On the beat

Bucher vacation revelations

 By Jim Bucher

Photo: Sophie, Chloe and Jim Bucher traveling to sunny California

When Dayton City Paper Editor Kyle Melton asked, “Hey Buch, what’s your next article’s topic?” I said, “Gonna write about my trip to Calfornia, but we haven’t left yet.” He responded with, “Well, how do you know anything fun or interesting is going to happen … Oh wait, it is you, Buch. Nevermind. Something odd and unusual will happen.”

Well … guess what, Kyle. It did.

First, my brother Tom lives in Los Angeles and also has a home in Palm Springs. (I, too, have a second home – a double-wide in Drexel.) At one time my mom lived in Palm Springs and we’d visit quite often, so I know the area pretty well. She moved back to Dayton in 2004, so for me and my teenage daughters, this was our first trip back in almost 10 years for a little California sunshine. I should have known though … it was a bad sign when a few days before we left, there was a pretty large wildfire outside of Palm Springs raining down ash and soot all over the desert city.

But, we plugged ahead and off to the Dayton airport we went.

Our wonderful neighbor Donna was our chauffeur. She also doubles as house and cat sitter, waters our plants, sorts the mail and is the light turn-er-on-erer. (I know that’s not a word, but you know what I meant. Spell check went nuts!)

OK, so far, so good. Now we arrive, grab our bags and make a beeline to the ticket counter of the so-called “no-frills airline.” (Wait, aren’t they all no frills now?) And I’m lovin’ life because there’s just one guy ahead of us. Normally, if you see me at the grocery, don’t get behind me in line because there’s always – always – someone that needs a price verification or is writing a check.

But not this time – I’m in the clear! So I thought, until I found out he was having his luggage weighed, which included the biggest plastic crate I’ve ever seen. It was large enough to quite possibly hold a small whale. He took the next 10 minutes arguing the fact that the airline representative in Phoenix told him it was OK to have overweight luggage. I couldn’t hear exactly what was said between he and the airline associate, but as the line behind me was getting longer – which he was oblivious to – he did finally reach back to his wallet and pulled out his checkbook. UGH!

Next was the TSA. Now, I know they have a job to do, but come on. Do I look dangerous? Really?

Don’t answer that.

Turns out after a complete search of me, my belongings – basically very close to a body cavity search – it was my belt buckle. They never told me to take that off. Oh well …

Former President Bill Clinton said it best once, “Would you rather not have the metal detectors and the searches?” No, I will wait in line and undergo a pat down for the safety of my country any day.

Now, finally, we’re on the way to the gate, but of course it’s raining out and our flight is delayed a couple of times. So, we stopped at one of the fine, overpriced concessions the airport offers in concourse “A.” Or is it “B?” Wow, can’t remember, but I do recall dropping around 20 bucks for a couple of drinks and some chips. “Hey, sorry to see ya leave. Let us take some more of your money before you go,” should be emblazoned on a banner as you board your plane.

And speaking of “board,” I’ve never, ever figured out why they don’t load the aircraft, back of the plane to front.  Does that make sense to anyone but me?

Think about it – that way everyone in the rear is seated and their gear is stowed, so passengers towards the front can then do the same. There – problem solved.

What I’ll never be able to fix or understand is how airline CEO’s can think for a minute that a passenger seat is comfortable. Now I hear that a new breed of jets will include less legroom than ever, all as America’s waistline and size gets bigger.

Well … meanwhile … back on the trip.

It’s a good thing we had a 5-hour layover in Baltimore, since our Dayton connection was delayed for an hour. Now we have a whole 4 hours to hang at another overpriced airport. But I digress, because what’s really got my goat – don’t know what that means, but the saying has been used in our family for years – is why we flew east to go west.

If you noticed, we flew from Dayton to Baltimore then eventually off to Los Angeles (LAX). Look, I know Dayton has a smaller airport than other cities, but don’t we get a pass because we are the ones who invented flight. I mean, come on, we wouldn’t have airports if not for the Wright Brothers, right?

OK, that’s it for this week. More “Vacation Revelations” coming next week in your Dayton City Paper.

In the meantime, here in Baltimore eating a … wait a minute, how much is that?


The views and opinions expressed in On the Beat are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes only.


For more than 25 years, “Buch”  has been a local television icon. Known and loved by thousands in the Miami Valley, his followers describe him as trust-worthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and a role model. When it comes to promoting your business, Buch has the ability to grab your customer’s attention. Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.


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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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