October 20th, 2018

in which I have an adventure

C and I decided to go down to San Diego this week, originally for her father's birthday (he's in his nineties). This changed when he decided that he was ready to have the memorial for his wife, who died in mid-2016. C and her two siblings decided that it would be better to have it sometime close to his birthday, to minimize travel costs, and made the arrangements; C's part was finding a minister (through the hospice that cared for her mother) and writing a short biography. The military cemetery offered them a time on Friday; C's father's birthday is on Sunday, so they had a day in between for recovery.

But given cat sitting costs, I couldn't afford to stay down from Thursday afternoon till Monday afternoon, so I decided to attend the memorial and come back on Saturday (with C's agreement).

Normally I would have taken the Coaster to Oceanside and gotten onto the Metrolink line to Riverside. Inconveniently, Metrolink was doing track work, and the Oceanside track was closed! Some research showed that I could come back by Greyhound, starting in downtown San Diego and ending up in San Bernardino, where I could catch a local bus for Riverside. The Greyhound part of the trip lasted 4 hours and 45 minutes, which seemed a bit long, and cost $35, a bit pricy, but both were manageable.

I found out when I got the ticket that the reason for the length was that I had to get off in Santa Ana at 2, and then catch another bus at 3. The hour interval was actually a bit reassuring, especially when the bus on the first leg ran twenty minutes late; I sat down to wait the other 40 minutes. Then 3 o'clock came round, and no San Bernardino bus! So I went in and asked, and learned that the bus I was waiting for still hadn't left Los Angeles, and I had the prospect of arriving at least an hour late.

Inspiration struck: This was also a Metrolink station, and I was able to ascertain that a train for Riverside was scheduled to leave at 4 pm. I called the information number for Metrolink (following an Amtrak agent's helpful suggestion) and learned that the train was indeed running. Of course, it meant that I wouldn't be using the rest of my Greyhound ticket, but at that point it was a sunk cost; for spending a modest amount more (it turned out to be $5), I could get to Riverside not much later than I had expected to get to San Bernardino, and quite a bit earlier than I was actually likely to get there. So I ended up taking Metrolink, ending up nearer home, and having a more comfortable trip into the bargain.

But I must say I'm glad I learned the principle of ignoring sunk costs, so many years ago. That and having a cell phone let me do this with a calm mind, and perhaps do it at all.