance to drive. However, another time I also might consider my options — drive or fly.

Helen Oredson Mahle is a member of the Jottings group at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.

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