Break lights ahead. Lots of them. Why is there traffic going through Santa Barbara in the middle of the day? I say to Steph, do you think we are going to make our cruise? She asks back, “do you?” Yeah, I think so, but it could be close. It wasn’t like we rushed out of town. After a leisurely breakfast at our hotel in Cayucos we drove down and had lunch at Firestones in San Luis Obispo. We just got a side of fries not a full basket, but large enough to bring back some college memories.Getting close to Thousand Oaks more break lights. Anxiety set in. Our carefree attitudes disappeared. We should make it to Long Beach by 4:30 or so depending on traffic. We should still make our ship. Stephanie calls the 800 number to ask them. We didn’t get someone in Long Beach but an employee from the cruise line. He said we should be there by 3:30 to be on time to board the ship. The ship leaves at 5:30 certainly they will let us on if we arrive in time. I say to Stephanie, “You know what is going to happen is we are going to get there in time to watch our ship sail away with us not on it.”
We check the I-phone with traffic we should arrive just after 5:00pm, and we are almost out of gas. For the first time I have us as underdogs to make it onto the ship (Don’t panic I just have us as 6:5 underdogs). As we sit in traffic on the 101 checking for alternative routes I ask Steph what else she wants to do this weekend. We have friends in Orange County, Thousand Oaks, and San Diego. I was determined to enjoy the weekend and maintain a positive attitude even if we paid for a 3-day cruise we didn’t get to attend.
I make a plan for the gas station. I tell Stephanie to pump the gas and grab certain items from the trunk to put in the suitcase to save us time when we park if we make it. I come back out of the bathroom Stephanie was flustered as she had entered the wrong zip code and pressed the wrong type of gas. It was okay we had a half a tank. She hollers, “Let’s go.” We close the pump and jump back into the car as if we had just made our last pit stop at the Indy 500. We debate the routes and select service streets to avoid a few freeway intersections.
Stephanie calls the cruise line again. This time the girl tells us that if we make it by 5:00pm they will let us on, but if we’re not there by five it will be up to the people working at the port. Just after 4-oclock I ask “How many miles to go?” She responds, “29.” No chance. (I know have us as 2-1 dogs now)
Minutes before 5pm we get a call back from them asking where we are. Steph tells them we are trying to make it. She says follow the signs to the Queen Mary and don’t get lost because there is not time for error. The traffic for the first time in hours frees up. I’m racing on the freeway. I even get up to 94mph. Queen Mary exit. We still have a chance.
Queen Mary to the left. We are getting close. I hit 70mph in a 35 zone. We find cruise parking. Park the car at 5:12pm. We grab our bags and are running to the port like a scene in the movies. There is one family at the front trying to figure out a mistake in their reservation. We fly through security because there is no line as everyone else in on the ship. They force us to stop to take a picture and give us our room keys.
We’ve checked in and cleared security. Obviously they wouldn’t leave us now, but we still maintained a brisk pace toward the boat. As we are on the ramp we hear the horn, the horn that means this ship is about to sail. We speed up even more until we are on the boat.Safe.
It took us some time to recover, and we had to make up the safety class the other passengers attended at 4:30.We made it.