Shaky Town 1989

Shaky Town 1989
part 2 of the Rick travel series

I was talking to a member and she suggested that I might be nice to write some travel stories. I certainly have more than a few travel stories, so over the next few days I will tell the stories, as I remember them. I bet other onlookers have different impressions, but of course mine are correct. LOL

I was on the 15th floor of the Holiday Inn, I had just returned from Oakland not more than 20 minutes earlier. I was attending a conference on sewers, one of my favorite subjects, and I had visited a sludge composter located under the Bay Bridge. Incidentally the composter is truly awesome. At any rate I had just crossed the Bay Bridge was safely in my hotel room. I planned a little nap before dinner and an early last night in San Francisco during this trip.

That is when the room started to shake. Realizing it was an earthquake and with the full speculation that a Midwesterner brings to these situations, I ran down 15 floors and outside. Meanwhile the world watched as game 3 of the 1989 World Series game finished shaking. Downtown I was sitting on the curb where I applied Hoosier logic and I looked at the building waiting for it to collapse. My mind was racing with the sound of car alarms going off all over the city. An hour later and given that the building had yet to collapse and that no one was letting the crowds back inside, I decided I had better take care of dinner before my insulin kicked in. So I started walking. The first thing I noticed was a telephone booth, with a line of about 50 people. I walked for several blocks and all the restaurants were closed. So I returned to my curb side seat. When I sat down, I heard on the radio that things were bad all over the city, and that a man had been held up, stripped of all his clothes except his shoes and he had arrived at a police station seeking help.

That was when I noticed it. At first it was a roughness on my butt. Then I looked and found the truth. The seat of my pants was completely ripped out. Likely because of running down the stairs, two and half hours, earlier or some adventure thereafter. As I sat on the curb where I had a terrible choice should I go back inside the hotel that I knew would collapse at any moment or do I sit on the curb with my pants ripped out. I advised my travel mate I was going back in. He asked what he should tell my wife when the building collapsed. I told him to say I was going back in to correct my pants issue.

On the 15th floor I found the furniture had been tipped over, and that the sounds of helicopters filled the room because the sliding door to the porch slide open from the shaking. I got new pants and went to the hotel restaurant. It was closed. Then I saw my opening, I could go to the little shop at the hotel and buy one thing to drink and one thing to eat for the night. I got in line.

The line lasted about 45 minutes before I got my chance, and with each minute, reports of what they were out of filter up to and past me. First they were out of water, then whiskey, they ran out of crackers, then vodka. My options for food were running low. They ran out of coke products and cookies. When I got my chance I was down two few choices. I could obtain tequila, beer, gin, or regular ginger ale. I choose a six pack of beer. My second choice was a small package of Lorna Doone cookies. When I got back to the room, it was almost dark and I had to realize I was sleeping a hotel that would surely collapse any moment with no electricity and no water. I sat on the balcony, drinking beer, and listening to the helicopters. From my vantage point I could see lights start to reappear on the outskirts of the city, first on neighborhood then another creeping toward downtown like a slow tidal wave, building in the ocean. It never reached my room.

At 4 AM, in the dark, I gathered what I could find of my possessions and stuffed them in my suitcase. I had brought two insulin vials one regular and one lantus, but I could only find on vial. I could not tell which vial I found in the dark. I took what I could find. A syringe or two, no alcohol swabs, no glucose tabs, no apple juice. In the street I caught a taxi even as the desk clerk was yelling, I had not checked out. He chased me into the street as I pulled my bags behind. I barely beat the clerk to the taxi even as he grabbed for my bag.

I made it to the airport about 5:30 AM and that was when I saw it. I had no idea of the devastation that had taken place in the city. I was shocked to learn about the bay bridge. Not more than 15 minutes before I was driving over that bridge. The deaths could have easily been me. No wonder the restaurants were closed.

Of course the airport was functioning and even though there were hundreds of people who had been taken off their planes I boarded my plane on time. The airport food tasted good, and the insulin vial I got was Regular insulin. The Lantus was long gone. I had most of my clothes but not all. It would have been nice to brush my teeth that morning or take a shower. Still for the most part I was ok.

I was happy to land in Indianapolis and get back to Kokomo where buildings don’t usually sway from ground movement. I of course had many stories form my adventure in shaky town.

Tomorrow the series continues with, “Oh not again, in Anaheim”




My first one was the 1991 Sierra Madre earthquake. I was in the shower at the time. I was so sure the building was going to collapse that I ran outside naked! Of course, nothing collapsed, I later found out that it was a "minor" earthquake, it doesn't even have a Wikipedia page today.

My "big one" was the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, obviously I didn't die, but it sure scared me. A lot of people did and it would have been far worse if it had happened during the day instead of 4AM.

Then in 2011 I was in Washington DC when we got hit by a little one, if you look at the Washington Monument now you can see scaffolding all around it where they are still repairing damage, and I think the same for the National Cathedral too.

Hmmm, I have just learned from Rick and Tim that in the event of an earthquake, one should be sure to wear a pair of jeans complete with an intact seat, and hopefully an intact top as well... My only experience with an earthquake is when as a child, I woke up in the middle of the night to see my dresser come coasting across the floor to my bed, then coast back to the wall again. Just thought it was a weird dream until people talked about the biq 'quake the next morning.

Trudy that is so funny. Yes my advice keep your pants on. oh and part 3 here, you will learn my other tip, get under something strong. Also in case you do not knwo the night before the big event, do not lock your keys in the car, while it is running. Oh yeah, rick has got some serious travel stories. LOL

thanks for reading